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

[Omitted here is information unrelated to Panama.]

5. Panama Treaties. The House has adopted a Hansen amendment to the Defense Department Authorization Bill providing that no DOD funds may be used for any force reduction or base realignment in [Page 446] the Canal Zone in implementation of the Treaties, without an act of Congress. A similar House amendment prohibits expenditure of State Department funds for Treaty implementation without specific Congressional authorization. In addition, the first Congressional Concurrent Resolution on the Budget declared the intent of the Congress to terminate the Canal Company’s status as a government corporation, and to establish it as an agency subject to annual Congressional appropriations.

If these restrictions on Executive action were enacted into law, they could prevent us from making the necessary preparations for Treaty implementation; raise costs; jeopardize the Canal’s management; and conceivably force us to delay steps in implementing the Treaties.

We intend to work with the Senate leadership to assure that the Senate will work to eliminate the Hansen amendments in conference. We also intend to alert the House leadership to the potential dangers of further House action of this kind.2

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 20, Evening Reports (State), 6/78. Secret. Carter initialed the top-right corner of the memorandum and wrote: “Cy.”
  2. Carter wrote in the left margin: “Work hard on this in the Senate—Fritz & I will help you as requested.”