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August 20, 1970-The United States announced the termination of an agreement with Panama permitting it free and exclusive use of the Rio Hato region for military training. (Rio Hato was the only area in Panama outside the Canal Zone being used by U.S. troops).

October 11, 1968-Colonel Omar Torrijos, head of the Panamanian National Guard, led a military coup which overthrew President Arnulfo Arias, and assumed leadership of the nation.

June 26, 1967-President Johnson and Panamanian President Robles announced that agreement had been reached on the "form and content" of three new canal treaties, governing administration of the existing canal, the defense and neutrality of the existing canal, and the possible construction of a sealevel canal. September 24, 1965-President Lyndon Johnson and Panamanian President Marco A. Robles issued a joint statement announcing that three new Panama Canal treaties would be negotiated and outlining certain principles to be included in the new treaties. (United States and Panamanian negotiators began talks concerning the terms for a new Panama Canal treaty in January 1965.) September 22, 1964-The President signed P.L. 88–609 authorizing the establishment of the Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission to investigate the feasibility of a more suitable site for the construction of a sea-level canal. (Commission members were appointed on April 18, 1965.) April 3, 1964-The Organization of American States published a joint declaration of the Governments of Panama and the United States in which they agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations and to designate Special Ambassadors to seek the prompt elimination of the causes of conflict between the two countries. (Diplomatic relations were established and the ambassadors appointed on April 4, 1964.)

February 4, 1964-The OAS Council voted to invoke the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) in the dispute between the United States and Panama (the first time that the regional defense machinery had been utilized in a dispute involving the United States).

January 29, 1964-The Panamanian Government called upon the Council of the Organization of American States to take up its charges of aggression against the United States as a result of the Canal Zone flag riots. January 10, 1964-Panama suspended relations with the United States, charged the United States with aggression at the United Nations, and filed a complaint with the Inter-American Peace Committee of the Organization of American States, following rioting over the display of the U.S. flag. (Relations were officially broken on January 17, 1964.)

January 10, 1963-United States and Panamanian conferees announced agreement concerning the flag issue in the Canal Zone to the effect that the Panamanian flag would be flown in the Zone at all points where the U.S. flag is flown by civilian authorities. June 13, 1962-President Kennedy and visiting Panamanian President Roberto Chiari issued a joint communique stating that representatives of the two nations would be named to discuss points of dissatisfaction concerning the Panama Canal and Canal Zone within the perimeters of the existing canal treaties. (Talks began in July 1962 and ended in July 1963.) November 16, 1961-The Panamanian National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the abrogation of canal treaties with the United States and the negotiation of a new treaty to include affirmation of Panamanian sovereignity over the Canal Zone and a fixed date for the turnover of the canal to Panama.

September 8, 1961-Panamanian President Roberto Chiari, in a letter to President Kennedy, requested a revision of the Panama Canal treaty. (President Chiari formally announced his government's desire to negotiate a new canal treaty on September 11, 1961.)

February 2, 1960-The House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res. 459, expressing the sense of Congress that any variance in the traditional interpretation of the Panama Canal treaties, especially with respect to territorial sovereignty, should be made only by treaty.

November 28, 1959-Rioting broke out as Panamanian demonstrators attempting second time to enter the Canal Zone to implant the Panamanian flag were turned back by Panamanian and U.S. forces.

November 24, 1959-Deputy Under Secretary of State Livingstone Merchant, on an official mission to Panama, declared that the United States "recognizes

that titular sovereignty over the Canal Zone remains in the Government of Panama."

November 3, 1959-The Governor of the Canal Zone called for U.S. Armed Forces to quell a riot resulting from Panamanian demonstrators attempting to implant the Panamanian flag within the Zone.

September 25, 1959-The Government of Panama formally requested that the Panamanian flag be flown in the Canal Zone.

January 25, 1955-The United States and Panama signed the Treaty of Mutual Understanding and Cooperation which revised, redefined or renounced certain rights of the United States and Panama provided in the basic 1903 canal treaty and the 1936 treaty, and increased the annual annuity to Panama to $1,930,000.

March 2, 1936 The United States and Panama signed the General Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation which revised, redefined or renounced certain rights of the United States and Panama provided in the original 1903 canal treaty, and increased the annual annuity to Panama to $430,000.

March 1, 1922-The United States and Colombia exchanged ratifications of the Thomson-Urrutia Treaty (signed on April 6, 1914) whereby Colombia recognized the exclusive U.S. title to the Panama Canal.

August 15, 1914-The Panama Canal was opened to navigation. April 18, 1906-Secretary of War William H. Taft, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Interoceanic Canals, stated: "(Article III of the Panama Canal treaty) is peculiar in not conferring sovereignty directly upon the United States, but in giving to the United States the powers which it would have if it were sovereign. This gives rise to the obvious implication that a mere titular sovereignty is reserved in the Panamanian Government." February 23, 1904--The U.S. Senate approved the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty. (The treaty was officially proclaimed by President Roosevelt on February 26, 1903.)


January 20, 1904-Secretary of State John Hay, in a letter to Senator Spooner concerning the Panama Canal treaty, wrote: "We shall have a treaty. vastly advantageous to the United States, and, we must confess not so advantageous to Panama. . . . You and I know too well how many points there are in this treaty to which a Panamanian patriot could object." December 2, 1903-The provisional government of Panama ratified the HayBunau-Varilla Treaty.

November 18, 1903-The United States and Panama signed the Convention for the Construction of a Ship Canal (Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty) granting the United States sovereign rights and authority "in perpetuity" over a specified zone of land in Panamanian territory for the construction, operation and protection of a ship canal.

November 6, 1903-The United States recognized the new Republic of Panama, which had declared its independence from Colombia three days earlier. August 12, 1903-The Colombian Senate unanimously rejected the Hay-Herran Treaty.

January 22, 1903-The United States and Colombia signed the Hay-Herran Treaty granting the United States a 100-year lease (with option for renewal) on a specified zone of land across the Isthmus of Panama, with the exclusive right to construct, operate, and protect a ship canal.

June 2, 1902-The U.S. Congress enacted the Spooner Act authorizing the President to acquire the assets of the former French canal company and to acquire a specified strip of land and additional rights and territory from Colombia for the construction and operation of a ship canal.

November 18, 1901-The United States and Great Britain signed the HayPauncefote Treaty granting the United States the exclusive right to construct, regulate, and manage a ship canal across Central America.

1899-In 1899 the U.S. Congress passed a law directing the President to name a commission to examine all practical routes for the construction of a ship canal across Central America.

1898-In 1898 President McKinley, in a message to Congress, stated that a maritime highway across the Central American isthmus and its control by the United States was indispensable to U.S. commercial interests and territorial expansion. May 18, 1878-In 1878 a French interoceanic canal company procured a concession from the Government of Colombia to build a maritime canal through its territory. (The French canal enterprise collapsed in 1889.)

December 12, 1846-In 1846 the United States and New Granada (Colombia) signed the Treaty of Peace, Amity, Navigation, and Commerce guaranteeing the rights of sovereignty and property possessed by Colombia over the Isthmus of Panama and the neutrality of the Isthmus, and guaranteeing to the United States free right of way or transit across the Isthmus. March 2, 1839 In 1839 the House passed a resolution requesting the President to negotiate with other interested nations concerning the construction of a ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama. This followed by four years a similar Senate action.

May 18, 1826-In 1826 Secretary of State Henry Clay proposed that delegates from the United States and the newly independent South American republics meeting at the Congress of Panama consider a joint undertaking to construct a canal across the Central American isthmus.

Additional reference sources

A gathering storm over that other canal. New York times, Jan. 6, 1974: 12-13, 53-54, 56, 58.


A Latin American Vietnam. Foreign Service journal, v. 51, Jan. 1974: 15-17. LRS74-824 Bunker, Ellsworth. Panama and the United States: a design for partnership. Speech before the Center for Inter-American Relations at New York City, Mar. 19, 1974. Dept. of State bulletin, v. 70, Apr. 29, 1974: 453-457. Constitution of Panama, 1972. Washington, Organization of American States, 1974. 45 p.


Cox, Robert G. Choices for Partnership or Bloodshed in Panama. In Commission
on United States-Latin American Relations. The Americans in a changing
world. New York, Quadrangle, 1975, p. 132–155.
Forty-fifth annual report of the work and operation fiscal year 1973. Communica-
tion from President transmitting the 45th annual report . . . purusant to 22
U.S.C. 278a, together with a report on the research activities of the Gorgas
Memorial Insitute Middle America Research Unit, and the Comptroller
General's examination of the financial statements of the Institute for
fiscal years 1972 and 1973. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1974 60 p.
Georgetown University. Center for Strategic Studies. Panama: canal issues and
treaty talks. Washington, Georgetown Univ. The Center for Strategic Studies,
Mar. 1967 (Special Report Series: No. 3) 89 p.
Hammarskjold Forums. The Panama canal; background of the sixth Ham-
marskjold forum. New York, May 28, 1964 [by] Richard R. Baxter and
Doris Carroll. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., Published for the Association of the Bar
of the City of New York by Oceana Publications, 1965. 118 p.

Langley, Lester D. U.S.-Panamanian relations since 1941. Journal of inter-
American studies and world affairs, v. 12, July 1970: 339–366.
Lucier, James P. Panama Canal: focus of power politics. Strategic review, v. 2,
spring 1974: 34-43.

Panama. NACLA's Latin America and empire report, v. 8, Sept. 1974: 1-16.
Panama's struggle for independence. Current history, v. 66, Jan. 1974: 19-22, 38.
Panama the proposed transfer of the Canal and Canal Zone by treaty. Georgia
journal of international & comparative law, v. 5, winter 1975: 195–215.
Rising public sector investment in Panama spurs many new projects. IMF sur-
vey, v. 4, Feb. 3, 1975: 45-47.


Rosenfeld, Stephen S. The Panama negotiations-a close run thing. Foreign affairs, v. 54, Oct. 1975: 1–13.

Should U.S. yield control of the Panama Canal? Congressional quarterly weekly report, v. 32, Mar. 2, 1974: 594-581.

LRS74-2734 U.S. Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission. Interoceanic canal studies, 1970. Final report of the Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission to the President, Dec. 1, 1970, as required by P.L. 88-609, 88th Congress. (Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1971, 1 v. (various pagings).

U.S. Department of State. Bureau of Public Affairs. Office of Media Services. U.S., Panama agree on principles for canal negotiations; (together with) Background and status of the Panama Canal treaty negotiations. (Washington) U.S., Department of State, News Release, Feb. 7, 1974. 7 p.

U.S. Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Negotiation of new Panama Canal treaties: background and pros and cons [by] Virginia M. Hagen. [Washington] Nov. 23, 1971. 30 p.

Multilith 71-250 F

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