The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Panama (Dawson)
42. The Secretary will make the following statement to the press at 12 noon today:
“I was most gratified, as will be all the people of this country as well as those of our sister republics in this hemisphere, to learn from the manifesto issued yesterday by the Panamanian Government that Panama will make available immediately to our military authorities certain sites in the Republic of Panama which are considered essential for the protection and security of the Panama Canal. In taking this [Page 439] action, Panama has shown that the spirit of partnership in the defense of the Canal which is one of the fundamentals of the General Treaty between the two countries ratified in 1939 is a tangible and practical thing.
“In accordance with the manifesto, our military authorities will proceed immediately to the preliminary preparation of these defense sites. I am confident that the negotiations which are now in progress with regard to the details involved will be worked out to the mutual satisfaction of both our Governments.”
While the Department is not satisfied with the conditions announced in the Panamanian manifesto under which the sites will be made available, the Department will not comment thereon until it has received the text of the aide-mémoire which, it is understood, has been handed to you by the Panamanian Foreign Office.