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

No. 830

Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of your strictly confidential telegram no. 158 dated May 17, in section B of which you refer to the desire of the President of Colombia to formalize through an exchange of notes the recommendations made by the General Staffs of Colombia and the United States in pursuance of the staff conversations held in [Page 23] Bogotá in September 1940. This exchange would be submitted to the Colombian Congress for the latter’s approval during its debates on the Convention signed at the Meeting of Foreign Ministers held in Habana in July 1940.45

In pursuance of this request, the Department has prepared a draft of this note46 which you are authorized to submit to President Santos for an expression of his views. The text has received the approval of the War and Navy Departments. You will please keep the Department informed concerning your conversations with the President of Colombia and report any alterations which he may desire to make in the text.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles

Draft Note to the Colombian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Lopez de Mesa)

Excellency: I have the honor to advise the Government of Colombia, through Your Excellency, that the appropriate officials of the Government of the United States have approved the agreements arrived at during the staff conversations held in Bogotá, September 10–26, 1940 between General L. M. Castaneda, Chief of Staff of the Colombian Army; Captain F. C. Riefkohl, United States Navy; and Lieutenant Colonel N. Randolph, United States Army.

These staff conversations were designed to elaborate certain cooperative measures which Colombia and the United States, each on its own volition, and as a function inherent in its sovereignty, might be able to take in defense of the two countries themselves and of the Western Hemisphere. The measures have been adopted in pursuance of the obligations assumed in the interest of continental defense to which all the American republics subscribed at recent inter-American meetings and in particular at the meeting of Foreign Ministers held in Habana in July 1940. They include such measures as liaison between the military and naval staffs of each country for the defense of the American hemisphere, this liaison comprising complete and effective exchange of information relative to continental security and the establishment of adequate channels of communication. In addition, each country agrees to adopt appropriate measures relative to coast patrols and to render the other suitable assistance of a military nature within the scope of its resources, legal authorizations or available means, such as the training of personnel and the lending of technical advisers. Other [Page 24] measures of this nature relate to permission for visits of medical officers and aerial photographers.

The United States will take such means as are at its disposal to prevent attacks on Colombia by a non-American state while Colombia will endeavor to prevent an attack from its territory on the United States or its possessions, particularly against the Panama Canal. In the event of attack by a non-American power, the United States, should Colombia so request, will employ its armed forces to assist in repelling any such attack while Colombia will supply timely information and all possible facilities to the forces coming to her aid. In the event that the United States sends its armed forces to the help of another American republic as a result of a request or of an inter-American consultation, to the decision of which Colombia has given its approval, the latter will give all possible facilities to United States forces advancing to the assistance of the attacked country.

These measures have been adopted in an atmosphere of inter-American solidarity and in a spirit of mutual helpfulness. They have been drawn up and approved by both governments in the realization that, in view of the conditions prevailing throughout a large portion of the world, the United States of America and Colombia should cooperate to preserve their sovereignty and independence against non-American aggression.

Accept, Excellency, the assurances of my most distinguished consideration.

  1. See Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. v, pp. 180 ff.
  2. The enclosure to this document.