The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Panama ( Reed )

No. 117

Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of the Legation’s despatches No. 256 of April 30, 1923, and No. 273 of June 13, 1923,54 relating to the question of the control of wireless communication in Panama.

It is noted that in your despatch of April 30 you state that the Panaman Government has indicated a willingness to put a stop to the operation of wireless receiving sets in Panama City pending the conclusion of an arrangement with the United States for the regulation and control of such installations. In view of this fact, and in view of the fact that the operation of wireless equipment on [Page 703] Panaman vessels in Panaman territorial waters does not appear to have caused any inconvenience thus far to the Canal Zone authorities, it would not appear necessary, unless additional difficulties should arise, to seek to bring the question of the control of wireless in Panama to an immediate conclusion. The Department would prefer to settle this matter definitely and finally in connection with the negotiation of the proposed new treaty, unless it should become necessary to bring it to a conclusion sooner.

If, therefore, the matter can be left in statu quo for the present without causing any inconvenience to the Canal officials, and without appearing to relinquish any of the rights claimed by the United States under the Panaman decree of 1914, it is not desired that you should make formal representations for the present, either with regard to the control of receiving sets on land or with regard to the operation of wireless on Panaman vessels. You are, however, authorized, if it should appear advisable, to make it clear to the Panaman Government, when the occasion arises, that the United States relinquishes none of the rights granted to it by the decree of 1914, and you will be guided by the Department’s views as expressed in its note of January 11, 1923 to the Panaman Minister in Washington. If the operation of wireless installations upon Panaman merchant ships in the waters adjacent to the Canal Zone should interfere with the operations of the Canal, or if the operation of wireless receiving sets in the territory of the Republic should again be permitted, it is desired that you should report the facts immediately to the Department.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. Neither printed.