38. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Christopher to President Carter 1

[Omitted here is information unrelated to Panama.]

Panama Canal Negotiations. In three meetings this week with the Panamanian negotiators, Ambassadors Bunker and Linowitz have presented a draft neutrality treaty; a proposal on the form of the entity which will operate the canal during the life of the treaty; a paper dealing with the rights of U.S. civilian employees of the entity; and a [Page 141] package on lands and waters worked out with the Secretary of the Army.2

Initial indications are that Panama is particularly pleased with the lands and waters package, which contains much of what Panama has demanded during the past two years. Two of three of the Panamanian negotiators are returning to Panama today for consultations with General Torrijos—not because negotiations are going badly but because they are going well.3 While the negotiations appear to be moving in the right direction, there is hard negotiating ahead before treaty drafting can begin.

[Omitted here is information unrelated to Panama.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 18, Evening Reports (State), 5/77. Secret. Carter initialed the memorandum and wrote: “To [name not declassified].”
  2. Carter wrote: “C” in the left margin. The meetings were held May 9–11. For a summary of these meetings, see Dolvin’s May 12 interim report in the National Archives, RG 218, Records of Chairman George S. Brown, Box 48, 820 (Panama) Bulky 1 Jan 1976–31 May 1977. In a May 10 memorandum to Alexander, Bunker and Linowitz sent a set of conceptual recommendations for approval pertaining to lands and waters for use by the U.S. negotiators during the current round of negotiations. (National Archives, RG 59, Official and Personal Files of Ambassador at Large Ellsworth Bunker, Lot 78D300, Box 4, Issues Lands & Waters (Use Rights))
  3. In telegram 3415 from Panama City, May 13, the Embassy reported that Escobar and Royo appeared to be returning to Panama with a “positive” attitude. (Department of State, American Embassy Panama, Panama Canal Treaty Negotiations Files, 1964–1977, Lot 81F1, Box 127, POL 33.3.2—Lands and Water April-June 1977)