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

Panama Negotiations. When the talks resumed yesterday after the Memorial Day weekend, the Panamanians said they needed to return to Panama for consultations with Torrijos on significant agreements reached thus far but subject to his approval. Both sides agreed that this round is in recess only, and will resume about June 11–12. During the recess, U.S. and Panamanian specialists will continue work on the details of the lands and water issues.

During Tuesday’s session,2 Bunker and Linowitz cautioned the Panamanians that premature disclosure by Torrijos of the critical negotiating details of this round would be harmful. At the conclusion of the session, the Panamanians accepted our assessment that “broad agreement” exists between the two sides on the shape of a treaty. However, they hedged by saying that the agreements arrived by the negotiators on individual issues hinge on a “package” agreement on all issues (a hedge we also maintain), and that the major issue of U.S. payments to Panama during the new treaty’s lifetime remains to be discussed.3

The answers to the questions you raised in the margin of Cy’s May 28 report4 are in preparation for Cy’s review on his return.

[Omitted here is information unrelated to Panama.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 18, Evening Reports (State), 6/77. Secret. Carter initialed the memorandum and wrote: “[name not declassified].” From May 28 to June 2 Vance was in Paris attending the Conference on International Economic Development.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 42.
  3. Carter wrote in the left margin: “We need a full NSC meeting before final US position is made.”
  4. See Document 42.