Background Information Bearing Upon Panama Canal Treaty Implementing Legislation

ID-79-33: Published: Jun 4, 1979. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1979.

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The United States Government and the Government of Panama signed the Panama Canal Treaty and the Treaty concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Canal on September 7, 1977. The U.S. Senate ratified them on April 18, 1978 and March 16, 1978 respectively. The Panama Canal Company (PCC) and the Canal Zone Government (CZG), two agencies which provide a variety of functions and services, will be replaced by the Panama Canal Commission. In order for the Commission to become operational, scheduled for October 1, 1979, implementing legislation is necessary. Two such bills have been introduced in Congress and the available evidence on Treaty issues discussed before congressional committees was collected. The issues include the form of organization the proposed Commission should take and who will audit it; the orderly transfer of functions, activities, and property; and a magnitude of Treaty-related costs. Discussions were held with representatives of the principal agencies affected by the Treaty: the U.S. Embassy, CZG/PCC, Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and Gorgas Memorial Institute. The Treaty bills providing for its implementation, and numerous documents, studies, and reports are presented and reviewed.

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