File No. 319.1123L25/11.

Minister Price to the Secretary of State.

No. 572.]

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a letter from Brigadier General C. R. Edwards, Military Commander of the Canal Zone, with which there was forwarded to the Legation a copy of the report of 2nd Lieut. R. C. F. Goetz, F. A., A. D. C., accompanied by copies of the evidence taken by him and Col. J. L. Chamberlain, in the matter of the investigation of the Colon riot of April last between our soldiers and Panaman police and civilians. Attached to Brigadier General Edwards’ letter was a copy of his letter of the date of July 23 last forwarding to Major General Leonard A. Wood, as Commanding General of the Eastern Department, the said report of Lieut. Goetz, in which letter Brigadier General Edwards makes reference to several matters connected with or incidental to the riots of February 14 and April 2 last, including an appreciated one regarding the work of this Legation in connection therewith. The letter to me of date of July 13, mentioned in the third division of the letter of Brigadier General Edwards to Major General Wood as giving his views regarding the police conditions in the city of Panama, is the letter a copy of which was forwarded by me to the Department with my despatch No. 568 of July 26.12

I shall forward a copy of said report of Lieut. Goetz (unaccompanied by the evidence) as soon as we are able to make a copy.

I have [etc.]

William Jennings Price.
[Inclosure 1—Extract.]

General Edwards to Minister Price.

My dear Mr. Minister: I am enclosing herewith a copy of my letter forwarding the report of 2nd Lt. R. C. F. Goetz, F. A., A. D. C., as well as a copy of [Page 1208] his report and a copy of the evidence taken by Colonel Chamberlain in his investigation. All these papers are for file in your office.

Very respectfully,

C. R. Edwards,
Brigadier General.
[Inclosure 2—Extract.]

General Edwards to General Wood.

1. I enclose herewith a report of the Colon riot of April 2, 1915, made by 2nd Lieut. Robert C. F. Goetz, 1st Field Artillery, A. D. C.

* * * Lieut. Goetz’s report contains no new statements by witnesses. It consists largely of a statement of facts concerning his participation in the riot, his observations and conclusions being based on this participation and the evidence submitted by the various witnesses.

2. * * * I will forward a copy of Lieut. Goetz’s report with evidence as well as a copy of this letter to the American Legation. * * *

3. * * * My views regarding the police conditions in Panama City were quite fully expressed * * * in a letter dated July 13, 1915 to the American Minister, Mr. Price, copy of which is enclosed. What I therein said applies equally well to the City of Colon, remembering only that this city is not nearly so large as the City of Panama. It is hardly necessary for me to state here, since I have occasion to call attention to the matter many times heretofore, that I have established at Balboa Heights a provost guard company for the purpose of assisting the police in Panama City. This provost guard consists of one company of Infantry—E company of the 10th regiment, which I moved from Camp Otis to Balboa Heights, and put in tents in which it is still living. * * *

4. There is one company of Coast Artillery Corps stationed in Colon, and the Commanding Officer of the Coast Defenses of Panama also is stationed and lives in Colon. He is charged with maintaining the necessary provost guard patrols in that city. The extensive fire which occurred in Colon in the first part of May, has rendered it somewhat unlikely that any disturbances will occur there in the immediate future, and the patrols in that city are quite small, though, of course small patrols are still maintained.

5. I was in Colon on the day the riot occurred, and from the reports that came to me shortly after the riot, I was inevitably led to the conclusion that Corporal Maurice Langdon came to his death by a shot from the revolver in the hands of a policeman. This policeman was arrested and confined during the riot: I therefore requested the Governor not to release him under any conditions until I had been informed that it was proposed to discontinue his confinement. From Colonel Chamberlain’s report and also that of Lieut. Goetz, I am convinced that he could be found guilty of the murder of Corporal Langdon, were he tried for it. I am satisfied he could be found guilty of shooting Private Deloughery, and for this he should be brought to trial by the Panaman authorities without delay. And, inasmuch as the conditions were such that it could easily happen that he was also the man who shot Corporal Langdon, I think he should be brought to trial on the charge of murdering the said corporal. In this connection, I desire to state that the American Minister, Mr. William Jennings Price, has shown great interest in this entire matter and his good work has been of much assistance. He recently learned that it was the intention of the Panaman authorities to release the policeman and he immediately and vigorously protested, with the result that the man is still in confinement. I, too, personally had spoken to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lefevre. I shall rely upon the interest of the American Minister, and trust he may be able to secure a speedy trial of this policeman, though it may not be possible to have him tried before the Panaman authorities have completed the investigation of the riot which they are making. * * *

C. R. Edwards.
Brigadier General, U. S. Army.
  1. Printed under Proposal to demand delivery of rifles, etc.