Memorandum by Albert H. Gerberich of the Office of South American Affairs to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs ( Holland )
- Korean Reimbursement Problem.
You will recall that we have not been able to make a settlement with Colombia because the Attorney General1 last year said that new [Page 812] legislation would be required to permit settlements at less than the full amount due. Although the Department offered a draft bill for this purpose, differences between Defense and the Budget Bureau prevented its presentation to the Congress at the last session.
In order to avoid waiting until the next session of Congress, we have developed a new approach to the legal question that may enable us to obtain an opinion from the Attorney General authorizing us to proceed without new legislation. After discussion with the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council,2 it was recently decided that General Cutler, the President’s assistant, and the Legal Adviser’s office in the Department would raise the matter with the Attorney General. We hope this will be done in the next few days.
Until the Attorney General changes his position or, if necessary, new legislative authority is obtained, we cannot make a settlement with Colombia that involves even a partial write-down of its obligations for logistical support in Korea. While the Department will press for an early decision by the Attorney General, we do not know when he will give his answer or what it will be.