810.20 Defense/7–1040: Telegram

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

131. From the Under Secretary. Your telegram 186, July 10, 7 p.m. You may inform President Santos in confidence that Congress is being asked to authorize the Export-Import Bank to grant credits for the purchase of munitions in this country and that as soon as such authorization has been obtained the requests formulated by the President of Colombia will be given immediate consideration and every possible step will be taken to try to assist the Colombian Government along the lines indicated. Although the session will not be resumed until July 22 I perceive no present reason to doubt favorable legislative action at an early date. It would accordingly be my suggestion that the Colombian Government proceed to formulate a definite statement of its anticipated needs so that there need be no delay in the presentation of its request to the Bank.

As you were informed in the Department’s strictly confidential telegram of July 11, 4 p.m.,6 it is the intention of this Government to begin bipartite staff conversations with all the American republics sometime in August and the conversations in Bogotá should afford ample opportunity to discuss concrete measures of assistance and cooperation which may be accorded to each other by the two Governments. As you know, the question of obtaining delivery of new armament equipment may be considerably delayed in some cases due to the enormous orders needed to equip our own forces and our expanding industry. However, an effort is being made to make it possible for the governments of the other American republics to obtain material required to satisfy essential defense needs without undue delay.

There are no vessels now in the possession of the United States suitable as revenue cutters which might be sold to the Colombian Government but it is believed that there is still ample capacity in shipyards in this country to build such vessels up to approximately 150 feet in length. The United States Coast Guard has on several occasions furnished plans and specifications of Coast Guard cutters to governments of the other American republics, and would presumably be prepared to furnish such plans to the Colombian Government provided an indication is given as to the approximate characteristics desired in the vessels which the Colombian Government proposes to have built.

With regard to the other items, you may assure the President that every favorable consideration will be given to the Colombian request [Page 74] consistent with demands for our own rearmament. Although there are available some Lee Enfield rifles in good condition now carried as surplus, no indication can be made with respect to our ability to comply with requests for other military equipment until an exact list has been furnished to this Government. [Welles.]

  1. Ante, p. 19.