Gerald R. Ford photo

Joint Communique Following Discussions With President Lopez of Colombia.

September 26, 1975

THE STATE Visit of President and Mrs. Alfonso Lopez Michelsen to Washington at the invitation of President and Mrs. Gerald Ford provided an opportunity for serious discussion and exchange of views with respect to international, regional and bilateral topics of interest.

Accompanying the President during the September 25-26 visit to Washington were Colombian Ambassador and Mrs. Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala, Minister of Finance Rodrigo Botero, Minister of Agriculture Rafael Pardo, Minister of Economic Development Jorge Ramirez, Minister of Public Works Humberto Salcedo, the Mayors of Bogota and Cali, and the President's two sons, Felipe and Alfonso Lopez. Several of these officials were accompanied by their wives. The visit provided an opportunity to meet with their United States counterparts for discussion of problems of mutual interest.

President Lopez, in his conversations with President Ford, Vice President Rockefeller, and Secretary of State Kissinger examined world economic and political issues in detail. They discussed prospects for improved international economic cooperation in light of the achievements of the Seventh Special Session of the UN General Assembly. They discussed the special problems faced by Colombia and other developing countries in the hemisphere, which, because they are in a more advanced stage of development and are integrated into the world economy, are also greatly affected by changes in the international economic conditions. They agreed that representatives of their governments would consult further as the initiatives stemming from the Seventh Special Session unfold.

The Presidents also reviewed global problems of security and opportunities for peace.

Western Hemisphere issues were examined in depth and with equal frankness. President Lopez explained to President Ford the position of Colombia on a number of points. He emphasized his interest and that of Latin America in general in a favorable outcome to the present Panama Canal negotiations. President Ford assured President Lopez of the desire of the United States to pursue the negotiations now underway with Panama in good faith in an effort to reach an agreement which would accommodate the interests of both countries in the Canal. President Ford confirmed U.S. recognition of the validity of Colombia's rights in the Canal under the Urrutia-Thomson Treaty. He expressed determination to consult with Colombia at an appropriate point in the negotiating process regarding the future status of those rights.

The two Presidents and their advisors also discussed the United States Trade Reform Act of 1974, noted that technical discussions were recently held on the Act in Washington, and that further high-level conversations will take place in the near future with regard to the implications of the Act for Colombia and for Latin America in general. President Lopez stressed the importance to Latin America of greater access to the United States market.

With regard to ratification of the Quita Suerio Treaty, the two Presidents noted that the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has just held public hearings, and President Ford assured his visitor of continuing Administration support for early ratification.

Multilateral negotiations looking toward an international coffee agreement were discussed by the two Presidents and they agreed as to the importance of continuing efforts in this direction.

The AID program of bilateral assistance to Colombia was also discussed. The substantive achievements of the collaborative program over prior years were noted with satisfaction. It was mutually agreed that, as Colombia has become less dependent on concessional external financing, the AID bilateral program could be brought to an orderly phase-out, and that appropriate agencies of the two governments would work out a plan for such an orderly termination of AID assistance.

The visit provided an opportunity for review of the status of completion of the Inter-American Highway through construction of the Darien Gap segment in Colombia. Progress toward related control of hoof-and-mouth disease in Northern Colombia was examined and attendant problems were reviewed. It was agreed that a high-level consultative group would meet shortly to consider questions related to the Inter-American Highway in the region of the Darien.

International narcotics control was also discussed, with both Presidents emphasizing their recognition of the menace posed by international trafficking. The leaders of both countries committed themselves to reinforced joint efforts to combat and eradicate this evil.

President Ford informed President Lopez that funds have been requested to reestablish a United States Consulate at Barranquilla on the North Coast of Colombia and that he would pursue this matter as necessary with the Congress. President Lopez expressed his agreement and pleasure.

In conclusion, the two Chiefs of State and their advisors noted the increasing degree of interdependence which characterizes our modern world and agreed that Colombia and the United States--two democratic nations which share many values and goals--should seek means of ever greater cooperation on the bilateral, regional and international planes.

Gerald R. Ford, Joint Communique Following Discussions With President Lopez of Colombia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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