The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense ( Forrestal )


Dear Mr. Secretary: On October 1, 1948 a new administration came into office in the Republic of Panamá with the inauguration of Domingo Diaz Arosemena as President.

President Diaz has indicated in informal conversations with Ambassador Davis at Panamá that he considers solution of the problem of United States bases in territory of the Republic as one of the primary tasks of his administration. In his inaugural address on October 1 he referred to the matter publicly with a statement to the effect that Panamá is ready to make any sacrifice consistent with her dignity and sovereignty for the purpose of cooperating in the defense of the Canal.

In as much as it seems likely that the Government of Panamá will shortly approach this Government formally on the issue of a new defense sites agreement, the Department would appreciate having an expression of the current views of the National Military Establishment with respect to the need for such an agreement with the Republic of Panamá and provisions desirable for inclusion in an agreement.1

Sincerely yours,

Robert A. Lovett
  1. Letter of October 28, 1948, is cited in letter of January 18, 1949, which will appear in a subsequent volume of Foreign Relations.