The Chargé in Honduras (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

No. 746

Sir: I have the honor to report that the political situation continues substantially the same as reported in the Legation’s despatch No. 740 of November 10, 1928.5 There is evident, however, an increasing uneasiness and apprehension of trouble which seems to center around the presence of General Ferrera at a point near the Guatemalan frontier. (See the Legation’s telegrams Nos. 125 of October 26 and 128 of October 30, 1928). He is said to be gathering a force of men and according to general belief to have already about one hundred and fifty men under arms. President Paz sent the Minister of War to San Pedro Sula yesterday to take active charge of the area and to recruit men for the strengthening of that garrison.

Both President-elect Mejia Colindres and the Cariistas are genuinely worried about this situation, the feeling being that Ferrera’s unscrupulous past is a justification to believe that he may be capable of doing anything. No one seems to know exactly what Ferrera [Page 75]wants and what he is working for. Although a Liberal, he has not made any request of Dr. Mejía, according to the latter, for position or preferment under the next administration.

In private conversation with President Paz, I have urged upon him to get Ferrera out of the country if possible, as soon as he can. The state of anxiety now existing because of his presence and activities is sufficient indication of his dangerous and subversive character. It is greatly to be regretted that the Guatemalan Government permitted him to pass through that country from Tapachula, Mexico into Honduras. It seems hardly possible that he could have come through without the knowledge of the Guatemalan authorities. If this man continues in Honduras, he will be a center of disaffection, and disgruntled adventurers of all political parties or none will be drawn into his band should there appear to be the slightest chance to better their condition through upsetting the existing regime with consequent opportunities for loot.

President Paz informs me he is endeavoring to have a confidential secret agent of his to get in touch with Ferrera with a view to discovering his desires and plans. President Paz also assured me that at the slightest move from Ferrera he would send troops against him from San Pedro Sula and that he was confident of the result.

The situation is not now acute, but there are evidently elements of danger to public peace, and I venture respectfully to suggest that the visits of U. S. Naval Vessels to the north coast be continued as in the past, until after February 1st or until there is obviously no further need of them. The moral effect of these visits has undoubtedly been excellent.

I have [etc.]

Herschel V. Johnson
  1. Not printed.