185. Letter From President Carter to General Torrijos1

Dear General Torrijos:

I believe that our meeting accomplished all of the purposes we both had in mind when your invitation was extended. Most importantly, we exchanged the Instruments of Ratification and signed the Protocol of Exchange for the Panama Canal Treaties.2 By inviting the Presidents of Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia and Venezuela and the Prime Minister of Jamaica to share in this historic occasion, you gave all of us the opportunity to meet and exchange views on the important issues we face. I know we both value their advice and friendship.3

The months between our Treaty signing ceremonies last September in Washington and the ceremony in Panama City were long and difficult. But during those months the people of Panama and the Senate of the United States demonstrated their approval of the Treaties. I know that our shared endeavors during this time made the exchange ceremony yesterday that much more meaningful for us both. I have no doubt that it truly marks the beginning of a new and more promising era in relations between our two nations, and among all the nations of the Hemisphere.

I hope that you will convey to the people of Panama Rosalynn’s and my appreciation for the hospitality they have extended to us. We were warmed by our welcome and all that you did to make our visit the success it was.4

Rosalynn and I enjoyed being with you and Raquel again, and would like to thank you for the beautiful watercolor painting and other [Page 455] gifts you presented to us. We will long treasure them as expressions of our friendship and as a remembrance of the historic occasion we shared with you.5


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 15, Panama: General Omar Torrijos Herrera 2/77–7/78. No classification marking.
  2. For the text of Carter’s remarks at the June 16 Instruments of Ratification exchange ceremony, the texts of the Instruments of Ratification and the text of the Protocol of Exchange, see the Department of State Bulletin, July 1978, pp. 52–57.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 183. On June 17, the presidents of Colombia, Costa Rica, and Venezuela and the Prime Minister of Jamaica, in addition to Carter and Torrijos, issued a multilateral statement of cooperation and support on the occasion of the exchange of the Instruments of Ratification of the Panama Canal Treaties. For the text of this statement, see the Department of State Bulletin, July 1978, p. 51.
  4. At the June 19 meeting of the Cabinet, Carter reported that his trip to Panama “was extremely productive and rewarding,” that he met with an outpouring of support and that the reaction of the Latin American leaders who attended was “very positive.” (Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting; Carter Library, Vertical File, Cabinet Meeting Minutes, 3/6/78–11/20/78)
  5. Carter wrote at the end of the letter: “P.S. I really appreciate the clock/calculator, which is on my desk in the oval office. J.”