800.85/576: Telegram

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

356. Referring to the Embassy’s No. 33, January 9, 3 a.m. Foreign Minister remarked to me yesterday that the question of the Italian tankers was causing him a great deal of anxiety. He again expressed a lack of confidence in arbitration after the war reiterating that his experience had shown that a small country often stood to lose in arbitral proceedings with a large country. He also felt that Italy was perhaps trying to handicap the transaction by claiming such a high price for the tankers which I agreed was most likely.

I assured him my Government would be glad if the matter might be settled soon and he said he would at once discuss it further with President Santos. He promised to keep me informed although negotiations are now being handled in Washington.