Torrijos- Carter Treaty
Stories from the United States' relationship with the Panama Canal, in celebration of its centenary
On September 7, 1977, the Heads of State Omar Torrijos and Jimmy Carter signed the Torrijos – Carter Treaty. This Treaty was composed of two separate agreements, each with clear specifications. The first one is known as the “Panama Canal Permanent Neutrality and Functioning Treaty.” This treaty gives the United States the authority to defend the Canal against threats that would put at risk its ability to offer continuous service to international ships. The second part is known as the “Panama Canal Treaty,” which specified that on December 31, 1999, the Canal would be transferred to Panama as its property. The combination of those two treaties abolished the 1903 Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty. The Treaty also established a time frame so that the administrative changes would be gradual. Over the next 22 years, 8,000 Canal positions were gradually given to trained Panamanians. In 1990, the first Panamanian administrator was assigned.