740.0011 European War 1939/17675: Telegram

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

685. In radio speech last night President Santos said that never had a Colombian President had to speak to his fellow citizens at a time so grave and serious for all humanity, that Colombia has the moral obligation to assume a definite attitude, “The declarations of principle of Lima and Buenos Aires, the policy defined in these Pan American Conferences and in Habana and in Panama have not been the artificial work of politicians but the almost spontaneous result of what has been and is American and what it must be.”

He followed with a statement that in the aggression of Japan, Germany and Italy against the United States “Colombia is neither indifferent nor neutral” and added that Colombia would fulfill its role in the policy of continental solidarity.

He pointed out that Colombia is not a military power and would not declare war on anyone unless it should be invaded but that it would have to work to the limit of its resources and “to fight on the side of our allies”. He continued that he had absolute faith in the United States and that Colombia would follow the letter and the spirit of the norms which determine Pan American solidarity and which guarantee [Page 82] the liberty and sovereignty of the continent. President Santos said that there could be no doubt of Colombia’s intention to cooperate in the defense of the continent and the security of the Canal. With reference to Germany and Italy he said “Las leyes de la lógica están exigiendo que si rompimos relaciones diplomáticas y consulares con el Japón por su agresión contra los Estados Unidos y al hacerlo no hicimos otra cosa que cumplir una disposición terminante de un acuerdo de la Habana ratificado por el parlamento Colombiano observamos actitud paralela con los gobiernos de Alemania e Italia que se solidarizaron con el Japón y lo acompañan en la guerra declarada al gobierno y pueblo de los Estados Unidos. En uno y otro caso nuestra actitud tiene que ser idéntica.”40 There then followed “Neustro rompimiento de relaciones diplomáticas y consulares con los gobiernos del eje crea una situación excepcionalmente delicada respecto de los nacionales de esas potencias que residen en Colombia”41 and the President continued that Colombia would have to take extremely severe measures to prevent all propaganda and all activities contrary to American solidarity adding that it would not cavilate in anything with reference to its international security and the strict fulfillment of its obligations.

  1. Translation: “The laws of logic require that if we break diplomatic relations with Japan because of her aggression against the United States and in doing so we do no more than fulfill a positive provision of the Habana Agreement ratified by the Colombian Parliament, we observe an attitude similar to that of the Governments of Germany and Italy which allied themselves with Japan and accompanied her into war declared against the Government and people of the United States. In any case our attitude must be identical.”
  2. Translation: “Our breach of diplomatic and consular relations with the Governments of the Axis creates a situation exceptionally delicate with respect to the nationals of those powers who reside in Colombia.”