815.00/1891: Telegram

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

Supplementing my July 18, [4 p.m.,] the Government placed armed guards almost directly in front of the Legation door last evening and blockaded the street at all entrances. The Legation has been practically blockaded from 6 p.m. up to the present time. Not only casual visitation and search [sic] but Americans having business at the Legation were stopped, held up and forbidden the right to proceed. They say among those stopped were Major E. A. Burke, Harry Downing and the brother of the British Consul, the last two being required to engage the services of the British Consul [Page 379] in order to find their way to the vice chancellor [American Legation?] and others were similarly treated including some ladies.

I went immediately in person to see President Bertrand and entered vigorous protest demanding that these guards be immediately removed and the Legation open to free access on all parts of the streets. The President professed no knowledge of these conditions and immediately telephoned rescinding the order and removing the guards. After a brief period I made a personal inspection, found two secret service men directly in front of the Legation doors and the officers at all avenues of approach to the Legation, the only change made being that those nearest the Legation had been moved a few feet to the side of the streets. I then sent a written protest and demand that they be immediately removed which the President promised faithfully to do but at midnight when I retired all avenues were still guarded with armed policemen and cavalrymen.

… Armed policemen are forcibly entering into houses in search of leaders of the opposition. The situation can scarcely be worse. I am in close touch with the captain of United States Ship Machias at Amapala and request that it remain there.

About 75 armed policemen and soldiers have surrounded the residence of Silverio Lainez, former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and brother to Alberto Membreño, and it is believed that if caught he will be in great peril. Bertrand resorting to flogging specifically prohibited by the Constitution of the Republic. I await your instructions. Please advise time of receipt.