800.85/576: Telegram

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

311. Your 356, March 13. A proposal for the purchase of the two Italian tankers has been submitted to the Colombian Ambassador. It is substantially as follows:

A payment of $1,500,000 for the two tankers. Although it was originally proposed that extraordinary repairs would be deductible from this total, the proposal now stands that no such provision will be included if the tankers are in approximately the same shape as they were when the survey by Standard Oil was made. Colombia must take title first, however.
War Shipping Administration (Maritime Commission) will endeavor to use these tankers for the transportation of oil from Colombia. Recognizing the needs of Colombia for the transportation of its exports and imports, the War Shipping Administration will also endeavor to keep in the Colombian foreign trade merchant tonnage equivalent to the tonnage of the Italian tankers.

The Colombian Ambassador stated he felt point (2) should be somewhat stronger, but he has been informed that this is impossible in view of wartime conditions and that point (2) represents full recognition of the needs of Colombian foreign trade by the War Shipping Administration.