The Department of State to the Panamanian Embassy
On February 18, 1941 the Ambassador of Panama left with the President of the United States a memorandum listing twelve points in the relations between Panama and the United States with respect to which positive action by the United States was requested. On May 20 and June 23, 1941, respectively, supplemental memoranda on the same points were left with the Department.
These points and the observations with regard to them have been carefully and sympathetically considered by the Under Secretary of State of the United States, who has had the pleasure of discussing them with the Panamanian Minister of Foreign Relations and with the Ambassador of Panama in Washington.
The action which the Government of the United States is willing to take, subject in some instances to the approval of Congress, regarding each of the Panamanian requests is set forth below. If the action contemplated meets with the approval of the Government of Panama, it is proposed that a formal exchange of notes in regard thereto take place simultaneously with the reaching of an agreement by the two Governments on the terms of the contract whereby the Republic of [Page 456] Panama, in accordance with its obligations under the provisions of Articles II and X of the Treaty of 1936, will permit the utilization by the Government of the United States of certain lands and waters in the territory of the Republic for the effective protection of the Canal, an enterprise in which the two countries are jointly and vitally interested.
1. The waterworks at Colón and Panamá
When the authority of the Congress of the United States shall have been obtained therefor, the Government of the United States will transfer to the Government of the Republic of Panama free of cost all of its rights, title and interest in the system of sewers and waterworks in the cities of Panamá and Colón.
At that time the United States will renounce the exercise of the discretionary right which it obtained in the first paragraph of Article VII of the Convention between the United States and the Republic of Panama signed at Washington November 18, 1903, as modified by Article VI of the Treaty between the United States and Panama signed at Washington March 2, 1936, to acquire lands, buildings, water rights or other properties necessary for purposes of sanitation such as the collection or disposal of sewage and the distribution of water in the cities of Panama and Colón. The United States, likewise, will renounce the authority contained in Article VII of the above-mentioned convention of 1903 to impose and collect water rates and sewerage rates in those cities which shall be sufficient to provide for the payment of interest and amortization of the principal of the cost of said works within a period of fifty years.
If the Panamanian Government so desires, the cities of Panamá and Colón may continue to receive supplies of water from the Canal Zone at the outlets now provided at the Canal Zone boundary at a reasonable rate to be agreed upon by both Governments.
Likewise, if the Panamanian Government so desires, the cities of Panamá and Colón may continue to use, to the extent prevailing at present and with the facilities now available, the sewage disposal services of the Canal Zone. The water rate to be agreed upon will include the cost of these services.
If at any time the Government of the Republic of Panama should desire to renounce the use in part of the water supply and sewerage facilities of the Canal Zone referred to above, the two Governments would agree upon the charges payable by the Republic of Panama for the use of such facilites as it may desire to retain.
The Government of the Republic of Panama should agree that employees of the Panama Canal and the Panama Railroad Company residing in the Republic of Panama shall not be charged higher water [Page 457] or sewerage rates than those charged other residents of Panamá and Colón, respectively, for similar services.
2. Railroad Lots in Panamá and Colón
The President will seek the authority of the Congress of the United States to transfer to the Republic of Panama free of cost all of its rights, title and interest to the lands now belonging to the Panama Railroad Company in the cities of Panamá and Colón which are not currently or prospectively needed for the maintenance, operation, sanitation and protection of the Panama Canal, or of its auxiliary works, or for the operation of the Panama railroad. The Panama Railroad Company will convey to the Republic of Panama those lands which it possesses within that portion of Manzanillo Island lying within the area bounded by a line described as follows: (See copy of map M 5036–3 attached.40)
Beginning at the point where the Canal Zone–Republic of Panama (city of Colón) boundary line intersects the western shore line of the arm of Manzanillo Bay known as “Boca Chica” or “Folks River”; thence following the Canal Zone–city of Colón boundary line northerly to Eleventh Street and westerly on Eleventh Street to the center of Front Avenue; thence northerly along the center of Front Avenue and its prolongation to the center of Second Street; thence easterly along the center of Second Street to the center of Bolivar Avenue; thence northerly along the center of Bolivar Avenue for a distance of 222 feet, more or less; thence easterly, approximately parallel to Second Street and generally following an existing sidewalk to the center of Paseo del Centenario (Central Avenue); thence southerly along the center of Paseo del Centenario (Central Avenue) for a distance of 71 feet, more or less, to a point opposite the prolongation of a cyclone fence which constitutes the southern boundary of the Cristobal School playground; thence easterly, northerly, and northeasterly, to, and along the above-mentioned fence and its prolongation to the center of Coconut Alley; thence southerly along the center of Coconut Alley to the center of Second Street; thence easterly along the center of Second Street to the center of Melendez Avenue (“G” Street); thence southerly along the center of Melendez Avenue (“G” Street) to the center of Seventh Street; thence easterly along the center of Seventh Street to the center of Avenida de Roosevelt; thence southerly along the center of Avenida de Roosevelt to the center of Ninth Street; thence easterly along the center of Ninth Street and its prolongation to the Canal Zone–city of Colón boundary at the mean low water line on the westerly shore of Manzanillo Bay; thence following along the above-mentioned boundary in a southerly and westerly direction to a point where said boundary intersects the prolongation of the face of the curb on the westerly side of Melendez Avenue (“G” Street); thence northerly along said prolongation and the face of the curb on the westerly side of Melendez Avenue (“G” Street) to its intersection with face of curb on the southerly side of [Page 458] Sixteenth Street prolonged; thence westerly and southerly along face of curb on southerly side of Sixteenth Street prolonged to its intersection with the centerline of Domingo Diaz Avenue prolonged; thence southerly along the prolonged centerline of Domingo Diaz Avenue to its intersection with the Canal Zone–city of Colón boundary at the mean low water line on the northerly shore of Folks River; thence westerly and southerly along said boundary to the point of beginning, excepting, however, lot No. 22, block No. 26 as shown on Panama Canal drawing S–6104–78, sheet 65, and lot No. 1189 as shown on Panama Canal drawing S–6104–78, sheet 16, which lie within the above-described area.
The Panama Railroad Company will retain in the city of Panama as an area necessary for its operations those lands now occupied by passenger and freight terminals with appurtenant tracks and yards. The remaining areas now in possession of the Panama Railroad Company in the city of Panamá will be conveyed to the Republic of Panama. (See copy of map M 5036–3 attached.)
3. The commissaries and post exchanges
The Government of the United States and the Government of the Republic of Panama, in accordance with the exchange of notes accompanying the Treaty between them signed at Washington on March 2, 1936 “will continue to cooperate in all proper ways … to prevent smuggling into territory under the jurisdiction of the Republic of goods imported into the Canal Zone” and for that purpose it is agreed that the Governor of the Panama Canal will appoint a representative to meet with a representative appointed by the Government of the Republic in order that regular and continuing opportunity may be afforded for mutual conference and helpful exchange of views bearing on this question.
4. The construction of a tunnel or bridge to allow transit under or over the Canal at Balboa
The Government of the United States is well aware of the importance to the Government and people of Panama of constant and rapid communication across the Panama Canal at Balboa and is willing to agree in principle to the eventual construction of a tunnel under or a bridge over the Canal at that point, but cannot give assurances that this can be done during the emergency. Pending the carrying out of its intention, the Government of the United States will give urgent attention, consistent with the exigencies of the present emergency, to improving the present ferry service.
5. Jurisdiction over roads and highways in Panamanian territory
All roads constructed by the United States in the territory under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Panama shall be under the jurisdiction [Page 459] of Panama. The military authorities of the United States, however, in the interest of the safety of the military installations on defense sites will retain the right for reasons of military requirements to prohibit public traffic on portions of the access roads near the said sites.
The Government of the United States is willing to agree with the Government of the Republic of Panama to the appointment of a joint commission consisting of one representative of each Government whose duty it would be to examine at least twice annually the roads in the Republic, exclusive of the Trans-Isthmian Highway, which are utilized frequently or periodically by the armed forces of the United States.
The United States will undertake the repair at its cost of any damage or wear to such roads caused by transit of the armed forces of the United States as determined upon by the joint commission. In case the joint commission failed to agree with respect to the damage caused, adjustment of the controversy would then take place through diplomatic channels.
In consideration of the undertaking by the United States to repair and maintain roads in Panama to the extent maintenance and repairs are required as a result of United States military traffic, during the continuation of the present emergency as provided in Article X of the Treaty of 1936, the Government of the Republic of Panama grants permission for members of the armed forces of the United States, the civilian members of such forces and their families, as well as animals, animal-drawn and motor vehicles employed by the armed forces or by contractors employed by them for construction work, freely to use all roads in the Republic of Panama. It should be understood that, except in periods of emergency when right-of-way should be given to movements of troops, animals and vehicles of the armed forces, every reasonable precaution should be taken to avoid interruption to the public traffic of the Republic of Panama.
6. Labor for the Canal Zone
The Government of the United States is aware of the immigration policies of the Republic of Panama as stated in Article XXIII of the Constitution of that Republic, promulgated on January 2, 1941 and, although jurisdiction over immigration into the Canal Zone rests solely with the Government of the United States, that Government will cooperate to the extent feasible under present circumstances in meeting the expressed policy of Panama in this matter. Specifically, the Government of the United States will endeavor so far as practical to fill the needs for labor in the Canal Zone with classes of persons whose immigration is permitted by the Republic of Panama and will forbid the entry into the territory of the Republic of those persons whom [Page 460] Canal Zone authorities have found or may find it necessary to introduce into the Canal Zone but whose immigration into the Republic is prohibited by the Republic of Panama. Such persons will be repatriated when their services are no longer required.
7. Desire of the Panamanian Government that our military and Zone police be armed only with billies while in the territory of Panama
The Government of the United States agrees that only the commissioned officers of the military police and shore patrols of the United States when on duty in the cities of Panamá and Colón may carry side arms. It agrees that members of the Canal Zone municipal police may not carry arms of any sort while in the Republic of Panama, and similarly, the Government of the Republic of Panama will agree that members of the police of the Republic of Panama shall not carry arms while in the Canal Zone.
8. Provision of electrical current from the Alhajuela Dam for use in the Republic
The Government of the United States agrees in principle that electrical energy, whenever an excess beyond the needs of the United States is available in commercial quantities at the generating station of the Panama Canal at Madden Dam, will be furnished upon request of the Panamanian Government, to the cities of Panama and Colón at a price and at points to be agreed upon between the two Governments.
9. The assumption by the United States of the entire cost of the Rio Hato Highway
The Government of the United States will, after the necessary funds have been obtained by appropriation from the Congress, liquidate the credit of $2,500,000 made available to the Republic of Panama by the Export-Import Bank for the construction of Panama’s share of the Chorrera-Rio Hato road.
10. The moving of the railroad station at Panamá
The Government of the United States agrees in principle to comply with the wishes of the Republic of Panama regarding the removal from their present site of the terminal facilities of the Panama Railroad in Panamá including the station, yards and other appurtenances. This agreement, however, is subject to the making available without cost to the Government of the United States by the Republic of Panama of a new site deemed suitable for the purpose by the two Governments.[Page 461]
11. Desire of the Panamanian Government for an indemnity in case traffic is interrupted on account of our troop movements
The Government of the United States is not prepared at this time to enter into any formal agreement regarding indemnities for the interruption of traffic on the highways of the Republic of Panama. If, however, serious interruptions of traffic should occur, the Government of the United States will be pleased to examine in a friendly spirit any claims advanced by the Government of the Republic of Panama.
12. The desire of the Panamanian Government for three gasoline or oil tanks at Balboa
The Government of the United States will make available to the Republic of Panama a right-of-way beginning in the port of Balboa and ending at the Canal Zone–Republic of Panama boundary at a point to be agreed upon by the two Governments for the construction of a petroleum pipeline. It will also agree that the facilities of the Panama Canal for discharging bulk petroleum products from ships berthed at Balboa and for the direction of such products into the pipeline above-mentioned would be made available in regular turn to the Republic of Panama at a reasonable cost. It should be understood that the Republic of Panama would bear the cost of the construction of the pipeline as well as pay for any damage which might accrue to the property of the United States as the result of the construction or maintenance thereof. The cost of pumping such petroleum products from Balboa to the Canal Zone–Republic of Panama boundary would be borne by the Republic of Panama which would install and maintain the necessary pumping facilities for the purpose.
- Not attached to file copy.↩