810.20 Defense/631: Telegram

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

75. Department’s telegram No. 53. In my March 10 conversation with President it was apparent that … he is frightened by Alfonso Lopez’4 attack on administration for too supinely delivering itself to the United States (my despatch No. 13275). He expressed a desire that all matters pertaining to staff agreement or defense program be discussed intimately and exclusively by himself and me as friend to friend. … In my opinion his attitude and increasing disposition to flounder result from aforementioned fears.

In this connection he desires following procedure: That I obtain and confidentially give him details of what is required, id est, soundings, mapping of harbor etc. together with qualifications of experts to be employed; then in order to give appearance of purely Colombian initiative he will request us to add to naval mission aforementioned experts to perform specific duties their report to be submitted to Colombian Government who will in turn give copy to us. He also suggested that since Colombian Military Geographic Institute was most competent organization of any kind in this country it could make aerial survey of Cartagena. I did not refute this latter statement since in principle he is agreeable to survey and I believe that these technical details can be worked out in a satisfactory manner.

If the Department and Navy Department approve of this general procedure I recommend that I be supplied with data requested by Santos as soon as possible.

  1. President of Colombia, 1934–38.
  2. Dated February 4, 1941, not printed.