18. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter 1

1. Canal Negotiations Suspended: Ellsworth and Sol will be arriving in Washington late tonight to report on the suspension of their talks with the Panamanians. They will be bringing a message to you from Torrijos.2 [1 line not declassified] Torrijos has concluded that the core of our position is the need for a bilateral guarantee of the canal’s neutrality and defense.3 He believes that if Panama agrees to the principle of such a guarantee, it can oblige the U.S. to accept the Panamanian positions on most other outstanding issues. I will discuss the status of the talks with Ellsworth and Sol tomorrow afternoon and give you my recommendations on how we should proceed.4

2. My Testimony before the Slack Subcommittee: I testified this morning on the State Department’s FY–78 budget before John Slack’s Appropriations Subcommittee. Slack and several of his colleagues had just returned from Panama where they were not well treated by the government. Nevertheless, there were no recriminations but they did want more details on our negotiations. I will ask that Sol Linowitz go talk to them.5 Bill Alexander who has been very anti-treaty actually invited us to help “educate” his constituents about the Canal.

[Omitted here is information unrelated to Panama.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 17, Evening Reports (State), 2/11–28/77. Secret. Carter initialed the memorandum and wrote: “To Cy” in the upper right margin. All brackets except those that indicate omitted text are in the original.
  2. See Document 20.
  3. Carter wrote in the left margin: “Sounds accurate for us.”
  4. See Document 19.
  5. Carter underlined the phrase “Sol Linowitz go talk to them” and wrote in the left margin: “Let me have Sol’s report first.”