142. Memorandum From the White House Congressional Liaison Aide (Thomson) to the Assistant to the President (Jordan)1



The following are the talking points for the President to use in making his calls to the Senators discussed this morning.

Senator Cannon

The Senator will express serious concerns over the economic aspects of the Treaties. He was very critical during Armed Services Committee hearings. The President should reassure him that the Canal will be economically viable under the Treaty and tell him that the Arthur Anderson report2 proving that point will be released on Thursday3 or Friday.4 If Cannon needs a personal briefing on the report, we can provide it.5

The President should also tell Cannon that defeat of the Treaties will cripple him as President and deal a major blow to our foreign policy. Now that Cannon is chairman of a major committee, he should be willing to play a leadership role on important issues such as this.

The President can also point to the February 1 Gallup Poll showing Americans favor the Treaties 45 percent to 42 percent.6

Senator Randolph

The President has talked to Randolph at least 3 times. This time, he should again impress on the Senator the importance of the Treaties to the Carter Presidency. The vote has become a test of the compatibility and competence of the Democratic Congress and Democratic Administration.7

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The President should explain he will go all out to help the Senator in his reelection bid, including a visit to his state. Administration officials can brief veterans or other groups if the Senator wishes.

Senator Young

We have had very little contact with him. The President should emphasize the support of the Joint Chiefs for the Treaties and highlight their input to the negotiations.

The Senator may respond to a plan based on the necessity for a strong Presidency in matters of foreign policy. The President should point out that President Ford, Senator Baker and other Republican leaders and conservatives support the Treaties.

Senator Stevens

The Senator is a hard-bitten political realist who has told Baker he will not support the Treaties. Baker still believes he can get Stevens, however.8

The President may want to dwell on the importance of a neutral and accessible Canal to shipment of Alaska oil. The Senator could also respond to a personal appeal based on the importance of the Treaties to Latin American relations.

Stevens may counter with some barbs about the “d-2 lands” issue.9

  1. Source: Carter Library, Chief of Staff, Hamilton Jordan’s Confidential Files, Box 36, Panama Canal Treaty 1978. No classification marking. A notation on the memorandum reads: “The President has seen.” Carter initialed the top-right corner of the memorandum and wrote: “all done.”
  2. Presumably a reference to the 1978 report by Arthur Andersen and Co., “Analysis of the Estimated Cash Requirements of the Panama Canal Commission, 1979–1983”.
  3. February 9.
  4. February 10.
  5. Carter wrote in the right margin: “8/77 Difficult in State.”
  6. Carter wrote in the right margin: “Using every possible argument against.”
  7. Carter wrote in the right margin: “Same” and “9/77—Sure vote if needed.”
  8. Carter wrote in the right margin: “8/77—open mind”
  9. A reference to Section 17 (d) (2) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which directs the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw 80 million acres of federal lands, referred to as “d-2” lands, from development. Carter wrote and circled: “Will go back & re-think—” He also wrote at the end of the memorandum: “ Kissinger & Ford have called him this weekend” and “I put all of these on basis of profound national interest—bipartisanship—& prestige of the Presidency”