Panama and the United States have resumed talks on the emotive issue of the American controlled Canal Zone.
GV PAN America residential area in Panama
SV American family (2 shots)
SV Bunker with Panamanian Prime Minister
SV & GV Ship in canal
SV PAN American students outside Balbao High school (3 shots)
SCU Embassy official speaking
MV & GV PAN Dockside and boats progressing through canal
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 6: OFFICIAL: "All Panamanians feel the present situation is unjust. Some form of confrontation would be probable. I am not saying Panama would declare war on the United States but in such a confrontation would the National Guard, the Panamanian Government or the United States be able to stem the discontent of the Panamanian people over a period of time? I leave the answers to you."
"There are 39,000 Americans living in the Zone. They live as suburbanites as they would in the States with lawns and track houses and barbecues. Half of the Americans living here are civilians, some second and third generation Zonians. Special Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker has met for the past ten days with the Panamanian Prime Minister trying to sat up a new treaty to replace the original one signed in 1903. Bunker who is now back in the United States has special instructions. Things must change say the Panamanians. They want all the military out within 25 years and have rejected Secretary of State Kissinger's statement that the U.S. military should stay there indefinitely. Now the Americans who have lived in Panama all their lives are hearing from some State Department officials that things are going to have to change. At Balbao High School U.S. Embassy officials tell the American students they're going to have to bend with the political wind."
"It will probably be two years before any new Canal treaty will be ratified and it probably won't be long before the Panamanian flag will fly over the Canal Zone."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Panama and the United States have resumed talks on the emotive issue of the American controlled Canal Zone. But U.S. Embassy officials are still warning the Zone's 39,000 American residents to expect some kind of confrontation with the Panamanians.
Panamanian leader Mr. Omar Torrijos has based the prestige of his government on getting a new agreement on the Canal Zone. The existing 1903 treaty lets the U.S. run the zone as sovereign territory but the Panamanians want the Americans out.
The United States has signed an agreement in the last few years agreeing to leave eventually but the Americans are talking in terms of 50 years. The Panamanians want the Americans out before the end of the century and Mr. Torrijos has warned there could be violence if negotiations on the new treaty break down again.
The film has a commentary by TVN reporter David Klein and an excerpt from a speech by a U.S. Embassy official. A transcript of the U.S. Embassy official's speech appears below. David Klein's commentary appears overleaf.