The Assistant Secretary of State (White) to Mr. George Rublee2

Dear Mr. Rublee: As Mr. Cotton3 will be away this afternoon he asked me to write to you confirming the appointment with Doctor Enrique Olaya, Colombian Minister and President Elect of Colombia, for dinner on Tuesday evening, May 27, at 7:30 p.m., at the Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Doctor Olaya is very anxious to settle equitably the so-called Barco Concession4 and also the matter of petroleum legislation in Colombia, and to this end he is anxious to get competent and disinterested advice, especially from someone who is in the confidence of the Department. We have consequently suggested you and he is enthusiastic about the suggestion. It will probably require your going to Bogotá for perhaps three months when this question comes up next in the Colombian Congress.

What Doctor Olaya wants, of course, is unbiased advice so that the legislation will be fair to the companies but will take care of the interest of the country, and he wants somebody who would act somewhat more or less as a buffer between the oil companies and the Colombian Government; somebody who, the companies will know, if he tells them that they are too exacting in their demands or asking something which the country obviously can not give them, that his opinion will be respected by the Department, and that they will have to accept his decision because they will not get support from the Department over his head. Doctor Olaya is very anxious to conclude an agreement with you, I think, on this basis. He stated that the Government does not have much funds for this but I am sure they will be able to make a reasonable arrangement with you.

With kindest regards and best wishes,

Yours very sincerely,

Francis White
  1. Washington lawyer, member of firm of Covington, Burling & Rublee.
  2. Joseph P. Cotton, Under Secretary of State.
  3. See pp. 18 ff.