Executive Order 725

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The Executive Order of November 17, 1906, is hereby modified as follows:

The Commission shall hold sessions upon the Isthmus at the call of the Chairman. Four members shall constitute a quorum and the action of such majority shall be the action of the Commission.

The Commission, under the supervision of the Secretary of War and subject to the approval of the President, is charged with the general duty of the adoption of plans for the construction and maintenance of the canal; with the employment and the fixing of the compensation of engineers or other persons necessary for the proper and expeditious prosecution of said work; with the making of all contracts for the construction of the canal or any of its needful accessories; with the duty of making to the President annually, or at such other periods as may be required either by law or the order of the President, full and complete reports of all their actings and doings and of all moneys received and expended in the construction of said work and in the performance of their duties in connection therewith; and with the duty of advising and assisting the Chairman in the execution of the work of canal construction, with the government and sanitation of the Canal Zone and with all matters of sanitation in the cities of Panama and Colon and the harbors thereof, and with the purchase and delivery of supplies, machinery and necessary plant.

For the proper prosecution of the work, the organization shall be divided by the Chairman, with the approval of the Secretary of War or the President, into such Departments as seem advisable.

Among such Departments shall be a Department of Construction and Engineering, which may be subdivided into Divisions in the discretion of the Chairman, who will also be the Chief Engineer.
A Department of Civil Administration, charged with the duty of administering the civil government within the Canal Zone.
A Department of Law, charged with the general supervision of the legal matters pertaining to the Commission, whether in the United States or on the Isthmus of Panama, including the acquisition of right of way and the adjustment of land damages.
A Department of Sanitation, charged with the duty of preserving the sanitation and health conditions upon the Isthmus.
A Purchasing Department, charged with the purchase of all supplies, machinery and necessary plant.
A Department of Disbursements, charged with the preparation of vouchers and the disbursement of funds for the Commission, and with the keeping of the general books of the Commission, upon the Isthmus.
A Department of Examination of Accounts, charged with the duty of examining into and checking the accounts of the persons charged with the custody and disposition of the property and funds of the Commission.
A Department charged with the duty of employing the necessary common labor for the Commission; with the keeping of the personal records of employes; with the care of quarters; and with the operation of Commission hotels and mess-houses.

Each of the foregoing Departments shall discharge such further duties as may be assigned to it from time to time by the Chairman; and the Chairman, with the approval of the Secretary of War or the President, may transfer from time to time specific duties from one Department to another.

The Heads of the several Departments shall be appointed by and report to the Chairman, and their salaries, except as otherwise provided, shall be fixed by him, subject to the disapproval of the Commission.

Officers and employes in the several Departments shall be appointed and their salaries primarily fixed by the head of the department in which they are engaged, after consultation with the Chairman of the Commission.

Contracts for the purchase of supplies, involving an estimated expenditure exceeding $10,000.00, shall be made only after due public advertisement in newspapers of general circulation, and shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, except in case of emergency, when, with the approval of the Secretary of War, advertising may be dispensed with.

In the making of contracts for supplies or construction involving an estimated expenditure of more than $1,000.00 and less than $10,000.00, competitive bids shall be secured by invitation or advertisement whenever practicable.

The Head of each Department shall make a report upon the work and operation of his Department to the Chairman of the Commission as often as may be required.

The Chairman of the Commission shall make a report to the Secretary of War setting forth the results accomplished by each Department of the work at least annually, and as often as he may deem advisable or the Secretary may require.

The Secretary of War shall make to the President a report at least annually and as often as he may deem advisable or the President may require.

All members of the Commission shall reside upon the Isthmus, except when on leave of absence, which will be granted to members of the Commission by the Chairman and to the Chairman by the Secretary of War.

In case of absence from the Isthmus, the Chairman will designate a member of the Commission to act in his stead.

All Executive orders relating to the Panama Canal, excepting so far as they may be inconsistent with the present Order, remain in force.

Effective this date, January 6, 1908.

Signature of Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt.

The White House

January 6, 1908.


War Department,
Washington, January 5, 1908.

My Dear Mr. President: I enclose herewith a form of Executive Order for your signature, defining the duties of the Isthmian Canal Commission, the duties of the Chairman of the Commission, and the duties of the Secretary of War in relation to Canal matters. This order makes substantially no change in the authority of the Commission, the Chairman and Secretary of War as now exercised, except perhaps in respect to a few duties of a detailed executive character which are transferred from the Commission to the Chairman, leaving the Commission still in general charge of the construction of the Canal, as provided by law. Canal matters have been conducted under previous Executive Orders with informal amendments from time to time which it is difficult for anyone not very familiar with the history of Canal matters either to find or understand. For that reason, it seems wise now to cover the matter by a new order which is not an amendment or a change except as to the unimportant details referred to, but merely a comprehensive revision of existing provisions.

Very sincerely yours,
Wm. H. Taft.
The President.


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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).