811.20 Defense (M) Colombia/42a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Colombia (Keith)

350. Rubber Reserve Company44 is prepared to enter into commitment with Colombian Government to purchase entire production of rubber in Colombia except for an appropriate amount (to be agreed upon) necessary for domestic consumption, at 35 cents per pound c & f United States continental ports for usual good quality Colombian scrap as understood in New York. It is understood that any Hevea type rubber produced in Colombia is presumably exported through Brazil and loses its identification as Colombian rubber. Purchases would be paid for on basis of cash against shipping documents endorsed “on board” ocean carrying vessel at Belém and such other places as may be deemed advisable by Rubber Reserve and Colombia and subject to final price adjustment based on quality inspection and net certified weights determined at port of entry in United States. The term of the agreement would be to December 31, 1946, unless sooner terminated by mutual consent, price paid being subject to change after expiration of first 2 years if conditions change. The Government of Colombia would agree to restrict export licenses to Rubber Reserve Company or its nominees. The exportation of manufactured [Page 171] rubber, if any, would be restricted to the United States. Colombia would agree to use its best efforts to cause maximum amount of rubber to be produced and made available for sale to Reserve. Local labor would be financed locally for necessities for collecting rubber. Some governmental agency, if desirable, would be designated as the single buying agency, otherwise sales would be made through usual trade channels now in existence. Price on sales to Rubber Reserve would also be fixed as local sales price.

Foregoing proposal is similar to agreements entered into with Brazilian Government on March 3.45

For your information we understand certain American republics are negotiating to acquire rubber production in some of the other American countries. Please consult immediately proper Colombian authorities and request their immediate consideration of proposal. If Colombian authorities agreeable in principle to sale of rubber to United States, Rubber Reserve willing to enter into an agreement immediately to acquire it. Upon consummation of purchase agreement we would be prepared to discuss with Colombian authorities any useful joint arrangements to increase the production of rubber.

Canadian Government has indicated desire to collaborate in development of rubber in Colombia, and that may be done although no decision has been reached.

Matter has not been discussed with Turbay.46

You may consider it desirable to discuss program in strictest confidence with Parrish,47 in view of memorandum attached to his letter to Braden48 of March 7. Department prefers to contract directly with Colombian Government, Parrish’s activities to be worked out with Rubber Reserve who will have general responsibility for development program, but would like to have your views after discussion with Parrish as to practicality and recommendations as to procedure which will procure greatest amount of rubber.

Department has now approved instructions for Carlton.49 In substance his activities are, at least for the present, limited to investigation and study. You will be given fuller information shortly to communicate to Carlton.

  1. An agency of the United States Government.
  2. See bracketed note and telegram No. 640, March 13, 7 p.m., to the Ambassador in Brazil, vol. v, p. 692.
  3. Gabriel Turbay, Colombian Ambassador.
  4. Robert H. Parrish, of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.
  5. Spruille Braden, Ambassador in Colombia, departed from that country about March 9, 1942, and George Keith assumed charge of Embassy as Chargé.
  6. Marshall Carlton of the Rubber Reserve Company.