File No. 763.72/3971

The Guatemalan Minister ( Méndez) to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: In a letter dated the 10th of this month of April and received by me to-day, the President of Guatemala tells me:

In consequence of the declaration of war on the Imperial German Government by the United States of America, my Government, ever true to its long standing friendship with the American Government and people, among the series of measures it will order in evidence of the fact that it will face every responsibility attending its identifying itself with the principles proclaimed by the Washington Government, has decreed, as a preliminary and in order to guard the country against any attempt from abroad, a suspension of the guarantees in the border departments, in keeping with paragraph 18, Article 77 of the Constitution. Thus will an effective watch be kept over every element who would disturb the peace and who will be prevented from crossing into the neighboring countries with preconceived purposes. On the other hand, standing firmly and consistently with the American nation, as you well know and as the inclosed memorandum the original of which was delivered to the most excellent the Minister of the United States further evidences, I only trust that upon receipt of this communication you will lay before the Department of State my intentions as set forth in the said memorandum, which are incorruptible and sincere, to which end I hope that the American Government will be pleased to offer to me all suggestions that it may deem suitable in the matter.

In compliance with the letter of the President of Guatemala, I have the honor to enclose a copy of the memorandum therein referred to, and beg the Secretary of State to be so good as to give me the [Page 258] requisite indications to have the action of the Government of my country continue to demonstrate by practical acts that it has identified itself with the principles which the enlightened American Government has proclaimed for the good of mankind and with the applause of the world’s conscience.

To that end, I take pleasure in placing myself entirely at your excellency’s disposal to report to the President and Government of Guatemala all that may contribute to continuing in Guatemala the realization of the expression of the fervent wish by which the country is animated to adhere to and uphold the lofty and noble attitude of the American Government.

I avail myself [etc.]

Joaquín Méndez

Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Toledo Herrarte) to the American Minister ( Leavell)


The Government of Guatemala, faithful to its traditional and unalterable friendship with the Government of the United States of America and convinced, moreover, that it defends the cause of justice and right, declares: that it is disposed to cooperate with the American Government and people in the most loyal and unrestricted manner, to the successful ending of the war which has been brought on them by the conduct of the Imperial German Government.

In consequence of the above principle it has already decreed, under date of the 7th instant, the suspension of guaranties in those departments of the Republic bordering on neighboring states, which will enable it to exercise complete control and strict vigilance over all foreigners who may endeavor to subvert order or to cross over into contiguous countries with suspicious purposes.

Furthermore, the Government of Guatemala is ready to sever its diplomatic relations with the Imperial German Government and to do everything which may be considered necessary for the triumph of the American arms. In all those measures or dispositions which the American Government may deem conducive to the success of the above purpose, it will be aided by the Government of Guatemala with the greatest promptitude, energy, and efficacy.

The Government of the United States can readily understand that the Government of Guatemala in taking this attitude not only brings upon itself the hatred and ill will of the German element residing in this Republic, an element which, with hostile purposes, is working in Mexico and in the neighboring Central-American nations, but exposes itself to the attacks of the above-mentioned countries, who [Page 259] have been awaiting a favorable opportunity to disturb the present state of affairs in Guatemala and thus cause her ruin and loss of prestige.

Therefore, the Government of Guatemala, in order to safeguard the sacred interests entrusted to it and to be able to take upon itself before the nation and before history the great responsibilities which the present situation entails, proposes to the American Government the conclusion of a pact of alliance which could be offensive and defensive, or only defensive, and which in the present circumstances could be brought about by a simple exchange of notes of mutual assurance between diplomatic representatives duly authorized to that effect.