The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Panama (Dawson)
4. Your 6, January 7, 3 p.m. Since it cannot now be foreseen how long the United States will desire to use the lands now desired for defense, the Department tentatively believes that an annual rental rather than a lump sum payment would form a better basis for negotiation. If you concur, please discuss this with the Commanding General12 and obtain from him urgently his estimate of a fair annual rental for each of the desired tracts based on a fair valuation of the property and improvements if any.[Page 419]
The Department continues to believe that the term of the leases should be for 99 years with a proviso for returning the lands to Panama as soon as they are no longer required.
- Maj. Gen. Daniel Van Voorhis, Military Commander of the Panama Canal Department.↩