File No. No. 763.72112Aml/20
The Chargé in Honduras ( Belt ) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 20, 3 a.m.]
Foreign Minister this afternoon requested conference, presenting note dated to-day. First part quotes telegram [note] to President from Pacific Mail representative to effect, inasmuch as steamer service discontinued, what disposition desired by Honduras of mail. [Page 379] cargo, steamer Peru, further stating same would be landed La Union. Note continues as follows:
In view of the concepts of the preinserted note, the Government considers that the difficulties that obstruct and even make impossible the commerce of the port of Amapala still subsist [exist] without any satisfactory solution, which, as is natural, affects the interests of the country; it being the duty of the Government to put an end to this anomalous situation, making use of the powers which are within its reach.
In this sense the honorable President has resolved to seize the lighters existing which are indispensable for the service in question, which he will take into his charge, administrating it directly.
My Government feels that through this procedure the obstacles and inconveniences to which it has made reference will be put aside definitely, regulating in consequence the steamer service at present interrupted.
Foreign Minister [stated] upon receipt satisfactory reply President would immediately issue decree seizing German lighters and operating same until agency to be selected by President was established and had secured other lighters.
This complete change on the part of Honduras accounted for by pressure brought to bear art and known absolute discontinuance steamer service. Further understand Foreign Minister of Salvador notified representative of Pacific Mail that it cannot land Honduranean cargo La Unión. Have been expecting Salvador’s entrance into situation, as influential German representative Amapala firms now there; also attitude Salvador this country with friction between Salvador’s representative here, and Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister states Government cannot compel sale of lighters, only seize and operate. Government very desirous for immediate resumption steamer service.
Opportunity presents for United States to settle question definitely without further parleying on the part of Honduras.
Proposition as presented may involve secret understanding between Government and Germans who may resume operations after duration [termination] of war. Pacific Mail service desires Commercial Export Co. as its agent Amapala. Think Government has in mind Honduranean company, as previously suggested, which is not satisfactory to Pacific Mail, Captain of Cincinnati, Legation, [or] Consulate. United States in favorable position to establish American agents if desired, which will eliminate all possibility later German control.
Respectfully suggest Cincinnati remain Amapala until negotiations completed.
Honduras asks immediately reply.