File No. 711.21/353

The Secretary of State to Chargé Belden


Department’s February 28, 7 p.m. Following is text of the President’s letter to Senator Stone:

I take the liberty of writing to ask you if it will not be possible to press the pending treaty with Colombia again for ratification. I must admit my surprise that there should be any objection to its consideration or to immedate action upon it in view of the unusual circumstances of the moment.

The main argument for the treaty and for its immediate ratification is, of course, that in it we seek to do justice to Colombia and to settle a long standing controversy which has sadly interfered with the cordial relations between the two Republics. In addition to that argument which should be conclusive, there is this only too obvious consideration, that we need now and it is possible shall need very much more in the immediate future all the friends that we can attach to us in Central America, where so many of our most critical interests centre.

I would very much like your advice as to this matter. It seems to me that those who oppose this treaty must be thoughtless of the present situation.

No reply was sent by Senator Stone to this letter but the following statement was issued by him to the press:

I am in full sympathy with the President’s desire to have the treaty with Colombia ratified. I think its ratification is of great importance from both the standpoint of business and from the standpoint of national security. I would put behind us as far as possible the events that led up to the secession of Panama, and the establishment and recognition of an independent Government there. I would forego as far as possible a discussion of the means by which the Canal Zone was acquired. All these things have gone into history and I would not recall them in a way calculated to excite controversy on party lines.

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I would like to have the treaty considered and disposed of solely on its merits. It is important for commercial reasons that the people of Colombia and of all the Latin American States should know and feel that the United States desires to deal with them generously and in the spirit of justice and that it is our sincere wish to establish between them and this country a spirit of mutual confidence, friendship and cordiality; and for even more important reasons which concern the national defense it is especially desirable that this cordial spirit of international good will should prevail between the United States and Colombia.

This is the view of President Wilson and so far as I know, of all democratic Senators. Unfortunately it appears that a sufficient number of republican Senators are opposed to it to defeat its ratification, since it requires a two-thirds vote to ratify it. I think it would be useless to press the consideration of the treaty at this session, but if the President should call an extra session of the Senate after March 4 I will do all I can to bring the matter to some conclusion.