92. Memorandum From the Assistant to the President (Jordan) to President Carter1


1. Torrijos arrival. Working with the Panamanian Ambassador, we have arranged for General Torrijos to arrive in Washington at 7:00 p.m. Monday.2 This will allow him overnight to rest before his bilateral with you. Also, it puts him in late enough that his arrival will miss the evening news. We explained to the Panamanians that due to Labor Day traffic a late arrival would logistically be best.3 He is staying at Jackson Place which has been described to him as the “place where former Presidents stay when in Washington”. He is happy with these accomodations.

2. Draft texts of treaties. Jody has completed his final review of the treaties. We have made a decision that it would be better now to wait and release them early next week as the activities commence as opposed to releasing them over the weekend. If we release them now, Jody says that Helms and Thurmond will be on the attack over the weekend.4 If we wait until next week, their objections will be lost in the coverage of the arrivals and the ceremony.

3. Kissinger and Ford breakfast. I met with Kissinger today and Hugh Carter is in Vail with Ford. I asked Dr. Kissinger if he would host a breakfast meeting on the Panama Canal with President Ford. He and Ford talked and agreed to co-host such a function and invite all the Republican Senators. They said that inviting everyone was much easier for them than having to pick and choose.5 We all agreed that it would be best to do it at either the Capitol or at a hotel to emphasize the independent nature of the function. Kissinger feels strongly that he can be much more effective if he is perceived as a concerned former Secretary of State as opposed to being the agent of the new President.

[Page 274]

4. Ford and Kissinger presence at functions. We have invited both men to be present at both the OAS ceremony and at the State Dinner. They have both accepted.6

5. Signing ceremony schedule. The tenative schedule for the ceremony is as follows:

7:25 All heads of state seated.
7:31 Secretary-General of OAS, President Carter and General Torrijos enter.
7:33 Welcoming statement by Secretary-General.
7:37 Statement by President Carter (7 mins).
7:47 Statement by General Torrijos (7 mins).
7:55 Signing of treaties by principles.
7:58 Conclusion/benediction.7

With the seats made available to the United States, we will invite every member of the Senate, the House leadership, and members of two key committees. Also, we will invite recognizable private citizens (business and labor leaders) and members of the Joint Chiefs. Ford and Kissinger as well as other prominent persons from former administrations will be included.

6. State dinner. The State Dinner will be held immediately after the signing ceremony. To avoid people having to change clothes and having the participants at the ceremony in black tie, the dress for the ceremony and the State Dinner will be a business suit. This may give the people in the East Wing apoplexy, but it is the only reasonable way to do it.8 To make maximum use of the State Dinner, we will restrict participation there to heads of state and Senators. We have asked Secretary Vance to host a collateral function at the State Department for Foreign Ministers and members of their traveling parties. In this way, we can insure a large number of Senators at the State Dinner.

7. Collateral events. We are arranging a large number of private briefings, luncheons, receptions, etc., between heads of state, business leaders and members of the Congress and their staffs.9 I will keep you generally informed of this. You may be sure that there will be a lot going on that is beneficial to us politically.

[Page 275]

8. Bilateral schedule. Tim Kraft and Evan Dobelle have worked out the schedule for your bilaterals that will, I think, give you maximum flexibility in dealing with each head of state.10

  1. Source: Carter Library, Office of the Chief of Staff, Hamilton Jordan’s Confidential Files, Box 36, Panama Canal Treaty, 8/77 (1). Confidential. Carter wrote: “Ham—I don’t like this—See me” on the memorandum and an unidentified hand drew a line through this note.
  2. September 5.
  3. Carter wrote: “ok” in the right margin.
  4. Carter wrote: “ok” in the right margin.
  5. Carter wrote: “ok” in the right margin.
  6. Carter wrote in the right margin: “ok”.
  7. Carter wrote in the left margin: “No. What I want is to emphasize presence of other heads of state—Not me & Torrijos. Cut my statement to one minute. Let other leaders come forward to sign or initial something—I want TV viewers to see each of them identified by Cronkite, Walters & Chancellor—J.C.”
  8. Carter wrote “ok” in the right margin and “Tip?” in the left margin.
  9. Carter wrote “ok” in the right margin.
  10. Carter wrote “ok” in the right margin. For the bilateral meetings with heads of state, see footnote 2, Document 85.