125. Memorandum of Conversations Between the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Holland) and Foreign Minister Octavio Fábrega, San Francisco, June 23 and 24, 19551


  • Panama Treaty

I had two talks with Fábrega. In each of them he expressed his deep concern at the fact that the Panamanian Treaty had not yet gone before the Senate and his earnest hope that it would before the end of this session. The arguments which he used included:

The very difficult political problems which would be caused domestically if the treaty were not approved at this session. He pointed out that failure to approve the treaty would be interpreted widely in Panama as a demonstration of lack of confidence in the present administration on the part of the United States.
He said that Panama had undertaken financing arrangements and obligations on the assumption that the treaty would be approved at this session of Congress, and that they would receive for the ensuing year the new and increased annuity. He said that postponement for a year of this increased receipt would put the Panamanian Government in an embarrassing financial position.
He pointed out that the Panamanians were counting on the increased annuities to meet their obligations in connection with the accelerated program regarding completion of the Inter-American Highway.
Finally, he urged that the Panamanians felt that the approval of the treaty in a sense marked approval by the United States of the general program and policies of the late President Remón.

It is my impression from everything that Fábrega said that the real reason for his great concern is the obvious one that the present administration feels that failure to approve the treaty in this session of Congress will create exceedingly difficult problems for it in the forthcoming presidential elections.

I told Fábrega that on two occasions the Department of State had expressed its interest in early consideration of the treaty, and that we would continue to do so. I asked him if he was aware of any opposition to the treaty. He said that he was not. I said that I had heard rumors to the effect that any opposition to the treaty would probably come either from the sector of organized labor or from United States shipping interests. I suggested that he might well [Page 259] try to keep himself informed as to the possibility of any such opposition.

He said that he was going to New York on Monday of the coming week and would be in that region for about seven days. I agreed that I would look further into the present situation of the treaty and, if I could, would give him a ring in New York.

In the course of the second of our two conferences, he gave me a copy of a cable which he said he had just received from President Arias, of which a copy is attached to this memorandum.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.1913/6–2355. Confidential. Drafted by Holland. Holland and Fábrega were in San Francisco for the special session of the United Nations, June 20–26, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the founding of that organization.
  2. Not printed.