810.20 Defense/2610: Telegram

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

575. Your 601, May 5, 9 p.m. Are we correct in assuming on the basis of the Minister of War’s instructions to General López not to make any issue with United States military authorities in the event [Page 151] of an emergency necessitating our forces entering Colombian territory, that General Andrews may without prior and specific permission from the Colombian Government dispatch United States Army task forces to cope with any situation which might arise in Colombian waters or territories through enemy action? If this understanding is correct, the War Department is entirely satisfied and does not feel that it will be necessary to conclude an agreement formalizing the right of United States armed forces to take whatever action is indicated to cope with unforeseen emergencies. If, however, you feel that a useful purpose would be served by concluding an agreement with the Colombian Government providing that the two countries may undertake operations on or over the lands and in or over the territorial waters of the other country for the purpose of hemisphere defense, when such action is urgently necessary, a draft of such an agreement will be sent you for your consideration.

The Department is of the opinion that existing arrangements and understandings with the Colombian Government are such that a formal agreement is not necessary and perhaps would be undesirable.