"Life Magazine" - March 17, 1941
Another part of the Canal Zone's Military History
On March 5, 1941 President Dr. Arnulfo Arias of the Republic of Panama
eased a big U.S. defense worry. In a manifesto he declared Panama
would co-operate in hemisphere defense by providing the U.S. air bases
in Panama's territory. This set U.S. military minds at rest for
two reasons: 1) the U.S. would get needed bases and 2) the U.S. would
not have as much troubled with President Arias as it once was feared it
The Panama Canal is vital to U.S. defense because it enables a one-ocean Navy to fight in two oceans. To protect the Canal against air raiders, the U.S. must station planes outside the Canal Zone to intercept bombers before they get near the Canal. Already the U.S. has at least one base outside the Zone (Rio Hato). under the new arrangement it will have other bases, listening posts, communications centers and anti-aircraft stations scattered all throughout the isthmus jungles.
The U.S. had fears of trouble with President Arias, who is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, because after his election last autumn Dr. Arias adopted a strong nationalist, "Panama for Panamanians" policy. He did not seem disposed to help the U.S. Now that he is so disposed, the first line of Canal defense will be pushed farther out in front of the big guns which guard the Canal Zone's two coasts.
Although this short article didn't mention other airfields besides Rio
Hato, there were others such as Albrook, Pacora, Miller (Ft. Clayton) and
France Fields. There may have been others that I don't know about.
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History of the Canal Zone" lesson presented by CZ Images.