File No. 814.48/15
Chargé Thurston to the Secretary of State
Guatemala, December 29, 1917, 7 p.m.
Your December 27, 6 p.m., arrived today and this afternoon presented its contents to President Cabrera who was deeply grateful therefor and requests me to convey to the Government of the United States his own and his people’s heartfelt thanks for this additional exhibition of friendship.
The President is of the opinion that the most urgently needed articles which the Red Cross can furnish are shelter tents and small take-down wooden houses and also corrugated sheet iron roofing, likewise clothing for men, women and children, medicines, disinfectants, antiseptics and surgical materials. See telegram of Alfred Clark to the Red Cross. As a guide as to quantities I may say that there are 75,000 people at present living in inadequate temporary shelters. Sanitary conditions of city becoming unsatisfactory for which reason submitted President Cabrera plans for maintaining public health, also [Page 757]the more satisfactory distribution food as well as other suggestions applicable to present situation, all of which were received with thanks and some are being carried out.
This afternoon a violent shock caused much more destruction and loss of life. The Legation suffering and may have to evacuate in which event archives will receive my careful and constant protection.
Shocks continue and Guatemala City being pitilessly destroyed.