The Minister in Honduras (Jones) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received January 7, 1919.]
Sir: Referring to my cablegram of the 9th instant 4 P.M. concerning the desecration of the American Flag by alleged drunken men at Juticalpa, I have the honor to report as follows:
As I informed you in my despatch No. 68 of the 9th instant,16 in view of the very friendly and cordial expressions and relations at all times existing in my dealings with the President and his Cabinet, [Page 396] I called informally upon the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs and after giving him all the details in hand suggested, in response to his request, that an investigation and punishment of the offenders and an expression of regret, which I knew the President felt, would be quite agreeable. To my surprise, a day or two later, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs called with a telegraphic communication from President Bertrand saying that the men were drunk and the Flags were without official standing, in any case. There were neither regrets expressed or the slightest suggestion of investigation or punishment. After maturely considering the whole matter and believing that an acceptance of such a reply was intolerable, and believing further that an utter failure of the Government to investigate and to punish the offenders or to even take the matter seriously, would invite other insults and abuses and open the door to unending friction, I addressed the Foreign Office in a formal Note, copy of which is hereto attached.
He had promised to furnish me with a copy of the telegraphic memorandum of the President above referred to, but to the present time failed to do so. Since then he has stated that he was carefully considering my communication and would later make reply.
Three things stood out in my mind in considering this entire incident:
- The occasion was a demonstration in honor of the Honduranean President and the Flags were displayed by official leave.
- The offenders were drunk but just drunk enough to desecrate the American and British Flags but sober enough not to touch the Honduranean Flag.
- The President had as his guest and adviser, at Juticalpa at the time, Mariano Vasquez, former Secretary for Foreign Affairs and who, it is reported, will be the new Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and an active propagandist of Central American union …
I hereto attach copy of certification from Major William G. Luckhardt in relation to the matter, which was received to-day.16
I have [etc.]