Memorandum by the Acting Assistant Chief of the Division of Central American and Panama Affairs (Bennett) to the Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs (Miller)1

As an indication of current thinking in the Defense Department relative to the need of defense sites in the Republic of Panama, remarks of Lt. Gen. Matthew D. Ridgway2 during a recent conversation [Page 721] with. Mr. Vicinus, INP, as reported to be [me?] by the latter, are of interest. In discussing with Mr. Vicinus material for a forthcoming article in a Brazilian publication on hemisphere military strategy, General Ridgway said that Defense planning has changed so markedly from what it was even as recently as 1947 that there is no longer any desire on the part of the Defense Department for bases in the Republic of Panama. General Ridgway remarked to Mr. Vicinus that there is not only no intention at this time to request negotiations for new sites, but that the Defense Department would be “embarrassed” were Panama to raise the question on her own initiative since Defense would then be forced into taking publicly a negative position. …

  1. Also addressed to Willard F. Barber, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs; Paul J. Reveley, Director of the Office of Middle American Affairs; and Murray M. Wise, Acting Officer in Charge of the Division of Central America and Panama Affairs.
  2. Commander in Chief, Caribbean Command, up to September 1949.