Panama: Still & Forever

A blessing of geography and the pugnacious foresight of Teddy Roosevelt gave the Republic of Panama its No. 1 asset—the Panama Canal. Under a historic treaty, signed in 1903 and renegotiated in 1955, the U.S., which has spent more than $1.5 billion to build and improve the canal, retains control over the vital Atlantic-Pacific seaway "in perpetuity." This point has long galled the nationalistic Panamanians and has touched off anti-American riots throughout Panama.

Last week Panama's President Roberto Chiari, 57, a businessman with a knack for negotiating, flew into Washington to discuss the issue with President Kennedy.

After a 21-gun salute...

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