740.0011 Pacific War/1321

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The Colombian Ambassador called to see me this afternoon at my request. I told the Ambassador that I wanted to speak with him in a very unofficial and friendly way. I said the effect on public opinion in this country, as well as upon the Government, of the splendid cooperative action taken by his Government with regard to Japan had been, as he undoubtedly knew, overwhelmingly favorable and I didn’t want anything to happen that would detract in the slightest degree from that happy result. I said that if the Government of Colombia [Page 81] speedily took action to sever relations with Germany and Italy, the beneficial effect which I had mentioned would be greatly enhanced and it would also constitute a great relief to our War and Navy Departments.

The Ambassador said he was in the happy position of being able to give me an immediate reply. He said that he had just finished talking on the long distance telephone with President Santos and the latter had explained to him that the Congress was now completing the final stages of granting the executive full powers short of a declaration of war. He said the final vote would probably take place tomorrow. He said further that the only reason for the delay in breaking diplomatic relations with Germany and Italy was to give the Government a little more time to take precautionary measures with regard to the German and Italian colonies in Colombia before the public knew of the rupture of relations. He said he could give me almost definite assurances that the severance of relations would take place not later than Monday. I asked the Ambassador to express to the President my deep appreciation of this new proof of the unfailing cooperation and support of the Colombian Government.

S[umner] W[elles]