No. 62.

Mr. Hall to Mr. Bayard .

No. 329.]

Sir: On the 24th instant I received your telegram of the 23d asking what foundation there was for the rumor that foreign treaties with Central American States had been declared void by the President of [Page 95] Guatemala, to which I replied that it had been officially declared by the minister for foreign affairs of Guatemala that the decree of the President of Guatemala was never intended to apply and does not apply to any existing treaties with the Central American States.

I brought the subject of your telegram to the notice of the minister for foreign affairs and he immediately sent me the memorandum of which the inclosed is a copy; and the following day addressed a circular note to the foreign representatives in Central America, containing the same declaration that I communicated in my telegram referred to. He declares that the decree has in no way affected, nor does it affect, any treaty signed before the 28th February, 1885; that it refers solely to treaties signed after that date; that the decree was promulgated when it was believed the union would be accepted by the states; this belief was founded upon the public manifestations and promises made in advance by the President of Salvador, and was intended to embrace such states only as should adhere to the compact. In other words, the article referred to is null and void, as is the decree itself, so far as it concerns the states of Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, which have not accented, and in ali probability will not accept it.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 329.—Translation.]

Señor Cruz to Mr. Hall.


The minister for foreign affairs of the Republic of Guatemala has the honor to inform Mr. Henry C. Hall, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States in Central America, that there is no declaration on the part of the President of Guatemala in which it is pretended to annul the treaties concluded with any of the states of Central America before the 28th of February last.

The decree of that date states that those which maybe concluded will not be recognized—that is, those which shall be signed after that day; but even that was with the belief that the union would be accepted at once by virtue of the promises made beforehand by Dr. Zaldivar, and never having a wider interpretation than that of including only the states which pronounced in favor of the union; so much so that this immediate adhesion not having taken place, and in view of its taking more or less time in bringing it about, it has been communicated to the diplomatic representatives who have made any inquiry in that respect, that no objection is made, nor will be made in any case, to any treaty concluded even after the date of the decree, and even should it be with Honduras, which at once embraced the cause of the union.

Furthermore, the undersigned has instructions from General Barrios to confirm to the American minister the same, of which he has personally assured him, that neither to-day, nor under any circumstance, and least of all if the union be effected, no difficulty of whatever nature will be placed in the faithful and full accomplishment of any treaty, previous or posterior to the 28th of February, made by the United States with any of the Republics of Central America. On the contrary, his desire is not only that all of them be observed, but that they contain concessions more liberal and ample in every sense for the Government and people of North America. He has instructions not only to repeat this, but also that the President of Guatemala will hear with the greatest satisfaction any indications which come from the Government of the United States concerning the subject of the union.


[Inclosure 2 in No. 329.—Translation.]

Señor Cruz to Mr. Hall .

Mr. Minister: The Government having had information that various interpretations have been given to article 9 of the decree of the 28th of February last, in which reference is made to negotiations concerning territory, international treaties, [Page 96] and national loans or foreign such, it has been considered indispensable to explain the sole sense of the referred to article; and with this view I have received special and decisive instructions from the President to accomplish it, in his name and in that of the Government, in the terms which I am about to have the honor of submitting to you.

In the first place, the article mentioned has not affected nor affects in any way any treaty signed before the 28th of February, 1885, by Guatemala or by any other of the states of Central America with any other nation, because it expressly refers to those concluded, that is, signed after that date, and in no case to those already existing or signed before.

Secondly. Even the declaration that those signed after the 28th of February would not be recognized was with the supposition that the Union was going to be accepted at once, as was to be supposed by the manifestations of public opinion, and on account of the promises made beforehand, among others, by the ruler of Salvador; and always, without a greater range than that of including the states which adhered immediately to the proclamation of the union which has been made.

In conformity with that which I have explained, and there being delay on account of the failure of the ruler of Salvador to carry out his promises in the immediate adhesion which was expected, I have already had the honor to inform those diplomatic representatives who have made any inquiry on this subject—and it is a pleasure to me to confirm it now—that no objection can be made by Guatemala nor will be made in any case, and even less so after the accomplishment of the union, to any treaty made between the nations they represent and Guatemala or another of the states of Central America, even if it should be signed after the date of the decrees.

In virtue of that which is just expressed, article 9 of the decree of the 28th of February last includes solely and exclusively the negotiations which are expressed in it, that are made by any of the states which adhere to the proclamation of the union of; Central America, after the date of their adhesion, and without the consent of the others which are already in it.

I beg of you to be pleased to take note of this declaration, which explains officially what is the sense of the referred-to article; and that should you deem it well, you will bring it to the notice of your Government in whatever form you may think proper.

I am, &c.,