763.72113/1163: Telegram

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

My December 6, 4 p.m.29 President Cabrera yesterday informed me that the delay in selling the enemy properties was due to the discovery of a plot by the Germans to call a general strike of the coffee laborers [immediately] the sale of properties should be announced. The President said that in order not to incur the risk of losing a valuable portion of the coffee crop through such a contingency he would not effect sale until entire crop was harvested, which will be about the end of January. When pressed for a statement as to whether the properties would then be sold the President emphatically asserted they would be sold, and in response to further questioning stated that those persons now here in representation of American interests desirous of purchasing these properties should remain.

It is highly improbable that the Indian laborers on the coffee plantations, whose situation closely resembles slavery, could be incited to anything resembling a strike. This Government will receive approximately $3,000,000 through sales of coffee from enemy plantations and approximately $700,000 additional through disposal of sugar.

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