File No. 839.51/1795

Minister Russell to the Secretary of State


Your September 21, in regard to financial control and constabulary. The surest way to make them binding would be as amendments to the Convention. Congress is still in session but in recess and it would be a difficult matter to get them together, in the first place because they would not be paid and also for the reason that they would probably not assemble to approve any reforms suggested by us. Constitutional Assembly is due to meet very soon, and if it reforms the Constitution and a new electoral law is approved, the present Congress would be abolished. The terms of four Senators and twelve Deputies who are mostly followers of Arias expire December 1; these are striving for reelection and it is asserted that the present election has been called to fill these vacancies. On account of alleged unconstitutionality of decree calling Constitutional Assembly, some legal proceedings are to be begun to prevent it from assembling. Constitutional Assembly is plainly a measure of the Horacio Vasquez party to suit their own political ends. Political conditions of the country are chaotic and until all the points at issue are cleared up we cannot tell where to look for support of our policy. The President is evidently scheming to be continued in power for the remainder of the term of Jiménez: four years. I am inclined to think that nothing can be done here until we serve an ultimatum on this Government giving a certain period for putting into binding effect reforms proposed and, if nothing results, take charge ourselves until the country is pacified. I think the Department should send as soon as possible counter proposition to be submitted.