File No. 319.1123L25/15.

Minister Price to the Secretary of State.

[Extract.]
No. 607.]

Sir: Referring to the Department’s instruction No. 163 of July 23 and to my despatch No. 599 of August 30, I have the honor to transmit a copy of my reply, sent September 4, to said note of Señor Lefevre.

About the time of the transmission of this note Señor Lefevre called me over the telephone, saying that a few days before he had had a meeting of a number of their judicial officers, their Attorney General and the Governor of the Province of Panama at the President’s palace; that he had read to them two of my notes and had attempted to impress upon them the necessity of diligence in these matters and had stated to them that if their police control in the cities of Panama and Colon were eventually taken from Panama, they must consider themselves partially to blame for it.

He said that he had a stenographer present and would send me a report of the proceedings. He remarked that he believed one beneficial result had already been obtained as he had that day been informed that the Supreme Court had affirmed the sentence of the lower court against Juan Antonio Almangor for stabbing, Mr. E. L. Rahlin, of the U. S. S. Denver, nearly two years ago. * * *

I am convinced that the same dilatory tactics will be utilized by Panama as were followed in the riot of July 4, 1912, and that effective and earnest prosecution will not be had unless Panama is made to feel, in default thereof, a real danger of our exercising our rights under article 7 of the Canal Treaty of 1903 with reference to taking over their police forces in the cities of Panama and Colon.

I doubt exceedingly whether any sustained energetic action will result from the meeting referred to above, even granting that sincere efforts were indulged in there, unless forceful demands on our part are continued in conjunction with the threats, at the very least, as to loss of their police control.

I respectfully solicit the further instruction of the Department.

I have [etc.]

Wm. Jennings Price.
[Inclosure.]

Minister Price to the Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

No. 217.]

Excellency: Acknowledging the receipt of your excellency’s note No. S–7796 of August 28, 1915, in response to my notes Nos. 196, 203, 206 and 210, having relation [etc.], I have the honor to express to your excellency much surprise and disappointment over the failure of said response of your excellency to furnish any but a small part of the information asked for and over the indefinite and unsatisfactory character of such as was furnished.

I most respectfully call to the attention of your excellency that I have been informed that, in accordance with the agreement made promptly after the occurrence of this riot, there could be nothing in connection with the investigation [Page 1213]conducted by the authorities of your excellency’s Government which could be of such a private nature as would prevent the information being furnished which was requested on behalf of my Government in my note No. 196 of nearly two months ago; that such information, too, would be available from other than the one particular source referred to in your excellency’s said note.

The interest of my Government in this whole matter is so great and the importance of the results of an earnest and diligent and sincere redress of the whole situation by your excellency’s Government or the reverse thereof is believed to be fraught with such potentialities for your excellency’s Government quite as much as for my own, that I must refer specifically to each of the questions asked in my said note No. 196, and with all due respect urge and insist upon the transmission with proper promptness to my Government of the information sought by them.

In order for my Government to have official knowledge as to the official or officials of your excellency’s Government upon whom the responsibility rests both directly and indirectly for the fulfillment of obligations and duties arising as the result of these riots, the following additional information is respectfully requested:

First: The name of the Mayor of Colon referred to in your excellency’s note and by whom he was appointed to office.

Second: The name of the Judge of the Colon Circuit and by whom he was appointed to office.

Third: The name of the Superior Judge and by whom he was appointed to office.

Fourth: The names and by whom they were appointed to office of all other judges and of the prosecuting attorney or attorneys who have all had to do officially with the matters growing out of said Colon riot and also of the riot taking place in the City of Panama on February 14 last; and likewise the same information as to the judges and prosecuting attorneys, who under the laws of your excellency’s Government may yet have official connection with said matters, if they have not already had such connection.

It is hoped that certain of the information requested will, when furnished by your excellency, explain why important witnesses among our American soldiers to the events occurring in Colon have not been thus far utilized by the authorities of your excellency’s Government, although our military authorities stood ready to present them whenever notified, which willingness was at the inception cordially expressed to the authorities of your excellency’s Government and again made reference to in my said note No. 196.

I avail [etc.]

Wm. Jennings Price.