95. Letter From President Carter to General Torrijos1
This has been an historic week for our two countries and for all the peoples of the Americas. The treaties that we have signed mark the beginning of a new era for all of us.2 They open the way for a new relationship between our peoples—a relationship of friendship and cooperation, of mutual responsibility and mutual advantage.
On your return to Panama, I would appreciate it if you would convey to the people of Panama my warmest good wishes and those of the American people. Tell them how proud I am to have been able to sign with you these historic documents.
The road to these treaties has been long, and our journey has not been easy. The pledge to work out a new agreement to replace that of 1903 was first made to your country by my predecessor, President Lyndon Johnson.3 For 13 years, through four administrations, we have [Page 283]tried to work toward the goal we have finally reached—a new and fair and just arrangement between our countries.
The Panamanian people have been patient and understanding throughout this long process. They should know that we realize this and appreciate what it has meant. Please convey to them my great respect and tell them that we Americans look forward to the years ahead when we are working together in understanding and friendship.
With warmest regards.
- Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 15, Panama: General Omar Torrijos Herrera 2/77–7/78. No classification marking.↩
- Carter and Torrijos signed the treaties on September 7 at the headquarters of the Organization of American States in Washington, DC. For the text of Carter’s remarks at the signing ceremony, see Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book II, pp. 1542–1544. For the text of Carter’s remarks at the September 7 White House dinner for Western Hemisphere leaders who attended the signing ceremony, see Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book II, pp. 1544–1546.↩
- See footnote 7, Document 3.↩