821.6363/461: Telegram

The Chargé in Colombia (Matthews) to the Secretary of State

96. Minister of Industry yesterday presented to Congress his 1928 Memoria, which constitutes in large part an attack on the Tropical Oil, Andian Pipe Line, and United Fruit Companies. It contains the following: [Page 597]

Unfavorable contrasts of living conditions of Colombian and American employees of the Tropical.
Insinuations that the Tropical and Andian are cheating the Government in their production and transportation statistics through inter-connecting storage tanks and Government’s lack of means to check company statistics (see confidential despatch number 1300 of April 16th2).
Insistence that Andian should transport all of the Government’s royalty oil free of charge.
“In justice it should be procured that the State be a real co-owner of the pipe line.”
The Tropical’s offer of 95 cents per barrel for Government’s royalty oil of last semester 1926–1927 and first semester 1928 (none of which has Minister of Industry yet elected to take) is unacceptable.
The Government recognizes the right of private banana planters to industrial independence from the United Fruit Company and should “extract [extricate?] them from the circle of iron [with] which the American company has surrounded them.”

  1. Not printed.