The Minister in Honduras (Jones) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 137

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my cable message of the 16th instant, 9 P.M.1 and to further call to your attention a situation fraught with the most serious consequences, in the very near future.

. . . . . . .

He2 has suspended the Constitutional guarantees; issued definite instructions to Congress, Cabinet, Comandantes and every employee of the Government.

He has not censored, but taken control of the Press, insofar as concerns all political questions.

He has closed the Postal Department, the Telephone and Telegraph, the Highways, the Clubs, and Hotels, against his political opponents. He has been open, frank, aggres[s]ive, defiant about it.

He has notified all Comandantes, all heads of the Schools, every element of power and force, that it must yield promptly and affirmatively to his demands.

Only this morning, after my cable to you,3 Doctor Arturo Zelaya, the Acting American Consular Agent at Amapala, named by and with the President’s consent, notified me that he had been directed to report whether he was for or against Soriano.4

It seems that Soriano, who actually holds the rank of Colonel in the Salvadorean Army, and his brother Andres Soriano (at [Page 375] present Minister of War here) were both born and reared in Salvador and have spent little of their lives in Honduras. Soriano seems to be Salvador’s candidate. There seems to be a mystic link of fellowship between General Castillo Corso (Mexican) Chief of Police, the President’s personal guard, protector and friend, and Alberto C. Franco, the Mexican Minister Resident, and they are in constant association.

General Andres Leiva, Comandante at Amapala, has been called from Amapala to Tegucigalpa and it is reported that General Corso is to be in charge of the Pacific Port as Comandante and another Mexican in charge on the North Coast, at Puerto Cortez.

President Bertrand is making the most searching and scientific use of the Concealed Weapon that it is possible to make, overlooking absolutely nothing and suspending or rather abrogating every Constitutional Guarantee. It is worth a man’s liberty to “viva” for Membreño (Doctor Alberto Membreño).5 The opposition has been forbidden to hold meetings or send messengers; notice has been served and posted in all directions and a violation of a rule or order means arrest and jail.

Just this moment Saturnino Medal, former representative of Honduras, as Judge, in the Central American Court of Justice, has called to show a memorandum disclosing that President Bertrand has notified the United Fruit Company, through Mr. Howard C. Woodsum, its local representative, that he, Medal, must be dismissed as attorney for that Company and for the Tela and Trujillo Companies; Bertrand naming J. Antonio Rivas (another brother-in-law of the President) to take his place, because Doctor Medal was not in accord with his administration politically.

I also have evidence, which I believe, that he has demanded the discharge of Doctor Rafael Alvarado Guerrero (former Private Secretary to President Bertrand) as attorney for the New York and Honduras Rosario Mining Company, naming the same J. Antonio Rivas, his brother-in-law, for the place: also for the discharge of Ruben Barrientos as attorney for Vaccaro Brothers and Company of New Orleans, and the Cuyamel Fruit Company.

Bertrand recognizes the danger of his position. He has more than doubled all guards in all directions and he is arranging with all haste to remove to a safe central place in this City, where he may be better protected. He has challenged and invited revolution and bloodshed. …

The opposition is strong, earnest and determined and my belief is that unless outside arms and money be provided, it will sweep the [Page 376] Republic. These from Salvador are openly declared to be the threat, though I have not sufficient evidence, yet, to give this absolute credence.

I am writing earnestly, in detail and at length, as I realize the responsibility that rests upon me and my duty to aid in preventing bloodshed and revolution with all the energy I possess.—I crave your definite instructions.

I have [etc.]

T. Sambola Jones
  1. Not printed.
  2. President Bertrand.
  3. Telegram of Feb. 16, 9 p.m.
  4. Nazario Soriano, brother-in-law of President Bertrand; candidate for the Presidency of the Republic.
  5. Vice President of the Republic; candidate for the Presidency.