711F.1914/10–3146: Telegram

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

secret

688. Deptel 555 of October 28, 7 p.m. forwarding draft joint release suggested regarding defense sites. I had lengthy discussion with Acting Foreign Minister yesterday when I presented Department’s suggestion for joint release which would set stage for successful negotiations on new defense site agreement. See despatch 2765 October 31.42 At 2 p.m. today Foreign Office delivered counter proposal translation reading as follows:

“In conformity with the agreement of May 18, 1942 subscribed to between the Governments of Panama and the US, the Government of Panama made available to the Government of the US for defense purposes 134 sites within the Republic. 98 of these sites have been returned to Panama.

The Governments of the US and Panama declare extinguished the agreement of May 18, 1942 ignoring the opposing interpretations on the date said agreement terminates and consequently the Government of the US will return to Panama the defense sites which it continues occupying as soon as necessary arrangements can be made.

The Governments of Panama and the US reiterate their recognition of the traditional friendship which unites them and again manifest their determination to comply with their joint responsibilities in all matters pertaining to the Panama Canal, the defense of which plays a vital part in the security of both countries and of the hemisphere. In this spirit the two Governments have now consulted as to the most effective means to protect the canal in the future and have agreed that a revised [defense] convention must be reached based on the general treaty of 1936.

In view of their mutual interests in the complete aspect of security and in view of their conviction that greater security can be obtained [Page 1128]through closest possible and continuous collaboration, the two Governments consider that it is necessary to establish certain defense sites within the Republic of Panama.

Consequently the Governments of Panama and US are agreed that until the delivery of the afore-mentioned defense sites is accomplished and a new agreement reached which should be celebrated within a period of not exceeding 90 days and which will cover the defense necessities of the Canal and will contemplate the safeguarding of the interests and the sovereignty of the Republic of Panama certain defense bases may continue to function under the joint control of the two Governments”.

Hines
  1. Not printed.