810.20111/23: Telegram

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

576. Reference my telegram 566, March 23, 11 a.m. Fifty Germans were interned yesterday afternoon at the Hotel Sabaneta in Fusagasugá. Legal Attaché is obtaining list of names from the Colombian [Page 808] National Police which will be forwarded to Department by next courier. Police plan to intern an additional 50 in the same location March 25. The government issued an official release explaining the motives for the action taken, pointing out that the government does not consider this as a penal measure but rather as a precaution in maintaining internal order as recommended in the various Pan American Conferences, and as a consequence of Colombia’s state of belligerency.

This morning Dr. Caballero Escobar, Acting Secretary General of the Foreign Office, telephoned me and said that I had undoubtedly already heard of the action taken in interning the Germans, conveying the impression that this was a direct result of his conversation with General Brett and myself in Barranquilla and his subsequent telephone call to Bogotá. He added that this was only the first step and that additional steps would be taken in the near future.

There has been no unfavorable editorial comment on this move in the local newspapers as yet. Full text of official release will be forwarded by despatch.