263. Letter From President Carter to President Royo 1

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your letter of January 9.2 Your comments and observations on various aspects of the Panama Canal Treaties of 1977 and the related implementing legislation were interesting and useful. We are giving them the most careful consideration.3

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I share your views on the importance of monitoring the initial stages of treaty implementation. As you know, the Panama Canal Act of 1979 requires me to make recommendations to the Congress by October 1, 1981, regarding necessary or desirable modifications in the implementing legislation. In preparation for this task, it is important that we identify any specific problems that can be attributed to the legislation itself.

Many of the problems that have arisen so far, however, do not appear to be the result of legislative requirements. And so we need not wait for legislative action to address them. In such cases, I believe problems might usefully be referred for study and recommendation to one or more of the committees established by the Treaties. The Consultative Committee, with its collaborative and independent views, could be especially helpful.

I am pleased, as I am sure you are, that the spirit of cooperation built up during the negotiation of our new Treaty relationship has carried over into the initial period of implementation. Because of the intrinsic technical and political problems, differences of opinion will undoubtedly arise from time to time. But I am confident that we will be able to resolve such differences satisfactorily by building on the firm and successful foundation we have already put in place.

In closing, I want to assure you once again that the United States is as deeply committed to making these Treaties work as it was to building the Canal. I look forward to continued cooperation and correspondence on whatever difficulties may arise.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 15, Panama: President Aristides Royo, 1–11/80. No classification marking. In telegram 2200 from Panama City, March 7, Moss reported that the letter was delivered that morning and that Royo was pleased with it. (Department of State, American Embassy Panama, Classified and Unclassified Political Subject Files, 1979–1980, Lot 83F67, Correspondence, 1980, Classified, Am Moss Jr.)
  2. A copy of the letter, which presented Royo’s objections on behalf of the Panamanian people and government to the implementing legislation, is in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 15, Panama: President Aristides Royo, 1–12/79.
  3. In a May 27 letter to Correa, the Department provided a more in depth response to the charges in Royo’s January 9 letter. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P800075–1413)