An important activity of New Deal diplomacy was the negotiation of bilateral treaties and other agreements that reshaped the traditional relationship between the United States and Caribbean republics. In Cuba, for instance, the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration agreed to abrogate the Platt amendment, which had served for thirty years as legal foundation for a Cuban protectorate. Under the aegis of the Good Neighbor policy the last marines departed from Haiti. In Panama, however, New Deal diplomats seeking to alter the isthmian protectorate raised fears for the security of the canal. Military observers contended that the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903, which allowed American intervention in Panamanian politics, was vital to the preservation of strategic interests. From 1933 to 1936 Panamanian and American negotiators labored in Washington to modify the 1903 treaty in accordance with isthmian political and economic aspirations while still safeguarding the “jugular vein” of the continental defense system. The product of these discussions was four treaties, signed in March 1936, of which two remained unperfected and two others waited until mid-1939 for ratification. The long negotiations of all four treaties not only offer an illustration of the business of diplomacy but also constitute a “test case” of the Good Neighbor policy in the most important strategic site in the Caribbean.

By the late 1920s the Panamanian fascination with the American technological establishment that had constructed the Panama Canal had been replaced by deep resentment. The impact of a world depression served to exacerbate tensions because Panamanians found themselves competing for unskilled jobs on the “silver roll” with West Indian Negroes, whose forefathers had been imported by the American establishment to supply the manual labor for the canal construction. Skilled, or “gold roll,” employment was generally reserved for Americans. Panamanians now condemned the foreigner—whether American technician or West Indian laborer—as an invader who seized the profits of the international waterway while Panamanians suffered economic deprivation. The ill effects of the depression were especially acute in the terminal cities of Panama City and Colón. In these ports lived the emerging middle classes of Panama, who depended on the commercial prosperity of the canal for their livelihood. Most of these middle-class groups had migrated from rural to urban areas, where they had managed to acquire the rudiments of an education and had entered business or government service. As much as the unemployed Panamanian who competed with Negroes in the Canal Zone, the middle classes of Panama City and Colón resented American policy in Panama and sought greater commercial benefits from the canal. Similarly, these elements were xenophobic, expressing hostility towards the encroachment of Anglo-Saxon norms in isthmian life. They were constant agitators for nationalization of foreign-owned businesses, and they militantly demanded a larger share in the economic benefits of the canal.1

Isthmian nationalism found expression also in the Acción Comunal coup of 1931. Founded in 1926, this society represented an important opposition to the presidency of Florencio Harmodio Arosemena, whom it accused of having organized electoral fraud to capture the executive office. By 1931 accusations of financial peculation and political scandals involving Arosemena reached a high pitch, and on January 2, Acción Comunal launched a coup which successfully unseated the Panamanian president.2 Ironically the refusal of American Minister Roy Davis and Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson to send troops into Panama City (as authorized by the 1903 treaty) failed to quell the anti-Americanism that had become an integral part of Panamanian nationalism. Though the coup had all the appearances of an impromptu Latin American cuartelazo, its roots reached into several decades of isthmian history. Throughout the nation, but especially in Panama City and Colón, the depression had brought to the surface old hatreds towards the American structure in the Canal Zone. At the same time the entrenched political hierarchy that had ruled Panama for generations largely on threats that any revolt would trigger Marine intervention now found itself completely discredited. Hereafter, politicians would appeal to the electorate in openly anti-American tones.3

The Yankeephobia which was now a portion of Panamanian polities carried over into the electoral campaign of 1932. Relations with the United States became the overriding issue in the election, for only a reduction of American influence in the isthmus would allow Panama greater access to canal wealth. None of the candidates sought the endorsement of American officials.4 The victor in the contest was Dr. Harmodio Arias, an intellectual who had served as a representative in the National Assembly during the 1920s. In 1911, after several years of study in London, he had published a treatise calling for the internationalization of the unopened canal.5 Since then he had taken a consistently hard line on American policy in Panama. As president he was determined to frame a program that would mitigate the harsh effects of the depression. A moratorium on the national debt, a savings bank, and a reduction in civil service salaries assuaged but did not end the economic distress. Arias recognized that Panama’s economy was inextricably bound up with that of the Canal Zone. Only by a greater share in the benefits of the canal could Panama solve her economic problems. Newspapers and civil organizations which had supported his campaign now clamored for revision of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty. In early October, 1933, Arias left Panama to carry his battle to the White House.6

Arias’ visit to the United States was an important prelude to the revision of the 1903 treaty. During a preliminary discussion with Roosevelt, the Panamanian executive learned that he must negotiate also with the State, War, and Navy Departments. Accordingly, Arias prepared a detailed memorandum, marked “personal and unofficial,” for Secretary Cordell Hull. Briefly, the proposal called for more participation by Panamanian merchants in Canal Zone commerce, a reduction of sales by the commissary (special stores in the Zone that sold at reduced prices), and a termination of the subsidiary business activities of the Panama Railroad, which owned several hotels and rental property in Panama City and Colón. Having outlined these points, Arias suggested the following recommendation as a future foundation for American-Panamanian relations:7

  1. That the canal is to be used, occupied and controlled exclusively for the maintenance, operation, sanitation and protection of the canal already built;

  2. That as a consequence of the above the Republic of Panama shall be placed in a position to insure for her own development, the commercial advantage inherent to her own geographical location, without, on the one hand, affecting the maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection of the canal by the United States . . . nor her judicial, police, and administrative jurisdiction in the Canal Zone, nor, on the other hand, prejudicing the prosperity of Panama or her prestige as a nation;

  3. That the government of the United States favors the solution by means of arbitration of such questions of an economic nature which may arise and which cannot be decided directly by the two Governments.

Although Arias had taken care to safeguard many traditional American privileges in the Canal Zone, the three general propositions had far-reaching implications. The first, for instance, could be interpreted as a limitation on the powers consigned to the United States in Article III of the 1903 convention. Inherent in the second proposition was a criticism that Panamanian rights heretofore had not received recognition. Finally, the suggestion of arbitration possibly infringed on canal defense, operation, and maintenance, since certain kinds of economic activity related directly to those functions.8

Arias’ memorandum received a more conciliatory judgment from State than from War or Navy Departments. Secretary Hull agreed that some limitation ought to be placed on commissary sales, but he was unwilling to adopt the retrenchment that Arias proposed. More important, Hull offered a substitution for the Arias three-point proposal. Essentially, the secretary’s version of points one and two was similar to that of the Panamanian president except that Hull’s plan strengthened United States powers in the operation, maintenance, and defense of the canal. Point three proved more troublesome, but Hull was willing to accept arbitration of economic questions “not so clearly associated with the maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection of the canal as to involve possible derogation from the rights granted to the United States by the Treaty of 1903.”9

Hull’s counterproposal finally appeared with slight modification as the Roosevelt-Arias memorandum of October 1933. Probably the most important change was the omission of the phrase, “as to involve possible derogation from the rights granted to the United States by the Treaty of 1903.”10 The memorandum represented a considerable triumph for Arias. Roosevelt and Hull had altered his recommendations, especially the three-point proposal, only slightly, and although he had failed to obtain a formal treaty, the memorandum committed the Roosevelt administration to grant a “new deal” to Panama.11

Arias was still not satisfied. The Good Neighbor credo must be implanted in a formal convention, he argued, for a future administration might rescind any promises in the Roosevelt-Arias memorandum. Panamanians feared that already the Canal Zone officialdom was formulating plans for canal expansion which would mean alienation of more lands and waters under the eminent domain provisions of the 1903 treaty. In June 1934 the governor of the Canal Zone held a conference with Sumner Welles and Edwin Wilson of the Department of State which confirmed these suspicions. The governor depreciated any justification for a new convention and contended that the canal had not been “completed” as the Roosevelt-Arias memorandum presumed. Construction was then being undertaken on the isthmus, he pointed out, and future canal enlargement would be facilitated if the old legal safeguards and privileges were retained.12

But the Department had decided already to yield to Panamanian pressures for treaty discussions. Preliminaries were arranged by Hull on his return from the epochal Montevideo Conference of December 1933. “I felt,” he wrote later, “it was important to agree upon a new treaty if we were to establish better relations with the people of Panama.. . .”13 For the actual negotiations, however, Hull turned to Sumner Welles, a brilliant career diplomat who specialized in Caribbean affairs and who had been a troubleshooter for the government in that area since the 1920s. Like Roosevelt and Hull, Welles possessed genuine sympathy for isthmian grievances.

Through the early months of 1934 Welles arranged a series of 110 conferences with the Panamanian delegation headed by Ricardo Alfaro.14 Both Welles and Alfaro were extremely nationalistic and shrewd diplomats. Welles was inclined to yield to Panamanian aspirations for de facto independence; yet he remained responsible for the protection of strategic interests of the United States. Alfaro viewed his mission as a kind of crusade to recover the sovereignty which Panama had lost in 1903 because of her inexperience in international politics. In his opinion the founding fathers of the republic had unwisely trusted American paternalism. The gross inequity of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, he believed, proved the ill effects of such political myopia.15

The conferees agreed to discuss the old treaty one article at a time, postponing commentary on Article I. Under Article II American authorities had taken additional Panamanian territory for the purpose of maintaining or improving the canal. Conceivably, as Alfaro emphasized, the United States might exercise a lien on the entire country, for the 1903 treaty had placed no limitation on the extra lands and waters that could be attached to the Canal Zone. Although he appreciated Alfaro’s logic, Welles fell back on the old strategic argument—a future war might demand extensive appropriations of lands and waters for canal security. Indeed, Roosevelt himself had stated earlier to the Commission that the American government could not relinquish fully the prerogatives under Article II.16

Most of the difficulty over Article II lay in the inability of the Commission to find a satisfactory definition of rights that would limit American expansion yet provide for future acquisitions if necessary. From Panama, William Burdett, the American chargé, wrote of public eagerness for a new treaty and proposed that the Department alter article II so as to “safeguard our needs rather than our rights and at the same time avoid injuring Panamanian pride.”17

Both Welles and Alfaro were moving slowly in the direction of Burdett’s suggestion. In March 1935, Roosevelt had offered his own prescription that by a liberal interpretation of the new treaty Panama and the United States should discuss any future problem of appropriation.

Obviously the president assumed that in the event of an emergency any responsible Panama City government would be willing to cooperate in defensive measures and that Panamanian administrations would be friendly to the needs of the United States.18 Welles, however, perceived the flaw in his superior’s argument. More pessimistic than Roosevelt about the cooperation of future Panamanian executives, he held out for additional safeguards. Alfaro was now given an ultimatum: he could accept the compromise Article II for the new treaty or delay the negotiations. The new Article II, which Alfaro then reluctantly accepted, was a compromise. In it the United States renounced the objectionable “perpetuity” phrase of the old Article II, and Panama recognized a joint duty to cooperate with the United States in the future if canal defense demanded territorial acquisitions. No specific delimitation of lands and waters was written into the treaty.19

At the same time the commissary question, not fully solved by the 1933 executive agreements, returned to plague the discussants. To Panama these retail stores not only deprived Panamanian merchants of canal trade but also symbolized the American determination to Anglicize the isthmus. By expanding its services in the Canal Zone, the commissaries had exaggerated their delegated duty to provide supplies not available locally. Panamanian critics viewed the arrangement as a means of exploiting the canal’s economic potential to the detriment of Panama.20 These protests overlooked, however, the practical services rendered by the commissary system. Sometimes the War Department strained to find a plausible justification for activities of the commissaries, but in general it had good reason to argue that the canal outlay required an efficient, dependable supply adjunct. As Secretary of War George Dern explained, canal operation necessitated businesses “of a character which in the United States would be left to private initiative.”21

Although Welles continued to insist that commercial activities in the Zone were related directly to canal operation, Roosevelt had already made substantial concessions to Panama in 1933. The immediate problem was to rephrase the administrative reforms of the Roosevelt-Arias memorandum in a formal treaty article. Welles pointed out that a detailed list of prohibitions in the new treaty might hamper future arrangements between Panamanian merchants and Canal Zone authorities. But Alfaro wanted to draw specific limits around commissary activity, lest Canal Zone officials interpret a broadly worded injunction to suit American interests. Thus Article III of the new treaty declared that businesses in the Zone should be operated or used only by Canal Company employees, their families, or contractors and employees in residence. After March 2, 1936 (when the treaty was signed), all enterprises in the Zone must have a direct relation to the protection, maintenance, sanitation, or defense of the canal. Charitable, educational, religious, and scientific organizations that functioned exclusively within the Zone would qualify under this article. Finally Panamanian businessmen were to have equal opportunity for retail sales to ships in the canal.22

The Panamanian negotiators also won a limited victory in the question of transit across the Zone. For years Canal Zone police had prohibited the reentry into the Zone of “undesirables” and criminals.23 Such a practice was a blow to national pride, since it forbade certain Panamanian citizens to travel across the Zone from one part of the nation to the other. Once again Welles confronted a dilemma of practicality versus pride. Any solution would have to satisfy local police regulations yet salve Panamanian pundonor. He did not want the issue to dampen the agreements in other portions of the treaty. Welles proved conciliatory and recognized the inherent right of Panamanian citizens to cross the American sector, even if “undesirable” to Zone police. But Article IV of the new treaty made the right “subject to such police regulations as circumstances may require.. . .”24 It represented another step, albeit a small one, towards the assertion of Panamanian sovereignty in the Canal Zone.

An important part of the Panamanian campaign for a greater share of canal wealth was the question of employment in the Canal Zone. Because of the segregation of Zone occupations, Panamanians usually occupied the same status as “silver roll” West Indians who were paid tropical wages. The result was not only economic but racial jealousy, particularly in the hard years of the 1930s. What Alfaro wanted was equality of treatment with Americans in technical positions and preference for Panamanians over West Indians in unskilled jobs.25 The Panama Canal Company looked at the matter as solely an administrative one and argued, with some justification, that Panama really wanted most-favored-nation treatment in Zone employment. To this accusation Alfaro replied that Panama’s special relationship to the United States implied special consideration.26 Throughout the negotiations Welles refused to make any treaty obligation, contending that a formal commitment would bind the hands of canal officials. But Panama’s battle was not lost, for in 1939, when the European crisis prompted increased expenditures in isthmian defense, Roosevelt stipulated special consideration for Panamanians in the authorizations for new construction.27

The most irritating problem faced by the conferees was the effect of the concessions on canal security. To the War Department all the auxiliary functions of the Zone establishment were integral parts of the defense structure. To the Army fell the duty of defending the canal in order that the fleet might move rapidly from one ocean to the other, for in 1935 the “two-ocean” fleet was still in the future. One of the chief purposes of the 1903 treaty was to grant the United States broad powers of action on the isthmus to prevent any damage to the vital locks. If these privileges were now relinquished, it was argued, the defense of the canal would be seriously impaired. To retain the assurances of the old treaty, even at the expense of offending Panamanian pride, might be better than to relinquish Article I of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty and hamper defenses.28

But the United States had misused Article I. Framed as a guarantee of Panamanian independence, it had become the guise for American domination of isthmian affairs. It had provided legal foundation for sending Marines into Panama and for meddling in Panama’s foreign affairs. Under the shadow of Article I, Panama had become a virtual protectorate. In reality, Article I was a guarantee of dependence, not independence.29

Welles was willing to accept an abrogation of the despised article, if Panama in turn would commit herself to joint action in canal defense. He was satisfied that the original reason for article I had few merits in 1935. Panama had achieved political maturity, and the American government probably would not need to intervene in the future. Yet an unfriendly administration in Panama City might grant dangerous concessions to foreign powers. The central issue was the right of the United States to intervene unilaterally if necessary to defend the canal.30 Obviously such a question involved the old problem of sovereignty. If Alfaro approved Welles’ overtures for emergency unilateral action, then the obligation would imply a servitude on Panamanian sovereignty. Article I would reappear in another form to humiliate future Panamanian administrations. On the other hand, if both nations simply agreed to consult after a threat to the waterway, as Alfaro wished, costly delays might result. Welles noted a tragic possibility: if Panama antagonized a third nation, the American government would not wait for hostilities to erupt before it intervened to protect the canal.31 Panama must recognize a responsibility to canal defense. The final draft of Article X of the new treaty supported the concept of joint responsibility but underscored the right of both the United States and Panama to take unilateral action in an emergency:32

In case of an international conflagration or the existence of any threat of aggression which would endanger the security of the Republic of Panama or the neutrality of the Panama Canal, the Governments of the United States and the Republic of Panama will take measures of prevention as they may consider necessary for the protection of their common interests. Any measures, in safeguarding such interests, which it shall appear essential to one Government to take, and which may affect the territory under the jurisdiction of the other Government, will be the subject of consultation between the two Governments.

The Hull-Alfaro Treaty of March 2, 1936, represented a new understanding between the United States and the Republic of Panama. In it the two countries agreed: 1) to end the Panamanian protectorate; 2) to recognize Panama’s rights to a larger share of canal prosperity; 3) to increase the annuity from $250,000 to $436,000 dollars; 4) to recognize a joint commitment to canal defense; 5) to uphold the right of transit across the Zone for Panamanian citizens; and 6) to abrogate the treaty stipulation of intervention in Panama City and Colón.

In addition to the Hull-Alfaro Treaty, both countries signed a transisthmian highway convention, which terminated the Panama Railroad monopoly and provided financial aid in the construction of a Panama City-Colón highway.33 Two other treaties allowed Panama greater freedom in radio transmission on the isthmus, but these encountered vigorous opposition from the War Department and were not perfected.

The movement for treaties regulating the construction of highways and national radio transmitters stemmed from the Panamanian grievance that American canal strategy prevented Panama from integrating the interior population by means of roads and radio. In the early thirties the interior villages were still isolated from the major settlements in Panama City and Colón. The national capital on the Pacific was linked by rail with Colón, the canal’s Caribbean terminus, but the line belonged to the Panama Railroad Company, an American concern which held a monopoly on transisthmian communication under Article V of the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty. Panamanian efforts to construct their own highway were viewed by the railroad company as a violation of the treaty.

Moreover, American Army officers in the Canal Zone contended that a highway crossing the isthmus parallel to the canal would endanger security. Military theoreticians viewed the jungle alongside the waterway as an impenetrable barrier to any invader, for in the days before the aircraft carrier and long-range bombers canal defenders believed that a strike against the locks would be launched from sea and land. Many of them regarded the Panamanian highway project as an asset to an invader, who would probably land on the seashore, move his forces into the interior, and strike at the locks along the canal boundary. Such a highway, the War Department argued, would merely help him to move men and supplies.34

As for the question of radio transmission, the American military had supervised the establishment of radio transmitters for the Panamanian government since 1903. The legal foundation for such close control rested on Article I of the old treaty, whereby the United States had guaranteed the independence of the republic. By interpretation this meant that Panama had a “reciprocal obligation to give us the right to protect the Republic . . . and Canal Zone; the control of wireless will be a vital factor in preventing foreign encroachments and aggressions.” In practice, Panamanian government messages were broadcasted without charge, and paid commercial communications were sent out for a moderate fee. But the fact remained that all radio transmission near the canal was strictly under the domination of the American military.35

The debate within the Panamanian Treaty Commission regarding these issues was as spirited as that accompanying modification of the 1903 treaty. The Roosevelt administration readily accepted the Panamanian argument that the republic deserved a transisthmian highway to connect its principal cities, offered to extend financial aid, and looked with disfavor on the nontransportation business ventures of the Panama Railroad Company.36 It was the radio issue that ran afoul of numerous obstacles. The Panamanian representatives, Narciso Garay and Ricardo Alfaro, convinced the Americans that the question of radio control required a separate treaty and should therefore be excluded from the Hull-Alfaro agreement. What limited concessions from Welles was the testimony of a naval officer who asserted before the Commission that the erection of private installations would interfere with vital ship-to-shore transmissions near the canal. Welles’ feeling that a joint American-Panamanian board could be established to oversee isthmian radio communications substantially agreed with Alfaro’s beliefs. But the Panamanian diplomat would tolerate such a board only in wartime and insisted that American supervision of Panamanian radio in peacetime was an infringement of national sovereignty.

Heretofore, when the military had objected to the transisthmian highway treaty or to concessions in the Hull-Alfaro treaty, Welles and Hull had deferred to the Panamanian position. However, Welles believed the issue of radio transmission was crucial to isthmian defenses, so that the Roosevelt administration was “unshakable on radio matters and unable to make concessions in principle.” The United States, he told Alfaro, must oversee any radio message emanating from Panama City.37 In one clash with Alfaro, Welles became irritated:

ALFARO: It [American domination of radio in Panama] is a moral sacrifice which in the position that Panama finds itself at present means a great deal. WELLES: I am beginning to think . . . that this question is becoming more or less a fetish. . . . We are asking for cooperation for our common interests, the same as you have asked from us and we have been very glad to offer throughout these negotiations.

ALFARO: Your cooperation is not at the expense of your sovereignty and ours is.. . .

WELLES:. . . I am beginning to think that the precept, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” has been reversed as far as Panama is concerned. “It is more blessed to receive than to give.”

ALFARO: We gave all we could in 1903.38

A moral protest was Alfaro’s only consolation. Two radio conventions, signed at the same time as the Hull-Alfaro Treaty, provided for the organization of a joint board, as explained earlier, but ultimate control remained with Washington. In addition, one of these treaties allowed the transfer of two Navy installations to Panamanian jurisdiction. Unfortunately, neither treaty was approved, although the station transfer took place in 1940 with executive approbation. The other treaty remained under consideration in the Senate until 1947, when the President withdrew it for more study.39

After considerable delay, the Hull-Alfaro and transisthmian highway treaties were finally approved by the Senate in 1939. It is not within the scope of this essay to trace the fortunes of these conventions following their completion and signing in 1936. Briefly summarized, the senatorial tardiness was due to warnings from the War Department that the concessions to Panama would undermine canal defense. A secondary factor was the decline of Roosevelt’s political influence following the abortive attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court in 1937.40

Thus the labor of Panamanian diplomacy from 1933 to 1936 was successful in improving or ending the more repugnant features of the 1903 treaty. Clearly the impetus for change in American-Panamanian relations came from Panama City. Isthmian nationalism had found expression in the outbursts of anti-Americanism in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Raised to the presidency in the midst of a national depression, Arias was committed to obtaining greater economic benefits from the canal and a revision of the old treaty.

Nevertheless, the treaties of 1936 also owed much to the Roosevelt administration, for New Deal diplomats exhibited a willingness to give way to the rising nationalist aspirations of a Latin American republic. The records of the Panamanian Treaty Commission reveal clearly that on several occasions Welles yielded to Alfaro and rejected the importunings of the War Department. This flexibility and cooperation in the face of an aggressive Panamanian diplomacy resulted in long overdue reforms which partly satisfied the people of Panama for the time being and postponed a violent confrontation for at least another generation.


Georgina Jiménez de López, “La clase media de Panamá,” in Theo R. Crevenna (ed.), Materiales para el estudio de la close media en la América Latina (6 vols., Washington, 1950-1951), IV, 19, 21-24; Caroline Campbell and Ofelia Hooper, “The Middle Class of Panama,” in ibid., 56-57, 66-68; John Biesanz, “The Middle Class of Panama,” in ibid., 4, 6, 12; Governor of the Canal Zone to Edwin Wilson, Latin American Division, Department of State, December 11, 1934, 711.1928/297 3/8, National Archives. Hereinafter only the decimal number will be used to refer to the regular diplomatic correspondence. See also Ernesto Castillero Pimentel, Panamá y los Estados Unidos (Panamá, 1964), 216-217; David Turner Morales, Estructura económica de Panamá: el problema del Canal (México, 1958), 84; and “Nationalism in Panama,” Current History, XLII (6July 1935), 414-415.


J. Fred Rippy, “Political Issues in Panama Today,” ibid., XXVIII (1928), 226-227; Ernesto Castillero Reyes (ed.), Galería de presidentes, 1903-1953 (2nd ed., Panama, 1953), 43-44; “Unrest in Panama,” New Republic, LXV (November 26, 1930), 34; New York Times, January 3, 1931, 1:1, 3:1-4.


Davis to Stimson, January 6, 1931; Stimson to Davis, January 15, 1931, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States: 1931 (3 vols., Washington, 1946), II, 894-901; 903-904, hereinafter cited as FR and by year. See also Alexander DeConde, Herbert Hoover’s Latin-American Policy (Stanford, 1951), 60-61. John Biesanz and Luke Smith offer suggestions on the changing nature of Panamanian polities in the early 1930s in “Panamanian Politics,” Journal of Politics, XIV (August 1952), 398-399.


Castillero P., Panamá y los Estados Unidos, 277-278; William D. McCain, The United States and the Republic of Panama (Durham, 1937), 77.


The Panama Canal: A Study in International Law and Diplomacy (London, 1911).


“Panama’s New President,” Current History, XXXVII (December 1932), 341; Castillero R., Galería de presidentes, 56.


Arias Memo, October 11, 1933, FR 1933, V, 863-865.


Joseph Baker, Legal Adviser, Department of State, to Wilson, October 11, 1933, 711.19/183; Secretary of War George Dern to Hull, October 12, 1933, 711.19/128.


Hull to Roosevelt, October 13, 1933, FR 1933, V, 856-863.


Roosevelt-Arias Memorandum, ibid., 866-868.


In November 1933, Canal Zone officials began to comply with the spirit of the memorandum. Panama Canal Record, XXVII (November 15, 1933), 64.


George Merrell, Department of State, Memorandum, June 15, 1934, 711.1928/436½.


Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull (2 vols., New York, 1948), I, 345.


Sumner Welles, The Time for Decision (New York, 1944), 202-203.


Castillero R., Galería de presidentes, 48; Ricardo Joaquín Alfaro, Medio siglo de relaciones entre Panamá y los Estados Unidos (Panamá, 1959), 22.


Panamanian Treaty Commission Notes, April 23, 1934, 711.1928/436½ (hereinafter cited only by the date after the title, since the decimal number refers to the entire series of notes). Also, State Department to Panamanian Legation, n. d., FR 1934, V, 593-594.


Burdett to Hull, February 12, 1935, FR 1935, IV, 898.


Treaty Notes, March 8, 1935; April 24, 1935.


Ibid., May 1, 3, 1935; Treaty Series 945 (Washington, 1939), 3-4.


Turner M., Estructura económica, 86; Víctor F. Goytía, 1903: Biografía de una república (Panamá, 1953), 112-113; Castillero P., Panamá, y los Estados Unidos, 213-214; Lester H. Woolsey, “The Sovereignty of the Panama Canal Zone,” American Journal of International Law, XX (January 1926), 123-124.


Secretary of War, Report, 1935 (Washington, 1935), 24.


Treaty Notes, April 23, 1934; April 26, 1934; Treaty Series 945, 4-6.


American legation, Panama, Memorandum, July 17, 1934, 711.19/200.


Treaty Series 945, 9; Treaty Notes, March 30, 1935.


Alfaro Memo, December 1, 1934, 711.1928/297½.


Treaty Notes, May 27, 1935.


Hull to William Dawson, American ambassador, Panama, August 19, 1939, FR 1939, V, 750-751; Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Memoria, 1940 (Panamá, 1940), 313-314; 54 Statutes at Large, 292.


Secretary of War, Report, 1935, 25; Legal Adviser, State Department, Memorandum, October 4, 1934, 711.1928/273½.


Goytía, 1903, 80-81; Treaty Notes, November 21, 1934.


Burdett Memorandum, December 8, 1934, 711.19/205; Burdett to Hull, February 11, 1935, FR 1935, IV, 897.


Treaty Notes, June 10, 1935; October 25, 1935.


Treaty Series 945, 20.


Treaty Series 946 (Washington, 1939).


Preston James, Latin America (rev. ed., New York, 1950), 668-669; Historical Section, Panama Canal Department, United States Army, “History of the Panama Canal Department” (2 vols., unpublished, Office of the Chief of Military History, Washington), I, 38-39, 46, 58; Elbridge Colby, “The Safety of the Panama Canal,” The Military Engineer, XXXI (July-August 1939), 252.


Secretary of the Navy to Secretary of State, January 23, 1912, FR 1912, 1217-1218; William Price to Secretary of State, FR 1914, 1051; McCain, United States and Panama, 180; Canal Zone Code (1934), 39-40.


Treaty Notes, January 11, 1935, December 21, 1935; Norman Padelford, The Panama Canal in Peace and War (New York, 1942), 225-226; Treaty Series 946; Castillero R., Historia de comunicación interoceánica, . . . (Panama, 1941), 213-214; Stuart Godfrey, “Road Building in Panama,” The Military Engineer, XXX (January-February 1938), 51-52.


Treaty Notes, May 10, 1934; Padelford, Panama Canal, 104; Treaty Notes, May 31, 1935; June 7, 1935; July 6, 1935.


Ibid., July 12, 1935.


Ibid., August 8, 1935; Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Memoria, 1940, xi-xii; FR 1936, V, 855.


Hull Memo, September 21, 1937, 711.1928/655.

Author notes


The author is Assistant Professor of History at Central Washington College.