The Ambassador in Colombia ( Wiley ) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 1812:19 a.m.]
88. Your 48, January 13, 5 p.m.4 and with further reference to your 26, January 9, 2 p.m. President López complaints had to do with what he considers to be the three basic problems of his administration:
1, the economic stability of Colombia, 2, the defense of Colombia against aggression; and 3, internal order.
1: Economic stability he thinks hinges on inflation. He has had to abandon certain anti-inflationary measures. Many other anti-inflationary measures might not be feasible in a country such as Colombia. His fear is that a substantially increased influx of dollars would now give a really dangerous impetus to the existing and pronounced inflationary trend. Of course, if merchandise desired by Colombia could be purchased in the United States to a degree offsetting such an influx of dollars, López would, I think, be more than satisfied. Colombian inventories have been considerably depleted over the last four years and there is a particularly acute need of agricultural equipment.
A United Press despatch states that Assistant Secretary Clayton plans to visit Mexico City. If he could continue on to Bogotá it would be really helpful.
2: On the subject of President López … and his concern over the alleged utter inadequacy of the Colombian army to defend the country, would it not be a good idea to try to get Admiral William H. Standley and Major General John P. Smith to make a discreet survey of lend-lease to Colombia and Peru and to report their findings to you and the President. Both these officers are in Washington (OSS)5 and Admiral Standley, I am sure, would be available to visit South America.
I was interested by despatch 2195 of December 18, 19446 from the Embassy at Lima. There is definitely a situation, at least in the [Page 848] Colombian mind, and if it cannot be met by increasing lend-lease to Colombia or decreasing lend-lease to Peru, perhaps there should be a political solution.
3. I think it would be timely if I could indicate to President López our readiness to sell rifles or other equipment to the Colombian Government now, before the forthcoming meeting of Foreign Ministers.