The Panamanian Embassy to the Department of State
Supplementing the memorandum which the Embassy of Panama presented to the Department of State under date of May 20 last, in which it once more repeated to the Government of the United States the desire of the Government of Panama that due attention should be given and a satisfactory reception accorded the petitions formulated in the memorandum which the Ambassador of Panama in Washington had the pleasure of personally delivering to His Excellency the President of the United States on February 18 of the present year, and taking into consideration the statements made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama to the Under Secretary of State, Mr. Sumner Welles, in the conversations which took place between these high officials recently and which clarify and indicate the scope of Panamanian aspirations, the said petitions are reiterated as follows:39
1) The aqueduct and sewers of the cities of Panama and Colón, as well as the works and services of sanitation and garbage collection in the said cities, shall pass into the possession of the Panamanian Government in their entirety, and the Republic shall not have to pay the United States any amount for the cost of the installations effected nor for the services mentioned. Until the Republic is in a position properly to provide for the water supply of the cities of Panama and Colón, the Canal Zone shall furnish the necessary water to the said cities in the limits between the two jurisdictions at a cost of not more than 9 hundredths balboa per thousand gallons (including escapes, wastes, or water used for cleaning and for fire fighting). All this in the manner in which it is now furnished for the National Aqueduct at Las Sabanas. Panama undertakes to maintain the existing sanitary conditions in the operation of the said aqueducts and sewers.
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4) Once the present international conflagration is over, the Government of the United States will construct a bridge or tunnel, for public use, which will permanently and adequately connect the capital of the Isthmus with the central provinces across the Canal. Meanwhile, large ferries shall be placed in operation for crossing the canal, on uninterrupted service, day and night.
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9) The Government of Panama considers that the Government of the United States ought to cover in full the cost of the highway to Rio Hato as compensation, if only in part, for the use which it has been making of the lands situated in the jurisdiction of Rio Hato, without the consent or authorization of the Panamanian Government, and hopes that it will reimburse Panama for the sums which it has spent in the building of the said highway. The Republic of Panama would be particularly pleased if, among the highways essential to the defense of the Canal which are to be constructed at the expense of the United States, there should be included the continuation of the Rio Hato highway to the border with Costa Rica. The highway marked P–8, which will run from Las Sabanas to connect with the transisthmian highway at the Madden Dam (Represa de Alhajuela), will be constructed of concrete, with two lanes and equal in width to the transisthmian highway and will have the same specifications as the highway which runs from Chorrera to Rio Hato.
10) The Government of Panama sees with satisfaction the promise made by the United States Government to change the railroad station of the city of Panamá, so as to facilitate the plans for urban improvement. It considers it advisable, however, that the Government of the United States undertake to change the said station to a spot within the Canal Zone, or under Panamanian jurisdiction, as the Republic of Panama may decide at the time. When the change of the railroad station is made, the present station, the patio used now by the Railroad Company, and the various buildings adjacent to the said patio and belonging to the said Company will pass to the possession of the Government of Panama.
11) In the event that transit is interrupted on the highways of the Republic for more than two consecutive hours, on account of the transportation of war matériel or troops of the United States, in time of peace, an adequate indemnity shall be allowed to Panama, determined by common agreement between the two countries, as compensation for the damages caused the national economy of Panama and caused to private persons, including the loss of perishable products or products which are liable to putrefaction or exposed to decay due to delay in transportation. Moreover, damages suffered by [Page 455] national highways or roads as a result of maneuvers of the American army will be repaired at the expense of the United States, which will likewise see to the maintenance of the defense highways.
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The Government of the Republic of Panama, once more giving proof of its good friendship for the people of the United States and of sincere cooperation in the solution of the problems which affect both countries, has already given the military authorities of the Panama Canal possession of the lands recently requested for the better defense of the Canal in the present international conflagration. That fact and the assurances given by the Under Secretary of State to the Ambassador of Panama in Washington concerning the good disposition with which the Government of the United States would receive the Panamanian petitions as soon as Panama heeded the request made with respect to the defense sites seem to justify the confidence which the Government of Panama feels that these petitions will be favorably settled in their entirety, thus making possible a better understanding in the agreements concerning the leasing of such areas of land, so closely connected with the said petitions.