The Ambassador in Panama (Wilson) to the Secretary of State
[Received 7:45 p.m.]
211. For Bonsal. Reference our telephone conversation this morning. I delivered the message to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and [Page 463] we had a discussion of 2 hours, the gist of which is as follows: He requests the Acting Secretary to reconsider the matter and withdraw objection to the publication of the statement. He points out that Panama has already complied with a large part of her obligations by delivering the defense sites, that public opinion here is anxious to know what Panama is to get in return, and that continued delay in making known the nature of the United States reply to the Panamanian requests, particularly since it is known that the Cabinet met on July 31 to consider our reply, would have an unfortunate effect on public opinion. He said that the statement would make it clear that there had been no final agreement, and that our reply was contingent upon the conclusion of a contract.
I asked why the Panamanian Government could not reply in the next few days to our proposal for the contract thus making it possible to issue a statement covering the complete negotiation. He said that the preparation of their reply would take several days and he regarded it as urgent to inform opinion here of what Panama was to receive in return for advance compliance with her part of the proposed contract.
I inquired if he could give me any idea of what his Government has in mind as rental for private lands, indicating that I could not conceive that Panama would seriously ask more than a fair current price. He said this point had not yet been determined.
I agreed to submit to the Department his request for reconsideration. Please cable reply.