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

No. 2316

Sir: Referring to my despatch No. 2226 of February 13 [12], in which I stated that I had felt constrained during the previous 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 have the honor to report that President Olaya, a short time after my despatch No. 2226 was written, changed his whole attitude in so far as he had been letting matters drift; and recovered practically all of his former activity and determination.

As I have remarked before, he is inclined to let matters drift, but when necessary can display both strength of character and force. In effect, he did so in the present instances. He made it clear that he meant to have an adequate oil law on the statute books and meant to come to an agreement with the interested American oil concerns in the matter of the Barco controversy. When the politicians of Congress saw that he really meant what he said, they rapidly fell into line; and whereas the oil bill had been pitifully dragging along day by day, once Olaya’s position became clear, the remainder (that is, the larger part of the bill) was passed article by article without counting the votes by simply banging on the desks in a manner usual in such cases in the Colombian Congress.

In other words, Olaya seems to have recovered all of his old form, I have only praise for his courage and very friendly attitude.

Respectfully yours,

Jefferson Caffery