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

No. 510

Sir: With reference to my telegram No. 7 of January 11, 6 p.m. in the last paragraph of which I stated that the former President Enrique Olaya Herrera would come to Bogotá the early part of this week and interview President Alfonso López regarding the Rio de Janeiro Pact, I have the honor to report to the Department that Dr. Olaya called at the Legation yesterday evening stating that he wished to tell me about his interview with the President.

He stated when he first asked the President about the prospects for early ratification of the Rio de Janeiro Pact by the Colombian Congress, the President made very optimistic statements to the effect that a political agreement had been reached by which a vote would be taken during this month and that he was very confident that the voting would be favorable. However, after further conversation regarding the details Dr. Olaya was not certain that the President’s expressions of confidence were well founded. Upon attempting to go through the list of senators with the President and determining how each would vote, he found that the President was not at all certain of a majority. Dr. Olaya stated that he urged upon the President the advisability of taking a strong stand and doing everything within his power to bring about favorable action. The President replied that he had talked to the Committee of the Senate, had pointed out to its members the serious situation now facing the country and the possible unfortunate consequences of non-ratification, and had urged upon them the advisability of approving the Pact.

From discussing the Rio de Janeiro Pact, Dr. Olaya passed on to the discussion of the administration of Dr. Alfonso López.…

I finally brought the conversation back to the Rio de Janeiro Pact and asked Dr. Olaya whether, in his opinion, there was anything which foreign countries could do to facilitate a happy solution of the matter. He said that from the Colombian point of view the most helpful action would be for them to persuade Peru to grant one year’s extension of the time limit for the exchange of ratifications. He said that this would make it possible for final action to be taken by the new congress with the expected Liberal majority. He added that realization on the part of the present Senate that the Protocol would be approved by the Liberal Congress might very well bring about immediate [Page 205] ratification. I told Dr. Olaya that the Peruvian Minister to Colombia considered a year’s extension of the time limit a concession which his Government could not grant and added that the internal situation in Peru probably offered difficulties similar to those faced by the Colombian Executive. He realized the force of the latter assertion and finally said that the best thing for the foreign nations to do is to wait for a few days to see what action is taken by the present Colombian Senate.

Respectfully yours,

S. Walter Washington