821.85/9–1147: Airgram

The Chargé in Colombia (Warner) to the Secretary of State

A–451. Reference Embassy’s telegram No. 596 of September 11.4 Following speech by Dr. Diego Montawa Cuéllar5 to anti-U.S. gathering in front Communications Building, National Federation Petroleum Workers (Fedepetrol) issued declaration urging all classes and political groups of Colombia “to organize great national movement to defend Flota Grancolombiana threatened by the illicit intervention of the North American Government, with grave ignominy to our sovereign nation”. Declaration said petroleum workers are prepared cease working for imperialist companies if U.S. Government “maintains the position taken in its note, which is a dangerous manifestation of the rapacious, anti-democratic tendencies of Yankee imperialism and deeply wounds the national dignity”.

National Association of Bank Employees of Colombia called note “total disregard for the liberty and sovereignty of our nation”, published protest, and voted full support for “every manifestation effected by Governments and peoples of Gran Colombia tending to prevent any abusive interference of Yankee imperialism in the legitimate interests and rights of our nations”.

Executive Committee of National Federation of Railway Workers, in declaration asserted note shows clearly United States wants to continue 40–year-old monopoly of shipping trust and resolved: Support all measures that may be adopted by Flota Mercante Grancolombiana and National Coffee Federation, to preserve right “dispose freely of [Page 558] the shipment of our products”: Support the “virile protest” of the Colombian Congress against the “Dollar Dictators” and to “protest to the world” against the U. S. stand which is a “frank violation of the already much betrayed ‘Good Neighbor’ policy”.

Numerous other labor organizations issued similar protest declarations, the general tone of which was keyed to official statement issued Tuesday by Confederation Colombian Workers (CTC) simultaneously calling on laborers throughout Colombia to organize in defense of Flota Grancolombiana. CTC’s statement said it had welcomed organization of merchant fleet as “step toward liberation of our peoples from the monopoly of imperialism in the transportation of their imports and exports”. When the Grancolombiana was organized, the CTC said, it had warned that “shipping monopolies of imperialism would spare no effort to torpedo this initiative which is an encouraging step on road to the economic and political liberation of our nation, and reduce it to impotency”.

The statement added, “The imports and exports of our country must be moved, preferentially, in our own merchant marine units, with an eye to strengthening the Grancolombiana, until it is in such condition that our country can free itself definitively from the tutelage of the imperialist monopoly. This is not discrimination. It is simply an essentially patriotic policy that corresponds to the desire of our people in open struggle for the independence and sovereignty of our peoples of Latin America.

“We trust the Government will adopt a patriotic stand toward the barefaced protest of Yankee imperialism, in keeping with the deep patriotic feeling of our people, in whom it will find the fullest support, and the determination to defend our country’s patrimony.”

  1. Not printed.
  2. Communist legal adviser to Fedepetrol.