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Phillip Harman Papers

Identifier: GTM-080814

Scope and Contents Note

The Phillip Harman Papers comprise the extensive personal papers of Phillip Harman, who worked for U.S. non-profit organizations opposed to the Panama Canal Treaties in the 1970s which transferred control of the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone from the United States to the nation of Panama, effective in the year 2000.

Over the years, Harman amassed large amounts of materials documenting his efforts to oppose the Panama Canal Treaties. Information about U.S. Congressional bills, perspectives of Congresspeople, newspaper clippings about the Canal, documents about the government of Panama, correspondence with U.S. government officials, reports, and printed materials are contained in this collection.

The Phillip Harman Papers consist of 83 boxes (42.5 linear feet).


  • 1960 - 1985

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off-site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical Note

Born in 1920 in Seattle, Washington, Phillip Harman was best known as an affiliate of non-profit organizations opposed to the Panama Canal Treaties of the 1970s which transferred the control of the Panama Canal from the U.S. government to the nation of Panama effective in the year 2000.

In 1953, Phillip Harman married Graciela Arango, granddaughter of Jose Arango, who helped found the first government of Panama in 1903. Harman lived in Panama during the 1950s and 1960s, and he was an opponent of communism there. Later, he became a California businessman.

Harman started his Panama Canal lobbying in 1969. The prior canal treaty between the U.S. and Panama was made in 1903. Harman worked for the Canal Zone Non-Profit Information Corporation and the Committee for Better Panama and U.S. Relations. In those capacities, he corresponded with U.S. presidents, U.S. Congresspeople, and other U.S. government officials.

Harman opposed the military dictatorship in Panama, and he feared that communism may be established there, threatening U.S. interests. He hoped to restore former president of Panama Arnulfo Arias, who had been deposed from power.


- "Conservative Lobby Bids U.S. Keep Panama Canal." Miami Herald. November 5, 1975.

- "Canal Issue Is a Profession and an Obsession to Harman." Miami Herald. May 18, 1976.

- Evans, G. Russell and Phillip Harman. "The Panama Canal Treaties Swindle: Consent to Disaster." Carrboro, NC: Signal Books, 1986.


42.5 Linear Feet (83 boxes)

Language of Materials


Phillip Harman Papers
Scott S. Taylor. Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057