811.20 Defense (M)/2137: Telegram

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

182. My telegram No. 175. Minister of Foreign Relations64 summoned me this morning to say he had been encouraged at first but later had been informed legal technicalities made any platinum monopoly plan impossible. He had insisted arrangement might be consummated through Bank of the Republic. This also failed. Upon his restatement that such a strategic material must go to Colombia’s friends there had been developed a “complicated triple plan” whereby Government would follow same procedure as with gold, and we to establish certain banking credits in the United States. He did not yet have memorandum of details but said this plan would bring criticism and greatly augment difficulties of preventing contraband in metal. Therefore to satisfy public opinion here and “emphatically in no way as a trade of favors” it had been asked whether or not we could give assurances that Colombia would receive zinc, mercury, raw and construction materials.

I repeated my previous statements to him and others that we were not producers of mercury and it should be obtained direct in Mexico. I said I doubt any assurances could be given on zinc. As for the other materials we were and would continue to assist Colombia in every way we could but sacrifices would have to be made by all and with daily changing conditions it appeared well-nigh unsurmountable task to make any definite promises.

Please instruct.

  1. Luis Lopez de Mesa.