810.20 Defense/6–1340: Telegram

The Ambassador in Colombia (Braden) to the Secretary of State

155. For the Under Secretary. I deeply regret that in haste to get word to you covering interview with President, I so abbreviated and phrased my telegram as to cause you anxiety by alluding to “around the corner”. That idea and expression I obtained from President Roosevelt May 28.

I did not even remotely imply a limitation of our fundamental policies or that we would not always undertake to give assistance to the other republics. On the contrary, throughout, my statements closely paralleled the thoughts expressed in your cable91 and my reference to “around the corner” was purely a personal illustration of the practical considerations governing the speed and effectiveness of our defense measures as influenced by distance from our bases and length of possible front of attack. This afternoon, following receipt of your telegram, I repeated my statement on this subject to Santos, employing as nearly as possible the effect of the pertinent parts of paragraphs 2 and 3 of your telegram. The President replied he had clearly understood me in this same sense. Therefore, and since the conversation was strictly confidential, I am confident he cannot possibly have mentioned it to any diplomatic representative.

I transmitted to him your message respecting inter-American conference, replied he had in mind:

“The general norms of defense and solidarity of this hemisphere, including precisely naval and military cooperation, although the details thereof could be worked out from nation to nation.
The possession or occupation of colonies.
Development of agricultural and industrial economies. [”]

[Page 67]

I observed the Inter-American Bank92 was to forward this point. He replied “then we can give an impulse to the bank.”

However, he would like to study the subject further and talk with me next week. Apparently as an afterthought he said: “What about a league of nations? I have always been opposed to it but, under stress of present circumstances, maybe we should have one under another name.” I observed that sentiment in the United States had always been opposed to a league.

He then inquired what I thought of his writing personally to you after he had given further study to the conference idea. I said I knew you would deeply appreciate such a communication.

Ridgway and I had already decided not to discuss colonies at all.

  1. No. 107, June 12, 7 p.m., p. 64.
  2. For correspondence regarding the proposed Inter-American Bank, see pp. 695 ff.