The Secretary of State to the Panamanian Ambassador ( Guardia )

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to Your Excellency’s note no. D–571 dated August 4, 1942 and previous correspondence relative to the erection at Albrook Field in the Canal Zone of a concrete construction designed to serve as a new administration building for Pan American Airways.

I am pleased to note that Your Excellency’s Government is fully cognizant that the needs and dangers arising out of the present world crisis require extraordinary measures of watchfulness and control over air activities which might endanger the defenses of the Panama Canal, and that it does not wish to place any obstacle in the way of essential or required improvements of the airdrome at Albrook Field. My Government appreciates this expression of the friendly attitude of the Government of Panama and fully realizes, as Your Excellency has stated, that the Republic has given most active and effective cooperation in matters relating to the defense of the Panama Canal, the American Hemisphere and the cause of the United Nations.

Although no one can be sure of what the post war situation may be with respect to the development of commercial aviation, the Commanding General of the Caribbean area believes that a permanent administration building at Albrook Field will always be necessary as a measure of military preparedness. He has stated that this will be the case irrespective of whatever measures the Panamanian authorities may wish to take with respect to the construction of a national airport. To me this appears to be a reasonable and sound statement and I am unable to see why the Panamanian Government need have any apprehension over the erection of a permanent administration building at Albrook Field. As Your Excellency is no doubt aware, this building is a project sponsored and supervised by the War Department and financed by the Government of the United States to meet additional needs brought about by the war.

The Department has once more given careful consideration to the statements contained in Your Excellency’s note of August 4 relating to the possible applicability of existing treaty provisions to the matter under discussion. However, the same conclusion has been reached as previously set forth, particularly in the Department’s notes of August 5, 194174 and June 23, 1942 to the Ambassador of Panama at [Page 634] Washington, to the effect that the provisions of the Treaty of 1936 between our two countries are not infringed by the construction of the administration building at Albrook Field. As I am sure Your Excellency’s Government will readily agree, this Government not only intends but has endeavored in every practical way to comply strictly with both the spirit and the letter of this Treaty and of the agreements supplementary thereto.

Accept [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles
  1. Not printed.