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                        Office of the Press Secretary
                      (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts)
For Immediate Release                                  September 5, 1997


U.S. Delegation to Panama

Counselor to the President and Special Envoy for the Americas Thomas F. (Mack) McLarty and Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater will head the U.S. delegation to the Universal Congress of the Panama Canal in Panama September 7-8.

The Universal Congress will be attended by government representatives from 17 countries, major Canal users, and other members of the maritime community. The delegation will be on hand to discuss the future of Canal operations and policies.

The Panama Canal was completed in 1914. For the past 20 years, the United States and Panama have jointly implemented the Panama Canal Treaties. Full responsibility for the Canal will be turned over to the Government of Panama on December 31, 1999; both governments are working closely together to ensure a seamless transition.

While in Panama, the U.S. government delegation will meet with the President of Panama, Perez Balladares, and American business leaders. They will visit the Panama Canal and U.S. military installations to discuss the ongoing transition of the Canal.

Other members of the delegation are U.S. Ambassador to Panama Bill Hughes and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs John Hamilton.

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