File No. 711.21/367

Chargé Belden to the Secretary of State

No. 396

Sir: In confirmation of my cablegram of to-day, 5 p.m. [26], I have the honor to inform the Department that I was called to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs by the Minister this afternoon regarding the treaty pending between the United States and Colombia relative to the Panama Canal; et cetera.

As I stated in my cablegram, the notice, as it has appeared in the local press, to the effect that the Senate would not be able to consider the question of the approbation of the treaty in question during [Page 293] the present session has aroused considerable resentment and newspaper attacks. I enclose a copy together with translation, both in duplicate, of the editorial by General Carlos Cuervo Marquez mentioned in the cablegram referred to above.2 This is one of similar articles which have been appearing of late in the daily press. When it was learned that the President had asked the Committee on Foreign Affairs to take up the consideration of the treaty it was said that the President had only done so because the United States found itself facing the possibility of war and saying that it probably would be better for Colombia if the treaty were not approved. Later, upon the notice that the treaty would not be considered during the present session, came a cry of resentment. In other words, when confidence was felt that the treaty would soon be approved there appeared in some articles a spirit of bravado and now when it would seem that, even though facing the danger of being compelled to enter the European war, the United States may again delay the consideration of the treaty the attitude changes to resentment and it has been remarked that, while twenty-five millions of dollars can be paid for the Danish West Indies, Colombia is to suffer the loss of Panama without indemnification, Panama which is worth much more. General Cuervo was to have dined at the Legation last evening together with Dr. Francisco José Urrutia but upon the appearance of the editorial in reference he politely recalled his acceptance. Dr. Urrutia was most amiable and still continues to express the hope, that the treaty will be approved. It might be added that the indemnification considered would greatly benefit this Government at this time.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs called me this afternoon to make the suggestion that I request authorization to present a note to this Government for publication which would tend to calm the resentment aroused by the belief that the Senate intends to continue to delay the discussion of the treaty and possibly eventually to disapprove it. As the Colombian Minister at Washington has been ill, the Consul informed this Government that Senator Stone had advised the President that it would be difficult to obtain the necessary majority in favor of the treaty if taken up during the present session and that he had suggested that the matter would be given more favorable consideration if treated upon in special session. The Minister for Foreign Affairs believes that the publication of this, through a note from this Legation, would have a beneficial effect upon the public opinion. In this I concur.

I have [etc.]

Perry Belden
  1. Not printed.