Theodore Roosevelt Speaking in Panama, November 1906


In November 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt went to Panama to inspect progress on construction of the Panama Canal, the first time a sitting U.S. president had left the United States to visit a foreign country. This film shows the welcoming ceremony for Roosevelt at the cathedral in Panama City. Roosevelt, President Manuel Amador Guerrero of Panama, and two unidentified men are seen arriving and standing on a platform on the steps of the cathedral. There is also a shot of two women arriving at the ceremony, one of whom (the woman on the right) may be Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt, the wife of the president. This scene is followed by a view of President Amador Guerrero delivering a welcoming address as dignitaries look on. Roosevelt then speaks. Roosevelt’s address received front-page coverage in both the U.S. and the Panamanian press, and began with these words:  “Mr. President, Senora Amador, and you, Citizens of Panama: For the first time in the history of the United States it has become advisable for a President of the United States to step on territory not beneath the flag of the United States, and it is on the territory of Panama that this occurred, a symbol and proof of the closeness of the ties that unite the two countries, because of their peculiar relations to the gigantic enterprise of digging the Panama Canal. In the admirable address of President Amador to which we have just listened, the President rightly said that the United States and Panama are partners in the great work which is now being done here on this isthmus. We are joint trustees for all the world in doing that work; and, President Amador, I hereby pledge on behalf of my country to you and your people the assurance of the heartiest support and of treatment on a basis of a full and complete and generous equality between the two Republics. Nowhere else in the world at this moment is a work of such importance taking place as here on the Isthmus of Panama, for here is being performed the giant engineering feat of the ages; and it is a matter for deep gratitude that I am able to say that it is being well and worthily performed.”

Last updated: January 8, 2018