The Panaman Chargé (Lefevre) to the Secretary of State
Excellency: At the end of last week I received a letter from Your Excellency dated the 19th instant, with reference to correspondence [Page 315] previously exchanged between the Department of State and this Legation, regarding the proposed acquisition on the part of the Government of the United States of a part of the island of Taboga, which certain military engineers of the War Department consider suitable for the establishment of fortifications for the better defense of the Canal.
In the above-mentioned note Your Excellency thought well to inform me, on behalf of the Secretary of War of this country, that the United States considered it necessary, for the security and protection of the Panama Canal, to acquire a part of the above-mentioned island in the near future with a view to erecting fortifications upon it. At the same time on account of the importance which the Republic of Panama attaches to that portion of its territory, Your Excellency is pleased to assure me that it will not take any steps in regard to the expropriation which it will be necessary to make, without giving all possible consideration to the interests and convenience of the inhabitants of that section, whose natural anxiety it is desired to alleviate as much as possible.
I have taken due note of the important statement made by Your Excellency that, in view of the improbability of beginning in the present year the proposed works of fortification, the Government of the United States has the greatest desire to adopt a liberal policy in respect to the inhabitants of that part of the island of Taboga which will pass to the jurisdiction of the above-referred-to Government.
Permit me to inform Your Excellency, on my part, that I have sent to my Government a copy of the note of Your Excellency, and that I have requested, at the same time, instructions in the case, in order to be able to arrive at satisfactory conclusions which may justly protect the interests of our respective countries.
I avail myself [etc.]
- File translation revised.↩