Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs (Wilson)

In conversation with Mr. Leitner, the German Chargé d’Affaires, he asked if there was any change in the situation as regards our attitude towards the recognition of the Martínez’ regime in Salvador. I said that there was no change, and as I had explained to him in a previous conversation, we would not recognize Martínez. He said that he understood that various European countries had given a sort of de facto recognition through carrying on negotiations with the Martínez’ regime for an extension or modification of their commercial treaties. He mentioned France and Italy in this connection. I said that we had heard that there had been some discussions of this nature but that recognition had not been extended by the Governments in question, or, so far as we were informed, by any Government other than Mexico in accordance with the latter’s own doctrine in the matter.

I asked Mr. Leitner if the German Government was being urged by [Page 607] Martínez to extend recognition. He said that he thought that Martínez, through agents in Europe, was urging the German Government, as well as the other European Governments, to extend recognition and that there was quite a campaign being undertaken to this effect. He said that the German colony in Salvador was not particularly important and he did not believe that they were taking much part in this effort to get recognition for Martínez. He said that it had occurred to him that perhaps we had come to a sort of impasse with the Salvador situation, since Martínez was apparently able to maintain himself in power, and he wondered whether if some of the European countries should grant recognition this would not furnish us an easy way to alter our decision. I said that we were not going to alter our decision, since it was taken on principle and in furtherance of the policy of promoting stability in Central America. I said that I thought that the European states which had interests in Central America were also interested in the maintenance of stability there and that personally I thought it would be a shortsighted policy on their part to do anything which ran contrary to such a policy. When Europeans find their lives and interests endangered as a result of disturbances in Central America they look to us for assistance, as in the case of the Italian Consul General during the so-called Communist disturbances in Salvador, who appealed to us to extend projection to his fellow countrymen. I said that in these circumstances it would seem that the policy of discouraging revolution which the Central American states had themselves adopted and which we were supporting ought to get the support of European Governments too. Mr. Leitner said he thought there was a good deal in this. He said that Germany desired to act in accord with the United States in respect of recognition of new Governments in Central and South America.

Edwin C. Wilson