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


Dear Mr. Secretary: Since 28 October 1948 when the Secretary of the Army furnished you with the joint views of the Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force with respect to a new defense sites agreement with the Republic of Panama,1 the Joint Chiefs of Staff have initiated a review of the requirements of the National Military Establishment for defense sites on a world-wide basis. Until this study has been completed and final action taken on it by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a definite reply cannot be made to your letter of 18 January 1949.

When the Joint Chiefs of Staff have reached their decision with respect to world-wide base sites requirements, you will be advised of the position of the National Military Establishment with respect to base sites requirements in Panama. Until this determination has been made, it is preferred that you take no affirmative action with respect to negotiations with the Republic of Panama for defense sites.

Sincerely yours,

James Forrestal
  1. For excerpts from Secretary Royall’s letter of that date, see footnote 1 to the letter from Acting Secretary Lovett to Secretary Royall, January 18, 1949, p. 703.