The Secretary of State to the Minister in Honduras ( Lay )

No. 117

Sir: Reference is made to your telegram No. 28, of February 3, 5 p.m., and to your despatch No. 187, dated February 14, 1931, wherein you have informed the Department that a large part of the ammunition exported from the United States to Honduras is, with the full knowledge of the President and other authorities of Honduras, smuggled into the neighboring Republics of El Salvador and Guatemala.

It is noted in this connection that it is the practice of the Government of Honduras to issue to local commercial establishments permits for the importation of arms and ammunition as a means of reducing its indebtedness to them, or even to have such shipments consigned [Page 589] directly to the Government when in reality they are being imported on behalf of private commercial firms. It is furthermore noted that the only suggestion which the President of Honduras found it possible to make to you with respect to this situation was that the Government of the United States should issue export permits for a smaller quantity of cartridges.

This practice, reprehensible in itself, is in direct violation of the Convention for the Limitation of Armaments concluded by the Governments of Central America at Washington February 7, 1923, and is, furthermore, at variance with the principles and policies of this Government. You are accordingly directed to inform the Government of Honduras that for the reasons just cited, and pursuant to the President’s proclamation of May 15, 1924,20 the Department will henceforth decline to approve applications for license to export arms and ammunition to the Republic of Honduras excepting in such instances as investigation shall prove the shipment to be for legitimate commercial or governmental purposes.

Very truly yours,

Henry L. Stimson