The Minister in Panama (South) to the Secretary of State

No. 3062

Sir: With reference to the Legation’s despatch No. 3006 of August 3, 1929,13 and previous correspondence concerning the Panaman protest against certain sales by Canal Zone commissaries and the renewed discussion of the 1926 Treaty arising therefrom, I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy and translation of a note, D. D. No. 1481 of September 17th received from Dr. Ricardo A. Morales, the Acting Secretary of Foreign Relations, in reply to Mr. Muse’s note, No. 994, of July 25th, delivered in accordance with the Department’s instruction No. 767 of July 16, 1929.

The gist of the enclosed note is that the Panaman Government wishes the Treaty of 1926 to be reconsidered integrally.

No mention of this note has thus far appeared in the press.

I have [etc.]

J. G. South

The Panaman Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs (Morales) to the American Minister (South)

D. D. No. 1481

Mr. Minister: I have the honor to refer to the courteous note of the Honorable Benjamin Muse, Chargé d’Affaires a. i., under date of July 25th last, relative to the case of the English ship Tritonia.

Permit me, Excellency, to state that my Government reiterates once more by this means that it does not concur in the thesis sustained by Your Excellency’s Government in alleging that the commissaries may sell without any restriction. This unlimited and unrestricted right to sell which the said commercial institutions are said to have arises from an erroneous interpretation of the Treaty of 1903 which my Government has never accepted and can never accept, since it is unjust and prejudicial to the rights of sovereignty of the Republic of Panama.

My Government has considered with care the observations and comments made in the note in reference with regard to the treaty signed July 28, 1926. Your Excellency’s Government considers that many of the apprehensions expressed with regard to the provisions of the Treaty are caused by a misunderstanding of the intentions of those provisions and suggests that some of the apprehensions of Panama might be eliminated by means of an exchange of notes, if that should [Page 727] be the desire of my Government. It is true that there are in the said Treaty vague, obscure terms, phrases which may be interpreted various ways, inexact provisions, all of which have caused apprehensions which may be made to disappear by means of clarifying notes. But even with these clarifications, the Treaty of 1926, in its integrity, does not satisfy the national desires (and) aspirations. It is true that a Treaty, as the Chargé d’Affaires a. i. states in the note in reference, is the result of a mutual accommodation of interests. But my Government considers that what the Republic offers, gives and cedes in that pact surpasses that which is given to her in compensation.

To cite a concrete case, does Your Excellency think that the United States has given Panama adequate and just compensation for the cession of a part of Colón with which Article II deals? On that account and because of the deep hurt the partitioning of the national territory caused to our national patriotism, this article constituted an invincible obstacle to the ratification of the Treaty.

My Government desires, therefore, that the Treaty of 1926 be reconsidered integrally.

The note which I have the high honor of answering reveals clearly to us that Your Excellency’s Government is animated with the best will to arrive at a permanent and satisfactory solution of the conflicts which have arisen in the relations of our two countries.

My Government, for its part, earnestly desires to seal the friendship which unites us to Your Excellency’s great country with a just, equitable and noble pact which will mark a fixed course toward the indestructible harmony of the lofty interests of both countries.

I avail myself [etc.]

Ricardo A. Morales
  1. Not printed.