Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs (Wilson)

The Colombian Chargé d’Affaires called by appointment. He referred to the conversation he had had with Mr. Welles6 on December 19, 1934, when Mr. Welles had mentioned the interest of our authorities in making plans to carry out the reconnaissance survey of the Inter-American Highway south of Panama, and of his hope that the Government of Colombia would be willing to have Colombian engineers cooperate with our own engineers in the reconnaissance survey through Colombia. Dr. González-Fernández said that he had reported this conversation to his Government and had now been advised that the matter had been taken up with the Colombian Highway Department and a memorandum furnished him giving information as to the status of surveys performed by the Colombian engineers of the [Page 244] proposed route through Colombia. He gave me a copy of the memorandum which is attached hereto.7 He remarked that the memorandum was silent as to the suggestion that United States engineers might carry out the survey in Colombia in cooperation with Colombian engineers. He said, however, that he was sure his Government would have no objection to this being done and he would be glad to take up again that specific point whenever we desired. I thanked him for his information and said I would pass it on to our Bureau of Public Roads.

Dr. González-Fernández then spoke of the Rio de Janeiro protocol,8 said that Dr. Olaya had taken over the post of Foreign Minister yesterday and he was sure that Dr. Olaya would not have accepted it unless he believed he could obtain ratification of the protocol without modifications. He thought it likely the course pursued would be one of dissolution of the Colombian Congress at an early date and then after the elections in May, with a Liberal majority in both Houses of the Congress, there would be no difficulty in obtaining ratification of the Rio de Janeiro protocol.

As regards the pending trade agreement with the United States,9 Dr. González-Fernández said that he was sorry that the Legation had not received any word in reply to the cable which it had sent some ten days ago at my request regarding our desire for an early reply to our proposals, and our suggestion about sending an expert to Bogotá to assist in expediting the matter. He said that of course consideration of the Rio de Janeiro protocol had necessarily taken precedence over all other matters, but that he was confident that Dr. Olaya would wish to push these negotiations as rapidly as possible.

Edwin C. Wilson
  1. Sumner Welles, Assistant Secretary of State.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Between Colombia and Peru, signed May 24, 1934, Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. iv, p. 361; for correspondence concerning ratification by Colombia, see ante, pp. 199 ff.
  4. See pp. 430 ff.