Carter's Foreign Policy
The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a canal wide enough for huge cargo ships which cuts through a thin strip of land in Panama. It is still used to this day. In 1904 the U.S. was granted permission for the land around the Panama Canal. In 1936 Roosevelt dropped the U.S. claim. When arguments came up again, Carter became involved.
Carter Becomes Involved
Carter kept this event on the down low as he attempted to deal with it himself, but proved an unskillful negotiator. The negotiations were based on a policy passed by Henry Kissinger called "eight principles". He kept senators uninformed of what was going on until the "Agreement in Principle" was signed with Panama. The canal must be turned over completely by 1999.
This was a complete failure for Carter. He tried to do something alone, and it caused him extreme embarrassment. Once the treaty was signed, there was little anyone could do to undo it. Many republicans and citizens criticize the way he handled this. This event had a role in the next election. Carter lost many voters for losing the Panama Canal.