821.51/1734: Telegram

The Chargé in Colombia ( Dawson ) to the Acting Secretary of State

88. My telegram No. 86, November 5, 9 p.m. House of Representatives deleted items legislative budget for service of the foreign debt both funded and banking before passing it in second debate on November 4th and third debate on November 6th. Local press suppressed mention of the failure to appropriate for debt service and it became known only on belated receipt of Anales November 9th. Yesterday Senate hurriedly passed budget in second debate, restoring item to pay interest on short-term banking loan (appropriating however only 600,000 pesos instead of 960,000 necessary if present rate of interest is maintained) and inserting one to provide for 4 percent interest on scrip to be issued in lieu of cash interest payments on the foreign funded debt. Budget should receive third debate in the Senate today and be returned to the House for consideration amendments Monday. Debt service suspension bill proper appears to have been shelved in the Senate.

There is danger also of the enactment of a bill providing among other things for the discharge of most obligations in foreign currency by payment of the equivalent in Colombian currency at the rate of exchange on the date of contraction of the obligation (my dispatch [Page 260] No. 5905 of October 1447). The bill was passed by the Senate in second debate yesterday, will probably receive third debate today and reach the House early next week. Congress is expected to adjourn November 17th.

  1. Not printed.