740.0011 European War 1939/32060: Telegram

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

2150. Minister for Foreign Affairs Lozano informed me this afternoon that following a meeting of the Cabinet immediately subsequent [Page 4] to my call on the President today, the following decisions were reached:

1. Colombia wishes to sign the pact of the United Nations and is sending full powers to President Alfonso López to sign in the name of Colombia, it being the feeling that this will give the act a greater dignity and significance.

2. The Government will shortly issue decrees expropriating property belonging to Axis nationals as a subvention to recompense Colombians for damages committed by Germany.

3. A decree is to be issued immediately calling to the colors recruits for military service.

Steps will be taken in accordance with resolution XV of Habana10 and the appropriate resolutions of Rio de Janeiro11 to provide for drastic treatment of espionage in Colombia. Foreign Minister suggested that the United States and Colombia effect an exchange of notes to provide for the deportation of dangerous Nazi nationals.

In addition to the foregoing, the Foreign Minister said that it would be very much appreciated if we would permit a few Colombian officers to study military conditions at one of our fronts.

He also said that he would very much appreciate receiving definite information from our military or naval authorities in the Canal Zone regarding the investigation which has been made concerning the fragments of shrapnel fired on the survivors from the Ruby from the supposedly German submarine. Lozano said that Laureano Gómez12 is adopting an “incredulous” attitude regarding the nationality of the submarine and that any proof which we can furnish regarding its nationality would be very helpful. I informed Lozano confidentially that according to information received from the Naval and Military Attachés, German mines have recently been found at the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal. Any information I can officially furnish him on this matter would also be appreciated. Lozano said that Spanish Minister13 has asked for audience which Lozano assumes is for purpose of transmitting German disavowal of responsibility for sinking of Ruby. For that reason Lozano would appreciate urgent reply.

Finally, I inquired whether, in view of his statement before the Senate last night to the effect that the Government considers that German [Germany] is in a state of belligerency against Colombia, Colombia is in a state of belligerency against Germany. He replied definitely in the affirmative. He said his Government wishes now to [Page 5] act internationally exactly as though it were in the war, but that for the internal reasons which the President explained to me this morning it must be considered as a state of belligerency. He added that for practical reasons there is no difference between the two.

  1. Resolution XV of the Second Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics, July 21–30, 1940, Department of State Bulletin, August 24, 1940, p. 136.
  2. For the resolutions of the Third Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics, January 15–28, 1942, see ibid., February 7, 1942, pp. 117 ff.
  3. Leader in the Conservative Party.
  4. Gonzalo de Ojeda y Brooke.