740.0011 Pacific War/788: Telegram

The Ambassador in Panama (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

483. The Government issued last night the following proclamation:

“The Government of the United States of America has officially informed the Government of Panama that the military forces of the Imperial Government of Japan today unexpectedly attacked the military bases of the United States situated in Hawaii and the Philippines this attack being in the form of an aerial bombardment which has caused an appreciable number of casualties and severe damage. Following this treacherous aggression carried out while a conference was being held in Washington in the midst of a spirit of peace between the Diplomatic Envoy of the Emperor of Japan and the Secretary of State of the United States the Government of Japan has declared that a state of war exists between that country and the United States of America. The Government at Washington at the same time has been forced to declare that there were immediately placed in operation all the war plans prepared by the United States to defend itself against the Government of Japan. The critical situation thus created places the Government of Panama in the face of a state of emergency the gravity of which is of indisputable proportions and in the face of such facts the Executive power after careful and detailed study of the situation and with the unanimous approval of the Cabinet Council has arrived at the conclusion that the present moment demands from the Panamanian Government a clear and defined declaration of Panama’s position in the face of this conflict and for that reason the Government proceeds to issue this proclamation which has as its purpose to declare that the Republic of Panama mindful of its principles of a purely democratic nation true to its international obligations has taken and will take all the measures which this emergency requires in order to cooperate in the defense and the protection of the Panama Canal the security of which as well as of the Republic itself are imminently threatened by the aggressor forces of the Government of Japan. The Panama Canal is the center of American defense and is a project in which the Panamanian nation as well as the United States have a joint and vital interest as was clearly established in the general treaty of March 2, 193660 signed by the two countries article X of which states that in the event of a conflagration or of threat of aggression which would endanger the security of the Republic of Panama or the neutrality or security of the Panama Canal the two Governments will take such measures of prevention and defense as they may consider necessary for the protection of their common interests. Mindful of this situation the Government has proceeded to intern Japanese subjects residing on the Isthmus as a precautionary measure, to forbid the exportation of gold or other funds belonging to the Government of Japan [Page 106] or to its subjects who are in Panama, to order censorship of radio and cable communications and to intensify the surveillance of all elements who constitute or may constitute a threat against the common interests of Panama and the United States in the security of the Panama Canal. The Government of Panama takes this occasion to reassert once more a universal declaration that Panama at all times shall be on the side of the democratic principles which form the constitutional and republican foundation of the Panamanian nation and that it shall continue to cooperate with the Government of the United States in a loyal honest decided and energetic manner in this grave emergency which threatens the vital interests of the two countries and which also threatens the principles so ardently defended by the American Republics as the indispensable foundation for their existence as sovereign and free nations.”

  1. General treaty of friendship and cooperation; for text, see Department of State Treaty Series No. 945, or 53 Stat, (pt 3) 1807.