May 2, 1979 • 2030 • Panama-State • 3192

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979PANAMA03192_e.html.]

UNCLASSIFIED
PAGE 01
PANAMA 03192 022053Z
ACTION OCS-06
INFO OCT-01 ARA-15 ADS-00 CA-01 L-03 ABF-01 /027 W
——————021872 032132Z /65

R 022030Z MAY 79
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2240
UNCLAS PANAMA 03192

EO 12065: N/A
TAGS: CASC, XX
SUBJECT: REQUEST TO RETAIN PANAMANIAN COUNSEL
REF: 2FAM 283.3

1. THE EMBASSY FACES AN INCREASING NUMBER OF COMPLEX LEGAL PROBLEMS THAT AFFECT ITS ABILITY TO REPRESENT US CITIZENS OR US INTERESTS ADEQUATELY IN PANAMA. EXAMPLES ARE THE REQUEST TO ASSIST THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN OBTAINING INFORMATION ON PEOPLES TEMPLE ACCOUNTS IN PANAMA, SOME OF THE ISSUES IN THE CITRICOS AND BOSTON-PANAMA EXPROPRIATION CASES, AND THE EMERGING PROBLEMS ON INTEGRATION OF US-OWNED BUSINESSES FROM THE CANAL ZONE INTO PANAMA ON OCTOBER 1, 1979. WE ANTICIPATE MORE TRADE AND INVESTMENT CASES WHEN THE GOP BEGINS TO LET CONTRACTS ON LANDS AND FACILITIES IT WILL RECEIVE PURSUANT TO THE PANAMA CANAL TREATY. THERE ARE ALSO SPECIAL CONSULAR CASES OF VARYING DEGREES OF COMPLEXITY WHICH MAKE ADVICE OF LOCAL ATTORNEYS NECESSARY.

2. THE EMBASSY RETAINED THE FIRM OF MORGAN Y MORGAN TO ASSIST THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN THE PEOPLES TEMPLE CASE. IT REPRESENTED JUSTICE EXTREMELY WELL. THE FIRM CONCENTRATES ON COMMERCIAL CASES AND IS ONE OF PANAMA’S MOST IMPORTANT AND RESPECTED. THE TWO SENIOR PARTNERS ARE GRADUATES OF THE YALE LAW SCHOOL, THE THIRD OF THE

UNCLASSIFIED
UNCLASSIFIED
PAGE 02 PANAMA 03192 022053Z

TULANE LAW SCHOOL. THEY ARE WELL INFORMED ON AND RESPONSIVE TO US LEGAL PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS. COST OF SERVICE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WAS DOLS 100 PER HOUR, ALTHOUGH THE PRICE MIGHT BE REDUCED UNDER A RETAINER BASIS OF INDEFINITE DURATION FOR THE EMBASSY.

3. MORGAN Y MORGAN HAS VOLUNTEERED INTEREST IN REPRESENTING THE EMBASSY. THE FIRM DOES NOT ACCEPT CRIMINAL CASES; HOWEVER, WE UNDERSTAND THAT IT MIGHT BE ABLE TO PLACE THEM WITH AN ATTORNEY WHO ENGAGES IN THIS PRACTICE. IT MIGHT BE NOTED THAT NO TOP-FLIGHT LAW FIRM IN PANAMA ENGAGES IN CRIMINAL AND CIVIL PRACTICE.

4. BEFORE APPROACHING MORGAN Y MORGAN, WE REQUEST THE DEPARTMENT’S GUIDANCE ON THE FOLLOWING POINTS:

A. IF THE WORDING OF THE 2FAM 283.3 IS NOT REGARDED AS LIMITING THE EMBASSY TO ONE ATTORNEY, COULD THE EMBASSY ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH MORGAN Y MORGAN FOR COMMERCIAL CASES AND A SEPARATE CONTRACT WITH ANOTHER ATTORNEY FOR CRIMINAL CASES?

B. WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE FOR THE EMBASSY TO RETAIN MORGAN Y MORGAN FOR COMMERCIAL CASES AND PERMIT THE FIRM TO SUB-CONTRACT CRIMINAL CASES TO ANOTHER ATTORNEY? BILLING WOULD BE MADE THROUGH MORGAN Y MORGAN TO SATISFY THE REQUIREMENT OF 2FAM 283.3.

5. EMBASSY’S PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE IS A, SINCE WE BELIEVE IT WOULD (A) GIVE GREATER FLEXIBILITY IN CHOOSING AN ATTORNEY FOR CRIMINAL CASES AND (B) PERMIT SOMEWHAT LOWER FEES.

MOSS

UNCLASSIFIED
NNN

Originally posted on October 23rd, 2020.

Last modified on November 15th, 2020.
Skip to main content