Treaty? What Treaty?

The 1961 Vienna Convention is unambiguous: it says all diplomatic missions, residences, vehicles and personnel are "inviolable" and cannot be interfered with. Yet American forces in Panama persist in violating the treaty's strictures. In addition to mounting an armed surveillance of the Peruvian Ambassador's residence, soldiers demanded to search a car containing Cuba's Ambassador to Panama as he left the Cuban embassy last week. After a 90-minute shouting match, the G.I.s settled for a cursory look inside the vehicle before letting the ambassador drive away.

Such incidents "put in jeopardy American diplomatic missions all over the world," complained Perry Shankle, a...