File No. 711.21/334

Minister Thomson to the Secretary of State

No. 248

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a note from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the 25th instant together with a translation of the same. It is very evident from the tone of the Minister’s note that the Colombian Government feels that its interests have been treated with indifference by the United States Government, and I am rather inclined to think that many are growing somewhat suspicious. It is now nearly two years since the treaty was signed at Bogotá, and within a comparatively short time thereafter it was ratified by the Colombian Congress. Up to the present the Government and the press as well as the people have exercised great patience.

I have [etc.]

Thad A. Thomson

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Minister Thomson

No. 709

Mr. Minister: On April 6, 1914, there was signed by the Government of Colombia, represented by various Plenipotentiaries, and by that of the United States, represented by your excellency, a Public Treaty for the purpose of defining the rights of the High Contracting Parties in the Canal and Railroad [Page 212] of Panama and to put an end to the other differences arising from the rebellion of the Department of Panama, which took place in 1903.

Although the treaty received the approval of the Colombian Congress that same year, 1914, it has not yet been considered by the Senate of the United States in the various sessions, ordinary and special, which that body has held since that date. This long suspension of a pact which interests the Republic more than anything else can possibly interest it, and the condition of doubt which so much delay will cause to the effects of the treaty, are in the highest degree prejudicial to the Government and people of Colombia, who thus see their rights forgotten and for whom this situation begins to be unsupportable.

In fact, if on the part of the Republic there was real solicitude to approve a convention which accepts a reparation far inferior to its rights and which at the same time perfects the title of the United States to enormous acquisitions, still Colombia and its Government see with great pain that the Senate of the Union is paying no attention to these reparations, not refusing them, but nevertheless postponing them in an almost indefinite manner.

I therefore venture to request your excellency to kindly make known to your Government that that of Colombia awaits that the Senate of the United States should vouchsafe attention to the condition of a friendly nation which for more than twelve years has borne with disregard of the most essential rights of its jurisdiction, integrity and sovereignty and which has not yet succeeded in having this loss partially repaired, even by making the sacrifice of transferring legally to the United States its property rights almost complete.

Well does the Colombian Government recognize, and well does it appreciate, the interest and decision with which the present Government of the United States attended to the necessity of celebrating a treaty which justice and international amity demanded. But now that your excellency’s Government has shown in a solemn and unquestionable manner its spirit of justice and its high intentions, my Government hopes that it will conclude its just and lofty work through efforts, by means of its well-deserved and powerful influence, that the Treaty of April 6, 1914, may have the result which the two Governments intended when making it, and that it may not be reduced to a sterile effort.

Should the result be otherwise, the unutterable injuries suffered by Colombia would be aggravated instead of being repaired, since, in addition to the impairment of its rights and the damage and prejudice caused to it since 1903, it would be forgotten:

1st, that it, at the suggestion and proposal of the United States, agreed to suspend its demand for arbitration for the adjustment of the controversy;

2d, that the same Government which committed the spoliation of the rights of Colombia more than twelve years ago and the Administration which next succeeded it showed a disposition in favor of the reparation of those wrongs;

3d, that if the Treaty of 1914 should not be considered and approved, then the violation of the rights of Colombia would not be an act peculiar to the Government which committed it, but one which in fact received the acquiescence and ratification of the American Union, by virtue of the failure of the Senate to act;

4th, that if the treaty should fail to go into effect, then the Republic would be placed in a situation incompatible with all international amity, since not only would its original rights be disregarded but so also would be its high spirit of conciliation;

5th, that the indefinite neglect of the treaty prejudices high commercial interests, daily more important, as to a country whose situation and physical conditions are unsurpassedly attractive, and even prejudice the respect of the other Latin American peoples to whom the ruin of the rights of a sister-people, consummated as it were by repeated afflictions, cannot be a matter of indifference;

6th, that it is not just that, having caused Colombia a series of daily wrongs and damages in its civil and commercial, personal and public, relations with the rebel Department of Panama, it should oblige it to suffer those wrongs indefinitely, all because of the protection which the Government of the United States gives to the rebellious section and on account of the failure of the same nation to approve the Treaty of 1914.

Understanding and experiencing the high spirit of justice which distinguishes your excellency, I beg you to kindly make known this representation, as deferential as it is earnest, to your Government, in the quickest way that your excellency may find convenient

I renew [etc.]

Marco Fidel Suarez