File No. 319.1123L25/53
Minister Price to the Secretary of State
Panama, November 13, 1916.
Sir: A few days since I heard the rumor that the new Superior or Criminal Judge, Señor Don Ladislao Sosa, had decided that the evidence collected in the investigation of the riot of April 2, 1915, justified the beginning of a prosecution against the Panaman policeman, Carlos Nuñez, on the charge of having murdered Corporal Langdon and I have the honor to report that I went immediately to the office of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to make inquiry. He stated that Nuñez had applied to him for release from prison on the ground that he was being held without the issuance of legal process against him and only upon the verbal request of the former Secretary of Foreign Affairs; that finding this to be the fact, he (Secretary Garay) called upon the criminal judge to assume responsibility for the further detention of Nuñez. A day or two thereafter the morning paper contained an item that Nuñez had been “called to justice”, as the term is used here for instituting a prosecution; that Señor Don Carlos Lopez had been appointed to defend him and that the case would be open for a period of ten days for proof.
I called at the Foreign Office again and reminded the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the agreement which I had with his predecessor that a representative from our military headquarters would be permitted to be present at all stages of the proceedings and I requested to be notified of the time of any further taking of proof and of the further steps in the case. This was followed by a Foreign Office note, a copy and translation of which I enclose.
I immediately notified Gen. C. R. Edwards, military commander of the Canal Zone, sending a copy of the translation of this note to him. Lieut. D’Alary Fechet, who acted for the military authorities in the taking of a great deal of the former testimony, was sent to the Legation and I took him at once to the Foreign Office, and next day we visited the criminal judge and the prosecuting attorney. We arranged for a conference between the prosecuting attorney and Major H. A. White, [Page 1156]on the staff of General Edwards, and Lieut. Fechet, and after considerable discussion we arrived at the understanding also with these officials that our representatives might be present throughout further proceedings in the case.
I learned that Judge Sosa had arrived at the conclusion that there was nothing in the large amount of proof heretofore taken to authorize a prosecution to be begun against anyone except Nuñez; that the ten day period for proof mentioned above was the customary period just prior to a trial during which under Panaman law either he could present proof in addition to that already taken, and Judge Sosa stated that he would receive proof from our authorities of an additional character, if it cared to be presented, against others as well as against Nuñez. Judge Sosa promised to send me a copy of his judgment, which he has done to-day, and a copy of the translation of the same is also enclosed.2
I have [etc.]
- Not printed.↩