Report 19891221A


December 21, 1989


George H.W. Bush



Was 4(a)(1) Triggered? (Hostilities/Imminent Hostilities)

Yes, described in/inferred from report

Was 4(a)(2) Triggered? (Combat- Equipped Introduction)

No, as described in/inferred from report

Was 4(a)(3) Triggered? (Substantial Enlargement)

Yes, described in/inferred from report

Joint/Coalition Mission


Article 51 Report to UN


Details: S/21035


Protect US citizens, property

Details: "To protect American lives, to defend democracy in Panama, to apprehend Noriega and bring him to trial... and to ensure the integrity of the Panama Canal Treaties"

Domestic Legal Authority

Constitution (Art. II)

Details: "The military operations were ordered pursuant to my constitutional authority with respect to the conduct of foreign relations and as Commander in Chief."

Claimed International Legal Basis

Self-Defense Consent of territorial state

Details: "The deployment of U.S. Forces is an exercise of the right of self-defense recognized in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and was necessary to protect American lives in imminent danger and to fulfill our responsibilities under the Panama Canal Treaties. It was welcomed by the democratically elected government of Panama."

Estimated Scope/Duration

Mission-bound but indeterminate

Details: "it is not possible at this time to predict the precise scope and duration of the military operations or how long the temporary increase of U.S. Forces in Panama will be required...Our additional Forces will remain in Panama only so long as their presence is required."

Type of Enemy or Mission


Details: Manuel Noriega, the "illegitimate" Panamanian National Assembly, Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF)

Military Activity

Use of ground forces

Details: Deployment of "approximately 11,000 additional U.S. Forces to Panama. In conjunction with the 13,000 U.S. Forces already present, military operations were initiated on December 20, 1989"

US Casualties Reported


Non-US Casualties Reported