119. Editorial Note

The Presidents of the American Republics met in Panama City on July 21 and 22 at the invitation of President Arias. Originally scheduled for June 25 and 26, the meeting was postponed because President Eisenhower underwent surgery on June 9. The Presidents convened during the meeting of the Council of the Organization of American States held July 18 to 22 commemorating the Congress of Panama. President Eisenhower stayed in Panama from July 20 to 23 and was accompanied by Secretary Dulles and Assistant Secretary Holland. In a memorandum of conversation, June 7, Dulles wrote that he told the President he “had better go with him to Panama. He [the President] said this was entirely agreeable to him and what he would wish except that he did not want to put me in the position where I would be subordinated in an undignified way by all of the other Presidents. I mentioned that the other Presidents were bringing their Foreign Ministers; that he would be having direct talks with some of the other Presidents where probably I should be present, and that I had been criticized in Latin America for ignoring Latin [Page 451] America. The President recognized the validity of these points.” (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President)

The signing of the Declaration by all the heads of state or their representatives on July 22 climaxed the ceremonial program. For text of the Declaration, see Department of State Bulletin, August 6, 1956, page 220. A list of the signers of the Declaration and a copy of it were transmitted to the Department of State in despatch 29 from Panama City, July 30. (Department of State, Central Files, 362/7–3056)

After the signing ceremony, each President was given an opportunity to make brief remarks. In his speech, President Eisenhower proposed that each country send a representative to the United States to help prepare recommendations for making the Organization of American States a more effective instrument. Although the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs had prepared a draft of the President’s speech (memoranda of July 3 and 12, from Randall to Holland; Ibid., OAS Files: Lot 60 D 665, President’s Committee to September 1956), the President preferred a draft which Secretary Dulles personally wrote and sent him on July 17. The President wrote his corrections on the draft and approved it with the request that Dulles add a sentence about the peaceful uses of nuclear power. The Secretary’s letters of July 17 to the President and of July 19, to Ann Whitman containing the additional sentence, are in Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DullesHerter Series. The text of President Eisenhower’s speech is printed in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1956 (Washington, 1958), pages 609–612.

On July 23 and 24 President Eisenhower held a series of conversations with all the heads of state or their representatives attending the conference with the exception of President Alberto F. Zubiria of Uruguay. Copies of these memoranda are in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, Panama Chronology and in Eisenhower Library, Whitman File.