816.00 Revolutions/76

Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs ( Matthews ) of a Conversation With the First Secretary of the British Embassy ( Shone )

Mr. Shone called this morning at 12:20 and, as Mr. White and Mr. Edwin C. Wilson were both busy, came to see me. He said that the British Foreign Office had received rather alarming reports of communistic disturbances from El Salvador and that Ambassador Lindsay had discussed the matter yesterday with Mr. Castle. However, since that conversation word has been received by the British Embassy from the Foreign Office to inquire what, if anything, our Government plans to do and to inform the Department that the British are sending a warship to El Salvador. Mr. Shone did not know the name of the warship or the port from which it was being sent. He added that Canada has substantial interests in El Salvador (electric light) and that he understands from Mr. Wrong of the Canadian Legation that Canada is sending a war vessel to El Salvador also, and that this latter vessel will arrive within twenty-four hours.

Mr. Shone said that information received by the Foreign Office from Mr. Rodgers, the British Chargé d’Affaires at Salvador, indicated that a communist plot to blow up banks in Salvador is scheduled to take place at midnight tonight; that, owing to the infiltration of communism in the army, the questionable loyalty of some of the officers, and the weakness of the President, the Government’s ability to control the situation seemed open to doubt.

In reply, I told Mr. Shone that our telegrams received so far did not indicate that the situation was that serious and that we had received nothing during the past two days, and had not heard anything concerning the bank bombing plot. Consequently, on the basis of the information before us we are not at present planning to do anything other than to watch the situation carefully. I showed him Chargé d’Affaires McCafferty’s telegrams Nos. 9 and 10.32 He requested me to let him know of any new developments in the situation and this I said I would gladly do.

H. Freeman Matthews
  1. Dated January 20, 3 p.m., and January 21, 10 a.m., pp. 613 and 614.