229. Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant to the President for Congressional Liaison (Moore) and the Special Assistant to the President for Congressional Liaison (Beckel) to President Carter1


TO: Rep. John Murphy (D-17-N.Y.)

DATE: This weekend2

RECOMMENDED BY: Frank Moore and Bob Beckel

PURPOSE: To discuss Panama Canal Implementing Legislation.

BACKGROUND: The House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee will begin full Committee Markup of the Panama Canal Implementing Legislation on Monday.3 The Bill as it has emerged from subcommittee (chaired by Carroll Hubbard D-1-Ky.), is clearly in conflict with the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Before subcommittee markup Murphy appeared to be seeking a compromise with the Administration but caved to Hubbard and Bauman in the markup session. We have attached comments on the amendments which cause us the most difficulty.4

We suggest you tell Murphy that the Bill in it’s present form is unacceptable,5 and urge him to correct the problems in the full Committee markup. We think Murphy does want a Bill you can accept, but is feeling the heat from his right. He should be reminded that nothing short of taking the Canal back will satisfy Bauman, and that Murphy is better off working with you to seek solutions we can all accept.

You may want to offer to meet with Murphy and some Members of the Committee (not the whole Committee) if it will help. The Speaker will follow your call with a meeting on Monday6 with Murphy.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Box 42, Pastor, Country, Panama, 7-9/79. No classification marking. Carter initialed the memorandum and wrote: “done. Jack reassured me that nothing would be in the bill to violate treaty terms. Warren and/or Cy will have to work the committee—then I will help if necessary.”
  2. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Carter spoke with Murphy from 8:34 to 8:38 a.m., Tuesday, June 5. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary)
  3. June 11.
  4. Comments not attached. Carter wrote in the left margin: “cc: Vance.”
  5. Carter underlined “unacceptable.”
  6. June 11.