The Ambassador in Panama (Hines) to the Secretary of State

No. 584

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instruction No. 531 of December 4, 1945,16 enclosing the draft of a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with Panama.

The Embassy has examined the provisions of the draft and perceives no objections to them, but feels that the proposal is perhaps too long and too complicated and respectfully suggests that it be re-examined in the Department with the view of simplifying it. While the Embassy [Page 1278] is still of the opinion that such a treaty should be negotiated with Panama for the purpose of protecting present and future business interests of United States citizens in this country, the need for such a treaty is not as urgent as it was in September 1945 because the National Constituent Assembly has adopted a more reasonable attitude toward United States business interests in Panama. If the National Constituent Assembly approves the recommendations of President Jimenez with respect to treatment to be accorded to citizens of the United States in Panama there may be no immediate need for such a treaty. The Assembly will study the provisions of the constitution having to do with the nationalization of commerce this week and the Embassy will follow the debates with interest. Should it develop that it would be advisable to present a draft of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation prior to the promulgation of the constitution, the Embassy will so inform the Department. Another objection to presenting the treaty at this time is that in all probability the Panamanian Government would counter with a proposal for a commercial treaty, including a number of items having to do with relations between Panama and The Panama Canal.

I have not informed the representative American businessmen in Panama of the proposed treaty, however, I met with them last week for the purpose of ascertaining their views on commercial discriminations, etc., in Panama, and I enclose a copy of memorandum of conversation17 prepared at that time from which it will be seen that if the proposed constitution is approved in accordance with the President’s ideas, these gentlemen will be satisfied.

Respectfully yours,

Frank T. Hines
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