An Axis-provoked incident would probably bring forth a declaration of war from Columbia, Anton J, de Haas, professor of International Relations at the Business School, said yesterday. Professor de Haas has recently returned from a government-instigated trip to Columbia, where he established a commercial school at Bogota.
Describing the ever-increasing pressure of public opinion in Colombia as decidedly pro-Ally, Professor de Haas said that her entry is only a matter of time, and as Columbia has already broken diplomatic relations with the Axis, the first provocation may give the government its opportunity to declare war.
The international relations expert warned, however, against false optimism on the importance of aid from our neighbor. Unlike Brazil, Columbia guards no strategic body of water, nor does she have as great a concentration of German goods and capital as Brazil, de Haas said. The breaking of diplomatic relations with Germany has already made it possible to confiscate German business houses, and German and Italian airlines. Little more in the way of material support could be expected, the professor said.
Columbia's entry might, however, have as inspiring effect on other, less actively pro-Ally nations in Central and South America. Argentina's policy, for instance, has consistently trended away from the Anglo-American side and leaned towards the Axis, Professor de Haas said. Policies such as this might be influenced by Columbia's attitude.
This Argentina swing away from the United States finds its roots in conflicting ideas of superiority, according to de Haas. Pointing out that both the United States and Argentina see themselves as vastly superior nations, the Business School professor explained that Argentina resents the attempts of the United States to become the dominating factor in South American problems, inasmuch as the considers herself the rightful leader. Changes along this line in American diplomacy will have to take place, the professor said, before we can hope to establish real good will in South America.
Turning from the problems of today to the questions of the future for a moment, Professor de Haas said that he could not see a United States of South America as a possibility after the war. Neither could he see any grounds for believing in a United States of Europe in the post-war world. Diversity of interests, nationalities, religions, and races, would prove too great a barrier to the formation of an effective union on the two continents, the professor predicted.