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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1955-1957. American republics: Central and South America

Panama,   pp. 243-349 PDF (34.6 MB)

Page 248

248    Foreign Relations, 1955-1957, Volume VII
117.    Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for
        Inter-American Affairs (Holland) to the Secretary of State'
                                        Washington, January 17, 1955.
     Political Developments in Panama
     Fast moving political developments in Panama have placed a
new man in the Presidency over the weekend. The most recent
changes have resulted from the cracking of the hitherto unsolved
murder of President Rem6n on January 2. An attorney in Panama
City has confessed to the crime2 and has implicated President
Guizado and two of his business associates. The assassin was heavily
in debt from gambling and allegedly had been promised a Cabinet
post for carrying out the deed. The National Assembly rejected
President Guizado's request for leave of absence pending an investi-
gation of the charges against him and has instituted impeachment
proceedings. Guizado has been suspended from office and placed
under arrest. The Second Vice President, Ricardo Arias Espinosa, was
sworn in as President early Saturday morning, January 15. The new
President appears to have the support of the National Guard and
there have been no disorders or disturbances.
    The new President is 43 years old, a scion of one of Panama's
wealthiest and most influential families. He was educated in the
United States at the Shenandoah Military Academy and Georgetown
University. He has widespread business interests in Panama and has
held a number of high Government posts, chiefly by appointment.
He was Minister of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry under
Arnulfo Arias from 1949-1951 and Minister of Labor, Social Welfare
and Public Health under Colonel Rem6n from 1952-1955. He is
believed to be friendly toward the United States and the Embassy
reports that he wishes to push ahead with the signing of the treaty.
The new President is regarded by most observers as being much
preferable to his immediate predecessor from the viewpoint of the
welfare of Panama and U.S. interests on the Isthmus, in view of the
tainted reputation of the latter and his past history of anti-Ameri-
canism. No question of recognition arose as Constitutional proce-
dures were followed. Ambassador Chapin is conducting relations
normally. Dr. Fabrega, who was chief spokesman of Panama's Spe-
cial Negotiating Mission here last year, has been named Foreign
    ' Source: Department of State, Central Files, 719.00/1-1755. Confidential.
by Sowash.
    2 ue Mir6.

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