The United States is on the verge of concluding a new treaty with Panama which would relinquish its historic sovereign rights to the Canal Zone. But would a "new relationship" with Panama work? At stake is the security of not only America but much of the free world. Representatives of the United States and Republic of Panama have recently concluded another round of negotiations with the aim of producing a new treaty to replace the 1903 pact under which Panama granted the U.S. control "in perpetuity" -meaning forever- of a ten-mile strip across the Central American isthmus. Within the 547-square-mile territory, the United States has, since its completion in 1914, operated, maintained and defended the famous ocean-to-ocean Panama Canal. Despite its age, the Canal, with its high-level lake and gravity-fed locks, remains one of the engineering marvels of the world, an enterprise once described as representing "the greatest liberty man has ever taken with nature."
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