819.00/12–449: Telegram

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

798. For Murray Wise. Re our telephone conversation1 following statement released to representative La Estrella de Panama and Star and Herald at 8 p. m. Saturday, December 3:

Question: the AP story published in the Star and Herald this morning has resulted in speculation that the main condition for US recognition of the new Panamanian Government is that the police heads be removed. Does this interpretation reflect the official view of the Embassy and the Department of State? Reply: No, it definitely does not do so. The US Government has not imposed any conditions relating to the police of Panama nor any other internal matter as having a bearing on recognition. The decision will be based on the general policy as summarized by the Secretary of State, the Honorable Dean Acheson, in his speech on September 19,2 when he indicated that in cases such as this we would wait to see whether the new government ‘realty controls its territory and intends to live up to its international commitments’. He added that we could consult with other governments as we have often done in the past.

He stated further that ‘non-intervention in the internal or external affairs of another American representative [Republic]’ is one of the basic principles of the US policy. It means literally just what it says. No conditions whatsoever are imposed to attempt to influence the solving of problems of purely domestic character. Non-recognition is not [Page 738] directed against any person nor is it employed as an instrument of indirect intervention. It merely reflects disapproval of the use of force to replace legal democratic procedures. I refer to the several statements to the press of Assistant Secretary of State Edward G. Miller on the subject”.

Above was featured prominently on front page in both Spanish and English editions this morning with summary of earlier policy statements.

  1. In a long distance telephone conversation of December 2, 1949, Ambassador Davis expressed concern at a rumor, attributed by him to Harmodio Arias, that the United States was making removal of the police chiefs a condition of recognition. The Department gave the Ambassador permission to deny this rumor. (819.00/12–249)
  2. See Department of State Bulletin, September 26, 1949, p. 462.