740.00112A European War 1939/28591

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

No. 1899

Sir: With reference to my despatch No. 1894 of March 29, 1943,16 I have the honor to inform the Department that the Minister of Hacienda and Public Credit, Doctor Alfonso Araújo, informed me on March 29, 1943 that he too had been approached by the Apostolic Nuncio17 regarding the Banco de Frances e Italiano and especially with respect to the administration of the bank by the Colombian Government,18 pointing out that the majority of the shares of the bank are owned by Profima,19 majority of which shares are in turn, owned by the Holy See.

Doctor Araújo informed me that it had been the intention of the Government to set up the new Board of Directors of the bank as of April 1, 1943, but that in view of the interest of the Nuncio and in [Page 52] view of the information which we have requested the Nuncio to furnish the Embassy in connection with the ownership of the shares of the bank, the Government has decided to postpone for a week or two the setting up of the new Board of Directors. The Minister added that pressure had been brought to bear on the Government by the main office of the bank in Buenos Aires to allow the head office to determine the composition of the new Board. Doctor Araújo said that the Government had definitely refused this request, as obviously such a move would facilitate transactions which are not in the interest of hemispheric solidarity.

“Referred to by a representative of the Holy See as “Profima S. A. Société Immobiliére et de Participations,” Lausanne.

I shall keep the Department fully advised of any developments in connection with the situation.

Respectfully yours,

Arthur Bliss Lake
  1. Not printed.
  2. Monseñor Serena.
  3. A Board of Directors, named by the Government, blocked the profits of the Bank and the accounts of Axis nationals, prohibited transactions with those on the Proclaimed List and with Axis firms, but had not dismissed personnel undesirable to the United States.
  4. Referred to by a representative of the Holy See as “Profima S. A. Société Immobilière et de Participations,” Lausanne.