814.01/17: Telegram

The Minister in Guatemala ( Whitehouse ) to the Secretary of State

120. Your telegram No. 76, December 20, 8 p.m. arrived most opportunely. I had already seen President Chacon who is paralyzed on the right side but recognized me and said he wanted me to help him get away. He will be incapacitated for so long that his possible return to power is out of the question. This afternoon I saw Skinner [Page 185] Klee7 who is in bed and in a bad nervous condition. I told him you considered the 1923 treaty applied and would not recognize an Orellana government. He agreed you were right and suggested my seeing Palomo, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs. I went there and Palomo tried to argue but I told him it was useless. He then asked me to notify Rodriguez Beteta, Secretary General of the Government and apparently the political brains of the Orellana movement.

Rodriguez Beteta came at six and I communicated your decision. He talked lengthily about their point of view but I told him such discussions were useless. He then said it would be difficult to get back to a constitutional regime and asked if you would be satisfied if General Orellana decreed new elections. I replied in the negative. He then asked what suggestions I could offer. I said I presumed it would be possible to arrange for a Provisional President who had had no connection with recent events and could be appointed constitutionally to hold the elections. He pondered this for a while and finally said he thought something could be done along these lines. He then asked me to see Orellana’s son as he would like some one to bear witness to our conversation, to which I naturally agreed.

Rodriguez Beteta and young Orellana came together just now. The latter tried to argue but appeared very crestfallen at your decision. They said they would try and think of some constitutional way out and presumably will let me know. I have informed the Central American Ministers and some other colleagues and important Guatemalans of our course of action which I believe will have salutary effects.

Mexican Ambassador has just informed me that he has received instructions from his Government not to commit himself in any way.

  1. Alfredo Skinner Klee, Minister for Foreign Affairs.