257. Letter From the Ambassador to Panama (Moss) to the Director for Panama, Bureau for Inter-American Affairs, Department of State (Haahr)1

Dear Jim:

I have reviewed the memorandum dated January 4 on “Priorities for the 1980’s—Panama”, which you sent under cover of your letter of January 8.2 While I agree with parts of the memorandum and in particular the steps to achieve our objectives in Panama, I would have stated our priority foreign policy objective as the obverse of the first sentence of the memorandum, in the following manner: “Our priority foreign policy objective over the long range is the promotion in Panama of conditions for economic growth and political stability which will assure a setting for the continued secure and efficient operation of the Panama Canal and trouble-free implementation of the Panama Canal Treaties.”3

As my formulation indicates, it seems to me that we have so concentrated over the past years on obtainment of a new relationship with Panama pertaining to the Canal and on implementation of the Panama Canal Treaties that we have lost sight of the fact that our primary interest is in a Panama that is democratic and developing, and a reliable free-world partner. It is, in my view, time for us to start putting the treaties behind us and time to get on to the more fundamental matters in our relationship with Panama.

It follows from my reordering of our primary foreign policy objective in Panama that I would have restated the problem to highlight the [Page 610] necessity of evolution in the democratic process and steady economic growth. Moreover, I would have incorporated in the Strategy and Steps sections of the memorandum proposals to encourage direct foreign investment and diversification of the Panamanian economy.

We shall be incorporating these thoughts in our telegram policy statement which is due in Washington on January 31.4

All best wishes.


Ambler H. Moss, Jr. 5
  1. Source: Department of State, ARA/USOAS, Administration and People Files of Dr. Einaudi, 1974–1989, Lot 91D372, Box 3, Priorities for the 80s. Confidential; Official; Informal.
  2. Haahr underlined “Priorities for the 1980’s—Panama.” The January 4 memorandum and the January 8 letter are in the Department of State, American Embassy Panama, Classified and Unclassified Political Subject Files, 1979–1980, Lot 83F67, Box 34, Correspondence, 1980, Classified, Am Moss Jr.
  3. Haahr highlighted this sentence and wrote in the left margin: “I agree with restatement of primary policy obj. in Panama.”
  4. The policy statement, sent in telegram 1007 from Panama City, January 31, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800055–0381.
  5. Moss signed “Ambler” above his typed signature.