File No. 815.032/15

Minister Ewing to the Secretary of State

No. 391

Sir: I have the honor to report that the Honduran National Congress convened yesterday, New Year’s Day, for its opening session at two o’clock in the afternoon, and that all the Deputies with the diplomatic and consular corps listened attentively to the reading by the President of his message.

At a little before two o’clock the large hall was crowded with visitors who held entrance cards and at the appointed hour President Bertrand arrived, escorted by the Ministers of his Cabinet, while the assembly arose and remained standing during the playing of the Honduran national anthem. Thereafter President Bertrand read his message and I have the honor to enclose a copy of the address, in duplicate.

President Bertrand spoke of the actual friendly relations between the Central American Republics, due to the frankness and fairness with which all international questions were discussed, but made practically no mention concerning Mexican affairs nor the European war. The boundary disputes with Guatemala and Salvador were but briefly mentioned and their early solution was forecasted in an optimistic line of thought.

On the whole the message is a well written report of what has taken place during the past year and unquestionably made a very favorable impression on all who heard it.

I have [etc.]

Jno. Ewing


Both the Court of Justice and the International Office of Central America are performing their duties as regularly as may be desirable, each one of those important institutions fulfilling its respective fruitful mission.

Owing to its nature and importance and to its having been the subject of wide publicity the treaty which, under the name of Bryan-Chamorro, was concluded by the Government of Nicaragua with that of the United States of America on August 5, 1914, is well-known; and in connection with that treaty the Government of Salvador, seeing a direct and serious menace to its rights and interests in the power conferred therein to establish a naval base in the Gulf of Fonseca, instituted action against the Government of Nicaragua on August 14, 1916, before the Central American Court of Justice, the main purpose of which being that the defendant should refrain from carrying out the said convention.

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The action was primarily based on the right of joint dominion which the Salvadorean Government means to exercise in the waters of the Bay of Fonseca, the Government of this Republic sent a protest to the first named and to the Central American Court of Justice in order to protect the rights which belong to Honduras over the islands and waters of the Gulf, bearing in mind that the adjacent territorial sea which, in accordance with the universal doctrine and our domestic law, is nothing but a continuation of the national territory, subject, therefore, to the exclusive sovereignty of the State.

The Government, jealous and mindful of all that tends to guarantee the interests of the nation, hastened to instruct its Minister accredited at Washington to lay before the American Government the rights which Honduras holds on the Gulf of Fonseca and to object to the treaty then being negotiated between the United States and Nicaragua whenever any of its provisions should invade such rights or in any way affect the sovereignty and independence of this Republic.

The American Senate, owing to the protest entered by Costa Rica, Honduras and Salvador, added the statement that it is not intended to affect any existing right of any of the said states.

The Central American Court of Justice is engaged in carrying on the proceedings and study of the matter above referred to and it is expected that its decision will shortly be known.

Our relations with the United States of North America and the other Republics of the continent that have always been frank and loyal are feeling the beneficent influence of the spirit of Pan Americanism which happily animates the peoples and Governments and is given expression in international acts and practices of the highest significance and consequence in the various branches of political and social existence.

This Government received an invitation to take part in the scientific congress which met in Washington in December, 1915, and accepted with the greatest pleasure that very important invitation, appointing two representatives, Doctors Don Fausto Dávila and Don Carlos Alberto Uclés, one of the main results of the congress being the establishment of the Institute of International Law whose ends are marked with the utmost importance.