711.21/491: Telegram

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

Your September 9 [4?], 3 p.m.

Referring to modified treaty the Department, after consultation with the Senate, regrets that it will be impossible to permit the clause relating to war in paragraph 1, Article 1; paragraph 5, same Article; or, Article 2, to remain as in Treaty of 1914. In paragraph 5 as modified only the words “for Colombian consumption” and “whenever traffic by the canal is interrupted” have been added.

Even after ratification of this treaty by our Senate the appropriation therefor must, under established practice, be initiated in the House. It will be difficult enough to get the $25,000,000 appropriated for payment as specified in Article 2 as modified. It is not felt that Congress would appropriate the amount for lump payment, especially now that a wave of economical tendency follows the expenditures incident to great war.

With respect to the preferential treatment for Colombian Coal and Oil as to transportation through the Canal Zone as suggested by Colombian President in your No. 112 of August 8, 1919,30 it is deemed to be inadvisable to make any change whatever in the modified treaty to cover such a condition. In short it is hoped that the treaty of 1914 may stand as modified.

In view, however, of the suggestion just referred to by the President of Colombia and of recent indications orally made by the Colombian Minister here to the effect that the Colombian people would be pleased to give preferential consideration to American capital in Colombian investments it was hoped that some such provision might be included in the proposed protocol to apply to Colombians and Americans when in partnership for the exploitation and development of Colombia. Unfortunately, a careful study of the situation fails to reveal just what Doctor Suarez might mean by preferential treatment and no method occurs to us for arranging in a practical way a workable agreement to cover such an undertaking which would not be objected to by other nations. Kindly interview President of Colombia and see if he has any pertinent suggestions to make.

This Government would be pleased to see its nationals play a leading part in the development of Colombia in whose future prosperity it has a deep and kindly interest. It doubts the efficacy of the method mentioned above but wishes to show a friendly consideration for what it understands to be the present aspirations of Colombia.

  1. Not printed.