Statement by the President Upon Approving Bill Providing for a Site Study for a New Interoceanic Canal.
I HAVE approved a bill to provide for an investigation and study to determine a site for the construction of a sea level canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The Panama Canal was a great engineering achievement. It has served world commerce for 50 years. It has been a major source of income for Panama's economic and social development. It has been a key link in our security arrangements. But if we are to meet the challenges of the future, we must begin now to think in terms of the long-range needs of the United States, Latin America, and the rest of the world for a sea level canal across the American Isthmus.
Construction of a sea level canal presents formidable obstacles even after a suitable site is selected. There are enormous technical problems and complex and interrelated political, military, and economic considerations that must be weighed. Under this bill the task will be undertaken by a five-member commission, appointed by the President, with annual reports on the progress of the commission's work submitted to the Congress through the President.
This authorization will permit the study to get underway. Equally important, however, is appropriation of necessary implementing funds. I urge that the Congress act promptly on the supplemental request of $5 million for this purpose for the fiscal year 1965.
Note: As enacted, the bill is Public Law 88-609 (78 Stat. 990).
See also Item 809.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Approving Bill Providing for a Site Study for a New Interoceanic Canal. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241339