The United States appears keen to prevent the future of the panama Canal becoming a major topic at the forthcoming meeting of the Organisation of America States, due to open in Maxico City in two weeks' time.
The United States appears keen to prevent the future of the panama Canal becoming a major topic at the forthcoming meeting of the Organisation of America States, due to open in Maxico City in two weeks' time. there has been a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent weeks to find a solution to a problem that has become increasing acute to Washington.
The United States' involvement in Panama started at the beginning of the century. In 1904, it gained perpetual rights to the canal and peripheral land within the Panama Canal Zone, and has retained control ever since.
For many years, the United States' control of the canal has been a source of contention. Nationalist feelings amongst the Panamanians has even gone as far as violent demonstrations against foreign domination of the waterway which bisects their country.
Washington is, and has bee, aware of the growing feeling against its control of the canal, and recently sent Elisworth Bunker, a highly respected and experienced diplomat, to the Central American republic to negotiate a new canal treaty. Following Mr. Bunker's second visit to Panama, the two governments reached an accord. A set of eight principles smerged as a guideline for future negotiations, providing a time-limit for gradual American withdrawal, handing the canal and canal zone over to the Panamanian government.
Diplomatic observers in Panama city reported a sense of urgency amongst the United States' negotiators in January, who were thought to be keen to reach an agreement before the Mexico City conference.
In March 1973, the United States faced a barrage of criticism over its Latin American policy, and the Panama canal issue received a good deal of attention during the meeting of the United Nations' Security Council in Panama City.