Nation: Canal War II

House backs Panama treaties

Jimmy Carter's great foreign policy victory of 1978 was his successful fight to persuade a reluctant Senate to ratify the Panama Canal treaties that will give control of the vital waterway to the Panamanians in 20 years. That seemed to settle the issue once and for all, but last week conservatives in the House, just as dead set against the treaties as their colleagues in the Senate, tried to undermine the agreement—and very nearly succeeded.

The tactic was simply to prevent Congress from voting the funds that would allow the U.S. to live up to its obligations under the...

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