A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Guatemala


Guatemala and the United States first established relations in 1824 when Guatemala was a member of the Federation of Central American States. The United States established relations with an independent Guatemala in 1844. In response to a devastating earthquake in Guatemala the U.S. Congress passed the Guatemala Relief and Rehabilitation Act of 1976 to provide emergency relief, rehabilitation, and humanitarian assistance.

Modern Flag of Guatemala


United States Recognition of the Federation of Central American States, 1824.

Following its independence from Spain in 1821, Guatemala joined the Federation of Central American States in 1823 along with Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. The United States recognized the Federation when President James Monroe received Antonio José Cañaz as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on August 4, 1824.

States Recognition of Independent Guatemala, 1844.

Independent Guatemala was recognized on April 5, 1844 by the issuance of an exequatur to a Guatemalan Consul-General Antonío de Aycinena.

Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1824.

Diplomatic relations were established on August 4, 1824, when President James Monroe received Antonio José Cañaz as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on August 4, 1824.

Establishment of the American Legation in Guatemala, 1826.

Chargé d’Affaires John Williams presented his credentials to the Federation of Central American States on May 3, 1826.

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with Independent Guatemala, 1849.

Chargé d’Affaires Elijah Hise presented his credentials to the Republic of Guatemala on or shortly before January 21, 1849.

American Legation Raised to Embassy, 1882.

The American Legation in Guatemala was raised to Embassy status when Henry C. Hall, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, presented his credentials on August 10, 1882.

Normal Relations Interrupted, 1954.

In June 1954 the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, concerned about the threat of communism in Guatemala, assisted in the overthrow of the government led by President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, who had won election in November 1950. On July 2, 1954, according to a pact concluded at San Salvador, a five-member junta headed by Colonel Elfego H. Monzon assumed power. Communications between the U.S. Government and Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Salazar Gática confirmed the new Guatemalan Government’s intention to fulfill international obligations. The Department of State consulted with the Governments of all the other American Republics and determined that the new Guatemalan government intended to fulfill international obligations, was non-communist, enjoyed popular support, and controlled the entirety of Guatemalan territory.

Relations Resumed, 1954.

On July 12, 1954 Secretary of State John Foster Dulles instructed the U.S. Embassy at Guatemala City to establish diplomatic relations with the new Guatemalan Government. The following day, Ambassador John E. Peurifoy informed Foreign Minister Salazar of the U.S. recognition of the new Government in Guatemala.


  • Department of State Country Fact Sheet: Guatemala
  • Department of State Country Information: Guatemala