The Colombian Minister ( Olaya ) to the Secretary of State
Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s note of November 26, 1926, in reply to my communication of November 4th, regarding the Claims Convention signed by the Governments of the United States and Panama on July 28, 1926. In the note under acknowledgement, the Department states that in view of the fact that this Convention has not been ratified by either of the signatory powers and is, therefore, not yet in effect, it does not see that any good purpose would be served by a discussion at this time of its provisions, and, accordingly, suggests that any expression of views by my Government await the ratification of the Convention and the receipt of the invitation therein provided for in regard to the arbitration of the claims arising out of the Colon fire in 1885.
In reply I have the honor to state that my Government has no wish to initiate a discussion of the arbitration of these claims at the present time or at any time, as it has long considered that the circumstance upon which these claims are predicated is a closed incident between the. Government of the United States and the Government of Colombia. The only intention of my Government in sending you the memorandum of November 4th, was frankly and sincerely to advise Your Excellency, in advance of the ratification of the Convention of July 28, 1926, of the point of view of my Government regarding the article in the Convention which provides that the Republic of Colombia should be invited to become a party to a proposed Convention between the United States and Panama for the arbitration of the Colon fire claims. Having obtained knowledge through the press of this intended invitation, the Government of Colombia considers that it would be wanting in that frankness and goodwill with which it always deals with everything that may become a cause of difference between our Governments, if it did not inform Your Excellency of its position in regard to the proposed invitation, in order to avoid a diplomatic discussion after the Convention had been ratified regarding [Page 8] a question which for many years has ceased to exist so far as Colombia is concerned. Therefore, my Government does not consider this matter a subject for arbitration and feels that to discuss it would serve no useful purpose.