814.00/1030: Telegram

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

124. As I had some reason to believe that your decision not to recognize the Orellana Government had either not been communicated to Orellana or else greatly softened in transmission, I arranged a meeting with the General this afternoon at the house of the president of the Assembly. The General started off with the usual remarks about his having restored the constitutional regime, how wonderfully it has been received by the country, how he was going to reform all abuses, had no personal ambition and would be only too glad to turn back the power to Chacon when the latter’s health was restored. I answered him briefly that your decision was final not to recognize his government and that I did not wish to enter into a constitutional [Page 187] discussion as it would be futile. However, as he said he had no personal ambition it seemed to me a way could be found to return to a recognized constitutional regime by the method I outlined in my 121, December 23, 2 p.m. He objected sharply to this, said he would summon the Assembly to elect a Vice President and would follow strictly the constitution. I then pointed out that if he intended to remain in power the Assembly could not constitutionally elect Vice Presidents until the March session. Their election now could only be justified by a vacancy in the Presidency and three Vice Presidencies. I added that if he had illusions about being recognized by other countries I was positive he was wrong and sincerely hoped he would endeavor to find a solution of the present situation which the United States could accept. As he then started back over old ground I changed the conversation to General Chacon’s desire to leave the country and asked if he had any objection to his doing so. He replied none whatever, and that he would summon the Assembly so that the necessary permission could be granted.

[Paraphrase.] Despite his intransigent attitude I still have hopes that he will be more reasonable when he has had time to think matters over. Also, from all reports reaching this Legation, as the news of our attitude spreads his position is weakened. [End paraphrase.]