Memorandum to Mr. Jonathan Daniels, Administrative Assistant to President Roosevelt 50

I desire to confirm in writing the opinion expressed orally to you, namely, that the Department of State attaches great importance to according Panamanian citizens equality of opportunity and treatment with United States citizens in connection with employment of labor by the United States in the Canal Zone. In the first place, this Government pledged itself at the time the 1936 general treaty with Panama was signed to accord such equality of opportunity and treatment. This Government has insisted upon compliance by Panama with a number of stipulations important to us in that treaty so that it is highly important that this Government for its part comply with provisions of particular interest to Panama. In the second place, labor conditions in the Canal Zone are observed carefully by all of the countries bordering on the Caribbean Sea so that it is very important that the labor policy of this Government be in accord with the general principles that the Government professes in connection with labor matters.

The Department is most anxious that something be done at once to bring labor practices in the Canal Zone into conformity with our commitment to Panama. In this connection there has been brought to our attention the suggestion of Governor Mehaffey of The Panama Canal that you make a visit to the Canal Zone in order to go into this suggestion at firsthand. This recommendation has the very hearty support of the Department. I hope that you will be able to make the trip. In the event that you go our Embassy at Panama would, of course, be instructed to lend you full support and assistance.

  1. Presumably drafted by Laurence Duggan, Director, Office of American Republic Affairs.