611.2131/205b: Telegram

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

55. Consideration is being given to the means of bringing into force the provisions of the trade agreement signed December 15, 1933.2 It was contemplated when the agreement was signed that it would be made effective on the part of this Government by special act of Congress. It is now desired to bring the provisions of the agreement into force under the Trade Agreements Act of June 12, 1934,3 which does not apply to agreements concluded prior thereto. Moreover, Section 4 of the Act requires reasonable public notice of the intention to conclude such agreements, such notice being defined by Executive Order as notice of not less than 30 days.

Please take up the matter with the Colombian Government and ascertain its attitude regarding the signing of a new agreement. It is not anticipated that any important changes of substance in the provisions of the agreement signed December 15, 1933 would be proposed by this Government since the views of domestic interests were received and considered under the informal procedure prevailing when that agreement was negotiated. However, it would not be consistent with the purpose of Section 4 of the Act to give any definite assurance to this effect. In any case some changes of a formal character would probably be appropriate, particularly in Article XI which relates to the method of making the agreement effective.

Consideration must be given at this time to the probable plans of the Colombian Government with respect to obtaining legislative approval of the new agreement as these plans have a bearing on the length of notice to be given by this Government under Section 4 of the Act. If the Colombian Government should desire to obtain [Page 67] approval of the new agreement at the present regular session of the Colombian Congress the minimum public notice of 30 days would be given. Assuming that this notice were given about September first this Government would be in a position to sign the new agreement about October first, which would leave about 20 days of the regular session in which to obtain approval by the Colombian Congress. On the other hand, if legislative approval in Colombia is to be sought at a later time, 6 weeks’ notice would be given here, which would permit signature about the middle of October. Please ascertain and report the probable plans of the Colombian Government in this matter.

For your confidential information this Government desires to bring the new agreement into force simultaneously with a similar agreement with Brazil, negotiations for which are expected to begin shortly.4 Tentative plans are to complete these negotiations and sign the agreement with Brazil by December first. Present indications are that the Brazilian legislature probably will not adjourn before December 31 and that it could take action on the agreement before that date. It is therefore important that legislative action be taken on the new agreement with Colombia before the end of this year. Please report such information as you may be able to obtain regarding the prospects of such action.

  1. Ibid., p. 249. For an analysis of the provisions of the agreement, see instruction No. 55, April 5, 1934, to the Minister in Nicaragua, post, p. 499.
  2. 48 Stat. 943.
  3. See vol. iv, pp. 542 ff.