195. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Telephone Conversation—Nicaragua


  • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Nicolas Gonzalez Revilla, Minister of Foreign Relations, Panama
  • Robert Pastor, Staff Member/NSC
[Page 475]

Dr. Brzezinski began by saying that the President had been trying to reach General Torrijos, but thus far unsuccessfully. The U.S. was actively pursuing its mediation effort, and any unilateral military action which internationalizes the problem in Nicaragua would have a very serious impact on that situation and also on the United States.2 Dr. Brzezinski said that as good friends, he felt that he was able to convey to the Foreign Minister his feeling that the situation should be handled in a very prudent fashion. Any move to internationalize the conflict would cause the United States very serious problems, and have a very negative impact here.

The Foreign Minister said that he had been working on this problem since the early morning, and he would convey Dr. Brzezinski’s message directly to General Torrijos.

Dr. Brzezinski said that the U.S. and Panama have a lot at stake. Our two countries are creating a new relationship, and General Torrijos and President Carter have invested a lot of their time in this effort. It would be extremely unfortunate if this relationship were to be injured. Dr. Brzezinski said that the Foreign Minister was well aware of negative forces in the United States, and we did not want to give encouragement to these groups because that would endanger the implementing legislation as well as the entire relationship. From the standpoint of our international interests, Dr. Brzezinski said that the United States could not permit one nation getting involved in a way which would draw others into a conflict. This would cause the United States to assess the situation in a very grave fashion.

The Foreign Minister said that he thought General Torrijos was very concerned about other nations participating in the Nicaraguan conflict; he referred to Salvadorean planes.

Dr. Brzezinski said that he would check into this. It would, of course, be of great concern to the United States as well. Dr. Brzezinski suggested that perhaps the OAS could take a stand against foreign intervention in Nicaragua.

The Foreign Minister said that there were also reports of foreign troops fighting in Nicaragua.

Dr. Brzezinski said that this was all the more reason why there is a need for a call for non-intervention.

The Foreign Minister said that this point should be conveyed to other countries.

Dr. Brzezinski said that was a good idea and that he would speak to the State Department about that.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Staff Offices, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Box 42, Pastor, Country, Panama, 8–12/78. Confidential. Brzezinski was in his office for the telephone conversation.
  2. Brzezinski’s September 19 memorandum is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XV, Central America.