711.21/1–1745: Telegram

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

88. Your 48, January 13, 5 p.m.4 and with further reference to your 26, January 9, 2 p.m. President López complaints had to do with what he considers to be the three basic problems of his administration:

1, the economic stability of Colombia, 2, the defense of Colombia against aggression; and 3, internal order.

1: Economic stability he thinks hinges on inflation. He has had to abandon certain anti-inflationary measures. Many other anti-inflationary measures might not be feasible in a country such as Colombia. His fear is that a substantially increased influx of dollars would now give a really dangerous impetus to the existing and pronounced inflationary trend. Of course, if merchandise desired by Colombia could be purchased in the United States to a degree offsetting such an influx of dollars, López would, I think, be more than satisfied. Colombian inventories have been considerably depleted over the last four years and there is a particularly acute need of agricultural equipment.

A United Press despatch states that Assistant Secretary Clayton plans to visit Mexico City. If he could continue on to Bogotá it would be really helpful.

2: On the subject of President López … and his concern over the alleged utter inadequacy of the Colombian army to defend the country, would it not be a good idea to try to get Admiral William H. Standley and Major General John P. Smith to make a discreet survey of lend-lease to Colombia and Peru and to report their findings to you and the President. Both these officers are in Washington (OSS)5 and Admiral Standley, I am sure, would be available to visit South America.

I was interested by despatch 2195 of December 18, 19446 from the Embassy at Lima. There is definitely a situation, at least in the [Page 848] Colombian mind, and if it cannot be met by increasing lend-lease to Colombia or decreasing lend-lease to Peru, perhaps there should be a political solution.

3. I think it would be timely if I could indicate to President López our readiness to sell rifles or other equipment to the Colombian Government now, before the forthcoming meeting of Foreign Ministers.

  1. Post, p. 871.
  2. Office of Strategic Services.
  3. Not printed.