721.23/2439: Telegram

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

13. The Ministers of Great Britain, France and Italy have received instructions from their respective Governments to deliver messages to the Colombian Government expressing the hope that the Rio de Janeiro pact may be ratified. The Italian and French Ministers have appointments with the Colombian Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs tomorrow and will leave memoranda urging that the pact be ratified by Colombia. The British Minister replied to his Government requesting permission to address to the Foreign Minister an informal letter which he has drafted and in which he presents some of the arguments [Page 207] for the ratification by Colombia. The British Minister has consulted the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs who agreed that such a letter might influence the vote if it were shown by him to certain senators. In its cable to its Minister the British Foreign Office expresses the hope that the diplomatic representatives of the United States and Brazil would also deliver messages.

In spite of the strenuous efforts of Conservative leader Laureano Gomez to postpone the voting, defenders of the pact in the Colombian Senate hope that within a few days it will be approved in second debate. Two Conservatives have indicated their intention to vote along with the Liberals in favor of ratification. Conservative leader Laureano Gomez is doing his best to bring the two again under his control and there is some anxiety lest he may succeed, if not during the second debate then possibly by the time of voting in the third debate. On this it is believed that he has lessened his prestige somewhat by 4 days of oratory consisting solely of personal attacks upon Eduardo Santos, former Colombian representative before the League of Nations. Representations by foreign nations may strengthen the present intentions of the two Conservative Senators but Gomez will undoubtedly try to capitalize the messages to his advantage by interpreting them as foreign intervention. My observations and conversations incline me to the belief that the votes of the two Senators will depend principally upon issues of internal politics. Consequently unless the United States Government very much desires to associate itself with the other friendly nations in this gesture in favor of international peace I believe that little can be accomplished by representations to the Colombian Government at this moment.

I am reliably informed that the Colombian Government has received a message from Dr. Mello Franco6 agreeing with the interpretation given to articles 2 and 7 of the pact by Senator Urdaneta and that this message was read to the Senate in secret session several days ago. In the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs there appears to be the feeling that the Peruvian Minister to Colombia might help the situation by indorsing Urdaneta’s interpretation also, and that only the Minister’s personal attitude has prevented the Peruvian Government from authorizing such action. It is felt in Liberal Party circles that such an endorsement not only would dissolve the opposition in the Senate, but would clarify the future internal political situation by dispelling the anxiety which will continue to exist in the country if the pact is approved by a narrow margin of votes. On several occasions Colombian officials have expressed to me the wish that foreign nations would persuade the Peruvian Government to take such action.

  1. Former Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs.