711F.1914/200: Telegram

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

46. My telegram No. 45 of today.23 There follows an English translation of the manifesto to the nation issued by the Panamanian Government this afternoon:

The Governments of the Republic of Panama and of the United States of America have recently exchanged ideas at the initiative of the latter concerning the situation created by the present European conflagration in so far as it may affect the security of the Panama Canal. The conversations have been carried on in a spirit of ample and perfect understanding and in the light of the Arias–Roosevelt Treaty of March 2, 1936, harmonizing the fulfillment of its contractual obligations with the imperious and unavoidable duty of safeguarding its own sovereign rights the Panamanian Government has considered carefully the requests of the North American Government. These requests tend concretely to obtain the use of certain sites outside [Page 436] the Canal Zone and in Panamanian territory for the installation of air bases and searchlight and detector positions which the Washington Government considers indispensable for the defense of the said interoceanic route basing its request on article X of the treaty. After studying the situation carefully at different meetings of the Cabinet Council the Government of Panama has decided to accede to the demands of the Government of the United States in view of the fact that the latter has reached the conclusion that in accordance with the terms of article X of the Treaty of 1936 an international conflagration has broken out bringing with it the existence of a threat to the security of the Panama Canal which requires the taking of measures for its defense on the part of the United States. Concern for the defense of the legitimate rights of Panama as respects its territorial integrity and its political independence jointly with the application of the Treaty of 1936 has led the Government of the Republic to subordinate the utilization of the sites requested to certain conditions, among them the following:

In the first place that the North American military authorities will occupy the said lands only for the duration of the present European conflagration so that they will be evacuated as soon as it ends. In the second place that the North American Government grant that of Panama adequate compensation; and finally the Republic of Panama exercise jurisdiction over civilians in the occupied sites in accordance with conditions which in the view of both governments may be necessary for the defense of the Canal. In view of the urgency expressed by the Government of the United States the Government of the Republic of Panama has permitted the authorities of the Canal Zone to commence the necessary military preparations. The Panamanian Government considers that the conditions indicated above and the final agreements between the two parties directly interested will give assurance that the future negotiations will be carried on without the slightest difficulty and in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Treaty of March 2, 1936.

  1. Not printed.