811.20 Defense (M)/2137: Telegram

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

152. Reference your 182 of May 31. The Department trusts that the views of the Minister of Foreign Relations do not constitute a final rejection of the proposal to purchase the entire Colombian platinum output as proposed in our 124 of May 23. It is realized that there are certain advantages which come from the sale of platinum to the [Page 42] Axis at high prices, but from a strictly commercial point of view, it should be emphasized that the proposal of Metals Reserve Company is to buy the entire output for a year or even possibly more. This obviously has certain advantages over the Japanese buying which for various reasons may stop at any time. But apart from the commercial aspects of the problem, it is hoped that the Government of Colombia will give proper weight to the hemisphere defense factors involved in selling all its platinum to the Metals Reserve Company.

With respect to the suggestion concerning raw and construction materials, the Department confirms the position which you have taken. Every effort will be made to make available to Colombia the raw and finished products which Colombia needs and this should be simplified by the recent Colombian export control decree, but of course this desire on the part of this Government is limited by the necessity of conserving in this country materials urgently needed for national defense. This observation applies particularly to zinc and mercury as to which no assurances can be made at this time. In this connection it is suggested that you advise the Department of any extremely urgent needs for raw and construction materials. Every effort will be made to satisfy specified requests where they are urgently needed.

It is accordingly suggested that you take up the platinum proposal as outlined in the Department’s 124 once more with the appropriate governmental authorities, emphasizing that this Government urgently hopes that a satisfactory reply will be given.