Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Acting Officer in Charge of the Division of Central America and Panama Affairs (Wise)

Participants: Monnett B. Davis, American Ambassador to Panama.
Edward G. Miller, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State.
Murray M. Wise, Acting Officer in Charge, Central America & Panama Affairs.

The Department telephoned Ambassador Davis to receive up-to-date information on the situation in Panama. The Ambassador stated that Mr. Miller’s statement to the press on Friday1 was excellent and had had the effect in Panama which we desired. He added that it was good tactics to make known our displeasure over the way the Government had come into power. According to the Ambassador, the Star & Herald had printed that morning Mr. Miller’s complete statement to the press.

Mr. Miller informed the Ambassador that he had talked to the Director General of the Pan American Union, the Mexican, Brazilian and Colombian Ambassadors, and to the Chilean Chargé d’Affaires and that they were going along 100% with our views and statements.

Mr. Miller said that he would like to make three significant points to the Ambassador with regard to recognition of the new Government. They were: 1) nothing would be done by the Department without first checking with the Ambassador; 2) recognition would not be extended until after consultation with the other American republics; and 3) consultation would not begin for some days.

Ambassador Davis then stated that in Panama he and his staff would follow a complete policy of non-recognition and would continue to express, when convenient, our displeasure, not over individuals but over the manner in which the new Government assumed power.

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The Ambassador spoke of the strikes in Panama and said that there was developing a serious shortage of gasoline. He said there had been considerable effort made to obtain gasoline from the Canal Zone but that the strikers in Panama City were ready to stone, or even seriously endanger the lives of anyone who attempted to move gasoline. Accordingly, the Ambassador felt that he could not ask any cooperation from the Zone. Mr. Miller told the Ambassador that he thought the best policy was for Americans not to interfere in any way with the strikes or make any attempt to break them.

The Ambassador felt there was a great danger that in Panama there would be a campaign by the press to misrepresent the U.S. position and to say that the U.S. was endeavoring to have Arias thrown out of office. Mr. Miller stated that propaganda against us was inevitable and that we must first make sure our course is correct and then pursue it irrespective of press comment.

M[urray M.] W[ise]
  1. November 25; see footnote 1 to telegram 760, supra.