711F.1914/10–3146: Telegram

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

confidential
us urgent

563. Deptel 555 Oct 28. Dept expressed its willingness to consider issue joint statement provided question interpretation termination clause 1942 agreement not aired therein and provided no time limit set for new negotiations. By Deptel 515 Oct 3 and Deptel 530 Oct 10 Dept expressed objection to interim arrangements. Panamanian counter-proposal (urtel 688 Oct 31) includes all three objectionable features (viz endorsement of Panamanian “interpretation”, 90 day stipulation, and proposal to establish interim arrangement). It accordingly represents no compromise whatsoever and we assume that you have already informed Pan authorities that in those respects it is completely unacceptable to your Govt.

The arguments supporting the military necessity of a new agreement, based on the commitments of Panama set forth in 1936 treaty are already familiar to you and have furthermore been explained by General Crittenberger to Pres of Pan.

Notwithstanding foregoing, in final effort to find formula within framework Pan so-called counter-proposal, we would consider issue of joint statement in revised form as follows:

“The Governments of Panama and the United States reiterate their recognition of traditional friendship which unites them and again manifest their determination to comply with their joint responsibilities in all matters pertaining to Panama Canal, defense of which plays vital part in security of both countries and of hemisphere, and at same time safeguards interests and sovereignty of Rep of Pan. In this spirit the two Govts have now consulted as to most effective means to protect Canal in the future.

In conformity with agreement of May 18, 1942, the Government of Panama made available to Government of United States for defense purposes 134 sites within the Republic. 98 of these sites have already [Page 1129]been returned to Panama. In view of their mutual interest in the broad aspects of security and in view of their conviction that such security can only be obtained through closest possible continued collaboration, the two Govts consider that it necessary to maintain certain defense sites within the Republic of Panama and have agreed that a revised defense sites agreement should be reached, based on the General Treaty of 1936.

Accordingly, the two Governments have agreed that, until a new accord is reached which will provide for the defense needs of the Canal, the provisions of the 1942 agreement will continue in effect irrespective of interpretations of the respective Governments as regards termination date thereof.

Negotiations to replace the 1942 agreement will begin at once and will be carried out as expeditiously as possible.”

Byrnes