74. Memorandum From Vice President Mondale to the Assistant to the President (Jordan)1


  • Consultations with Senators Nelson, Williams, Stafford, DeConcini and Anderson on Foreign Policy Issues, August 2, 1977

[Omitted here is a summary of the meeting.]

Panama. All Senators present agreed that the Administration will have to do a good job of telling the country why the new treaty with Panama is in U.S. interests. This, as you know, has been a recurring message during my consultations with members of the Senate. They believe the President and the Administration will have to go to the people not only via television from Washington, but also through “work in the hinterlands” to explain the importance of the new treaty and the reason it is in our national interest. Senator Nelson noted that while he has a flow of mail against the U.S.-Panama negotiations, he has not had a single letter in favor of the negotiations. Senator Stafford said that if people in America, including people on the right, had a better understanding of the specifics of the negotiations—including the fact that American troops will be able to stay and the fact that the U.S. will be able to intervene to safeguard the canal’s neutrality after 2000—that there would be increased support for the negotiations. The Senators want to be supportive, but they alone cannot be expected to argue a new treaty’s merits. They believe the Administration will have to take a strong lead.

[Omitted here is information unrelated to Panama.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, Office of the Chief of Staff, Hamilton Jordan’s Confidential Files, Box 36, Panama Canal Treaty, 8/77 (1). Confidential. Sent for information.