The Acting Secretary of State to the Honduranean Minister.

Sir: It is alike due to frankness and obedient to the earnest desire and purpose of the Government of the United States to maintain the most cordial relations with Honduras that I should emphasize more formally what I have had the honor to say to you in recent interviews in regard to the recent abrupt action of your Government in canceling the exequaturs of the American consul and vice consul at Ceiba.

It is very unfortunate, and in some regards most embarrassing, that a question of this character should be precipitated at a moment when we are earnestly acting, coincidently with Mexico, in the interest of peace in Central America, and that your Government should without customary diplomatic notification to this Government, and without opportunity for interchange of views and temperate investigation of the facts, have taken so serious a step.

It was the more surprising and regrettable in view of the course of your Government in appealing to the United States for protection against the acts of other States of Central America, as was done by your note of July 7, and in view of the fact that this Government was at the time fulfilling its rights and exercising its privilege [Page 459] to the end of insuring Central American peace through the integral observances of the compact of Washington by all the parties thereto. This Government being constrained to act through its agencies in that quarter, not only for the protection of American citizens and interests, but for the carrying out of its international policies, must reasonably expect that those agencies shall be always at its own free disposal and responsible to it alone for the correct performance of its commands. If those agencies are to be liable to dispossession at any time, ex parte, without explanation by other authority than our own, an element of uncertainty and hesitancy is introduced which may not conduce to the prompt and effective realization of the efforts of this Government.

If the American consul and vice consul at Ceiba be shown to have done any act contrary to international precept, to the instructions of their Government, or to the friendly and impartial purposes of the United States, a frank ascertainment of the facts, and an equally frank comparison of the views of the two Governments could hardly fail to result in a cordial agreement touching the course to be pursued for a friendly closure of the incident. Your Government, Mr. Minister, like mine, can expect nothing less than fair play in such a case, and it certainly can ask no more.

Under all the circumstances it is conceived to be due to the friendship existing between the two Governments that the cancelation of the American consular exequaturs be withdrawn, and that any complaint which the Government of Honduras may feel constrained to make concerning the course of those officers should take the appropriate diplomatic channel of investigation and amicable settlement.

In the absence of consular representation under the immediate direction of this department, the protection of American life, property, and interests at Ceiba and in its vicinity will be confided to the discretion of our naval commander in those waters pending the diplomatic disposition of the question unfortunately raised by the ex parte cancelation of the American consular exequaturs. It is naturally the desire of this Government that the issue be speedily settled and not be allowed longer to obscure the paramount interests of the two Governments in the graver general question.

Accept, etc.,

Robert Bacon.