819.154/6–2446: Airgram

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


A–739. Authorization is given for an exchange of notes (your despatch 1852, June 24, 19464) outlining the changes which have already been made in modification of Article VIII of the General Treaty of 1936 and the further modifications desired relative to the proposed Colon Corridor. No objection is perceived to taking advantage of the presence of equipment and labor already in the vicinity of the Corridor in order that the necessary work looking to the final completion of the Corridor will go forward pending the final approval of a new convention which the Department considers necessary.

It would seem advisable that any new convention with Panama authorizing changes in the Corridor should also include the additional related items which are of concern to Governor Mehaffey (your despatch 2910, October 8, 19454). Thus all desired and appropriate changes in boundary between the Canal Zone and the Republic of Panama can be authorized by one Congressional act.

The Embassy is requested to consider carefully with Canal Zone authorities all paragraphs of Article VIII, particularly the last four, and advise whether in making the contemplated Corridor changes this Government will be called upon to assume any commitments different or additional to those already in effect or authorized, and if so, to what extent. Drafts of proposed exchange of notes, when prepared to satisfaction of all local authorities should be submitted to Department for approval before final negotiation.

Department would like confirmation of its understanding that all expenses of the Corridor changes will be borne by the Government of Panama except those between the Escondido River and Randolph Road, a section of the Boyd–Roosevelt Highway, for which money presumably is at hand in the accounts of the Public Roads Administration. In other words, the Department is interested in knowing whether the exchange of notes and the eventual negotiation of a new convention will all be effected without this Government’s being called upon for any appropriation or designation of funds not already made.

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