The Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs (Wilson) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Welles)

Mr. Welles: Herewith the memorandum from Alfaro,24 to which he referred yesterday, concerning the draft article proposed by Panama regarding the employment of Panamanians by the Panama Canal and the Panama Railroad Company. The memorandum notes that at present there is no difference in treatment on the ground of nationality with reference to eligibility, pay, protection against accident in line of duty, and general working conditions. It points out, however. [Page 609] the difference in treatment on the ground of nationality with respect to promotions, vacations for the employees on the silver roll, retirement and reduction of personnel; on this latter point, however, it might be noted that existing executive orders provide for preference of Panamanians over foreigners in case of such reduction.

At such time in our discussions with the Panamanian Commissioners as you find it desirable to explain to them the reasons why we are unable to accept their draft article on this subject, I suggest that you might inform them of our interest in the question and willingness to take up with the War Department the Panamanian desiderata and to cooperate with a view to improving the conditions of employment of Panamanians in so far as this may appear feasible. Specifically, we could cooperate with the War Department in supporting legislation for the payment of old age pensions to foreign employees of the Panama Canal.

Edwin C. Wilson
  1. Supra.