The Secretary of State to the Secretary of War (Stimson)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Reference is made to a letter of January 2, 1945 signed jointly by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy and to a subsequent memorandum of August 13, 1945,86 from the Chief, Liaison Section Theater Group, DPD, WDGS, all relating to the establishment within the Republic of Panama of an airport for international commercial use. Also, particular reference is made to the report and recommendations, dated October 19, 1944, of the Commanding General, Caribbean Defense Command,87 furnished to the Department of State on December 8, 1944.

The State Department concurs with the War and Navy Departments that the recommendations of the Commanding General should [Page 1262] be approved in principle. While the State Department has recently been advised confidentially that the President of Panama and his Cabinet have decided to re-establish the Aviation Commission created in 1929, it is of the opinion that a Permanent Joint Aviation Board, such as recommended by General Brett, should continue to receive the serious consideration of the War, Navy and State Departments as an organization preferable to the former Aviation Commission. In this connection, there is forwarded herewith copy of the Minutes of August 28, 194588 of the ACC Subcommittee on Panamanian Commercial Aviation.

The Department believes, and its opinion is supported by the members of the ACC Subcommittee, that General Brett should refrain from offering assistance to Panama in framing and establishing new national civil air regulations until such time as a policy regarding control of civil aviation within the Republic of Panama is determined by the ACC Subcommittee and approved by all of the Departments and Agencies participating in the study.

The Department of State will be pleased to keep the Secretary of War informed concerning whatever progress is made in the studies referred to above.

Sincerely yours,

James F. Byrnes
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Transmitted to the Department by the Chargé in Panama in his despatch 2409, August 9, 1945, not printed. The Report contained these recommendations: (1) The United States should have exclusive jurisdiction over the air space above the “Defended Zone”; (2) there should be a Permanent Joint International Aviation Board to resolve aviation matters and coordinate flight plans and devices to control air traffic; (3) the United States should retain authority over procedures of the airport; (4) immigration and customs functions at the airport should be exercised by Canal Zone officials; (5) Canal Zone officials should operate a mail station. (819.796/8–945)
  3. Supra.