821.6363/392: Telegram

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

31. My telegram No. 29, May 15, 11 a.m. I am in possession of official copy of circular telegram which is substantially same as reported in the press. Am likewise informed Governor of South Santander, in compliance, has instructed mayor of Puerto Wilches to carry out provisions of Decree 150, especially concerning drilling: without permit, with respect to Gulf properties nearby.

Department will recall under Colombian law injunction does not exist and sole recourse other than Executive action by the President is through suspension of law or decree by Council of State constituted by Law 130 of 1913, Diario Oficial No. 15123. Although Council of State has not acted as a whole, three petitions for suspension have been denied by individual councilors and circular telegram in question was issued immediately after denial of third petition. I consider matter of utmost gravity, involving large losses through stopping of drilling activities of American companies and probable subsequent seizure of millions of dollars of American property. Have arranged for interview with the President on tomorrow morning to urge suspension of decree as already requested by me under Department’s instruction and in companies’ memorial to him last February.