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Project PlowshareThe Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosives in Cold War America$
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Scott Kaufman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451256

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451256.001.0001

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Making Headway?

Making Headway?

(p.148) 7 Making Headway?
Project Plowshare

Scott Kaufman

Cornell University Press

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.

Keywords:   Panama Canal, Panama Canal treaties, President Johnson, President Robles, Panama, Canal Commission, nuclear excavation

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