File No. 819.74/61.

Minister Price to the Secretary of State.

No. 263.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that on August 22 * * * I made another visit to the office of Sr. Lefevre * * * and the conversation led me to transmit the telegram sent August 23. He stated that he wanted to know the sense in which I had used the word “control” in these negotiations and particularly in the suggested decree. When I replied that it was meant to be used according to its plain and usual significance and that, in connection with the adjective “complete,” it was intended to give us control to the exclusion of all the world, he replied that that would take away from Panama its rights in reference to installations in its territory for interior communication. I answered that on the occasion of my application to him for this decree on the 14th instant he had assured me that the United States should have complete control in this matter and that it might be considered permanent and for the future, and that the words incorporated in my submitted draft of a decree were a part of the exact words used by him, upon which I felt that I had a right to rely and did rely; that nothing short of this would satisfy the requirements of the United States. Sr. Lefevre then undertook to claim that he had understood me differently from what I was now claiming in this matter and, stating that there was only one radio station in the Republic—the one at Bocas del Toro—he proceeded to attempt to claim that the assurances he gave applied only to the radio situation as it at present existed in Panama; that the complete and permanent control referred to by him was meant to apply to the existing stations and conditions and not to what might be developed in the future. I replied to him with all earnestness and emphasis and with perhaps more than the hint referred to in Department’s telegram of August 13.* * *

On August 24 Sr. Lefevre sent to the Legation a draft of two portions of the proposed amended decree. In this text he had incorporated a reference to the negotiations pending regarding the installation of stations in Panama for interior communication, requiring a recognition on our part of their claim to have same brought to a satisfactory conclusion; and in the decretal part he had expressly left out granting complete control. * * *

We drafted a full text of a decree for submission to Sr. Lefevre in return. I took our draft of the amendment to Sr. Lefevre promptly. To his complaint that the leaving out of any reference to negotiations [Page 1050] regarding installations in Panama for interior communication would be unfair to them, inasmuch as it would leave them without any assurance of our intentions in that regard, I replied that I was willing to give voluntarily and without any authority from my Government a statement in writing that the consideration by my Government of the question of erection of or permitting to be erected such stations in Panama would be continued after this decree might be issued; that, however, I neither could nor would assure him of any outcome of said negotiations; that the Department had not as yet had the opportunity to respond to his last note in the matter.* * *

I would not state that on this occasion Sr. Lefevre gave again assurance of the issual of the decree in the terms now asked, yet he left that impression, saying he would like for me in an informal note to make a statement to him as to our continuing the consideration of the question of installations in Panama, as stated above, and in the same note I might point out the changes desired in his submitted amendment as shown by our amendment submitted in return.* * *

I enclose copy of my note just mentioned, of date of August 25.* * *

I have [etc.]

Wm. Jennings Price

Mr. Price to Mr. Lefevre.

My dear Mr. Lefevre: I have the honor to thank you for the submission to me yesterday for our consideration of portions of the proposed amended decree in the matter of wireless control by my Government in Panama.

I must respectfully ask that the paragraph be left out referring to negotiations regarding the construction and operation of radio stations within the territory of Panama, which you state Panama needs for interior communication; and further that small modifications and additions to the balance of said text be made in order to resolve clearly and indisputably said decree into the meaning that you have been kind enough to assure me said decree should be made to convey to the satisfaction of my Government. I therefore transmit a draft which I am impelled earnestly to insist shall be adopted in this important matter.

I can say to you voluntarily, without authority from my Government, because I have not asked such authority, depending as I have been on the assurances heretofore given me as to this decree, and feeling in view of same that such authority ought not properly to be asked, that my Government will continue to consider with your Government the question of the erection or permitting to be erected radio stations within Panaman territory for the purposes stated by you, as far as same may not be incompatible with the assurances given my Government regarding said decree. This statement is made, however, not as a consideration for the issual of the said decree. Said decree my Government feels entitled to as a matter of right under the Canal Treaty, which the pending war situation in Europe made so clear that you were good enough to recognize and pursuant thereto to give me the assurances heretofore mentioned.

To be now formally placed by Panama in a position regarding this matter of radio stations and communication which my Government has for a number of months been asking and which this decree, as assured by you and as now resubmitted, will do, will be gratifying to my Government, and same is as much relied upon as it is earnestly insisted upon.

I am [etc.]

Wm. Jennings Price