Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (White)

The Minister of Guatemala12 called and said that he had seen in the press that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica left Salvador yesterday for Guatemala in connection with the project for the abrogation of the Treaties of 1923. He asked me my views regarding this matter.

I told him that this was a matter for the Central American Governments to decide but pointed out to him the benefits of the Treaty of 1923 and emphasized that since 1907, when the Treaties were signed out of which grew the 1923 Treaty, there had been no international conflict in Central America. I recalled the chaotic conditions in Central America prior to that date, as contrasted with the tranquility since, and pointed out even the diminution in revolutions. I spoke of the economic conditions throughout the world at present which have resulted in political upheavals in so many countries, and stressed the value and benefits of peace, order, and stability. I said that this Government was not a party to the 1923 Treaty but had desired to do anything it could to help the Central American Governments in carrying out what they themselves thought would be conducive to peace, order, and stability in their countries. I said that I was glad to tell the Minister exactly the way we look at the situation but that the Central American Governments would have to judge the matter for themselves; the responsibility is theirs. I said that there is a very grave responsibility resting on them and that I trusted they would not enter into a decision light-heartedly but would consider very carefully what the consequences are apt to be and if they take the road of [Page 339] abolishing the Treaties to inquire very carefully where it may lead them. I thought that they would want to consider very carefully what the results would be before they abolished or even modified the Treaties. I said that of course the Treaties are perhaps not perfect but that any change that might be made should be distinctly for the better, and that I thought they would want to carefully consider any proposed change to know whether it would better conditions or not before embarking on such a course.

The Minister said that he felt sure that that would be our position and that there would be no change from the position outlined by the Secretary in a recent statement but he wanted to confirm it before reporting the matter to his Government.

F[rancis] W[hite]
  1. Adrian Racinos.