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

No. 93

Sir: I have the honor to report an interview given by Ambassador Beaulac to the Bogotá Liberal morning newspaper, El Tiempo, about a variety of matters concerned with United States-Latin American relations. The interview was well received by the Bogotá press and, judging by complimentary remarks conveyed to the Embassy, by the Colombian public.

The interview, which was exclusive for El Tiempo, was published prominently in the Sunday edition of January 25. It concerned principally the European Recovery Program2 and agitation for a Marshall Plan for Latin America, but also touched on alleged United States indifference to the other American Republics, American assistance to Colombia, charges that the United States seeks to kill Colombian industry and impose a regime of free trade in the world, the forthcoming Pan American Conference,3 Communism, and the Ambassador’s impressions of Colombia.

Regarding ERP and Latin America’s role in it, the Ambassador mentioned the amount of money it has been estimated will be spent in these republics under the program. He said that while scarcities in certain commodities might be expected, they would be felt in the United States as well as in other countries. As for a Marshall Plan for Latin America, the Ambassador said:

“One frequently hears the question, ‘Why is there not a Marshall Plan for Latin America?’ This is a very natural question inasmuch as it is now a generally accepted theory that the welfare of one country is dependent upon and is derived from the welfare of other countries. Therefore it is argued that if a Marshall Plan for Europe is good for the United States as well as for Europe, a Marshall Plan for Latin [Page 439] America would also be good for the United States as well as for Latin America. This reasoning, as far as it goes, is accurate and very natural. There is one limiting factor, however, and that is the limitations on the resources of the United States.”

The American people, the Ambassador continued, are convinced that there can be no permanent world peace and prosperity until the economies of Western European countries are rehabilitated to the extent that those countries can contribute normally to world prosperity instead of being a burden on the rest of the world, particularly on the United States, as they are at present. He stressed the great benefits that should accrue to Latin America from a successful recovery program in Europe and ventured the opinion that no one really interested in Latin America’s welfare could suggest seriously that American economic aid should not be given to Europe at this time.

The Ambassador pointed out that the resources of the United States are not limitless. Scarcities, he said, will be created by the aid to Europe and are bound to have certain inflationary effects. To increase the scarcities beyond certain limits might be disastrous not only to United States economy but to the economies of all other countries.

In response to a question about United States economic cooperation with the other American Republics, the Ambassador said:

“I am a firm believer in such economic cooperation and I have worked for it tirelessly within my government. I believe it is the best diplomacy that the United States can engage in. It is the essence of the Good Neighbor Policy and, more than that, it is the hope of the world.”

The Ambassador said it was inconceivable to him that the United States would ever abandon the theory that “the welfare of one country is dependent upon and derived from the welfare of other countries”. “The existence of a Marshall Plan for Europe”, he said, “is evidence that the theory is still alive and is a guarantee to all the American Republics that the benefits, direct or indirect, which all countries will derive from the practice of that theory will continue to be received”.

In regard to charges of American indifference to Latin America, the Ambassador said the Good Neighbor Policy is the policy of the American people and not that of just “a few people in Washington”. He said that if Washington officials are compelled at times to give preferential attention to a crisis that threatens civilization itself, they do so in the belief that they serve the interests of all peoples. This is not indifference, he said, but “service of the highest type”.

The Ambassador outlined the assistance the United States is giving to Colombia and told his interviewer he would like to know of “any country which has given as generous aid to its neighbors as the United [Page 440] States has given, is giving at the present time, and is prepared to give in the future”.

The Ambassador denied emphatically that the United States wants to kill Colombian industry; on the contrary, it wants to encourage it and help it to prosper. He said that all the United States is trying to do is to disarm itself and encourage the rest of the world to disarm economically. High tariffs, quotas and preferences, he said, are very powerful weapons in the hands of economically powerful countries like the United States and it is in the interest of less powerful countries that they be given up.

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Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
John M. Vebber

Public Affairs Officer
  1. For documentation on this subject, see vol. iii, pp. 197 ff.
  2. For documentation on the Ninth International Conference of American States, Bogotá, Colombia, March 30–May 2, 1948, see pp. 1 ff.