814.00/357: Telegram

The Minister in Guatemala (McMillin) to the Acting Secretary of State

38. Legation’s 37, March 11, 11 a.m.5 Situation very critical in view of the events which happened yesterday afternoon. Following is true version as witnessed by Secretary of Legation and almost entire diplomatic corps:

Unionists formed in huge parade of about 10,000 men besides thousands of women and children and marched to the Legislative Assembly at 3 p.m. in order to present a note of congratulation to latter for having passed bill authorizing Executive power to take steps to realize the union of Central America. Manifestation very orderly and no incident occurred until parade arrived at military academy where Assembly being held. Arrived there parade halted and committee of three and leading men endeavored to enter to present note to Assembly. They were denied admission by principal gate and told by police they would have to enter by rear gate. They did so without protest and after presenting message endeavored to leave building and rejoin parade. Latter then commenced to return in order and quiet to the city, passing by gate of military academy enroute. Shortly after parade started to [Page 724] return about 200 men, led by Colonel Anguiano, who is Chief of Secret Police, and composed of most of the dangerous element which surrounds President of the Republic as well as secret agents and soldiers in civilian clothes, most of whom were armed with revolvers or knives and commenced to provoke Unionists by shouting insulting remarks and advancing into the middle of the road, hindering parade. Latter continued however in absolute quiet and order until some member of body mentioned in last sentence, reported by several witnesses to be Colonel Anguiano, drew a revolver and fired two shots in the air. Secret agents, etc., thereupon ran a short way along the road and many shots were heard. There was a general tumult and people mentioned in last sentence ran back into military academy shouting for arms. Order given to distribute arms until diplomats who were present, seeing extreme danger of situation begged chiefs not to permit the crowd to leave the building again with arms. Result of disturbance at least two killed and several I wounded. Disorder absolutely provoked by the authorities under apparent prearranged plan to cause trouble and give Government excuse to suppress new party. After quiet restored I had prearranged interview with the President to carry out Departments instructions Number 18, March 9, 6 p.m. After this British Chargé d’Affaires was admitted and gave him true version of the affair which was given quite contrary to version which he gave me.

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