Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs, Department of State (White)
The Secretary received the Colombian Minister at twelve o’clock on Saturday, June 23. The Colombian Minister stated that he desired to express on behalf of his Government its appreciation of the efforts which had been made by the Department to bring about an agreement between the Colombian and Panaman Governments for the settlement of the boundary dispute and for the establishment of diplomatic relations between those Governments. He stated that he had informed his Government of all the negotiations that had led up to the draft procès verbal, and that he was instructed by his Government [Page 341] to state formally and officially that it accepted absolutely the terms of the procès verbal as presented. Señor Olaya added that he desired also to express his own personal appreciation of the efforts of the Department in the matter. Señor Olaya stated that he hoped that Panama would also promptly accept the proposed settlement, and that as the Colombian Congress is now in session he would be very pleased if he might have some statement from the Secretary regarding the matter which he could send confidentially to the Colombian Minister for Foreign Affairs for possible use in a private session of the Congress.
The Secretary replied that he was very gratified to receive this friendly expression from the Minister and the Colombian Government, and that it was a pleasure for him to know that the draft procès verbal met with the approval of the Colombian Government. As regards the situation with Panama, the matter was under negotiation and this Government was waiting for the reply of the Panaman Government, and that he regretted that it would not be possible for him to make any statement regarding the matter at this time.
The Colombian Minister then stated that he hoped that the proposed settlement would soon be accepted by Panama; that there is always the danger in Latin American countries, when the settlement of such matters is prolonged and long drawn out, that the press will get hold of the matter and will cause discussion and polemics which embitter feeling and make a settlement more difficult. The Secretary replied that it was precisely for this reason that he did not wish to make any statement, for should he make one it would doubtless be telegraphed to Panama and might make the situation more difficult. Señor Olaya replied that he understood perfectly, and that he would write a confidential letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs giving him an account of his interview with the Secretary.