Declaration on the Panama Canal


Declaration on the Panama Canal


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




1914 January 27


Woodrow Wilson declared the Panama Canal to be under the control of the Secretary of War.


Wilson Papers, Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Washington, District of Columbia


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924--Correspondence


Memorandum made public by President Wilson in connection with the signing of an executive order direrecting the new government of the Panama Canal Zone, January 27, 1914, from the NY Times, January 28, p.1, col. 1 and p.2, col.6)

“In construing and carrying out the foregoing order, I direct that it be done with the following considerations in view:“I have deemed it advisable for reasons of efficiency, economy, and good administration to have all the activities connected with the Panama Canal under the supervision of one Cabinet officer.“The troops which will be stationed on the canal zone for the protection of the Panama Canal are under the Secretary of War. The Panama Canal act provides that in time of war an officer of the army shall upon the order of the President have exclusive authority over the operation of the Panama Canal and the government of the canal zone. The construction of the canal has been successfully carried on under the supervision of the Secretary of War. The logical conclusion is, therefore, that the supervision of the operations of the Panama Canal under the permanent organization should be under the Secretary of War.
The organization is to be in general accordance with the chart accompanying this memorandum, except that all of the various divisions and subdivisions need not be established until, in the opinion of the Governor, it is desirable to do so, the organization being expanded gradually as the necessities of the work require.
Jan. 27, 1914.”

Original Format




Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924, “Declaration on the Panama Canal,” 1914 January 27, WWP18312, First Year Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.