276. Message From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the SSO Panama1

2928. Personal for LtG Nutting From Gen Jones, CJCS. Subj: Discussions With BG Torrijos (U). Ref: SSO Panama 172330Z Nov 802

1. (C) Thank you for bringing me up to speed on the recent meeting between Ambassadors Ortiz and Moss and General Torrijos. Your comments in the Ref indicate a more positive and receptive atmosphere may exist than we had previously thought.3 I assume Ambassador Ortiz is relaying the same information via State channels.

2. (S) DIA is working on the briefing and Gen Tighe’s staff will deal directly with yours on the specifics.

3. (S) As you requested I will sign a letter, the text of which follows, for you to give to to Gen Torrijos.4 I hope that along with a concrete offer of the briefing, it will provide you the necessary opening to further this long-awaited direct dialogue with Torrijos.

4. (U) Please pass the following message to Gen Torrijos:

Dear General Torrijos

The press of events worldwide has kept me out of Washington a good deal of the time during the past weeks and I regret not having been able to correspond personally with you as I intended on the anniversary of the treaties last month. However, I would like at this time to convey to you my recognition of the substantial progress which our respective forces have made in ensuring the successful, initial implementation of the Panama Canal Treaties which entered into effect just over a year ago. The foundation for cooperation which has been laid during this first treaty year should provide us an enduring basis for continuing to build into the future. Your personal assistance, and that of your principal deputies, in resolving problems as they arise will continue to be an essential part of this process. General Nutting will be happy to meet with you or your representatives at any time.

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(Paragraph) I trust that jointly developed agreements governing details not specifically covered by the treaties (such as the movement SOP currently being developed by the combined board) will be able to eliminate even the minor problems that might arise in the year ahead. (Paragraph) I look forward to a second treaty year of even greater mutual cooperation and good will. You may count on our continuing support in the development of the mutual trust and confidence essential to the combined defense responsibilities which we share.

Sincerely. David

David C. Jones
General, USAF
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of David C. Jones, Box 47, 820—Panama 3JC/78–26 Nov 80. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by R.C. Madonna, Latin America Branch, USMC on November 21.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. In PNA 796 from SSO Panama, November 17, Nutting reported on his November 14 meeting with Torrijos during which Torrijos expressed satisfaction with joint military exercises, support of U.S. military engagement in the canal defense mission and, in light of the recent U.S. elections, believed it time for continuity of military institutional relationship. Nutting recommended Jones send Torrijos a letter of support. (National Archives, RG 218, Records of David C. Jones, Box 47, 820-Panama 3JC/78–26 Nov 80)
  4. The signed letter, dated November 25, is attached but not printed.