INTRODUCTION: A delegation from the United States has been in Panama to discuss the long running problem of the Panama Canal.
SV Mr. Ellsworth Bunker and Mr. Sol Linowitz arrive for Canal Zone talks, down aircraft steps and across tarmac (3 shots)
SV & GV INT Bunker making statement (2 shots)
The Carter administration has been facing strong opposition in Congress and the country to any change in the canal's status. According to news reports from Washington -- the Senate is not likely to approve the new treaty with Panama, unless it preserves the United States' defence rights for the waterway. However, according to the American Institute of Merchant Shipping the canal is no longer as vital to the United States as when it was built. At first more than 50 per cent of U.S. coast-to-coast trade went through the canal, but now lorries carry most of the country's freight and the figure is only three per cent.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: A delegation from the United States has been in Panama to discuss the long running problem of the Panama Canal. This time both sides hope for a treaty that will give Panama control of the waterway and the Canal Zone. A new treaty would replace the 1903 pact under which the United States took control "in perpetuity" of a ten mile wide (16 kms) strip across Panama and built an ocean-to-ocean lock canal.
SYNOPSIS: The delegation is headed by Mr. Ellsworth Bunker, the former United States representative at the Organisation of American States, who has negotiated the canal issue 15 times in the last three years. This round of talks should provide for the transfer of the Canal Zone to Panama.
Mr. Bunker said that the new treaty is imperative for future United States relations with Latin America. But during his election campaign President Jimmy Carter said that Washington should never completely give up its canal rights.