245. Letter From President Carter to Panamanian President Royo 1

Dear Mr. President:

I have recently signed the documents proclaiming and making public the Panama Canal Treaty and the Neutrality Treaty, “to the end that they shall be observed and fulfilled with good faith on and after [Page 586] October 1, 1979, by the United States of America and by the citizens of the United States of America and all other persons subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”2

The historic date is upon us. It will be memorable on several counts: for Panama, which achieves long held national aspirations, for the United States, which has dedicated the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal to the service of international commerce among all nations, and for the Canal itself, whose multinational workforce has set extraordinary standards of excellence in the construction, maintenance and operation of the waterway which parts the Hemisphere but unites the world.

Just as the Canal builders faced and overcame seemingly intractable obstacles and discouraging setbacks, Americans and Panamanians have prevailed in constructing a new Canal relationship which serves the national interests of our two countries and the needs of international maritime commerce. The task before us now is to broaden and deepen that relationship and keep it free from obstacles or threats which would block its purpose. The United States is as committed to making these Treaties work as we were to building the Canal itself.

Because of the pride which I have in the achievement of the Canal Treaties and our 75 years of involvement with the Canal, I have asked Vice President Walter Mondale to represent the United States during the ceremonies marking the entry into force of the Canal Treaties. Rosalynn and I regret that we will not be able to join you personally.

With my personal regards to you as an architect of our joint endeavor, I remain


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 15, Panama: President Aristides Royo 1–12/79. No classification marking.
  2. On September 27, Carter signed into law the Panama Canal Act of 1979. For the text of his statement, see Public Papers: Carter, 1979, Book II, pp. 1776–1777.