|The American Presidency Project|
|• Woodrow Wilson|
|Executive Order 1885—To Establish a Permanent Organization for the Operation and Government of the Panama Canal|
|January 27, 1914|
|By Virtue of the authority vested in me, I hereby enact the following order, creating a permanent organization for the Panama Canal, under the Act of Congress "To provide for the opening, maintenance, protection and operation of the Panama Canal and the sanitation and government of the Canal Zone," approved August 24, 1912.
Section 1. The organization for the completion, maintenance, operation, government and sanitation of the Panama Canal and its adjuncts and the government of the Canal Zone shall consist of the following departments, offices and agencies, and such others as may be established by the Governor of the Panama Canal on the Isthmus or elsewhere with the approval of the President, all to be under the direction of the Governor, subject to the supervision of the Secretary of War.
DEPARTMENT OF OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
There shall be a Department of Operation and Maintenance under the immediate supervision and direction of the Governor of the Panama Canal. This Department shall be charged with the construction of the Canal and with its operation and maintenance when completed, including all matters relating to traffic of the Canal and its adjuncts, and the operation and maintenance of beacons, lights and lighthouses; the supervision of ports and waterways, including pilotage; the admeasturing and inspecting of vessels, including hulls and boilers; the operation and maintenance of the Panama Railroad upon the Isthmus, including telephone and telegraph systems; the operation of locks, coaling plants, shops, dry-docks and wharves; office engineering, including meteorology and hydrography; the construction of buildings and sanitary and municipal engineering, including the construction and maintenance of drainage ditches, streets, roads and bridges.
There shall be a Purchasing Department under the supervision and direction of the Governor. This department shall be charged with the purchase of all supplies, machinery or necessary plant.
There shall be a Supply Department, under the supervision and direction of the Chief Quartermaster. This department shall store and distribute all material and supplies for use of the Panama Canal and of its employees; and for other departments of the Government on the Isthmus and their employees; and for vessels of the United States and for other vessels, when required. The Supply Department shall operate commissaries, hotels and messes; shall be in charge of the maintenance of buildings, the assignment of quarters and the care of grounds; shall recruit and distribute unskilled labor; and shall have charge of the necessary animal transportation.
There shall be an Accounting Department under the supervision and direction of the Auditor, with an assistant in the United States. The duties of the department shall include all general bookkeeping, auditing and accounting, both for money and property, costkeeping, the examination of payrolls and vouchers, the inspection of time books and of money and property accounts, the preparation of statistical data, and the administrative examination of such accounts as are required to be submitted to the United States Treasury Department; and the collection, custody and disbursement of funds for the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone. These same duties shall be performed for the Panama Railroad Company on the Isthmus when not inconsistent with the charter and by-laws of that Company. The department shall be charged with the handling of claims for compensation on account of personal injuries and of claims for damages to vessels. Within the limits fixed by law, the duties and financial responsibilities of the officers and employees charged with the receipt, custody, disbursement, auditing and accounting for funds and property shall be prescribed in regulations issued by the Governor, with the approval of the President. The Auditor shall maintain such a system of bookkeeping as will enable him to furnish at any time full, complete and correct information in regard to the status of appropriations made by Congress, the status of all other funds, and the amounts of net profits on all operations, which are to be covered into the Treasury as required by the Panama Canal Act.
There shall be a Health Department under the supervision and directior of the Chief Health Officer. This department shall be charged with all matters relating to maritime sanitation and quarantine in the ports and waters of the Canal Zone and in the harbors of the cities of Panama and Colon, and with land sanitation in the Canal Zone, and sanitary matters in said cities in conformity with the Canal Treaty between the United States and the Republic of Panama and existing agreements between the two governments thereunder, and all matters relating to hospitals and charities.
There shall be an Executive Secretary who, under the direction of the Governor of the Panama Canal, shall be charged with the supervision of all matters relating to the keeping of time of employees to postoffices, customs, taxes and excises, excepting the collection thereof; police and prison; fire protection; land office; schools, clubs and law library; the custody of files and records; and the administration of estates of deceased and insane employees. He shall, in person or through one of his assistants, perform the duties of a Shipping Commissioner. He shall conduct all correspondence and communications between the authorities of the Canal Zone and the Government of the Republic of Panama and such other correspondence as may be given him in charge by the Governor. He shall have charge of the seal of the Government of the Canal Zone and shall attest such acts of the Government as are required by law to be performed and done under the seal.
The duties herein prescribed for the foregoing departments, offices and agencies will be assigned to divisions or bureaus thereunder by the Governor of the Panama Canal, as the necessities therefor arise. Each of the foregoing departments shall discharge such further duties as may be assigned to it from time to time by the Governor; and the Governor, with the approval of the President, may transfer from time to time specific duties from one department to another.
Sec. 2. The organization provided for in Section 1 shall be, in general, in accordance with the outline chart accompanying the memorandum of January 27, 1914, entitled "Memorandum to Accompany Executive Order of January 27, 1914, Providing for a Permanent Organization for the Panama Canal," and officers from certain departments shall be detailed in accordance with that memorandum.
Sec. 3. This order shall take effect from and after the 1st day of April, 1914, from which date the Isthmian Canal Commission, together with the present organization for the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone, shall cease to exist, in accordance with the terms of the above-mentioned Act of Congress.
MEMORANDUM TO ACCOMPANY EXECUTIVE ORDER OF JANUARY 27, 1914, PROVIDING FOR A PERMANENT ORGANIZATION FOR THE PANAMA CANAL.
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.
It is directed that officers shall be detailed for certain duties from the several departments as follows:
As Engineer of Maintenance, an Officer of the Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, who shall act as Governor, in the absence or disability of the Governor of the Panama Canal.
The organization is to be in general accordance with the chart accompanying this memorandum, except that all of the various divisions and sub-divisions 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.
|Citation: Woodrow Wilson: "Executive Order 1885—To Establish a Permanent Organization for the Operation and Government of the Panama Canal", January 27, 1914. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=75355.|
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