711F.1914/10–2846: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Panama (Hines)


556. Deptel today’s date re defense sites.39 In considering general situation of our relations with Panama we are impelled to note that in addition to behavior of that Govt re 1942 Defense Sites Agreement, Panama is giving other evidence of irresponsibility in matters of common concern, which if continued can only impair existing good will and lead to ultimate serious disadvantage to Panama itself as well as ultimately to endanger security of Canal. For example, far from settling important Encanto claim40 as promised 2 months ago (thus paving way for round table discussions) FonMin has raised (ur Desp 2632, Oct 1541) totally unacceptable new issue in connection therewith, while simultaneously by threats of bad behavior internationally he is confusing other issues such as alleged zone employee discrimination and creating atmosphere of distrust even hostility on part of Panamanian people. These developments are profoundly disquieting.

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We are eager to discuss with Panama frankly and in orderly manner any subject touching our special relationship resulting from operation of Canal across Panamanian territory. We have publicly so declared. We recognize Panama sovereign independent state and wish to support that country’s legitimate national pride. The 1936 treaty sets this forth in both general and concrete terms and establishes joint responsibility as basis of our association. We earnestly desire excellent relations founded on mutual respect, but obviously can only maintain them if discharge of our respective responsibilities is genuinely two-way street proposition.

Please bear foregoing in mind as situation develops.

  1. No. 555, supra.
  2. El Encanto claims arose in 1915 by reason of injuries to American soldiers and property damage resulting from disturbances in the Coco Grove section of Panama.
  3. Not printed.