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Memorandum for Mr. Martyn1
September 14, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
At the cabinet meeting yesterday the question of importation of Jamaican negroes by the Canal Zone authorities was discussed. The President is unwilling to consent at present to the importation of further Jamaicans. He suggests that the authorities in the Canal Zone notify the President of Panama that unless the strikers go back to work we will have to import negroes from Jamaica by a fixed near date. He predicts that will settle the strike.2
This business is not in my department, so I am passing it on to you to be put into the proper channel. However, the result of it is a matter of deep concern to me, particularly any turbulence that might develop, which is a purely military question.
I will give a copy of this to Colonel Morrison Stayer, of Governor Edgerton’s staff, who is now in town and who has been charged, I understand, with the presentation of this phase of the Canal problem in Washington.3
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. John W. Martyn was the War Department’s administrative assistant and chief clerk.
2. A strike began on September 5 among workers clearing land for a new set of locks for the Panama Canal at Gatun. Most of the men, who were Panamanians protesting over wages and food, were back at work by September 9. (New York Times, September 7, p. 6, and September 10, 1940, p. 3.)
3. Morrison C. Stayer was the chief health officer and Colonel Glen L. Edgerton (U.S.M.A., 1908) was the governor of the Panama Canal Zone. Both were Regular Army men scheduled to be promoted to brigadier general on October 1, 1940.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 306-307.