The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Salvador (Arnold)

No. 209

Sir: The Department has observed that the reports made by you on recent developments affecting the relations between the Governments of Salvador and Honduras and those received from the Legation at Tegucigalpa have not been entirely in accord.

At the time of the crisis last May in the relations between the two countries, Mr. Lawton, American Consul in charge of the Legation at Tegucigalpa, referred in a telegram16 to an ultimatum presented to the Government of Honduras, and in a subsequent despatch17 stated that this ultimatum, which was sent to President López Gutierréz by President Meléndez through the Honduran Minister in Salvador, demanded that the Honduran Minister of War present his resignation within forty-eight hours. Mr. Lawton further stated that when this demand was not immediately acceded to, it was followed by another ultimatum transmitted by telegram through the Honduran Legation in Salvador, stating that President Meléndez gave President López Gutierréz twenty-four hours in which to dismiss his Minister of War. Mr. Lawton added that the Honduran Minister had likewise protested to the Foreign Office and to the diplomatic corps, against the close relationship evidently existing between the Government of Salvador and the Honduran revolutionists in that country, but in spite of that fact General Leiva, the Honduran “emigrado”, was to leave on the morning of May 12th for the Honduran frontier with arms and ammunition, supplied by the Salvadorean Government, and accompanied by Honduran revolutionists.

Mr. Belden, who succeeded Mr. Lawton at Tegucigalpa, referred in a despatch of May 20th18 to the pleasure the President of Honduras showed when informed that the Department had instructed the Legation at Salvador to take steps to induce the Government of Salvador to withdraw the ultimatum.

The Minister of Honduras in Washington has shown the Department a telegram19 received from his Government which stated that an ultimatum had been delivered by the President of Salvador to the Honduran Minister in San Salvador on May 11th demanding the resignation of the Minister of War of Honduras by four o’clock on the afternoon of the following day.

[Page 744]

In your despatch No. 624 of May 25, 1920,20 you state:

“I have the honor to respectfully indorse, from the knowledge I have, after carefully following the situation in El Salvador, that the contents of the cablegram sent to Minister Sol are a true account of the situation which has developed between the two Governments of El Salvador and Honduras.”

The reports from the Legation at Tegucigalpa above referred to and the information received from the Honduran Minister in Washington are contradictory to the statements contained in the note presented to the Department by the Salvadorean Minister in Washington on May 24th which contains fourteen paragraphs, and appears to be identical with the cabled instructions referred to in your despatch of May 25th. In order that you may be advised of the contents of this note of the Salvadorean Minister, a copy is enclosed herewith for your information.21

As you give in your despatch of May 25th, in the paragraph referred to, what may be considered a general endorsement of the statements made to you by the President of Salvador, the Department assumes that you have been advised of certain facts which convinced you of the accuracy of these statements. You are therefore instructed to inform the Department as to what information you may have had which made you assume that no ultimatum was delivered to the Honduran Government by the Government of Salvador, together with any other information in your possession which you consider justifies your endorsement of the statements made to you by the President of Salvador.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Alvey A. Adee
  1. No. 41, May 12, 1920, p. 732.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Ante. p. 734.
  4. Apparently refers to the telegram quoted in the Honduran Minister’s note of May 26, p. 741.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Ante, p. 738.