This chapter analyzes how President Johnson and President Robles of Panama reached agreement on three treaties related to the Panama Canal. The first two detailed arrangements for the neutrality, defense, and operation of the existing lock waterway. The third treaty permitted Washington to build a sea-level waterway in Panama. Since the US government selected Panama for such a canal, Panama had the right to reject the use of the atom as a means of construction, and to extend said construction. This was good news to the AEC, since an extension of the Canal Commission's reporting deadline meant more time for the AEC to complete the experiments it believed necessary to demonstrate whether nuclear excavation of a canal was possible. While the Panama Canal treaties still required ratification, they formalized the determination by both countries for a sea-level waterway—possibly built with the help of the atom—become a reality.
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