Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Miller) to the Secretary of State

In accordance with the general recognition policy stated in your speech of September 19, 19491 we have been in consultation this week with the other American Republics. In general the situation seems to be that (1) all agree that there was no outside intervention in the recent political upheavals in Panama; (2) the government has a broad popular basis of public support (in fact it seems generally agreed that Arias was fraudulently deprived of victory in the election last year) and there seem to be no questions of civil liberties involved; and (3) the present government apparently intends to live up to its international commitments and the Foreign Minister has made a public statement to that effect.

The replies to our consultations to date seem to indicate general trend towards willingness to continue diplomatic relations with the new government, although there is some reluctance on the part of some of the more “democratic” governments. Such reluctance in general seems to be based on a misunderstanding of our recognition policy which we are trying to clear up in an intermediate circular telegram today.

Although Arias was at one time strongly antagonistic, all indications are that he has completely changed his position.

Under all the circumstances, our present intention is to instruct our missions to inform the other American Republics on Monday, December 12 of our intention to establish relations with the Arias regime on [Page 741] Wednesday, December 14. This will involve a total lapse of 3½ weeks since the overthrow of the Chanis regime and of two weeks since Arias came into power. Since Cuba and Venezuela have already recognized the regime and since others will probably follow suit next week, it is probable that we will be about in the middle of the procession on recognition.

Since the President has in the past expressed interest in questions relating to recognition, do you think it desirable that he be informed of the foregoing?2

  1. See editorial note p. 462.
  2. In a letter to President Truman of December 9, 1949, not printed. Under Secretary of State James E. Webb reviewed American policy with regard to recognition of the Arias régime and stated that unless Mr. Truman indicated otherwise by 10 p. m. of December 10, recognition would follow according to the schedule outlined above (819.01/12–949).