File No. 319.1123L25/12

Minister Price to the Secretary of State.

No. 579.]

Sir: Supplementing my despatch No. 572 of July 30, 1915, I have the honor now to transmit a copy of the report made to Brigadier General Clarence R. Edwards, Military Commander of the Canal Zone, by 2nd Lieut. Robert C. F. Goetz, 1st F. A., A. D. C., upon the investigation, conducted by him after departure of Col. J. L. Chamberlain, of the riot between our soldiers and Panaman police and civilians in the city of Colon on April 2 last.

I have [etc.]

Wm. Jennings Price.

Report of Lieutenant Goetz.

* * * * * * *


* * * In the investigation of the Colon riot there is no evidence to show that there was any firing by the soldiers or citizens either foreign or American and I do not believe there was any. There was firing by the provost guard, but in every instance it was a case of returning the fire of the policemen. To my mind it was a very deplorable state of affairs. Here were the officers of the law, hired by the Government of Panama to keep peace, and they were the very ones to sneak into the passageways of the buildings, accentuate the trouble, making it an affair of life and death by their wanton and promiscuous firing.

Their firing was unprovoked, not justified, and not to handle any immediate situation that called for drastic action, but with apparently one idea in mind, to kill. The whole police situation of the two terminal cities of the Canal deserves our immediate attention and action.

I would recommend that the entire police control of Panama City and Colon be taken over by our Government; that American policemen, with a speaking knowledge of Spanish, be put there; Panaman arrests to be turned over to the Government of Panama for punishment or their proper disposition; American and foreign citizens and soldiers to be disposed of the same as in our own territory.

Robert C. F. Goetz.
2nd Lt. F. A., A. D. C.