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

No. 1335

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch no. 1111 of October 22, 1940,75 in which I anticipated that Colombia would again appeal to us for financial assistance, and to report that on January 31, 1941, I called on President Santos at his request.

The President expressed his gratification with the working out of the coffee agreement,76 said the outlook was bright and thought Colombia could maintain economic equilibrium providing it got through 1941, which was the critical year. But conceivably Colombia would require financial assistance in this connection if everything did not work out as hoped for. Therefore, he wished me to study with the Minister of Finance77 a plan contemplating a five million dollar loan in the event assistance were needed and needed quickly at any time. It was essential to hold up coffee prices and sales, otherwise chaos would result (sic).

He continued that there were also certain public works which he would like to forward and which would need financing. It would be no great sum because he had no ambition to leave a series of monuments to himself in the form of public works, and with them obligations on the people. But there were such undertakings as an electrification [Page 56] program, which he would like to get underway. These public works he also desired me to discuss with the Minister of Finance.

I replied that I would be very happy to study these matters with his Minister and I deemed it wise to do so well in advance of the time when funds would be requested because there were so many details to be gone into in the way of preparation so that we would know beforehand exactly what could be done and how. I, of course, had in mind the adjustment of such matters of common interest as were mentioned in my despatch under reference.

This part of the conversation concluded by the President saying he would on February 3 instruct his Minister of Finance to get in touch with me on these several matters; also, he would discuss them further with me himself, probably within another week or so.

Respectfully yours,

Spruille Braden
  1. Not printed.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. v, pp. 380 ff.
  3. Carlos Lleras Restrepo.