810.20 Defense/2108

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

No. 3709

Sir: I have the honor to report that, pursuant to his request, I called on the Minister for Foreign Relations, Dr. Luis López de Mesa, on the morning of February 14. Our conversation is summarized in the attached memorandum,2 which I dictated immediately upon my return to the Chancery.

It will be noted that the Foreign Minister believes that the war will be long drawn out but that the democracies will finally win. Likewise, he fears a Japanese aggression on some one of the Latin American Republics. As a result, but without in the slightest committing himself to the accomplishment of any proposals which we may make, he nevertheless desires to know what steps the United States believes Colombia should take in the matter of hemisphere defense.

As will be observed from the enclosed memorandum, when replying to the Minister I divided the subject into two parts: (1) I urged the necessity for a continued and augmented activity in respect to Axis nationals in this country in order to prevent any subversive activity. (2) While emphasizing the complete dedication of the Department and this Embassy to respect for Colombian sovereignty and a consideration at all times for the sensibilities of these people, I mentioned several possibilities with which I was acquainted of action which might be taken by the Colombian Government of a military nature and which in my opinion would be considered desirable by the United States Army.

I was able to present to the Minister only the isolated suggestions so far advanced by our military and with which I am familiar; but it will be observed that what he really desires is a complete plan. There is thus presented to us an unusual opportunity to express our wishes [Page 142] frankly to the Colombian Government, and I request that I be instructed in the premises.

Respectfully yours,

Spruille Braden
  1. Not printed.