840.51 Frozen Credits/9798

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

No. 1768

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instruction no. 795 of November 19, 1942,11 concerning Colombian economic and financial controls of enemy property and assets, and subsequent reports and despatches from this Embassy regarding this subject.

At the recent extraordinary session of Congress of Colombia which adjourned on February 28, 1943, comprehensive legislation, known as the Economic Defense Plan, was enacted, providing for the control of prices of drugs, foodstuffs, and merchandise ordinarily consumed by the public and authorizing the Government to take the necessary measures to accomplish the purposes of the law. The full text of the Economic Defense Plan will be submitted in a separate report as soon as it is officially published.

Articles 13 to 17, inclusive, of the Economic Defense Plan contain certain provisions and authorizations to the Government with reference to the control of property of foreigners.

For the present, it will be observed that Article 13 authorizes the issuance of bonds in the amount of fifty million pesos, the proceeds of which are to be used for the nationalization of property owned by foreigners which is under the administration of the Colombian Government and for the purpose of purchasing telephone, transportations, electric power, and other public utility companies. This article also grants extraordinary powers to the President until December 31, 1943, to extend and amend existing decrees within the provisions of Article 16 of Law 128 of 1941. The effect of this article is to renew until December 31, 1943, the extraordinary powers granted to the President by Article 16 of Law 128 of 1941, which powers expired on July 20, 1942.

Article 14 provides for the maturity and interest rate of the bonds authorized to be issued by Article 13.

Article 15 provides that income from firms under administration, and cash balances of such firms, must be invested when required by the Government, in the bonds authorized to be issued by this law.

Article 16 provides for amortization of bonds and payment of interest [Page 50] thereon from proceeds of enterprises nationalized with the proceeds of this issue.

Article 17 provides for exclusion of nationals of territories occupied by the Axis from Government administration where such nationals are able to furnish satisfactory proof of good conduct and antecedents. This article also provides for opening of bank accounts by Axis nationals and other persons subject to Colombian controls where such bank accounts are absolutely essential and the persons involved furnish satisfactory proof of good behavior and antecedents.

The necessary decrees to carry these provisions into effect have not as yet been issued, but developments will be followed closely and promptly reported to the Department.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Charles A. Livengood

Counselor of Embassy for Economic Affairs
  1. Not printed.