File No. 714.1515/8

The Minister of Honduras to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary: The Republics of Honduras and Guatemala have been unable to demarcate the boundary of their territories. A commission of Hondurans and Guatemalans met last year, under the terms of a convention, to mark out the dividing line at points agreed on, and, at points not so agreed on, to draw maps showing the claims of both parties. The commission separated without having done anything, because Guatemala opposed any survey of the land lying beyond the line it had fixed itself, that is to say, would have the dividing line laid down wherever it desires. On June 30, 1916, the Government of Guatemala by a decree ordered the township of Amates to be established with territory lying largely in Honduras and in the possession of that Republic. The decree, which caused uneasiness in Honduras where it was regarded as an act of violence and which I made known to the Department of State, was not carried out in the end, thanks to the labors of the Minister of Guatemala here and mine.

Now, as your excellency will see from the four cablegrams of my Government of which a copy is enclosed, Guatemala again is trying to place by force authorities in parts of Honduras that have never been in dispute.

Furthermore, the Cuyamel Fruit Company which holds near the land in dispute very valuable agricultural property and would improve [Page 762] it by means of a railway to the Copán Department cannot carry on its work because prevented by the Government of Guatemala.

The Government of Honduras, in view of the foregoing and the urgency of the case bespeaks the good offices of your excellency’s Government to the end that the Government of Guatemala, its friend and neighbor, remain in statu quo so as to prevent armed conflicts and so as to enable the Cuyamel to carry on uninterrupted the work that is so beneficial to both countries.

I renew [etc.]

Alberto Membreño

Telegrams received by the Minister of Honduras

number 1

Tegucigalpa, Honduras (February 13) Membreño, Minister of Honduras, Washington. Guatemalan military authorities offer to prevent work Cuyamel and occupy Cuyamelito; same old pretensions of which you know. Inform Department of State. Bertrand

number 2

Tegucigalpa, Hond. (February 14). Membreño, Minister of Honduras, Washington. President of Guatemala insists on occupying Honduran territory; is giving military and peremptory orders to set up Guatemalan authorities in Cuyamel jurisdiction and threatening to use force. Government of Honduras is resolved to resist with arms if necessary to defend its rights. Inform Government of the United States. Bertrand

number 3

Tegucigalpa, Hond. (February 16). Membreño, Minister of Honduras, Washington. It is not a boundary question but a threat of violent military aggression in Honduran territory contrary to reason and right, casting aside regular and diplomatic channels. In this light I do not doubt the Government of the United States, conformably to its pacifist policy would intervene to prevent armed conflicts. Government of Honduras will perform its duty in defending its rights and national dignity, and lay the responsibility on the unjust assailant. Bertrand

number 4

Tegucigalpa, Hond. February 17. Membreño, Minister of Honduras, Washington. Your telegram understood. Government of Honduras is awaiting reply to telegram addressed to Government of Guatemala by this chancellery. Government of Honduras is not stirring trouble. In Honduran territory there are only observation guards. Report what they told you at the Department in regard to my last cablegrams. Bertrand