Mr. Combs to Mr. Hay.

No. 204.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a copy of decree No. 647, withdrawing decree No. 639, called the gold decree, of December 22 last, which excited so much alarm in business circles.

I felt sure, after the vigorous representations made by this legation immediately upon the issuance of the decree to the Guatemalan Government and its response thereto, reported to you in dispatch No. 131 of January 11, 1904, decree No. 639 would never be enforced in the terms feared.

Its formal recall, however, is most satisfactory.

I have, etc.,

Leslie Combs.

Decree No. 647.

Manuel Estrada Cabrera, constitutional President of the Republic of Guatemala,

Considering: That decree No. 639, emitted December 22, 1903, had for its object the filling of some wants and the clearing up of certain doubts proceeding from decree No. 595 of June 9, 1899.

That notwithstanding the good intentions the government had in view in emitting the first-mentioned decree, it has given rise to interpretations prejudicial to the development of the economic interests of the country.

Considering: That the crooked or malicious interpretations referred to have gone to the extreme of pretending to trample underfoot the principle that the will of the contracting parties is the supreme law for contracts, thus producing alarm and want of confidence in the economic system.

For the above reasons, making use of the faculties with which I am invested, I decree,

Only Article. Decree No. 639 of December 22, 1903, is annulled.

[Page 351]

Account will be given to the National Assembly at its next session of the present decree.

Manuel Estrada C.
Secretary of state in the department of government and justice,
Juan J. Argueta.