763.72119/7121: Telegram

The Chargé in Guatemala (Thurston) to the Secretary of State

My September 22nd, 5 p.m.26 The Legislative Assembly completed its reading of the peace treaty on September 27th and on September 29th the special committee to which it was referred submitted a recommendation for absolute approval. It is probable full ratification will be effected today or tomorrow.

It is reported that the bill authorizing the nationalization and sale of the enemy properties will be passed tomorrow. Unless this bill specifically states that all sales shall be by public auction I believe—notwithstanding fact that in compliance with the instructions contained in the Department’s telegram of September [July] 26, 1 p.m. I discreetly though clearly conveyed to both President Cabrera and the Minister for Foreign Affairs the disfavor with which the Department would regard further private sales of German properties, and notwithstanding President Cabrera’s assurances to me and to the British Chargé d’Affaires that hereafter sales would be by public auction—the President will avail himself of the discretion accorded by article 10 Code of Procedure of the Guatemalan Alien Property Act in order to sell certain property to certain persons.

The only prospective private sale of which I am aware is that which I reported in my despatch number 808, dated July 2.26 I am now informed by Mr. H. W. Catlin that he expects soon to purchase direct from President Cabrera a group of enemy properties for which he will pay the appraised value of $3,000,000. Inasmuch as this sale will mean the transfer of approximately one half of the enemy’s interests in Guatemala to responsible American interests I consider it to be unadvisable to hinder the transaction. Mr. Catlin further states that he expects at the same time to consummate outright purchase of the Empresa Electrica.

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