Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (White)

Mr. Guzman called and said that he had been talking with Mr. Rublee and as a result had come around to talk with me. He said that he would like very much to have me take an interest in the Leticia matter and see if we could not find a solution bringing about the [Page 299] evacuation of Leticia. When this is done, the Colombian Government is willing to discuss commercial relations with Peru.

I inquired whether his Government would perhaps be disposed to authorize him to say to Maúrtua just what they would accord Peru in the way of commercial privileges in that section. I said that something of this sort might be just what was needed to strengthen the Peruvian Government’s hands with the Loretanos so that it could tell them to get out of Leticia and that it would not back them up if they did not get out. Mr. Guzman said that in his two talks with Maúrtua this question had not come up and Peru had not stated what they wanted in that section so it was very difficult for the Colombians at this time to say what they would do as they do not yet know what Peru wants.

Mr. Guzman stated that in his first conversation with Maúrtua the latter had talked very reasonably and spoke of the evacuation of Leticia. He then presented his memorandum through the Permanent Commission and this of course was in an entirely different vein. Since then Guzman had seen Maúrtua at a private dinner at the Chilean Embassy where only Guzman, Maúrtua and Cruchaga were present, and at that time Maúrtua had tried to justify the position he had taken in his memorandum.

Guzman said that he had seen Cruchaga in New York before the latter sailed and that he thought what Cruchaga was going to suggest would be the appointment by Colombia and Peru of representatives to discuss the matter with Cruchaga as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile. Mr. Guzman asked how I looked upon that and I told him I thought it offered a very possible way out. Guzman said that of course his Government considered the matter an internal one and could not ask any Foreign Office officially to take the matter up. It was for that reason, he said, that he would welcome my personal interest in the matter and that if I would take the matter up with Maúrtua, but not on the basis that he, Guzman, was seeking the interview, he would be very glad indeed to talk with Maúrtua. He said that when he last saw Maúrtua at the Chilean Embassy Maúrtua had said that he wanted to talk things over again with him. I told Mr. Guzman that I would take the matter up on that basis.

F[rancis] W[hite]