The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Guatemala (McMillin)
21. Your 43, March 16. Your 44 March 16, 8 p.m.
The two objects which the Department desires to obtain are prevention of a revolution and the faithful meeting of the just [Page 728]demands of the Unionists on the part of Estrada Cabrera. Unless the situation has so changed as to make the following action impossible, you are instructed to seek an immediate interview with Estrada Cabrera and suggest the following plan:
You will first inform the President of the appreciation of this Government of his confidence in the Government of the United States and of his desire to place the situation in our hands and to abide by any decision which we make. You will then suggest to him that he issue a proclamation granting what you and he may consider the just demands of the Unionists. This proclamation should include the first four points of Department’s March 17, 5 p.m., and should also state that all purely political prisoners will be immediately released. You should leave it to the option of the President whether or not he should state in this proclamation that the proclamation was made by the advice or with the approval of the Government of the United States. You will inform the President that immediately after or coincident with his proclamation the Legation will publish a statement more or less as follows:
“The steady policy of the Government of the United States is to encourage Constitutional Government and free elections in Central America. Having the greatest interest, therefore, in the constitutional progress of Guatemala, the Government of the United States has learned with great pleasure of the proclamation of President Estrada Cabrera regarding constitutional guarantees, and has confidence, in view of the statements just made to this Government by President Estrada Cabrera, that he will faithfully carry out the reforms proclaimed.
The Government of the United States is opposed to revolutionary measures, and firmly believes that in view of President Estrada Cabrera’s proclamation there is no excuse for the starting of a revolutionary movement in Guatemala, and that, therefore, in the eyes of the civilized world, the gravest responsibility would rest with any man or group of men who ventured to start such a movement. The Government of the United States particularly desires to see peaceful, constitutional progress in Guatemala and would regard with horror any actions which should cause a needless and inexcusable revolution to be commenced in that country.”
Should President Estrada Cabrera consent to make such a proclamation as has been suggested, and approve the Legation’s statement as outlined above, you will immediately, after having issued the above statement, summon to the Legation, the heads of the Unionists movement and inform them that the United States Government cannot countenance a revolutionary movement. You will also inform them that President Estrada Cabrera has declared his firm intention to the Government of the United States that the actions outlined in his proclamation will be carried out. In your [Page 729]interview with Estrada Cabrera obtain from him the declaration mentioned in the last sentence.