810.20 Defense/7–745: Airgram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Panama (Donnelly)

A–977. The War Department is radioing General Brett,1 requesting him to cooperate with you in the preparation of a short and tentative agenda which can be presented to the Panamanian representatives as the basis for staff conversations with United States military representatives. (Reference is made to the Department’s instruction 213 of January 10, to the Embassy’s despatch 702 of November 8 [1944]2 and to previous correspondence indicating that the former Panamanian administration had accepted this Government’s proposal to hold exploratory bilateral staff conversations.) The agenda to be prepared by the Embassy and General Brett should not include the subject of defense sites, since the question of bases has been specifically excluded from all staff conversations and will be dealt with in later separate negotiations. No mention should be made of civil air problems, since they properly lie beyond the scope of these conversations.

The Department recognizes the difficulty of drawing up a suitable agenda for conversations of a military character with a country maintaining no army and navy, particularly within the limitations on the agenda outlined above. However, the Department still believes that it is desirable to hold conversations with Panama in order that that country may be treated equally with all the other American republics which have cooperated in hemisphere defense. The agenda should be short and couched in general terms, since it is believed that the conversations will not be of long duration.

When you have drawn up an agenda along the lines given above, a copy should be sent to the State Department, and General Brett will likewise send a copy to the War Department. Final approval will be given by the two Departments, following which the Embassy will be [Page 1232] notified that a date may be set for conversations with the Panamanian Government.

  1. Lt. Gen. George H. Brett, Commanding General, Caribbean Defense Command.
  2. Neither printed, but for text of the enclosure to the Department’s instruction, “Statement of Procedure in the Conduct of Bilateral Military Staff Conversations”, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vii, p. 130.