Talk are due to start again in Washington on Monday (9 May) about the future control of the Panama Canal.
SV: tankers passing through Panama Canal.
CU: lock gates opening PAN UP TO ship in lock, and locomotive pulling ship.
MV: crew members on bridge of American ship, with flag (2 shots)
MV TRACKING SHOT: control room.
MV: locomotive pulling ship through lock.
MV ZOOM THROUGH: wire fence TO houses in U.S. zone
SV: shanty town, PULL BACK TO tall flats.
MVs AND CU: street market, crowded with people. (4 shots)
MCU: Panamanian Foreign Minister Tack speaking and voting at United Nations Security Council.
MV: Dr. Kissinger and interpreter speaking.
CU SIGN: U.S. Air force and Army Bases.
CU: U.S. Army truck passing, U.S. troops in street. (2 shots)
CU: warning sign in two languages, ZOOM IN TO airfield, aircraft flying over.
MCU: Foreign Minister Aquilino Boyd speaking in Washington.
MV: Ellsworth Bunker and colleagues leaving aircraft, walking across tarmac. (3 shots)"
The canal, which joins the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, is about 50 miles (80 kilometres) long. On average, 30 ships go through each day. The journey, including three sets of locks, takes nine or ten hours - and costs a medium sized tanker about 20-thousand dollars in tolls."
A big proportion of the ships that use it fly the United States flag. And they are passing through United States territory. For by a treaty negotiated in 1903, the United States has sovereignty over a strip of land, ten miles (16 kilometres) wide, through which the canal passes. This is what the Republic of Panama wants to change in the new treaty.
In their clearly separated zone live about 40-thousand American citizens. They are the men who operate and defend the canal, and their families. Their standard of living is much higher than that of the bulk of the Panamanian people. Several times, their presence has caused acute tension. The ruler of Panama, General Torrijos, has been promising his people to end this situation ever since he seized power eight years ago.
When the United Nations Security Council met in Panama City in 1973, the majority called on the two countries to reach a new settlement guaranteeing Panama's sovereignty over all its territory. The resolution was vetoed by the United States on the grounds that it did not take American interests into account, as well as those of Panama.
But a year later, Dr. Henry Kissinger, then American Secretary of State, agreed that there should be a new treaty: the one now being negotiated.
The United States wants to keep more military bases in the Canal Zone under the new treaty than Panama is willing to concede. It also wants some say in defence when the treaty expires.
The two sides are not far apart on the duration of the new treaty. The United States say 20 to 25 years. The former Foreign Minister of Panama, Senor Aquilino Boyd, set a similar target.
BOYD: "We consider that the year 2,000 is a reasonable term of duration for the new treaty. We are willing to accept the United States control of the Panama Canal, and we are also willing to accept the responsibility for the primary defence rights of the canal up to the year 2,000."
The chief United States negotiator is Mr. Ellsworth Bunker, who will be 83 next week. He is hoping to have a draft treaty ready by June, the deadline set by President Carter. Before coming into force, the treaty would need the approval of two-thirds of the United States Senate.
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Background: Talk are due to start again in Washington on Monday (9 May) about the future control of the Panama Canal. Negotiations between the United States and the Republic of Panama have been going on for about three years; but after the last session, in February, one of the Panamanian negotiators said that real progress was now being made.