Jimmy Carter


The President of Peace
Jimmy Carter was born October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia, and grew up in the nearby community of Archery. His father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a farmer and businessman; his mother, Lillian Gordy, a registered nurse. He was educated in the Plains public schools, attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946. On July 7, 1946, he married Rosalynn Smith. When his father died in 1953, he resigned a naval commission and returned to Plains. He became involved in the affairs of the community, serving as chairman of the county school board and the first president of the Georgia Planning Association. In 1962 he won election to the Georgia Senate. He lost his first gubernatorial campaign in 1966, but won the next election, becoming Georgia's 76th governor on January 12, 1971. He was the Democratic National Committee campaign chairman for the 1974 congressional elections (Hochman html). After only serving one term as governor of Georgia he announced his candidacy for president of the United States on December 12, 1974. He won his party's nomination on the first ballot at the 1976 Democratic National Convention, and was elected the 39th president of the United States on November 2, 1976. During his presidency, Jimmy Carter made many important foreign policy accomplishments, including the Panama Canal treaties, the Diplomatic relations with China, and the Salt II treaty with the Soviet Union.
Jimmy Carter's first foreign policy accomplishment, and by the United States citizens, the most popular, were the Panama Canal treaties. After more than eighty years after the first official ocean-to-ocean transit of the Panama Canal, the United States and Panama embarked on a partnership for the management, operation and defense of the Panama Canal. Under two treaties signed in a ceremony at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., on September 7, 1977, the canal would be operated by the United States until the turn of the century under arrangements designed to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. The treaties were approved by Panama in a plebiscite on October 23, 1977, and the United States Senate gave its advice and consent to their ratification in March and April 1978. The new treaties went into effect October 1, 1979 (Yahoo.com).
The new treaties, passed under the Carter administration and Panama's head of state Omar Torrijos would give Panama full control of the canal on December 31, 1999, at 12:00 midnight. All of the canal's assets would also be turned over to Panama (Lycos.com).
The ratification of the Panama Canal treaties was an important step involving a decrease in Third World hostility toward the United States (Dumbrell 212). Carter and his advisors agreed even before the inauguration that the canal negotiations should be an immediate priority. If the United States did not successfully complete negotiations, which had been going on since the Johnson administration, the government of Panama might create conflict in the zone that would require drastic American action (Hargrove 123).
Another of President Jimmy Carter's foreign policy accomplishments was his normalizing relations with the People's Republic of China. Over the winter of 1977-1978 Carter cultivated relations with Chinese officials in Washington, and solicited an official invitation to visit China himself. However the president pulled back after his advisor Mondale stated that it was too much to ask the senate to handle the Panama Canal treaties and any new agreements with China at the same time. President Carter was thus told not to be explicit about normalization, and that his visit to China was inconclusive. In the Spring of 1978 president Carter decided that the Secretary of State Vance would visit China. Vance would visit China but would not be authorized to negotiate about normalization because Carter was afraid it might hurt developing relations with Russia and Japan. The United States and the Soviet Union were beginning to negotiate a S.A.L.T. (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) treaty, and President Carter was determined not to delay any SALT negotiations. Vance was not authorized to negotiate in China, but did a good job of laying the groundwork for future agreements.
In the summer and Fall of 1978 president