711.21/494: Telegram

The Minister in Colombia (Philip) to the Secretary of State

134. Following the publication by the Diario Nacional on Saturday of alleged cablegram from President Suarez to the Colombian Consul General at New York, stated to have been sent in August and published in the United States, the entire opposition press is up in arms. It announces that the Ministers for Foreign Affairs [Page 746]and Public Works will probably resign and that the President will probably retire. The alleged telegram, of which no denial has been made, requests the Consul to inform interested persons that the Government welcome[s] foreign capital; that the petroleum decree does not affect acquired rights and that it has been suspended and will be annulled; that legislation more favorable to commercial interests will be expedited; that the Government has made representations to the American Legation promising to guarantee the rights of foreigners et cetera. This alleged telegram is signed President Suarez.

The entire opposition press has denounced this message as an outrageous humiliation in view of the attitude of the United States and summons Liberals and Republicans in Congress to call immediately meetings to protest and to decide upon action. It asserts openly that the President must resign. The resignation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs is received with bad grace on the ground that it is too late to try and escape responsibilities to which he is already committed et cetera.

Later, the resignation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs is definitely announced this morning.

The situation is obscure and unsatisfactory. The Conservatives seem to me too strong to be overthrown and I see no elements of strong government in the opposition. It is possible that the President might resign, keenly disappointed as he is over the action of our Government on the treaty question and by the criticism which his every public act elicits. This I think would be unfortunate for our interests which probably would best be served by an effort to strengthen the hand of the present Executive.