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

No. 578

Sir: The Government of Colombia, first informally and then in a note dated December 19, 1922, requested the assistance of the [Page 832]Department of State in engaging properly qualified experts to advise on financial topics. There is transmitted herewith for your information a copy of the note of the Colombian Minister addressed to this Department on December 19, 1922,1 together with a copy of the Department’s reply of December 20.2

In response to the request of the Colombian Government the Department recommended Professor E. W. Kemmerer of Princeton University to head the proposed mission. The Department believes that Professor Kemmerer is particularly well qualified for this important post, both on account of his thorough economic and financial training and also in view of his broad practical experience in connection with the carrying out of financial reforms. Professor Kemmerer is forty-seven years old, was educated at Wesleyan and Cornell Universities, was adviser on currency to the Philippine Government from 1903–1906 at the time of the establishment of the gold standard in the Philippines; has been a professor at Cornell and Princeton Universities, and has served as expert on currency and banking to the Governments of Mexico and Guatemala. He has recently returned from a tour in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil, which was made for the purpose of studying financial conditions in those countries. He is the author of several authoritative works on money and banking questions.

Professor Kemmerer will be assisted by the following experts: Mr. Thomas E. Lill, an accountant, of the firm of Searle, Nicholson and Lill, New York City; Mr. H. M. Jefferson, formerly Auditor of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, an expert on banking; and Professor F. E. Fairchild of Yale University, an expert on taxation. Professor F. B. Luquiens of Yale University will act as secretary of the mission. These gentlemen expect to sail from New York on February 14, en route to Bogota, with the exception of Mr. Lill, who will follow the others within a week or two. It is expected that the mission will remain in Colombia for a period of about six months.

The Department considers that this mission enjoys an unusual opportunity for usefulness, and hopes that it may be able to render important services to the Colombian Government. You should bear in mind, however, that the mission is an expert mission engaged by the Colombian Government, and that it is in no sense connected with the Government of the United States. The Department was glad to recommend Professor Kemmerer to the Colombian Government as a prominent financial expert of high standing, and also was glad to assist in the selection of his staff, but you will appreciate that [Page 833]the Government of the United States can assume no responsibility with respect to the specific activities and recommendations of the mission.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Leland Harrison
  1. Supra.
  2. Not printed.