Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of North and West Coast Affairs (Mills)


Subject: General Conversation with Colombian Ambassador

Participants: Sr. Eduardo Zuleta Angel, Colombian Ambassador
Assistant Secretary Edward G. Miller
Mr. Sheldon T. Mills, NWC

The Ambassador gave a rather lengthy discourse on the current situation in Colombia as a result of his recent visit to Bogotá. He stated that he had talked with both the President and the President Elect, and both supported action without delay to improve relations with the US by:

Negotiation of a FCED; the Ambassador expected to send Mr. Mills a memorandum this week; wherever the Colombian Government proposes alternative wording, the wording it will suggest generally will be that from our FCED treaty with Uruguay.1
Negotiation of double taxation and estate tax agreements: Mr. Miller stated that he had spoken to the Secretary as well as to Mr. Martin of the Treasury asking that the latter Department take action on this.2
A lend-lease Agreement settlement.3
A bilateral aviation agreement.4

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He also told Mr. Miller that the President had assured him that censorship would be lifted in Colombia soon. The Ambassador explained that strangely enough Holy Week is the time of the greatest consumption of alcohol and of disorder in Latin American countries so that the lifting of censorship will be sometime after this season is passed. He asked that this plan be considered confidential for the moment.

The Ambassador talked at length about the disorders caused by certain members of the Conservative party in rural parts of Colombia and of the public condemnation of such activities by both the President and Sr. Gomez, the President Elect. He also talked about the time when Congress will be reconvened and indicated that there was a good chance that some Liberals will agree to collaborate so that the danger of the liberal majority trying to throw out President Ospina is not, in his opinion, too great.

[Here follow references to matters unconnected with Colombian-United States relations.]

  1. File 611.214 for 1950 and 1951 contains detailed documentation regarding formal negotiation of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Economic Development with Colombia, which began in Washington on June 6, 1950. The Treaty was signed in Washington, April 26, 1951, but has not gone into effect. An editorial note concerning its negotiation and subsequent history will appear in a forthcoming volume of Foreign Relations.
  2. In a memorandum of July 5, 1950, to Leroy D. Stinebower, Director of the Office of Financial and Development Policy, Frederick Livesey, an Adviser in the Office, said in part that negotiations were not proceeding because the Treasury Department disapproved a number of clauses in the proposed agreement, among them one which would have exempted U.S. corporations from paying surtax on dividends received from Colombian subsidiaries. The Treasury felt it improper to grant such relief on a bilateral rather than a general (and legislatively approved) basis. (611.21921/7–550)
  3. See the memorandum by Charles W. Kempter of the Lend-Lease and Surplus Property Staff, April 13, infra.
  4. An air transport agreement with Colombia was not signed until 1956. A memorandum of March 3, 1952, by John L. Hill of the Aviation Policy Staff, contains a detailed review of Colombian-U.S. aviation negotiations from 1945 until its date. (611.2194/3–352)