File No. 819.1.052/53.

Minister Price to the Secretary of State.

No. 658.]

Sir: Referring to my despatch No. 648 of October 16, I have the honor to transmit a copy of a letter from Major General George W. Goethals, Governor of the Panama Canal, in response to a request of mine for such suggestions as he might be willing to make with reference to the practical manner for putting into effect our demands herein. I knew that a quantity of arms, in use, I think, before Panama became a Republic, were kept stored by the Canal authorities for several years. Same, consisting of old and out of date fire arms, were returned to Panama last year sometime, when they were disposed of at auction sale to a merchant here at quite a small sum.

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General Leoniclas Pretelt, former Chief of Police here, tells me that the Republic of Panama owns about 3000 rifles, of which 1300 are here in the city of Panama and 250 in the city of Colon. He states that they are kept in police headquarters and that 800 of those in this city and 250 in Colon are an older make of rifle and that 500 of those in this capital are of a most modern pattern.

I have [etc.]

Wm. Jennings Price.

Governor Goethals to Minister Price.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note No. 567, dated October 19, 1915, with reference to disarming the National Police force of the Republic of Panama in the cities of Panama and Colon, of their high-power rifles, and the strict enforcement of the law governing the carrying of concealed deadly weapons. In response to your request I desire to submit for your consideration the following recommendations in the premises:

That a committee of two be appointed, one to be designated by the Governor of the Panama Canal and the other by the President of the Republic of Panama, or their representatives, to check the records of the Panaman authorities relative to the number and location of said rifles and the ammunition for same, and also to supervise their collection and shipment to a designated storehouse or building.
That the rifles and ammunition be stored in a building over which the Canal Zone Government exercises control.
That an employee of the Supply Department be designated to act for the Canal Zone Government.
That any high-power rifles in the possession of the prison guards be replaced with shot-guns.
That, a copy of the Executive Order No. 68, under date of November 7, 1913, relative to the regulations for carrying firearms, be furnished the Panaman authorities, with the request that similar regulations be adopted by them, with a view of breaking up the general practice of carrying firearms by the public at large in the Republic of Panama.


Geo. W. Goethals.