File No. 123L481/40

Minister Leavell to the Secretary of State

No. 398

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department of an unpleasant incident that occurred on Friday morning, the 27th instant, and to forward copies of the communications relating to it which passed between this Legation and the Foreign Office of the Government of Guatemala. I am enclosing a copy of my note to the Foreign Minister, a copy, with translation, of his reply, and a copy of my acknowledgment of that reply.

While these several notes explain the occurrence and record the very full and complete apology given, I think it well to say this much further in reference thereto: Immediately upon receiving my note the Foreign Minister informed President Estrada Cabrera of the occurrence and he instructed the Minister to call personally on me at once and express to me the very profound regret of the President, the Government and the Minister, and to offer the most complete apology, and to say that orders were immediately issued to punish the officer responsible for the occurrence as soon as the identity of that officer shall be determined.

Later in the day the President himself sent his Chief of Staff, General Haeussler, and his Official Secretary, Mr. Saenz, to convey his own personal and official regret and to extend his personal apology. And very soon thereafter came the note of the Foreign Minister referred to above. As the foregoing seemed to me entirely adequate I declared myself perfectly satisfied.

Both the President and the Foreign Minister expressed their very profound thanks that I took the matter up with the Government directly and personally and afforded the immediate opportunity for the expression of suitable apologies.

I am informed the law requires that all exemption papers shall be officially examined at this time of the year whether carried by natives or foreigners, and unfortunately I did not have with me at the time the identification and immunity card furnished me by the Foreign Office when I came here as Minister.

It seems to me that the President, the Government, and the Foreign Minister have done all that could be expected of them, and I have expressed my entire satisfaction.

I have [etc.]

Wm. Hayne Leavell
[Inclosure 1]

Minister Leavell to the Minister for Foreign Affairs

No. 592

Excellency: It becomes my duty to report to your excellency that near the corner of 4th Avenue and 8th Street, about 9.15 o’clock this morning, while 1 was taking my usual morning walk, I was, very much to my surprise, stopped [Page 753]by an officer and some half-dozen soldiers and required to go with them to the barracks nearby. When first stopped I told the officer that I was the American Minister, but that seemed to make no difference to him. On arriving at the barracks I handed the officer my card and demanded to see the colonel in charge. He went to the rear and did not return for some little time; and so getting tired of waiting, I started to come away, whereupon a soldier raised the butt of his gun over me and other soldiers got in front of me and prevented my leaving.

After about fifteen minutes another officer came and allowed me to leave.

Will your excellency kindly investigate this.

I avail myself [etc.]

William Hayne Leavell
[Inclosure 2—Translation]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Minister Leavell

Mr. Minister: I have had the honor to recieve the esteemed note of your excellency, No. 592, dated yesterday, wherein you inform me that on that same day, at 9.15 o’clock in the morning and on the corner of 4th Avenue and 8th Street, when your excellency was taking your usual walk, you were stopped by an officer and several soldiers and taken to the barracks near by, where, notwithstanding the fact that you handed your card, you were detained some time without being allowed to leave, until another officer told you that you could depart.

In reply, I renew to your excellency what I had the honor to express personally to you regarding this lamentable incident, and in the name of my Government I present to you the fullest apology for the occurrence, assuring you at the same time, that from the findings of the investigation which is being actively conducted, the responsible persons shall be punished according to law; and that the necessary steps have already been taken to avoid in the future occurrences of this nature.

Promising to send to your excellency, at the earliest time possible, the report which I have requested from the proper authorities regarding this occurrence, it gives me pleasure to avail myself [etc.]

Luis Toledo Herrarte
[Inclosure 3]

Minister Leavell to the Minister for Foreign Affairs

No. 595

Excellency: I have the honor to reply to your excellency’s courteous communication dated to-day and to state that the expressions contained therein as to the sentiments of your excellency’s Government concerning the unfortunate occurrence of yesterday morning are gratifying and entirely satisfactory, and, further, that it will give me pleasure to represent the matter in this sense when I notify my Government of the incident.

I avail myself [etc.]

William Hayne Leavell