821.30 Missions/11–1345: Telegram

The Vice Consul at Cartagena (Randolph) to the Secretary of State

38. From Wiley. Before leaving Bogotá, Tamayo, Minister of War, renewed his request for an American naval mission.… I suggested to him that existing Colombian legislation governing naval matters might make it difficult for an American naval mission to function efficiently. He replied that Colombian Government had authority to modify this legislation by decree and that this question would present no difficulties. We have had no opportunity as yet to confirm this but Naval Attaché will report further on this subject. Today President Lleras21 again raised the question of naval mission with me.… I replied that I was personally much in favor of the proposal but that some of our Navy people here were apprehensive that an American naval mission with authority to direct and administer the Colombian Navy would create friction with Colombian naval personnel. President Lleras assured me that if the American naval mission was selected well it would encounter no difficulties.… If Navy Department should consider favorably this request for an executive naval mission I suggest that most prompt action be taken in order to derive fullest benefit from President’s remaining 9 months in office since his collaboration would be invaluable. I think any contract for executive naval mission should be for a period of not less than 4 years. Finally, I suggest that Captain Harold B. Grow, now in the Pacific, if promoted [Page 856] to Rear Admiral, would be ideal to head such a mission. His knowledge of Spanish, his ability to get on with Latin Americans, his organizational ability and experience would fit in admirably for the position. [Wiley.]

  1. Alberto Lleras Camargo assumed the office of President August 7, 1945.