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On September 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos signed the Panama Canal Treaty, which ceded U.S. control of the canal beginning in 2000 and guaranteed the neutrality of the waterway thereafter. President Carter delivers a speech on the occasion of the treaty signing.
CARTER GETS OVATION ON PANAMA TREATIES
NASHUA, N.H., Feb. 18—President Carter expressed gloom today over the prospects for settling the 75-day-old coal strike, but was cheered in another area as .a town meeting of 500 New Hampshire high school students and an equal num- ber of parents and onlookers gave him a standing ovation when he explained his support of the Panama Canal treaties.
His aides were encouraged that this reaction in a conservative state was further indication that public opinion was continuing to shift toward support of the treaties.
“That made my trip worthwhile,” the President joked.
The cheers on the Panama Canal issue came after Mr. Carter was heckled by two men carrying signs that said, “Send Carter to Panama, but let's keep our canal.”
The heckling began as the President began to describe the history of the canal and said, “We have never had sovereignty over the canal we pay rent to Panama.”
'That's a lie,” one heckler called out. “Don't give away the canal,” shouted another.
Police officers moved toward the hecklers, but made no attempt to stop them.
The President, undeterred, told the audience, “I think the canal treaties are good,” at which point the high school students and onlookers rose to their feet for a prolonged ovation.
The ovation also appeared to be a response to a red‐streamer headline across the bottom of today's Manchester Union Leader, published by William Loeb, the conservative Republican.
“KEEP OUR CANAL—GIVE AWAY CARTER,” the headline proclaimed.
After the applause died down, the President expressed optimism concerning the prospects for the treaties.
“I hope and I believe that the Senate, in a great demonstration of patriotism and courage, will ratify the Panama Canal treaties,” Mr. Carter said.
A student raised the question of arms sales to the Middle East.
“The Israeli Air Force would still be the most efficient air force there, by far,” the’ President said, even if fighter planes arel also sold to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
He then noted Egypt's vulnerability to attack from neighbor nations such as Libya. “We cannot leave Egypt defenseless,” the President said. “It does not upset the balance of military power in the Middle East,” Mr. Carter added.
Asked about the safety of nuclear power plants, the President replied: “I think the nuclear power plants are safe. There has never been, and cannot be, ah explosion there. It's physically Impossible.’
In a long discussion of United States relations with Africa, the President said, “The only American leader I know who has endorsed apartheid is your own Governor here in New Hampshire.”
Gov. Meldrim Thomson Jr., a conservative Republican, recently visited South Africa and praised conditions there.
Several students asked the President about the effect of his religious beliefs on his conduct in office.
“It is a stabilizing factor in my life,” the .President said. “It binds me closer to the members of my family.”
“in the face of constantly changing political and military and economic circumstances, my religious faith doesn't change,” Mr. Carter said.
Carter, Torrijos Sign Panama Canal Treaties
President Carter yesterday signed the historic treaties that would transfer control of the Panama Canal - long a symbol of U.S. power and technological prowess - to Panama by the end of the century.
Carter and Gen. Omar Torrijos, military ruler of Panama, put their signatures on the two, blue-bound treaties in the presence of the assembled presidents, prime ministers and other high officials from 23 other hemispheric nations gathered at the headquarters of the Organization of American States.
The treaties, Carter said, "mark the commitment of the United States to the belief that fairness, no force should lie at the heart of our dealings with the nations of the world."
With these words, the President underscored anew his administration's determination to deal with even the tiniest countries on the basis of "mutual respect and cooperation."
His remarks were also intended to signal to the visiting leaders of Latin America - a region where U.S. control over the canal has been regarded as an archaic vestige of "Yankee imperialism" - that Washington places particular stress on applying this formula to its hemispheric neighbors.
However, the glittering occasion of the signing ceremony and a gala dinner afterwards were not without clearly discernible notes of underlying tension.
The treaties, which must be approved by the Senate before they can be put into effect, face bitter opposition from critics in this country who charge that continued U.S. control is vital to its prestige and military defense.
With an eye toward what is expected to be a prolonged and emotional fight in the Senate, the administration pointedly invited the 100 senators to last night's ceremony in order to spotlight the support that the treaties have from other hemispheric leaders.
Another sign of the continuing discord provoked by the canal issue was the outbreak of bombing incidents, bomb threats, protest marches and other demonstrations that spread like brush fires throughout Washington yesterday.
Some of the protests were directly related to the canal treaties and conducted by Americans who denounced the agreements as a "giveaway" and by Latins who consider the drawn-out timetable for the transfer of control as too minor and meaningless a gesture by the United States.
But most of the demonstrations were staged by Washington's large colony of exiles from Latin America's turbulent politics and were aimed not at the agreement but at the alleged repressive policies of many of the Latin leaders in attendance here.
Last night's ceremony was the centerpiece of Carter's decision to use the canal treaties as an excuse for a summit meeting of hemispheric leaders - one that administration sources say is intended to serve a double-edged purpose.
Most immediately, the gathering of governmental chiefs was calculated to impress on the U.S. public - and its representatives in the Senate - that the canal is the most sensitive issue in U.S.-Latin American relations and that the treaties are backed by a solid front of support among this country's southern neighbors.
That will be the administration's principal arguing point in the impending battle to win Senate approval of the treaties. By surrounding Carter and Torrijos with an approving phalanx of their fellow hemispheric leaders, the signing ceremony was designed to remind wavering senators that rejection of the treaties could send shock waves of disillusionment coursing through Latin America and touch off reactions inimical to U.S. diplomatic, economic and strategic interests in the area.
But, sources say, the scenario for the summit wasn't written solely for its potential domestic political effects. It also was intended to demonstrate to the visiting government heads Carter's desire to give Washington's long-neglected relations with Latin America a new measure of high-priority attention.
In the seven months since he took office, Carter has devoted more attention to this effort than any President since John F. Kennedy and his Alliance for Progress of the early 1960s. To launch the effort, he sent his wife, Rosalynn, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and a flock of other officials on highly publicized tours of the region.
Now, in the events unfolding here this week, he has taken the process a step further - partly by presenting the canal treaties as a U.S. effort to promote relations with Latin America and partly by his marathon round of private, face-to-face meetings with each of his visiting opposite numbers.
In fact, administration sources insisted yesterday, these meetings are regarded at the White House and State Department as the most significant part of the "Week of Panama."
Carter, they said took special care to brief himself on every major outstanding issue between Washington and his visitors' countries, regardless of their size. His intention the sources added, is to listen to his visitors' complaints, to inform them of Washington's attitude towards events in their countries and to use these exchanges as the springboard for future effects at better bilateral and regional cooperation.
However, as was made clear by yesterday's bombings, exile demonstrations and other signs of protest, Carter's ambitious hopes of drawing his visitors together in one hemispheric happy family isn't something that can be accomplished within the framework of simple ceremonial get-together.
The principal problem is the ideological one that divides the region between dictatorships and democracies. Of the 24 governments that sent their leaders or other representatives here, 13 - including that of Carter's treaty co-signers. Torrijos - are non-democratic regimes whose methods of governing include considerable repression of their citizens.
For that reason, most of yesterday's demonstrations were focused on charges that Carter, by personally receiving dictators or their representatives at the White House, has betrayed his own devotion to the promotion of human rights and has given these regimes a stamp of respectability.
These charges were rejected by administration spokesmen who countered that the President believes he can do more for the cause of human rights in Latin America by using persuasion and frank talk on the region's leaders than by ignoring them.
In the case of every country where a human rights problem exists, the sources said, Carter was fully briefed on the details and brought them up in his talks with that nation's visiting representative.
Since some of the meetings have not yet taken place, the sources said it is too early to attempt to draw up a balance sheet on what the meetings may have produced. In addition, they added, the President has not had time to inform other administration officials in any detail of what is being said in the meetings.
But, they insisted, the sensitive topic of human rights was discussed in every applicable meeting, with Carter making clear in forceful terms that it is a subject to which the United States attaches extreme importance.
Although he was careful to avoid specifics, Carter acknowledged the presence of human-rights questions in the discussions during a brief exchange with reporters following his meeting Tuesday night with Chile's President Augusto Pinochet Ugarte.
Pinochet is the most controversial of the visiting governmental heads, because of the reputation of his regime for widespread murder, torture and imprisonment of Chilean political dissidents. Asked if he had discussed these charges with Pinochet, Carter replied that the Chilean leader is aware that his government does not have a very good reputation in the international community.
EARLY EFFORTS. Clayton-Bulwar Treaty of 1850. United States and Great Britain agree to joint control of a canal to be built across Central America.
PANAMA ROAD. Isthmus of Panama becomes important transportation route to California during Gold Rush of 1840's. New York businessmen receive permission from Colombia to build railroad connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans at the isthmus.
FRENCH FAILURE. French company under Ferdinand de Lesseps buys franchise to build a sea-level canal across Panama. Inadequate tools and machinery, tropical diseases, and corruption lead to bankruptcy of the company in 1889.
HAY-BUNAU-VARILLA TREATY OF 1903. United States encouraged to take initiative to build a canal following battleship Oregon's 13,000 mile trip from the west coast around South America during Spanish-American War. In 1899 Congress authorizes a commission to study and survey canal routes. In 1902 Theodore Roosevelt is authorized to purchase canal property and rights from the French. United States Congress offers $10,000,000.00 to Colombia for the right to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. Colombian government refuses offer. Because the United States, France, and the Panamanians are afraid that the agreement will not be approved, Panama (with the encouragement and assistance of the U.S.) successfully revolts against Colombia. The U.S. signs the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty (1903), an agreement with Panama, which gives the U.S. exclusive control of a ten-mile wide canal zone in exchange for $10,000,000.00 as an initial payment and an annual payment of $250,000.00.
VICTORY OVER DISEASE. Led by Dr. William C. Gorgas, the battle against malaria and yellow fever is won, making possible the completion of the canal. Before this, the high death toll, among workers slowed work on the canal.
CONSTRUCTION OF CANAL, 1906-1914. The United States chooses to build a lock-type canal because of mountainous conditions instead of the French plan of a sea-level canal. (A sea-level canal is cheaper and easier to build.) The canal is completed in 1914 and the first vessel, the S.S. Ancon, makes the transit from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
MORE RECENT DEVELOPMENTS. The canal treaty is renewed in 1939, 1951, and 1955, and annual payments are increased to $1,930,000.00. Administrative changes are made in operation of the canal and the Canal Zone. The United States agrees to pay Panamanian workers the same pay that American workers received for the same work. Unrest in Panama over United States presence causes riots in 1959 and 1964. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson and Panamanian President Marco Robles conclude three years of work with agreements addressing Panamanian concerns. However, these agreements are not submitted for ratification because of intense U.S. congressional opposition. Robles' support of the agreement leads to his eventual ouster as president. His successor, Arnulfo Arias renounces the terms of all agreements.
RENEGOTIATION OF TREATY DURING CARTER ADMINISTRATION. On April 18, 1978, the United States Senate ratifies the second of two Panama Canal Treaties which will eventually turn over to Panama the control and operation of the Canal in the year 2000. Negotiations were undertaken in the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations to sign a new treaty with Panama, but because of intense opposition from Congress, the ratification of such a treaty is impossible. Growing unrest among Panamanians about America's presence in Panama, and the threat of this unrest to the very existence of the Canal, forces President Carter, upon his election, to resume negotiations with Panama for a new treaty in spite of strong opposition throughout the country. The documents in this packet show how the treaties are finally ratified.
Panama Canal negotiations were discussed by President-elect Carter and his advisors as a top priority for his administration. He felt that tensions in the area would surely explode without some serious changes to the existing Panama Canal Treaty.
The first Presidential Review Memorandum of June 21, 1977 from the National Security Council was on the topic of renegotiating the Panama Canal Treaty. The President writes, "My very first Presidential Review Memorandum (PRM 1) addressed the Panama Canal problem. During the early months of 1977, our negotiators were hard at work, consulting with me and trying to protect our national interests while dealing in good faith with their Panamanian counterparts." (Jimmy Carter in Keeping Faith: Memoirs of the President p. 157.)
After many discussions between Panamanian and U.S. negotiators, an agreement was reached. The Panama Canal Treaties were signed by President Carter and General Torrijos of Panama in the Hall of the Americas at the Pan American Union Building in Washington on September 7, 1977. [The terms of the Panama Canal Treaty and the Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal are provided in this packet. Most of the documents included in the packet deal with Senate ratification of the Neutrality Treaty. The portion that caused so much anguish was the provision that "the U.S. does not have the right to intervene in the internal affairs of Panama."]
Anti-treaty groups countered the President's push for Senate ratification with a strong public relations campaign. Senate opponents of the treaties accused the President of giving away the Canal.
Senate debate on the treaties produced a flood of "killer" amendments, including one that would have allowed the U.S. to intervene militarily in Panama's internal affairs. This amendment would have violated the United Nations charter principle of non-intervention and its inclusion would have caused the death of both Canal treaties.
Treaty ratification by the Senate requires a 2/3 vote- 67 Senators. President Carter and his staff kept very close count of the senators and their positions regarding the treaties. President Carter writes, "I kept a large private notebook on my desk, with a section for each senator. There I would enter every report or rumor about how the undecided ones might be inclined. If anyone on my staff knew of a question a senator had asked, we got the answer for him. If key advisers or supporters of a senator were known to oppose the treaties, we worked to convert them. I shared these responsibilities personally with my congressional liaison team, and worked on the task with all my influence and ability." (Jimmy Carter in Keeping Faith: Memoirs Of A President p. 164.)
The first treaty debated, the Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal (called the Neutrality Treaty), passed the Senate on March 16, 1978 by a one-vote margin (68 for 32 against). President Carter recalls, "The Senate had been debating the treaty for twenty-two days and everyone- whether friend or foe- was ready for the verdict.
I listened to the final vote in my little private office, checking off each senator against the tally sheet where I had listed his or her commitment. I had never been more tense in my life as we listened to each vote shouted on the radio. My assistants and I had not missed one in our count there were no surprises. I thanked God when we got the sixty-seventh vote. It will always be one of my proudest moments, and one of the great achievements in the history of the United States Senate." (Jimmy Carter's account of March 16, 1978, Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President p. 173.)
The final congressional battle on this issue took place in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House had to pass the laws to carry out the treaties. Instead of 100 Senators, there were 535 U.S. Congressmen involved. It was not until September 27, 1979, three days before the Panama Canal Treaty became effective, that a bill was brought to the President for signature.
The President, his staff, and the Congress dealt with many issues and problems of government at the same time. President Carter recalls that a few days before the vote on the Neutrality Treaty, he found it hard to keep his mind on anything except Panama. He writes, "It was remarkable how many different things I had to work on during these last few days: a very serious nationwide coal strike, energy legislation, my upcoming trip to Latin America and Africa, a burgeoning crisis between Israel and Egypt plus an Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the United Nations Disarmament Conference, the midwinter Governors Conference, final approval of our complete urban program, a forthcoming trip by Brzezinski to China to work on normalization, war in the Horn of Africa, our proposals to prevent bankruptcy in New York City, negotiations with the British on air-transport agreements, a state visit by President Tito of Yugoslavia, final stages of the SALT negotiations, the Civil Service reform bill, the coming state visit of Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda of Japan, a decision about whether General Alexander Haig would stay on at NATO, F-15 airplane sales to Saudi Arabia, a visit by Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and preparations for an early visit by Prime Minister Begin, and a major defense speech at Wake Forest the day after the treaty vote." (Jimmy Carter in Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President p.171.)
Miller Center Multimedia Archive
This file was taken from the website of the Scripps Library Multimedia Archive of the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. The Miller Center multimedia files are taken from the presidential libraries of the presidents they depict. The files are therefore within the public domain, both as works of US Government employees conducted during their work, and as a part of the National Archive.
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The Torrijos–Carter Treaties (Spanish language: Tratados Torrijos-Carter ) are two treaties signed by the United States and Panama in Washington, D.C., on September 7, 1977, which evaded the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903. The treaties guaranteed that Panama would gain control of the Panama Canal after 1999, ending the control of the canal that the U.S. had exercised since 1903. The treaties are named after the two signatories, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the Commander of Panama's National Guard, General Omar Torrijos. Although Torrijos was not democratically elected as he had seized power in a coup in 1968, it is generally considered that he had the widespread support in Panama to justify his signing of the treaties.
This first treaty is officially titled The Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal (Spanish language: Tratado Concerniente a la Neutralidad Permanente y Funcionamiento del Canal de Panamá ) Ώ] and is commonly known as the "Neutrality Treaty". Under this treaty, the U.S. retained the permanent right to defend the canal from any threat that might interfere with its continued neutral service to ships of all nations. The second treaty is titled The Panama Canal Treaty (Tratado del Canal de Panamá), ΐ] and provided that as from 12:00 on December 31, 1999, Panama would assume full control of canal operations and become primarily responsible for its defense.
Carter, in Canal Zone, Asks Support for Pacts
In a symbolic visit to an American out-post that will soon become part of Panama. President Carter warned the Panamanian government yesterday to respect the rights of Americans here and appealed to the Americans to ease the transition to Panamanian rule.
A small and noticeably cool crowd of American residents of the Canal Zone attended Carter's speech at the edge of a large field on this army base on the east bank of the Panama Canal. Only about 5,000 of the 40,000 Americans who live and work here - and whose lives will be profoundly affected by the Panama Canal treaties formally exchange Friday - attended the speech.
"Everyone understands that we want to enter upon a new era of harmonious cooperation and goodwill between the people of Panama and the Americans associated with the canal, and that there is no room for bad faith in that relationship," Carter said. "It requires a hospitable and cordial attitude not only on our part but on Panama's as well."
It was not a celebration that took place here yesterday.
In some ways it was a typical American crowd, seen at countless political rallies. But it was a crowd with deeply mixed feelings, reflecting pride over what has been achieved here, but sorrow and even bitterness that the special way of life of the "Zonian" will soon come to an end.
They stood at the edge of the field, and as Carter's helicopter descended children were hoisted to their parents' shoulders and dozens of small American flags were wave in the air.
There was polite applause for the president and his wife.Rosalynn, but amid it a scattering of boos and other graphic signs of the unhappiness of the American community here.
One young man held a large poster that proclaimed, "Re-elect Carter, the best president Panama ever had." Above the slogan there was a picture of Panama's military leader, Gen. Omar Torrijos.
Many Americans here bitterly opposed the canal treaties, formally exchange Friday in the festive atmosphere of Panama City contrasting sharply with the mood here yesterday.
Under the treaties, which become effective next year, control over the canal will gradually be transferred to Panama until noon on Dec. 31, 1999, when the canal passes fully into Panamanian hands. The Canal zone, the 10-mile-wide swath of American-controlled territory that flanks the 50-mile-long canal, will cease to exist as a separate entity as soon as the treaties take effect - no later than Oct. 1 of next year.
Carter, lavishing praise on the Americans who help operate the canal, acknowledged their feelings of sadness as well.
"You know, as I do, that a great deal will change as a result of these treaties," he said. "A few of you will be leaving the only place on earth you have ever called home.That's a hard and painful thing to do."
"That's right," a woman shouted from the crowd.
But Carter also promised the continued support of the U.S. government, stressing that he expects the civil liberties of Americans to remain protected under Panamanian jurisdiction over the canal. He said he discussed this with Torrijos, adding that the United States considers the protections guaranteed its citizens in the new treaties "as a fundamental part of our agreement with Panama."
"You have brought credit to yourselves and your country by operating the canal efficiently, honestly and honorably for the benefit of all nations," the president told the crowd, as thick clouds ocassionally obscured the tropical sun.
"The time when this was America's job alone is now coming to an end," he added. "The treaties reflect that time, and in so doing, they help guarantee that the rest of the world will recognize our essential fairness and decency as a people."
In nearly Balboa, one of the Canal Zone's communities where the biggest anti-treaties rallies were held in the past, there were no organized protests against the President's visit. At the Balboa post office, one of the institutions to disappear as the canal treaty goes into effect, residents discussed their reasons for not attending Carter address.
"A lot of the military did not go because he gave amnesty to the guys that wouldn't fight in Vietnam," said one military officer stationed at Fort Amador who asked that his name not be used.
The relatively small turnout at Carter's speech was interpreted as a protest against the treaties.
"There was a big public relations effort going on here. But even the special 15-car train chartered to bring people in from the Atlantic side had only 200 people on it," one Canal Zone police offer said.
Willie Draughan, a Canal Company driver in the Zone since 1916, said he did not care "to see the president because he lied to us. As a candidate, he said he would not give away the canal when he was debating with Ford."
"I didn't go, I'm no hypocrite. Carter is not getting my vote again," said an American woman whose son, a detective, will be losing his job when U.S. jurisdiction in the zone comes to an end next year.
Many Zone residents haver already started looking for jobs in the United States. Of the ZOne's 230 policemen, for example, about 60 have found emploument in other U.S. government agencies and expect to leave in the next few months.
Many employes of customs, commissaries, movie houses and bowling alleys hope they will be hired by the Department of Defense when it takes over some of these services.
In Panama City there were no disturbances, but opposition groups were apprehensive about persistent rumors that several critics of the government have been arrested. One of the detained reportedly is journalist Juan Barrera who said his radio license was canceled for "being disrespectful to government officials."
To avoid trouble the government also ordered postponement of the funerals of two students killed earlier in the week in a gun battle between pro and anti-government groups in the university.
As Carter prepared to leave Panama at the end of his 23a-hour stay. White House officials expressed satisfaction with the visit, including the reception he received in the Canal Zone. Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), reflecting a widespread sentiment among the congressional delegation that accompanied the president, predicted that the visit would have a positive impact throughout Latin America.
Before his speech at Ford Clayton, the president flew by helicopter along the length of the canal, peering down at the hips as they made their way between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Later, Carter went to the Miraflores Locks where he started motors that changed the level of the water so an American container ship, the American Apollo, could pass through the locks.
Carter may have been weary by the end of this hectic visit here. A state dinner that Torrijos hosted Friday night was more than an hour late starting, with the president's official toast to torrijos not coming until early yesterday morning.
Torrijos, the military leader of Panama for 10 years, clearly hoped to use the Carter visit to prop up his sometimes shaky popular support. Nonetheless, at the end of the visit a number of opposition groups had issued statements condemning the new treaties as unfair to Panama and criticizing the Torrijos government for repressive measures.
While in Panama, Carter met with the presidents of Columbia, Costa Rica and Venezuela and the prime minister of Jamaica as well as Torrijos. Yesterday afternoon, the six leaders issued a joint statement pledging to work for a ban on nuclear weapons in Latin America and to promote human rights and economic development in the Western Hemisphere.
The Energy Crisis and Carter
The Energy Crisis and Carter
Trying desperately to cope with the economic predicament spawned by OPEC, both Ford and Carter dismally failed. In foreign affairs, Cold War tensions mounted as the Soviet Union became increasingly annoyed with Carter’s rigorous standard of human rights.
Balance of trade, trade deficits: A U.S. economic report during the 1970s revealed that the nation imported more than it exported the balance of trade was thrown off and the economic experts worried that the U.S. economy would not survive. As a result, Nixon began such programs as "revenue sharing" and wage and price controls for regulation.
Ford, Gerald, Nixon Pardon: On Aug. 9, 1974, Ford became the first vice president to inherit leadership of the nation after the president resigned. To put the nation forward, General Ford granted pardon for ex-President Nixon. As a result, many people were angry that the government could easily forgive corruption and dishonesty.
"Stagflation": As a combination of business stagnation and inflation, "stagflation" severely worsened the American economy. When the government borrowed money to offset the drastic loss of tax revenue, interest rates still increased. The federal government could not repay the loan, and it was forced to find other methods to collect revenue. There was no simple solution to "stagflation" to lower interest rates to prevent stagnation would worsen the ongoing inflation.
SALT II: In June 1979, Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev agreed and signed the SALT II treaty. Carter presented it to the Senate and they ratified it. Due to the invasion of Afghanistan by Russia, the Cold War thaw slowed. The U.S.-Soviet relationship grew sour, and the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
Election of 1976: Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States in 1976. Climaxing a remarkable rise to national fame, Carter had been governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975 and was little known elsewhere at the beginning of 1976. Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 election.
Carter, Jimmy, Amnesty: Elected to the Presidency in 1976, Carter was an advocate of human rights. He granted amnesty to countries who followed his foreign policy. They excluded nations which violated Carter’s humane standards through cruel business practices.
Panama Canal Treaty: The Carter administration put together bargains on a number of treaties to transfer the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone to the Panamanians by 1999. This treaty was met with staunch opposition by Republicans who felt that they "stole it fair and square."
Camp David Accords: Camp David was a place where the Egyptian leader Anwar el-Sadat and the Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin came together with Jimmy Carter. They discussed certain negotiations and tried to hammer out a framework for a peace treaty for the Middle East. It represented peace and harmony in the modern world.
WIN: To compensate for the economic predicament caused by OPEC and the crisis of energy conservation, Jimmy Carter proposed a innovative economic program. WIN was to provide methods for conserving energy by creating the Department of Energy and regulating consumption of gas by automobiles.
Department of Energy: Carter created the Department of Energy and created an energy bill including taxation on oil and gasoline, tax credits for those who found methods on saving money and alternative-energy resources. It went well and the bill for energy consumption came down in 1978.
Transcript of President Carter's Televised Speech on the Panama Canal Treaties
Following is a transcript of President Carter's speech on the Panama Canal treaties from the White House last night, as recorded by The New York Times through the facilities of ABC News. results of the agreement have been great benefit to ourselves and to other nations throughout the world who navigate the high seas. The building of the canal was one of the greatest engineering feats of history.
Although massive in concept and construction, it's relatively simple design and has been reliable and efficient in operation. We Americans justly and deeply proud of this great achievement.
The canal has also been a source of pride and benefit to the people of Panama, but a cause of some continuing discontent because we have controlled a I0-mile-wide strip of land across the heart of their country. And because they considered the original terms of the agreement to be unfair, the people of Panama have been dissatisfied with the treaty.
It was drafted here in our country and was not signed by any Panamanian. Our own Secretary of State, who did sign the original treaty, said it was vastly advantageous to the United States and not so advantageous to Panama.
In 1964, after consulting with former Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, President Johnson committed our nation to work towards a new treaty with the Republic of Panama. And last summer, after 14 years of negotiations under two Democratic Presidents and two Republican Presidents, we reached and signed an agreement that is fair and beneficial to both countries.
The United States Senate will soon be debating whether these treaties should be ratified. Throughout the negotiations we were determined that our national security interests would be protected that the canal would always be open and neutral, and available to ships of all nations that in time of need or emergency our warships would have the right to go to the head of the line for priority passage through the canal, and that our military forces would have the permanent right to defend the canal if it should ever be in danger.
The new treaties meet all of these requirements.
Let me outline the terms of the agreement. There are two treaties, one covering the rest of this century and the other guaranteeing the safety, openness and neutrality of the canal after the year 1999 when Panama will be in charge of its operation. For the rest of this century we will operate the canal through a nine‐person board of directors. Five members will be from the United States and four will be from Panama.
Within the area of the present Canal Zone we have the right to select whatever lands and waters our military and civilian forces need to maintain, to operate and to defend the canal. About 75 percent of those who now maintain and operate the canal are Panamanians. Over the next 22 years, as we manage the canal together, this percentage will increase.
The Americans who work on the canal will continue to have their right of employment, promotion and retirement carefully protected. We will share with Panama some of the fees paid by shippers who use the canal. As in the past, the canal should continue to be self‐supporting.
This is not a partisan’ issue. The treaties are strongly backed by President Gerald Ford and by former Secretaries of State Dean Rusk and Henry Kissinger. They're endorsed by our business and professional leaders, especially those who recognize the benefits of good will and trade with other nations in this Hemisphere. And they were endorsed overwhelmingly by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which this week moved closer to ratification by approving the treaties, although with some recommended changes which we do not feel are needed.
And thetreaties are supported enthusiastically by every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Gen. George Brown, the chairman Gen. Bernard Rogers, Chief of Staff of the Army Adm. James Holloway, Chief of Naval Operations Gen. David Jones, Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Gen. Louis Wilson, Commandant of the Marine Corps—responsible men whose profession is the defense of this nation and the preservation of our security.
The treaties also have been overwhelmingly supported throughout Latin America but predictably, they are opposed abroad by some who are unfriendly to the United States and who would like to see disorder in Panama, and a disruption of our political, economic and military ties with our frinds in Central and South America and in the Caribbean.
I know that the treaties also have been opposed by many Americans. Much of that opposition is based on misunderstanding and misinformation. I've found that when the full terms of the agreement are known, most people are convinced that the national interest of our country will be served best by ratifying the treaties.
Tonight I want you to hear the facts. I want to answer the most serious questions and tell you why I feel the Panama Canal treaties should be approved.
The most important reason, the only reason, to ratify the treaties is that they are in the highest national interest of the United States and will strengthen our position in the world. Our security interest will be stronger our trade opportunities will be improved. We will demonstrate that as a large and powerful country we are able to deal fairly and honorably with a proud but smaller sovereign nation.
We will honor our commitment to those engaged in world commerce that the Panama Canal will be open and available for use by ‘their ships at reasonable and competitive cost, both now and in the future.
Let me answer specifically the most common questions about the treaties. Will our nation have the right to protreaty says, and I quote: “The United armed attack or threat to the security of the canal or of ships going through it?
The answer is yes. And it's contained in both treaties and also in the Statement of Understanding between the leaders of our two nations. The first treaty says, and I quote: “The United States of America and the Republic of Panama commit themselves to protect and defend the Panama Canal. Each party shall act in accordance with its constitutional processes to meet the danger resulting from an armed attack or other action which threatens the security of the Panama Canal or ships transiting it.”
The Neutrality Treaty says, and quote again: “The United States of America and the Republic of Panama agree to maintain the regime of neutrality established in this treaty which shall be maintained in order that the canal shall remain permanently neutral.”
And to explain exactly what that means, the Statement of Understanding says, and I quote again, “Under the Neutrality Treaty Panama and the United States have the responsibility to assure that the Panama Canal will remain open and secure to ships of all nations. And the correct interpretation of this principle is that each of the two countries shall in accordance with their respective constitutional processes defend the canal against any threat to the regime of neutrality and consequently will have the right to act against any aggression or threat directed against the canal or against the peaceful transit of vessels through the canal
It is obvious that we can, take whatever military action is necessary remains open and safe. Of course this to make sure that the canal always does not give the United States any right to intervene in the internal aftairs of Panama, nor would our military action ever be directed against the territorial integrity or the political inde- pendence of Panama.
Military experts agree that even with the Panamanian armed forces joined with us as brothers against a common enemy, it would take a large number of American troops to ward off a heavy attack, I, as President, would not hesitate to deploy whatever armed forces are necessary to defend the canal. And I have no doubt that even in a sustained combat we would be successful.
But there is a much better way than sending our sons and grandsons to fight in the jungles of Panama. We would serve our interests better by implementing the new treaties—an action that will help to avoid any attack on the Panama Canal.
What we want is a permanent right to use the canal, and we can defend this right through the treaties through real cooperation with Panama. The citizens of Panama and their Government have already shown their support of the new partnership. And protocol to the neutrality treaty will be signed by many other nations, thereby showing their strong approval.
The new treaties will naturally change Panama from a passive, and sometimes deeply resentful, bystander into an active and interested partner whose vital interests will be served by a well‐operated canal. This agreement leads to cooperation and not confrontation between our country and Panama.
Another question is why should we give away the Panama Canal Zone? As many people say, we bought it we paid for it. it's ours.
I must repeat a very important point: We do not own the Panama Canal Zone, We have never had sovereignty over it. We have only had the right to use it.
The Canal Zone cannot be compared with United States territory. We bought Alaska from the Russians, and no one has ever doubted that we own it. We bought the Louisiana Purchases —territories—from France, and that's an integral part of the United States.
From the beginning we have made an annual payment to Panama to use their land. You do not pay rent on your own land. The Panama Canal Zone has always been Panamanian territory.
The U.S. Supreme Court and previous American Presidents have repeatedly acknowledged the sovereignty of Panama over the Canal Zone. We've never needed to own the Panama Canal Zone, anymore than we need to own a 10mile wide strip of land all the way through Canada from Alaska when we build an international gas pipeline.
The new treaties give us what we do need: not ownership of the canal, but the right to use it and to protect it.
As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said, “The strategic value of the canal lies in its use.”
There's another question. Can our naval ships, our warships, in time of need or emergency get through the canal immediately instead of waiting in line? The treaties answer that clearly by guaranteeing that our ships will always have expeditious transit through the canal. To make sure that there could be no possible disagreement about what these words mean the joint statement says that expeditious transit—and I quote—is intended to assure the transit of such vessels through the canal as quickly as possible without any impediment with expedited treatment, and in case of need or emergency to go to the head of the line of vessels in order to transit the canal rapidly.
Will the treaties affect our standing in Latin America? Will they create so‐called power vacuum which our enemies might move in to fill? They will do just the opposite. The treaties will increase our nation's influence in this hemisphere, will help to reduce any mistrust and disagreement, and they will remove a major source of anti‐American feeling. The new agreement has already provided vivid proof to the people of this hemisphere that a new era of friendship and cooperation is beginning, and that what they regard as a last remnant of alleged American colonialism is being removed.
Last fall I met individually with the leaders of 18 countries in this hemisphere. Between the United States and Latin America there is already a new sense of equality, a new sense of trust and mutual respect that exists because of the Panama Canal treaties. This opens up a fine opportunity for us in good will, trade, jobs, exports and political cooperation. If the treaties should be rejected, this would all be lost and disappointment and despair among our good neighbors and traditional friends would be severe.
In the peaceful struggle against alien ideologies, like Communism, these treaties are a step in the right direction. Nothing could strengthen our competitors and adversaries in this hemisphere more than for us to reject this agreement.
What if a new sea‐level canal should he needed in the future? This question has been studied over and over throughout this century from before the time the canal was built up through the last few years. Every study has reached the same conclusion—that the best place to build a sea‐level canal is in Panama. The treaties say that if we want to build such a canal, we will build it in Panama, and if any canal is to be built in Panama, that we, the United States, will have the right to participate in the project.
This is a clear benefit to us, for it insures that, say 10 or 20 years from now, no unfriendly but wealthy power will be able to purchase the right to build a sea‐level canal to bypass the existing canal, perhaps leaving that other nation in control of the only usable waterway across the isthmus.
Are we paying Panama to take the canal? We are not. Under the new treaty, any payment to Panama will come from tolls paid by ships which use the canal.
What about the present and the future stability and the capability of the Panamanian Government? Do the people of Panama themselves support the agreement?
Well, as you know, Panama and her people have been our historical allies and friends The present leader of Panama has been in office formore than nine years. And he heads a stable government which has encouraged the development of free enterprise in Panama. Democratic elections will be held this August to choose the members of the Panamanian Assembly, who will in turn elect a president and a vice president by majority vote.
In the past regimes have changed in Panama, But for 75 years no Panamanian government has ever wanted to close the canal.
Panama wants the canal open and neutral, perhaps even more than we do. The canal's continued operation is very important to us, but it is much more than that to Panama. To Panama its crucial.
Much of hr economy flows directly or indirectly froth the canal. Panama would be no more likely to neglect or to close the canal than we would be to close the interstate highway system here in the United States.
In an and free referendum last October which was monitored very carefully by the United Nations, the people of Panama gave the new treaties their support. The major threat to the canal comes not from any government of Panama but from misguided persons who may try to fan the flames of dissatisfaction with the terms of the old treaty.
There's a final question about the deeper meaning of the treaties them- selves to us and to Panama.
Recently I discussed the treaties with David McCullough, author of “The Path Between the Seas,” the great histbry of the Panama Canal. He believes that the canal is something that we built and have looked at for these many years. It is “ours” in that sense, which is very different from just ownership.
So when we talk of the canal, whether we are old, young, for or against the treaties, we are talking about very deep and elemental feelings about our own strength.
Still, we Americans want a more humane and stable world. We believe in good will and fairness as well as strength. This agreemet with Panama is something we want because we know it is right. This not merely the surest way to protect and save the canal it's a strong, positive act of people who are still confident, still creative, still great.
This new partnership can become source of national pride and self-respect in much the same way that building the canal was 75 years ago. It's the spirit in which we act. that is so very important.
Theodore Roosevelt, who was President when America built the canal, saw history itself as a force. And the history of our own time and the changes it has brought would not be lost on him. He knew that change was inevitable and necessary. Change is growth. The true conservative, he once remarked, keeps his faith to the future.
But if Theodore Roosevelt were to endorse the treaties, as I'm quite sure he would, it would be mainly because he could see the decision as one by which we are demonstrating the kind of great power we wish to be.
We cannot avoid meeting greate issues, Roosevelt said. All we can determine for ourselves is whether we shall meet them well or ill.
The Panama Canal is a vast heroic expression of that age‐old desire to bridge a divide and to bring people closer together.
This is what the treaties are all about.
We can sense what Roosevelt called “the lift toward nobler things which marks a great and generous people.
In this historic decision, he would join us in our pride for being a great and generous people with a national strength and wisdom to do what is right for us and what is fair to others.
Conniff, Michael L. Panama and the United States. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991.
Farnsworth, David N., and James W. Mc Kenney. U.S.-Panama Relations, 1903–1978: A Study in Linkage Politics Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1983.
Jaén Suárez, Omar. Las negociaciones sobre el Canal de Panamá, 1964–1970 Bogotá: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2002.
Jorden, William. Panama Odyssey. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984.