821.032/350: Telegram

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

286. President Santos in message upon opening of Congress July 20 declared relations with the United States “marked by most perfect mutual respect” and “affection” and testified to “sincerity and good faith of good neighbor policy.” He indicted Nazi philosophy, which he said “simply means the destruction of our nationality” under which “countries such as Colombia would pass automatically into state of vassalage,” and that the defense of Colombia would be found in its position as a part of the continental bloc.

The President declared “The Panama Canal is vital for the life of America and vital for the defense of the United States; it constitutes for Colombia an essential means of communication whose interruption would occasion us untold dangers. Our condition as neighbors of this canal imposes on us the obligation of seeing that it should never be damaged or attacked from our territory.”

Referring to bases he said question had not been “proposed in any form whatsoever” and that events did not seem to indicate need for bases. If necessity should arise Colombia would have to solve it with its resources and authority alone.

Economic cooperation is described as based on country’s needs and not in exchange for political friendship but adds that this cooperation of the three Americas must assume more intelligent and generous characteristics.

Message has been eulogized in liberal press and El Siglo gave it more than customary kindly reception.

Full Spanish text has been forwarded direct air mail today.

I expressed today to the Foreign Minister my sincere thanks for President’s fine reference to relations with the United States and my admiration for message as a whole.