711F.1914/179: Telegram

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

22. Department’s telegram No. 17 of February 4.15 As General Van Voorhis leaves Saturday for about a week he and I sought an immediate interview with the President which was granted this morning. It appeared that little or no information had been received from Ambassador Brin concerning his conversation with the Under-Secretary. I communicated verbally to the President the substance of the Department’s telegram omitting point 416 and inquired what steps the Panamanian Government might have in mind to expedite the availability of the lands. The President said that the matter would have to be taken up with the Cabinet and National Assembly and that it would be greatly facilitated if only he could point to something that Panama was receiving in return.

The General and I reminded him of what Panama was already receiving and made it very clear that Panama’s further [aspirations?] [Page 424] would be considered only after compliance with its obligations and that the best means of expediting their consideration by our Government would be to expedite the availability of the lands. In conclusion the President said that he would proceed to take the matter up with the Cabinet and the National Assembly and in this connection he requested that I give him something in writing preferably before the next Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. He requested specifically that it contain a reference to the highway known as access road P–8 for which General Van Voorhis already has funds available.

I respectfully request that the Department inform me whether it would approve a communication along the following lines:

“Confirming his conversation of February 6 with His Excellency, the President of the Republic, and supplementing his aide-mémoire of December 30 last,17 the American Ambassador has the honor to state that the Government of the United States considers that in view of Panama’s treaty obligations the lands required for defense should be made available immediately and that the Panamanian and Canal Zone authorities should agree upon an equitable compensation therefor.

After the Government of Panama has complied with its obligations in this respect its aspirations will receive due consideration on the part of the Government of the United States, although no commitment can be made in advance to accept any one of the several proposals suggested the total value of which would reach many millions of dollars.

In this connection, the Ambassador desires further to state that as part of the defense program it is the intention of his Government to construct as soon as practicable the 20-foot highway between Madden Dam and the city of Panama known as access road P–8 along the lines already discussed between His Excellency, the President, and General Van Voorhis.”

  1. Not printed; it summarized the memorandum of January 31, supra, and instructed the Ambassador as follows: “You may inform General Van Voorhis of the above; and inquire of President Arias what steps the Panamanian Government may have in mind to expedite the availability of the lands in question.” (711 F.1914/178a)
  2. See fifth paragraph of memorandum of January 31, supra.
  3. See footnote 5, p. 414.