The Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs, Department of State ( White ) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: Señor Alfaro came in this morning to state that he has received a reply from his Government regarding the Panama-Colombian frontier matter. His Government declines categorically to accept the boundary. Señor Alfaro said that he preferred to give me the information orally rather than by note. He stated that if the Department desired a written reply he will of course have to state his Government’s refusal to accept the boundary [Page 351] proposed in the draft procès verbal of an interview between you and the Panaman and Colombian Ministers. Señor Alfaro stated that he preferred not to do this as it would make it more difficult either for the present Panaman administration or any succeeding one to accept the boundary with this formal protest on record and that he personally hoped that if the matter is allowed to rest it will be possible at some later date to come to an agreement in the matter. From what Señor Alfaro stated I was led to believe that perhaps after the next Panaman elections on August 10, 1924, it may be possible to induce the Panaman Government to accept the boundary proposed. In any case Señor Alfaro stated that he hoped that within a year it might be possible to find a solution of this difficulty. He reiterated his personal feeling that the boundary should be accepted as proposed and that the territory in dispute is not worth the time being given to it. He stated however that it was only his personal opinion but of course he had to transmit his Government’s views in the matter.

I told Señor Alfaro that I concurred with him that it would be better not to make any reply in writing at this time but to leave the matter in abeyance for the present. I of course made no mention to him of the approaching treaty negotiations.44

  1. For papers concerning abrogation of the Taft Agreement, see vol. ii, pp. 638 ff.