File No. 816.032/16

Chargé Tennant to the Secretary of State

No. 76

Sir: On Friday morning last, the 18th instant, the National Assembly of Salvador convened and the President of Salvador, don Carlos Melendez, read his Annual Message before said body; copies of said message are herewith transmitted. The ceremony was attended by the Cabinet, the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, the Justice of the Supreme Court and other high functionaries of the Government.

The message begins by a recital of the new conditions brought about by the European War and reference is made to the attitude of our Government in this crisis particularly referring to the attitude of President Wilson in proposing a treaty between all of the Pan American States. Following this President Melendez takes up the general economic situation of the country and emphasizes the fact that Salvador’s great agricultural riches have saved what might have been a serious economic situation.

He mentions the cancellation of an old debt to Chile and goes into the relations of Salvador with the United States and mentions especially the McAdoo Financial Congress, the Second Pan American Scientific Congress, and the Pan American Medical Congress. He shows his interest in the Pan American Treaty proposed by President Wilson and commends the same highly.

The rest of the message deals in a general way with the different Ministries and the Departments under their respective charge.

I have [etc.]

Henry F. Tennant


With the Government of the United States of North America our diplomatic relations have still continued close and cordial.

By virtue of an invitation extended to us, we participated in the Financial Conference held at Washington last May, in the Second Pan American Scientific Congress held very recently in that city, and in the Pan American Medical Congress held last June at San Francisco, Cal., in connection with the great Panama-Pacific Exposition.

A few days ago His Excellency President Wilson proposed to us the conclusion with all the American Republics of a treaty in which the high contracting parties solemnly agree to unite in a common and mutual guaranty of territorial integrity and political independence under a republican form of [Page 956] government. In order to definitely apply this guaranty the contracting governments will undertake to settle all pending boundary or territorial questions either by means of a friendly agreement or by arbitration. It is likewise “provided that all questions of whatever character which may arise between two or more of them and can not be settled by ordinary diplomatic action shall, before they cause a breaking out of hostilities or a declaration of war, be submitted to a permanent international investigating commission at least for one year, and if this investigation fails to result in an adjustment of the dispute, the latter shall be referred to arbitration if the matter does not affect the honor, independence, or vital interests of the disputants or the interests of a third party. The proposed treaty likewise embodies an express undertaking not to permit the departure from the respective territories of any military or naval expedition hostile to the established government of any of the contracting nations, besides which the exportation of arms, ammunition, and any other war stores for use in revolts and insurrections is to be prevented.

This pact is very satisfactory and highly significant, setting out as it does to provide that no American power, including the United States, shall acquire any territory in future outside its lawfully established boundaries, for this and nothing else will afford a common guaranty of the territorial integrity and political independence of the nations signing the treaty. Compulsory arbitration as stipulated, even with the ample reservations which restrict its scope, is a very advanced step in international relations and implies evident progress, especially as regards the stronger nations, which have refused on more than one occasion to undertake to submit to absolutely compulsory arbitration. Then the establishment of investigating commissions undoubtedly constitutes a great legal stride in the settlement of international controversies, since it substitutes study and due process of law in lieu of rugged debate, which sometimes becomes strained when the discussion is with the stronger powers. There is no doubt that investigation by a committee of international officials is more apt to lead to good understanding in the most difficult questions and disputes than direct diplomatic negotiations between them, when each of the contending parties endeavors to have its pretensions prevail while weakening those of the adversary.

Consequently this Government looks upon the scheme of the North American Government as a very laudable and sincere effort to maintain peace among the American nations and remove many obstacles from diplomatic relations which prevent good harmony among the nations and engender diffidence and fear, especially when a diplomatic controversy arises with strong governments which are not always willing to acknowledge those possessing inferior means of material defense as being in the right even if they are so.