File No. 419.11D29/90.
Minister Price to the Secretary of State.
Panama, April 26, 1915.
Sir: Referring to my telegram of April 26, reporting the substance of a note received from the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, I have the honor to enclose a copy and translation of said note, transmitted on Saturday.
This note is the first and only formal response to my note No. 146, of March 12 last, copy of which was sent to the Department with despatch No. 440 of the same date. While it contains the first offer to be made in a formal manner to pay damages herein, it will be noted that its proposals in our favor do not go beyond those stated by the President of Panama informally to me, as having been decided upon by them as far back as September last. The summary of my conference [Page 1172] with President Porras in this matter was transmitted with despatch No. 286 of September 26, 1914.
Contrary to a statement contained in the note of May 30 last, that the present administration in furtherance of a desire to retain the friendship and esteem of the United States had discharged all the policemen who were on duty on July 4, 1912, Señor Lefevre in the present note admits that some of them are still in the service. I very much suspect that this admission is made in the hope of thereby offsetting to an extent a charge anticipated from us in the same matter. I obtained, promptly after the mêlée on February 14 last, in the Cocoa Grove district, the names of all policemen on the rolls in this city at that time, and, as heretofore reported, have been promised from a reliable Panaman source for some weeks a list of those now on the force, who were connected with it at the time of the 4th of July, 1912, affair, and I doubt not that Señor Lefevre has heard of the efforts of the Legation along this line.
In looking over the file in this case there are found referred to here and there in the evidence the names of the following policemen bearing names of the same as among the present force, who were connected with the organization at the time of the said riot July 4th, the first named having been wounded on that occasion: Juan Muñoz, Manuel de J. Castro, Rafael Puga, Celestino Cubilla, Isaias Pérez. I doubt not that there are quite a number of others. In view of the foregoing and the vulnerable record already made up by Panama in its handling of this affair, it would seem that there would exist very meager reason for the Panaman authorities now to appeal for favor in the matter of arriving at the amount of indemnities to be paid. I would call attention to the likelihood of the selection of an arbiter to name the amount occasioning practically a rehearsal of the whole extensive case before him entailing undoubted delay, and that the proposal seems to be purposely prefaced with a recital of considerations claimed due to Panama, which in all likelihood would be insisted upon by Panama being considered by the arbiter.
I have [etc.]