800.85/521: Telegram

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

5. My telegram number 122 [722], December 25, 6 a.m.76 On December 31, Tropical Oil Company representative received instruction stating that his company was authorized by the United States Maritime Commission, subject to my approval, to negotiate directly with Colombian Government for purchase or charter of two Italian tankers. I recommended his taking the matter up with the Foreign Office. He did this morning and was advised that Colombia could not negotiate because it was already committed to Argentina.

This afternoon President Santos stated to me that he was annoyed by the delay in this matter and had instructed the Minister of Foreign Relations with all courtesy to terminate negotiations elsewhere, to prepare a decree unilaterally taking ownership of the vessels that we had discussed (and to turn them over to us at cost).

I therefore hope that so soon as the holidays are over we can obtain definite action on this matter.

  1. Not printed; in this telegram Mr. Braden reported he had recently discussed with Foreign Minister López de Mesa and President Santos the importance of putting the Italian tankers immobilized by Colombia into service (800.85/512).