711.21/504: Telegram

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

145. Confidential. In conversation with the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday he said that he was then going to consult with the Senate and Chamber in secret session concerning relations with the United States and that his intention was to fully explain the attitude of this Government and that of the United States and to urge the adoption of measures which will definitely establish mutual confidence now. It appears that owing to the extremely violent opposition the Government has not yet felt able to broach the subject of the protocol to the Congress and the Minister said that the object of his conference was to prepare the way for that. He spoke again strongly of the fact that both article 13 of our treaty of 184631 as well as the Colombian Constitution are so generally considered here as providing for the rights of Americans that the present stipulation by our Government is deeply resented by the public as a slight upon the Nation and as an attempt to undermine its sovereignty and independence. Dr. Guzman assured me that he is personally most desirous of intimate relations with and the confidence of the United States and will do all in his power to encourage this.

While it is obvious that our present attitude in withholding the treaty until acceptable protocol is proposed by Colombia is being used by the opposition as a club with which to attack the Government, yet it is also a fact that action is generally regarded with a [Page 749]resentment which appears likely to bring into the opposition many of the adherents of this Government owing to its efforts to comply with our requirements. Should the Department deem it advisable to assist this Government in its dilemma and further facilitate an early solution of the existing misunderstanding and a settlement of the treaty question, I respectfully advise that a statement on the following lines be telegraphed here for immediate publication by the Colombian Government or by this Legation: “The Government of the United States or the Department of State having been advised by its representative at Bogota that there is evidently in certain circles in Colombia a tendency to impugn the motives of the United States in its relations with the Government of that Republic, takes this opportunity to state that it has only a deep and kindly interest in the future prosperity of Colombia and would wish to see its nationals take a leading part in the development of that country; that apart from this interest the Government of the United States, either in its representations or decisions relative to the treaty of April 6th, 1914, or in connection with any other matter pending between the two Governments, has no intention whatever of interfering in any way with the sovereign rights or the full independence of the Colombian Nation. The Government of the United States or the Department of State regrets that circumstances in Colombia seem to call for this statement of facts which it had confidently believed would be as obvious to the Colombian people in general as they must be to the government of republic.” I believe that the publication of some such statement as this would have a very beneficial effect upon the situation and would disarm much of the unjust imputations against the United States now being indulged in by press of this country.

Philip
  1. See Malloy, Treaties, vol. i, pp. 302 ff.