File No. 814.032/6


[Note.—The message was read to the Assembly on March 1, 1916, and transmitted to the Secretary of State on March 14, 1916, by the American Minister. The following are the only passages referring to the United States.]


Guatemala took a brilliant part in the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, opened on February 20 and closed on December 4, 1915, celebrating the completion of the canal which unites the two oceans and makes an open road for all the commerce of the world—an accomplishment achieved by the gigantic effort of the United States of North America.

On account of the liberal tendency of her people, who admire every great thing, Guatemala was the first to accept the President’s courteous invitation, not only because of the magnitude of the undertaking but also because she could thus show to the noble American people the esteem in which they are held by the people and the Government of Guatemala.

All the ceremonies held in the Guatemalan pavilion were very popular, as we gather from the American press, especially the dedication of the pavilion on March 15, Guatemala Day, September 15, and Coffee Day, November 20. On these occasions the officials of California, the board of directors of the exposition, and San Francisco society expressed high praise of Guatemala and her Government. In all the congresses held during the exposition this Republic was represented by delegates who in many cases received the high distinction of honorary presidents, which was an undoubted honor to our country; but the most important distinction was the grand prize awarded to the coffee, bananas, cocoa and rubber of Guatemala, in competition with the best products of other nations, which is indeed gratifying to our patriotic pride. Besides the above-mentioned grand prizes, we were awarded 32 medals of honor, 69 gold medals, 99 silver medals, 88 bronze medals, and 327 honorable mentions, without counting the commemorative diplomas.

In accordance with a resolution of the Pan American Financial Congress held in Washington from the 24th to the 29th of May, it was decided to establish a financial committee in each of the participating countries. Therefore, by a decree issued on August 7, the Guatemalan Committee was organized under the chairmanship of the Secretary of Finance and Public Credit. The above-mentioned committee is at present studying the subjects that are to be dealt with in the Buenos Aires conference which is to meet on the 3d of next April, from which is expected a real benefit to the commerce and finances of America.

The European war has demonstrated to the nations of America that theirs should be a policy of close friendship, good understanding and unity. The spirit of Pan Americanism has taken hold in every one of these nations and Guatemala felt that she should participate in this movement which is a consequence of obvious needs, stands for noble aspirations and interprets the ancient and patriotic [Page 309] ideals of the great men of the three Americas, who dreamt of the real and practical union of the free nations comprising them.

Consistent with these ideas, the Government of the Republic participated through its representatives in the deliberations of the financial conference held at Washington in the month of May, in which all the American countries discussed financial questions, both economic and commercial, and at the same time initiated a new era in business, which will undoubtedly be beneficial to the mutual interests of the participating countries.

A spirit of fraternity and cooperation was also manifested in their memorable deliberations. I refer to the Second Pan American Scientific Congress, which met in the latter part of last year in the City of Washington; in it a road was opened where justice would obtain in all the nations by founding an American Institute of International Law, and a new situation arose in the political life of these nations, the suitability of all uniting as one, reciprocally to safeguard their complete political independence and their territorial integrity, the solution of their frontier questions, the settlement of their misunderstandings and disputes by means of arbitration; of all agreeing that no one of the American countries would allow revolutionary expeditions to leave its soil to attack another American State, nor permit revolutionists of one American State to supply themselves with war munitions in any other. Based upon such principles, treaties will be entered upon in legal form by the respective Governments.

Another beneficial result of these ideals is the joint action of several American Governments to procure the pacification of Mexico. The Government of Guatemala was invited to participate in the mediation together with the United States, the Argentine Republic, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. The situation of Mexico was discussed at a number of meetings held in the cities of Washington and New York; as a result, the Government of General Carranza was recognized as a de facto government, considering that he had under his authority the greater part of Mexican territory. It is to be hoped that this step, which was immediately ratified by the remaining countries of America and afterwards by the European Powers, may contribute to the reestablishment of peace in the neighboring Republic. As States immediately adjoining Mexico, Guatemala and the United States of North America have suffered some of the consequences of the troubled conditions of that nation, both Governments having been obliged to take the proper precautions to have neutrality respected and to protect the inhabitants of the frontier localities; and, thanks to such measures, I am very glad to inform you, Gentlemen of the Congress, that the perturbations resulting from such a state of affairs have been suppressed energetically and quickly, and therefore peace and order follow their normal course.

The ties which unite us to the United States are every day growing closer and more cordial. I have already mentioned some of the congresses of a Pan American nature which have brought together the governments of the continent, with one another and very specially with their originator—the Government of the United States—and with the political and economic elements of the Great Republic.