Mr. Hall to
Guatemala , September 29, 1882. (Received October 23.)
Sir: For several months past the government of Guatemala has been receiving information of projected invasions of its territory by expeditions of armed forces, having for their object the enticing or compelling the inhabitants of the frontier, who are mostly Indians, into subscribing or adhering to public acts of annexation to the bordering States of Mexico; it is said that those expeditions have been preparing in Campeche, Yucatan, Tabasco, and Chiapas. The first of these invasions has taken place during the present month in the department of Peten; all the information in regard to it, thus far received, is contained in the accompanying copies of dispatches and letters to the minister of war of Guatemala, and which have been received during the past week. For convenient reference I inclose a tracing from an authentic map, showing what is believed to be the correct boundary lines between Mexico and Guatemala, and the location of the towns said to have been invaded, as well as those which are mentioned in the inclosures.
The first information comes from the alcalde of an Indian town named Silvituk. As well as can be made out, from a letter dictated by a person who can neither read nor write, it appears that the place was invaded, and that the inhabitants were compelled to go to the village of Tenchac and there declare their adhesion to Campeche. He charges, also, that deception was practised upon them by a priest named Bersunea, “who told them that the Republic of Guatemala was taken.” This priest is a native of Campeche, and is well known to the Guatemalan government.
The several communications embraced in the inclosures are numbered from 1 to 5. Nos. 2 and 3 are translations of dispatches from the military commandant of Peten to the minister of war,- they report the fitting out of an expedition in Tabasco, with the knowledge and consent of the governor, for the invasion of that department; that one commercial firm has given therefor the sum of $5,000, and another has contributed 60 Winchester rifles5 that the expedition would be sent by steamboat from Tabasco to a place called Tonosique, on the Umacinta River, six days from his headquarters. He reports also the invasion of the towns of San Antonio and Concepcion. The remaining letters and telegrams merely corroborate the general news of the invasion. This affair has given the Government of Guatemala a vast deal of trouble and anxiety, besides the expenses which it can illy afford to incur, of sending 500 troops from Coban to the frontier. I have time only by this mail to communicate the facts, and to say that the government is reluctant to believe that the Government of Mexico has any knowledge of these hostile movements. At the earnest solicitation of the President of Guatemala, I cabled to you on the 26th the following:
President Orantes has information of invasion of Guatemalan districts Concepcion and San Antonio by Mexican troops, compelling inhabitants to declare for annexation to Campeche. President hopes invasion not authorized by Mexico. Five hundred troops sent to invaded districts. I apprehend hostilities may ensue unless Mexicans retire.
No suggestion of any action in the premises on your part has been made; it was desired only that the Government of the United States should be advised of these movements.
I have, &c.,