821.6363/486: Telegram

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

116. Legation’s 79, August 24, 11 a.m., and 108, September 27, 4 p.m.3 Espectador tonight states that Investigation Committee has rendered report to Congress in which it finds that De Mares concession and its transfer to Tropical Oil involved irregularities on [Page 598] the part of Executive power which make both transactions null and void. The committee terminates report with a bill of three articles, passage of which it recommends to Congress. This bill reads as follows in translation:

“The Congress of Colombia decrees:

  • Article 1. The contract celebrated between Seilor Robert de Mares, the Tropical Oil Company and the Minister of Public Works, registered in Public Document Number 3,329, before third notary, Bogotá, August 25, 1919, is hereby disapproved.
  • Article 2. The Government is authorized to celebrate with the Tropical Oil Company a contract for the exploitation of the petroleum deposits existing in the zone described in the public document referred to in the previous article, subject to the legal provisions governing in the premises.
  • Article 3. This law shall become effective from the date of its approval of Congress.”

[Paraphrase.] I have been informed that the committee held numerous conferences with the Minister of Industry and presumably the foregoing bill has his approval and the President’s. Paradoxically, the President was a Cabinet member at the time of transfer; of the concession in 1919, and the transfer received his consideration and written approval. [End paraphrase.]

  1. Latter not printed.