740.00112A European War, 1939/23885: Airgram

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

A–33. Reference my airgrams no. 10, January 1, 5 p.m., and no. 12, January 2, 5 p.m.7 Meetings were held on January 8 and 12 with Minister of Hacienda regarding Proclaimed List matters and especially with regard to intervened firms.

Dr. Araújo, who showed a very evident desire to cooperate with us, expressed agreement with our point of view in removing intervened [Page 48] firms from the Proclaimed List always on condition that undesirable members of the firm should be eliminated and transactions with undesirable firms stopped. Dr. Araújo expressed agreement with my point of view that in addition to the desirability of the Colombian Government’s taking steps required as a measure of continental solidarity in accordance with Colombia’s stipulated obligations contracted in Havana, Rio and Washington,8 the present unsatisfactory situation of keeping on the Proclaimed List firms which are intervened and administered by the Colombian Government is possible cause for friction between the two Governments, implying a reflection on the effectiveness of the Colombian Government’s administration of such firms.

Specific cases were discussed with the Minister and his assistants, and it was agreed that Mr, Derby9 of the Embassy would take up with Dr. Bernal of the Ministry of Hacienda10 the requirements which the Department has imposed for the elimination of firms from the Proclaimed List. Should there be any disagreement between Derby and Bernal as to procedure, the Minister expressed willingness to discuss the general situation or any specific case with me personally.

The question of the extent of the present Colombian decrees involving control of enemy nationals was also discussed with the Minister and his assistants. The deficiencies in the existing decrees were pointed out in detail to the Minister, particularly with reference to the commitments made by the Colombian representatives at the Rio and Washington conferences. The fact that Law 128 expired on July 20, 1942, and that the President no longer had extraordinary powers to control and regulate the property and activities of enemy nationals, was also discussed. The Minister stated that he was anxious to know definitely what additional measures his Government should take to correct existing deficiencies in the Colombian decrees, and that when this was determined, additional legislation would be requested of Congress for this purpose, if necessary. It was agreed that Derby and Bernal would discuss this phase of the problem in detail and the results of their discussion would be submitted to the Minister for his consideration and action.

I believe that these meetings have accomplished the necessary spade work for a better understanding on the part of the Colombian authorities of our desires, and have also served specifically to clear up [Page 49] certain doubtful cases. I am hopeful that Derby’s conversations with Bernal will definitely and satisfactorily dispose of cases regarding which Department has expressed dissatisfaction.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. The Second and Third Meetings of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics were held at Habana, July 21–30, 1940, and at Rio de Janeiro, January 15–28, 1942, respectively; for correspondence concerning the meetings, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. v, pp. 180 ff., and ibid., 1942, vol. v, pp. 6 ff. The Inter-American Conference on Systems of Economic and Financial Control was held at Washington, June 30–July 10, 1942; for correspondence, see ibid., pp. 58 ff.
  3. Robert Julius Derby, Special Assistant to the Ambassador in Colombia.
  4. Pablo Bernal of the Juridical Section of the Ministry of Hacienda.