821.20/218: Telegram

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

1115. Personal for Under Secretary. My telegrams 1049, August 14 and 1110, August 26.30 Secretary General of Foreign Office who is virtually in charge of Ministry pending arrival of Turbay informs me President López who is still ill requested him to advise me as follows: The institution of weekly United States airplane service between Cartagena and San Andrés for purpose of providing food and medical supplies to Archipelago would greatly assist Government in its efforts to obtain permission for maintenance of seaplane base in Cartagena. I was asked to believe López does not desire to obtain plane service to San Andrés without our obtaining quid pro quo and naval facilities at Cartagena. González said it is not a question of condition but one of practical politics. If Government can show conservative opposition that it is obtaining vital civilian aid from the United States there should be no difficulty in obtaining authority for establishment of military and naval facilities in Colombia.

As I have told you I believe in the sincerity of López. I do not believe he would ask our assistance on San Andrés situation which all well-informed persons describe as desperate unless he were willing to grant us base in Cartagena. My informant gave me to understand in fact President had already expressed his desire to have Cartagena project established but for internal political reasons he does not wish to have the two projects coming too closely associated or as having been granted conditionally.

I have repeated my invitation to General Andrews to visit Bogotá.

May I suggest you urge on War and Navy Departments great desirability of establishing seaplane service between Cartagena and [Page 162] San Andrés and that if this is not granted negotiations for establishment of seaplane base at Cartagena will be prejudiced.

I have not repeated this telegram to Panama.

  1. Latter not printed.