Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Conversation with the Panaman Minister (Alfaro), October 5, 1922

The Minister said that he had called to refer to the proposal which the President had made to Congress in regard to the abrogation of the Taft Agreement. He referred to his understanding of the Taft Agreement and to the fact that the effective [Executive?] orders involved had been embodied in a statute and that he understood from the letter which Mr. Phillips had written to the President exactly what the purpose was. There was, however, a misunderstanding in Panama where it seemed to be thought that it was proposed that the United States should go ahead to abrogate the Taft Agreement and make new orders without any reference to the rights of Panama, or any effort to make an agreement with Panama.

The Secretary said that it was necessary to have Congressional action, because the Executive could not disturb the statute and that after the Legislature had acted in the abrogation of the enactment the Executive proposed to take the various questions up with Panama and negotiate a suitable agreement.

The Minister said he understood that clearly, and that it had been set forth in Mr. Phillips’ letter to the President suggesting the course which the President had taken. The Minister showed this letter to the Secretary who said that it expressed definitely his views. This was what the Minister desired to ascertain and said he would cable his Government accordingly.