The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of Agriculture ( Wallace )

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I have received the Acting Secretary’s letter of October 9, 1934,21 in which he suggests that early steps be taken toward continuing beyond the Panama Canal the cooperative reconnaissance surveys for the proposed Inter-American Highway under Section 15 of the Act (Public No. 393, Seventy-third Congress) approved June 18, 1934.

It is noted that this Act provides also that the fund, the expenditure of which is authorized therein, may be used “for making location surveys”. I am of the opinion that its expenditure as well as that of the fund of $1,000,000 appropriated by the Act of June 19, 1934, should be confined to the area north of the Panama Canal Zone, where [Page 481] a reconnaissance survey of the proposed route has already been completed.

Before assistance in the construction of a highway north of the Panama Canal Zone can be given under the authorization contained in the Act of June 19, cited, it will be necessary, of course, that the instrument survey be completed, at least in those portions where assistance is to be rendered. It is my understanding that the $75,000 which your Department is authorized to expend would meet only a small part of the cost of a complete survey of the Central American section.

From the point of view of our relations with the countries of Latin America, also, I believe it preferable to confine assistance at this time to the countries in which the reconnaissance survey has already been completed.

For the reasons I have suggested, I prefer not to take at present the suggested steps looking toward continuing the reconnaissance survey beyond the Canal Zone.

Sincerely yours,

William Phillips
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