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Foreign Relations of the United States

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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919

Panama,   pp. 679-696 PDF (5.6 MB)

Page 680

shortness of time intervening between the date of its receipt and
the date of your departure for Panama does not permit of as com-
prehensive an answer, point by point, as the importance of the
matters discussed should properly receive.
The administrative and executive reforms, the sound projects for
the development and betterment of the condition of the people, both
urban and rural, of Panama are the fruit of the lofty intellect of
a statesman. A sympathetic acceptance of such ideas is assured
by their very nature. Actuated by the frank and friendly spirit of
sympathy and cooperation which has ever marked your relations
with this Department and by your very evident intention to do your
utmost to forward the happiness and peace of Panama, it does not
seem inappropriate while discussing as a whole plans for the better-
ment of conditions in Panama to put forward a suggestion with
regard to the Panaman police system.
Were the American Instructor of the Panaman Police placed
under the direct orders of the President of the Republic, entirely
independent and apart from the control of the Department of the
Interior and were the police force as well as the Police Courts abso-
lutely and irrevocably removed from political influence throughout
the Republic, a great step toward assuring better conditions would
have been made. The police of the entire Republic should be under
the Instructor and the Instructor should have complete control over
the punishing, rewarding and training of his force. These powers
are obviously necessary to him. He and his force must be absolutely
and permanently withdrawn from all political influences. This last
suggestion should also be true of the Police Courts whose efficient
functioning is a necessary corollary to the preservation of public
order. The reform of the Police Courts should, it is believed, be
undertaken only after consultation and in cooperation with the
American Police Instructor.
In commenting on the plans you have for the future welfare of
Panama, in the carrying out of which you desire the Government
of the United States to assist materially, this single suggestion re-
specting the public order of the Republic is put forward as a much
to be desired step.
The observations you make relative to the vice, drug and liquor
evils and of your intention to use your best endeavors to make
Panama as wholesome and attractive a spot as possible cannot fail
but awaken a responsive echo. Your statement that the Govern-
ment of the Republic of Panama will suppress every lottery of
the country meets with the hearty approval of the Department of

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