United States-Panamanian Treaties

United States-Panamanian Treaties

 

unequal treaties imposed by the USA on Panama. According to the 1903 treaty, signed on Nov. 18 in Washington, Panama was obliged to grant to the USA the permanent use of a zone of Panamanian territory 16.1 kilometers wide for the construction and operation of a canal linking the two oceans. The USA was also given the right to build fortifications and to maintain troops in this zone and to exercise authority there as if it were sovereign in this territory. The USA could place and deploy its troops in any region of Panama, at any time and at its own discretion. As compensation, the USA made a single payment of $10 million to Panama in 1904 and, from 1912 on, began paying $250,000 a year to Panama. The 1936 treaty, which was signed on Mar. 2 in Washington, abrogated and revised some clauses of the 1903 treaty. In particular, the rent for the Panama Canal Zone was raised to $430,000 a year. The USA renounced several articles of the 1903 treaty that were demeaning to Panama, such as article 1, article 7 (which gave to the USA the right to maintain order in the cities of Colón and Panama) and some other articles. Panamanians were given the right to trade and some other rights in the Canal Zone. But the basic articles of the 1903 treaty remained in force. According to the 1955 treaty, which was signed on January 25 in the city of Panama, the US gave up its monopoly right to the construction of railroads and highways on the Panama isthmus. Some of the land in the Canal Zone was returned to Panama, and the rent for the Canal Zone was increased to $1,930,000 a year. In June 1967, Panama and the USA reached an accord on signing three agreements that were to replace the US-Panamanian treaties of 1903, 1936, and 1955. But since the basic question—the transfer of the Panama Canal to Panama’s sovereignty—is not solved by these agreements, a broad protest movement got under way against the agreements. The signature and ratification of the agreements were postponed indefinitely.

REFERENCE

The Department of State Bulletin, vol. 32. Washington, 1955. Pages 238–41.

S. A. BORISOV and E. L. NITOBURG

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