160. Memorandum From Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff to the Assistant to the President (Jordan) and the Assistant to the President for Congressional Liaison (Moore)1


  • The Canal Treaties: Compensating for the DeConcini Amendment

The President met yesterday with Secretary General of the OAS, Orfila,2 and Orfila conveyed the strong concern all Latin Americans feel about the implications of the DeConcini amendment. Orfila is well aware of the political impossibility at this time of deleting that reservation, so he suggested as an alternative that we try to get the Senate to include language in the Panama Canal Treaty which would reaffirm the support of the U.S. Government for the principle of non-intervention as stated in the UN Charter3 and in Article 18 of the OAS Charter.4 The President seemed to indicate that this was a good idea which was justified, and after the meeting, he asked me to relay this information to you.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Congressional Liaison Office, Bob Beckel’s Subject Files, Box 226 (Panama), 3/20–23/78 (CF, O/A 427). Confidential. Copies were sent to Inderfurth, Beckel, and Thomson.
  2. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Carter met with Orfila from 2:02 p.m. to 2:25 p.m. on March 22. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary)
  3. Article 2 (7) of the Charter of the United Nations states: “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.” (United Nations, Washington, DC: GPO, 1945)
  4. Article 18 of the Charter of the Organization of American States states: “Respect for and the faithful observance of treaties constitute standards for the development of peaceful relations among States. International treaties and agreements should be public.” (Organization of American States, Washington, DC: Pan American Union, 1949)