446. Editorial Note

On May 30, 1968, the Panamanian Board of Election announced that Arnulfo Arias had defeated David Samudio by approximately 175,000 to 134,000 votes. In an assessment of the prospects of the Arias government, Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research Hughes informed Secretary Rusk that “When it was obvious that despite extensive irregularities committed by Samudio partisans and the Guard, Arias and the NU had received an overwhelming majority of the votes in the May 12 elections, the Guard, perhaps fearing violence, moved to a neutral position assuring a relatively fair vote count and an Arias victory. It seems unlikely that Samudio can block Arias’ accession to the Presidency by October 1. The period prior to the inauguration will be one of horse trading between Arias, the other NU leaders, Samudio supporters, the National Guard, and anyone else who desires influence in the incoming government.” (Research Memorandum RAR–16 from Hughes to Rusk, July 22; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL PAN–US)