File No. 419.11D29/77.

The Secretary of State to Minister Price.

No. 104.]

Sir: The Department has received your No. 389 of the 25th ultimo, in regard to the failure of the Panama Government to take any final action in the matter of the Cocoa Grove affair of July 4, 1912. You suggest the advisability of this Government issuing an ultimatum in the matter to Panama.

In reply the Department desires to refer to the memorandum of an interview you had with the President of Panama, as reported in your No. 286 of September 26, 1914, and especially to the statement made by the President that the inquiry of the Supreme Court ought to be and probably would be terminated within a month. You will, in the event that the result of that inquiry has not been announced to you prior to the receipt of this instruction, inform the Foreign Office that this Government has patiently waited much more than a reasonable time for the termination of this inquiry and is reluctantly forced to the conclusion that the inquiry is being deliberately delayed.

You will add, therefore, that, unless the result of such inquiry shall be announced within two weeks, this Government will be confirmed in that conclusion and assured that the Republic of Panama does not desire to do justice in the matter by inflicting punishment upon those guilty of the crimes committed upon American citizens so long ago as July 4, 1912.

There will remain then the question of having a suitable indemnity paid for the injuries inflicted upon American citizens on that date, and in estimating the amount of the indemnity it will be necessary for the Department to take into consideration the policy of delay pursued by the Panama Government in this matter and its failure to punish the perpetrators of the crimes.

In connection with your representations you will refer to the action of the main body of the police force in the affray of February 14, 1915, as emphasizing the importance of taking measures which would tend to discourage such action, and you will point out that appropriate punishment inflicted upon those policemen guilty of participation in the outrages upon American citizens on the first-mentioned occasion would doubtless have had a deterrent effect upon future activities of this character. In other words, needed measures in dealing with offenses of this kind are those of prevention as well [Page 1165] as redress, and the Panaman Government, by its failure to adopt such measures of prevention, is charged with a large degree of responsibility for whatever excesses the policemen may have indulged in upon the recent deplorable outbreak.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Robert Lansing.