File No. 819.74/55.

The Secretary of the Navy to the Secretary of State.

Sir: Receipt is acknowledged of your communications dated July 3014 and August 5,14 with inclosures from the American Minister at Panama relative to the control of radio communication in the Republic of Panama.

After again carefully considering the provisions of the proposed agreement as drawn up by the Joint Army and Navy Board under date of October 17, 1913, this Department is of the opinion that the terms outlined therein should be insisted upon unconditionally in any representations made to the Panama Government in regard to the control of radio matters in the Republic of Panama. Any proposal looking to any permanent or even temporary control and management of radio stations within the territory of Panama, except by the United States Government, should not, as viewed from the standpoint of this Department, be given favorable consideration. A thorough understanding and appreciation of the duties devolving upon the Navy and its obligations in relation to the proper security and operation of the canal, in addition to the orderly transaction of radio business in that locality, leads to such a view on the part of this Department.

The contention of the Panama Government, as expressed in the letter of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to the American Minister, that the number of stations be increased to six instead of four, which latter number was originally proposed in the plan of the Joint Army [Page 1046] and Navy Board, is not considered as being justified in view of the lack of necessity for such extra stations either for commercial or military purposes. The erection of two radio stations promptly as asked by the Panama Government cannot be arranged for at present, but it is hoped that this may not be an obstacle in the way of accomplishing the desired end, i. e., Panama’s full agreement to the terms proposed, as suitable arrangements can doubtless be made in connection with this feature of the agreement which will be satisfactory both to the Panama and our own Government.

The opening of the canal to shipping necessitating, as it will, the absolute control of radio in that locality by this Department, it is particularly to be desired that the consent of the Panama Government to such control be obtained at the earliest practicable moment, in order to prevent unnecessary interference in radio in that vicinity and thereby insure, to a great extent, efficiency in radio communication which will be so closely affiliated with the management of traffic passing through the canal.

The matter of taking over the control of radio communication in the Canal Zone and adjoining harbors immediately, is of such urgent importance that it is suggested that the Panama Government be asked to consent to such control immediately, the control to be exercised by this Department, leaving those features involving the necessity of a convention or treaty, if such necessity exists, to be decided upon at the earliest practicable time, and in accordance with the provisions of the agreement outlined by the Joint Army and Navy Board, under date of October 17, 1913.

Very respectfully,

Josephus Daniels
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