1976 Republican Platform: The Americas

The relations of the United States with the Americas are of vital and immediate importance. How we conduct our affairs with our neighbors to the North and South will continue to be a priority.

In the recent past our attention has at times been diverted to more distant parts of the world. There can be no sensible alternative to close relationships and understanding among the nations of this hemisphere.

It is time for a series of new departures in our relations with Canada. Canada is our most important trading partner, and we are hers. We, as Americans, feel a deep affinity for our Canadian friends, and we have much at stake in the development of closer relationships based on mutual understanding and complete equality.

To our neighbors in Mexico, Central America and South America, we also say that we wish the opportunity to expand our dialogue. The needs of our friends are great, but this must not serve as an obstacle for a concerted effort to work together more closely. The United States has taken steps to adjust tariffs so as to maximize access to our markets. We recognize that our neighbors place no value on complex and cumbersome aid schemes; they see self-help, modernization, and expanded trade as the main sources of economic progress. We will work with them to define specific steps that we can take to help them achieve greater economic strength, and to advance our mutual interests.

By continuing its policies of exporting subversion and violence, Cuba remains outside the Inter-American family of nations. We condemn attempts by the Cuban dictatorship to intervene in the affairs of other nations; and, as long as such conduct continues, it shall remain ineligible for admission to the Organization of American States.

We shall continue to share the aspirations of the Cuban people to regain their liberty. We insist that decent and humane conditions be maintained in the treatment of political prisoners in the Cuban jails, and we will seek arrangements to allow international entities, such as the International Red Cross, to investigate and monitor the conditions in those jails.

The present Panama Canal Treaty provides that the United States has jurisdictional rights in the Canal Zone as "if it were the sovereign." The United States intends that the Panama Canal be preserved as an international waterway for the ships of all nations. This secure access is enhanced by a relationship which commands the respect of Americans and Panamanians and benefits the people of both countries. In any talks with Panama, however, the United States negotiators should in no way cede, dilute, forfeit, negotiate or transfer any rights, power, authority, jurisdiction, territory or property that are necessary for the protection and security of the United States and the entire Western Hemisphere.

We reaffirm our faith in the ability of the Organization of American States, which remains a valuable means of inter-American consultation.

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