to Mr. Blaine.
Guatemala City, May 27, 1881. (Received June 17.)
Sir: My dispatch No. 179 informs you of matters relating to Guatemala in their connection with the adjacent republic of Mexico. I have now to inform you that President Barrios returned yesterday from his visit to San Marcos, near the border. To-day I had a few minutes’ interview with him, during which he informed me that he could not leave here until the 15th of June. His manner convinced me that he has already abandoned the idea of leaving, although as other persons were present I could get no opportunity to talk privately with him. Later in the day, however, I talked further with Montufar about these affairs, when he told me plainly that every day they seemed more threatening. Information of the fact communicated to you in my No. 179, that regular troops were being sent to Soconusco by the Mexican Government has just reached the Guatemala Government, and preparations are now being made to dispatch troops from this capital to the border. * * *
What Mexico may really be meditating you are probably better advised of through our minister, Mr. Morgan, than myself. It is without doubt simply a question of ability with her, not one of disposition or desire. It seems altogether certain that the border raids, often resulting in loss of life, which have been frequent of late, must precipitate a collision between the two governments if some basis of agreement be not soon reached. * * *
My policy has been, and will be, an evasive one, until instructions from Washington may be received. Montufar, who is altogether the best informed man upon our political system in Central America, tries to argue away the probable objections to be interposed by our government [Page 108] against any unwarranted interference in the affairs of our neighbors, and especially the acquisition of territory, and rather regretfully, as it seemed to me, informed me that with the Democratic party in power, the acquisition of Soconusco would be but a question of two days. All this amounts to nothing, however, except that when hope of assistance from the United States is abandoned, Guatemala will undoubtedly make this proposition to one of the European powers. Great Britain, France, and Germany are striving for commercial supremacy in Central America, and there are some possibilities in the case of a character not favorable to our own interests.
Hence, until I hear from you, my policy will be not to give the Barrios government any positive encouragement of favorable action by the United States, and yet not peremptorily to crush every hope in that direction, lest it drive them into another quarter.
Though the present threatening aspect of these affairs may again pass away without open hostilities between the two countries, yet I consider the situation sufficiently grave to recommend it to your careful consideration.
I have, &c.,