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

No. 113


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An official banquet was given by Doctor Suarez at the Presidential Palace to the diplomatic corps, Ministers of the Government and prominent Colombians, on the evening of the 4th instant, to celebrate the centennial of the battle of Boyaca by which the independence of New Granada from Spain was achieved.

As I was leaving, the President detained me saying that he had a favor to ask—in fact, two favors. He then mentioned the unsatisfactory situation existing with Peru in regard to the question of a frontier settlement. He said that the negotiations carried on with the Peruvian Minister to Colombia, which had not been very satisfactory, had been terminated by the coup d’etat at Lima.

Moreover the Peruvian representative had within the past few days left Bogota for Peru, and it was understood that he would not return. Doctor Suarez intimated that he would be exceedingly grateful if the Government of the United States would use its good offices with the Government of Peru to the end that it would continue the frontier negotiations with Colombia so that a satisfactory agreement may be reached.

I have the honor to refer to my cable message No. 83 of June 9:9 a.m.85 in which I reported a conversation with the Peruvian Minister at Bogota concerning this question. I do not understand that the departure of the Peruvian representative implies in itself a serious misunderstanding between the two Governments. Senor F. Elguera, which is the Minister’s name, had been here for some time and struck me as being physically run down by the climate and personally disappointed with the result of his mission. He had applied for a change of post some time before the late political events took place in Peru and I judge that both he and his family had been desirous of a change of residence for personal reasons.

The second matter referred to by Doctor Suarez was a similar wish on his part for the good offices of the President of the United States in the matter of the pending questions of frontier and commerce with Venezuela.

In accordance with the Convention of November 3, 1916, between Colombia and Peru [Venezuela]) the Government of Switzerland is now engaged upon the arbitration of certain disagreements which [Page 82] exist as to the mutual frontier as decided by the Spanish arbitration of 1891. I understand that Article VI of the above Convention provides that the two Governments concerned shall arrange for a treaty of navigation and of frontier commerce and transportation, which might involve further alterations of the frontier. It appears that what the President of Colombia requests is that the United States use its good offices with Venezuela for the purpose of impressing upon that Government the advisability of continuing the negotiations for the settlement of all questions covered by the Convention of 1916, in addition to those which will be decided by the Swiss arbitration now pending.

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I have [etc.]

Hoffman Philip
  1. Not printed; see telegram to the Minister in Peru, June 18, p. 80.