Mr. Coxe to Mr. Sherman.
Guatemala, March 25, 1897. (Received April 15.)
Sir: I have the honor to report, in brief, the visit to this capital of the commander in chief of the Pacific station on the flagship Philadelphia for the purpose of attending the opening exercises of the Central American Exposition.
The Philadelphia arrived at the port of San Jose on the evening of March 11, and the secretary of this legation was at the port on her arrival to convey the respects of this legation.
The admiral and officers of his staff came to this capital by special train on Saturday, the 13th instant, arriving here at 3.30 p.m. At Moran, a station on the railroad about 10 miles out, they were met by the president and central committee of the exposition, and by representatives of the war and foreign offices. I personally met the admiral at the railway station here and escorted him to his apartments in the Gran Central Hotel.
As Monday, the 15th instant, was to be so much taken up by the inaugural ceremonies of the exposition, it was found necessary that the official call of the admiral upon the President of the Republic should be made on Sunday. This was accordingly done at 11 a.m., of the 14th instant. The call was paid at the executive mansion, the admiral being accompanied by a large staff, and there were military honors and music by the Banda Marcial. This call was duly returned by the deputy minister of war. On this (Sunday) evening there was an exhibition at the Teatro Colon of a literary and musical character by students of the [Page 335] schools and others, in celebration of the opening of the exposition. Two boxes were sent to this legation by the Government for myself and the admiral and the officers of the Philadelphia, and we duly attended the exercises.
On the 15th instant, at 11 a.m., the admiral and staff, accompanied by myself and the secretary of this legation, by invitation of the President, called at the executive mansion, where we were received by the President, members of the cabinet, and other high officials of state. After a few moments the President and officials of Guatemala took seats in their carriages to fall into the line of the procession to the exposition grounds. The admiral in my carriage immediately succeeded the carriage of the President, and we were immediately followed by the admiral’s staff, and then by the battalion of the Philadelphia, which had come up from the port by special train the afternoon before. In this order we proceeded to the exposition grounds. Arrived there, I escorted the admiral and staff to the tribune occupied by President Barrios, where seats were reserved for them, and thereafter I took my seat in the tribune of the diplomatic corps. The literary exercises were then proceeded with, at the termination of which a luncheon was served. President Barrios having expressed an earnest desire to see the military and physical drill of the Philadelphia’s battalion, a halt was made at a suitable ground on the return march, and there the military and physical drill of the battalion was given in view of the President and officials of Guatemala, the entire diplomatic corps, and an immense throng of citizens. It was a magnificent and stirring sight, and was received with much applause and many expressions of admiration.
On the evening of the same day a serenade was given the President by the Philadelphia’s band, and on the next morning, the 16th, the entire battalion returned to San Jose by special train. It was a source of the greatest gratification to myself and all our citizens here to witness the admirable behavior of the battalion, not only when under arms, but off duty. On Sunday evening, the day of their arrival, the commanding officer gave the men leave to go about the city as they pleased, and everyone returned at the appointed time, not one of them having misbehaved himself in any way. Admiral Beardslee requested me to say a few words of farewell to the battalion on their departure; and, while realizing and fully coinciding in the wisdom of the disinclination of the Department to its diplomatic agents saying much in public, I considered, in view of the splendid behavior of this battalion here, it would not be considered improper for me to give some expression to the feelings of appreciation which we all had of it. I therefore consented, and beg to inclose herewith a copy of my remarks, as published in The Journal, the only paper published here in the English language (inclosed), and I trust the Department will not disapprove of my action.
During the admiral’s stay he also paid official calls upon the diplomatic corps, the members of the Guatemala cabinet, and upon the chief justice of the supreme court, which calls were duly returned.
On the evening of the 17th instant, a dinner was given by the “American colony” here.
On Thursday, the 18th instant, a breakfast was given to the admiral and staff by Baron Werner von Bergen, dean of the diplomatic corps, and Mrs. von Bergen, at which the diplomatic corps and the ladies of their families were invited to meet the admiral.
On Thursday evening a reception and musicale was given to the admiral and staff by President and Mrs. Barrios, at the executive mansion, [Page 336] and on Friday morning, the 19th instant, the admiral and officers returned by special train to San Jose.
During the week Mrs. Coxe and myself had the pleasure of having Admiral Beardslee and some of his officers with us, twice at dinner, once at the opera, and once for an afternoon drive.
On Saturday the 20th instant a delightful reception was given by Admiral Beardslee on board the Philadelphia.
It gives me much pleasure to assure the Department that I feel entirely satisfied that this visit of the Philadelphia will have a very beneficial effect here in many ways. The officers by their kindly and courteous demeanor and the men by their soldierly and manly bearing have won the friendship and admiration of all; and in every respect I feel sure that the advantage which I foresaw when recommending that a ship be sent here at this time, as per my dispatch of December 11, 1896, will be fully and entirely realized.
I have, etc.,