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

No. 1655

Sir: Referring to my telegram No. 116 of September 19, in which I spoke of the new oil bill, I have the honor to transmit herewith copies [Page 3] of the bill which was handed to me on September 19 by President Olaya Herrera, together with a copy of the memorandum of comments thereon prepared for Dr. Olaya Herrera by Dr. Carlos E. Urueta.5

I am not forwarding translations of these documents for the reason that the comments contained in Dr. Urueta’s memorandum are to be included in a revised oil bill which Dr. Urueta is now preparing at the request of Dr. Olaya: Dr. Olaya told Dr. Urueta yesterday that he preferred having him do it; he (Olaya) did not feel competent to do so.

As soon as Dr. Olaya handed Urueta the bill, he (Urueta) came to see me and said that he would hand in no comments which failed to meet with my approval. He has let me know today that he is working on the revised edition of the bill, but will not hand it in to Olaya until I approve. As set out in my telegram No. 117 of September 22, I do not deem it wise to give Olaya direct any observations on the bill …

The representatives of the American oil companies will all be very much disappointed when they find out that they are not to have an opportunity of expressing themselves on the bill before it is presented to Congress; but both Olaya and Urueta now feel that this would be very unwise, in view of the fact that charges have been made alleging that American oil interests have had too much influence in the framing of the bill: and Olaya and Urueta fear that, were the public to hear that American concerns had been consulted, the result would be prejudicial for the chances of the bill’s passing; and incidentally, they do not rely on the discretion of some of the oil representatives here.

Respectfully yours,

Jefferson Caffery
  1. Neither printed.