File No. 817.812/123.

Minister Long to the Secretary of State.


About a week ago the President unofficially and most confidentially expressed his personal desire that a course might be adopted by us which would enable all the countries of Central America harmoniously [Page 1116] to join the United States in some alliance, possibly an offensive and defensive one, so drawn as to concede our desires for a coaling station in some form and manner calculated to assuage those fearful lest the naval base feature of the Nicaragua canal convention should involve their autonomy.

On March 23, the President added that “when the United States fully realizes that money for a naval station in Fonseca Bay is not attractive to Salvadorans in the light of present sensitive state, I hope it will consider the adoption of other powers to obtain its ends and of other methods for compensating Salvador. Central American countries sorely need many things which your Government can supply.”

Replies to my efforts to elicit a clear statement of just what Salvador desires convince me that no definite plan exists but that this country’s Chief Executive hopes, if his country enters into a treaty granting a naval station, that Salvador may receive in return as many as are obtainable of the following requisites to her future development: First, to have Salvador put on a gold basis; second, to have established here an American bank of large capital; third, to have established at the station an American school free to certain male students of Central America where the English language, industrial, agricultural, economic and business courses would be taught and possibly elementary military training given; remaining desires follow by mail tomorrow.

I then asked whether he thought it would be opportune, in case my Government was disposed to invite Central American countries to a naval-station conference, to hold the same at Washington during and after the Financial Conference in May. He thought the idea excellent. * * *

It would seem that the alliance, which it is thought would result from one or more conferences, might be made to include, freely given, the naval base desired and beneficent forms of compensation far more comprehensive in their future effect upon Central American development than mere payments of money; provided other Central American Governments can be brought to think as Salvador appears to be doing now. * * * President Meléndez believes officially the initiative should remain with the United States.