819.00/12–249: Telegram

The Ambassador in Panama (Davis) to the Secretary of State


790. In view improvement in situation and possibility Panamanian Government may be able qualify for recognition (Embtels 7801 and 781 December 1), latter in two sections, it is suggested points of policy and tentative plans be adopted for use in the event Department decides after consultation with American states to extend recognition. Following is submitted for Department’s consideration if above suggestion is approved:

It is recommended that a statement based on recognition policy as applied present case be prepared with view to forestalling at least some of the criticism to be expected in US and abroad. In order to counteract misunderstanding and false impressions here, it should stress fact that nonrecognition is not used by US as political weapon for or against any individual official or government, and that recognition does not necessarily mean approval of government or means by which it assumed power.
It is considered important that satisfactory assurances be obtained in advance that present government accepts as valid and binding official acts and commitments of previous governments, particularly the bilateral aviation agreement signed and ratified under Diaz regime. While not specifying any other agreements or understandings, [Page 734] such assurances would increase possibility that new regime might respect the undertaking to settle El Encanto and other claims forthwith on basis agreed upon some time ago, even though not confirmed by formal exchange of notes, and would probably cover adequately other matters affected by exchanges of diplomatic correspondence. These include arrangements for cooperative programs our agricultural missions, vocational education program of Institute Inter-American Affairs, etc.
An opportunity might be afforded in this connection for the Panamanian Government to confirm its policy already announced publicly with respect to the treatment it will accord foreign business interests in the Republic.
To the above may be added any other matters usual in such circumstances.
Consideration might be given to preparing also a brief statement of policy with regard to our relations with Panama designed to have good political effect on both the government and the general public for issuance before or just after recognition. If the Department wishes to follow this suggestion, the Embassy will be glad to submit draft for approval.2

  1. Not printed.
  2. In a letter of December 3 to Ambassador Davis, not printed, Mr. Miller commented on this telegram as follows: “I have just read your long telegram giving suggestions as to the publicity in connection with possible recognition and I am fully in agreement with your point of view. If we can act aggressively and assuredly in these matters, we can sometimes even succeed in capitalizing on an apparent catastrophe and have our policies better understood.” (819.00/12–349)