740.21112 RP/4–2545: Telegram
The Ambassador in Colombia ( Wiley ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 7:18 p.m.]
607. Some time prior to departure of Foreign Minister44 for San Francisco45 I spoke to him concerning slow progress here in expropriation of 5 spearhead German concerns against which expropriation resolutions had been issued and complete lack of action against some 14 others. Lleras told me that he was uninformed but would examine the matter. Subsequently British Ambassador46 made similar approach to Lleras. Foreign Minister told him that the five resolutions had been issued under the authority of the emergency legislation which lapsed after the last session of the Colombian Congress and that it was dubious whether they had the authority now to proceed with the expropriation. He did not refer to the state of belligerency legislation which would seem more than ample for any action of this nature. I strongly suspect that there is a basic reluctance on the part of the López administration to proceed with the expropriation program. In fact, President López once frankly remarked to me that they liked many of the Germans here. They had been good citizens, had worked hard, and had intermarried into many Colombian families. In view of the present stalemate, I venture to suggest that the Department discuss this situation with Chargé d’ Affaires Vargas and endeavor to impress on him the necessity for a prompt and constructive anti-Axis program here. This problem might also be broached with the Colombian delegation at San Francisco.