821.6363 Barco/133: Telegram

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

67. It has been thought of late that the Minister for Foreign Affairs might be sacrificed in the political airing of the Barco matter unless he could extricate himself. Seemingly in order to do this, I regret to say as I regard him a real friend of the United States, according to [Page 626] the press he made the following statement in Colombian Senate yesterday:

That in answer to my note as instructed by the Department’s No. 2, January 12, Colombian Government replied that a foreign government had nothing to do with the matter since it concerned a Colombian company and that “the Colombian Government considered and considers that in this affair the very respectable North American Government has no concern.”
That I “spoke with Minister for Foreign Affairs concerning a representative or lawyer of the company and the Minister for Foreign Affairs consulted the President who gave him instructions to say verbally to the Yankee plenipotentiary that, as the Barco concession was a matter under litigation, the Government saw nothing inconvenient in conversing or exchanging ideas with the person designated by the interested parties but under no circumstances with officials of the Government of the United States.”
That two days before Mr. Stabler arrived I requested Minister for Foreign Affairs to present him to the Minister of Industry in order to avoid delay. That he did so but at no time thereafter did he speak with Minister of Industry concerning Mr. Stabler. “Therefore Mr. Stabler did not come to the country called by the Colombian Government.”

Minister of Industry eventually supported the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The facts insofar as I am concerned are absolutely to the contrary of what the Minister for Foreign Affairs stated, as my telegrams to the Department show. I did not know that the Minister for Foreign Affairs knew Stabler nor did I know Stabler’s connection with Gulf until the Minister’s son Carlos came to the Legation and said that his father and Stabler were bosom friends and knowing Stabler’s connection with Gulf his father wished Stabler to come to Bogotá with authority to act. This request I verified with the Minister for Foreign Affairs before cabling the Department about Stabler’s coming. The Minister for Foreign Affairs made no mention of his friendship with Stabler in Congress nor of his request that he come to Bogotá.

Minister of Industry added: “There is much talk of how and why Mr. Stabler came but they do not take into account why and how he left.”

Department’s 41, August 11, just received. The note will be sent tomorrow morning.