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

No. 2226

Sir: Referring to my recent reports concerning the progress of the oil bill in the Colombian Congress, I have the honor to report that I [Page 13] have felt constrained, during the past two months, tactfully and personally to keep before Dr. Olaya the importance of his securing adequate oil legislation at this time, as well as the expediency of his coming to an agreement with the interested American oil concerns in relation to the Barco dispute. I apprehend that, had I not been regularly doing this, Dr. Olaya might have let both matters drop for the present, as, although he continues to have tremendous good will for the United States and our interests, he seems more and more inclined to let matters drift when there is no impelling reason for him to do otherwise. He dislikes fighting and it has been clear for a long time that, even with the amazing change throughout Colombia in sentiment in our regard, those two projects could never be put through Congress unless an effective driving force of the Executive Power were put behind them.

The oil bill is meeting with considerable opposition in the House of Deputies now, and unless the President takes a firm stand in the premises, it will be altered out of all recognition by that body; therefore, I am endeavoring tactfully to have him see the importance of assembling his forces, with a view to having the House pass the bill in its present form.

Dr. Olaya’s principal power lies in the fact that the mass of the people do rely on him to bring back economic prosperity to the country, and, although it is plainer every day that the politicians in general will oppose him if they dare, he (at any rate, up to now) by threatening to appeal over their heads to the Nation, can still accomplish wonders. …

Respectfully yours,

Jefferson Caffery