The Secretary of State to Senator Chan Gurney 99


Dear Senator Gurney: It has been pointed out to me that the Senate has added the following proviso, pertaining to the Panama Canal, of the War Department Civil Functions Appropriation Bill:

“that no alien employed on the Canal Zone, who may secure United States Civil Service status, shall be paid a salary or wages, wholly or in part, from monies appropriated by this Act.”

This proviso, if it becomes a law, will violate our 1936 Treaty with Panama which was ratified by our Senate in 1939. As you know, steps have been taken to implement this Treaty whereby Panamanian citizens may participate in a few classified positions in the Canal Zone. This action on the part of the United States has been favorably received in the Republic of Panama. To nullify this action by law would create the impression that the United States does not live up to its international agreements and would definitely jeopardize our present negotiations with Panama in regard to defense sites for the protection of the Canal. We have already been accused of bad faith by Panamanians and by various anti-American elements throughout Latin America with respect to the defense sites. A definite case of bad faith, such as this would be, would be of invaluable aid to these elements in their anti-American campaign. Further, if this proviso becomes law, it may well have serious effects on the United States carrying out its [Page 962] program at the Rio de Janeiro Conference1 scheduled for the near future.

I urge you most sincerely to eliminate this proviso in the final bill.

Faithfully yours,

G. C. Marshall
  1. Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
  2. For documentation on this Conference, see pp. 1 ff.