817.00 Bandit Activities/467: Telegram

The Chargé in Honduras ( Higgins ) to the Secretary of State

58. Department’s instruction No. 305 of July 1 has been carefully considered. I perceive no objection to discussing all of the points mentioned except those contained in the last two sentences of the penultimate paragraph of the Department’s instruction. President Mejía cannot be counted on not to inform his Cabinet and other officials and intimates of this proposal however discreetly conveyed to him and they will broadcast it. A very undesirable impression would be created if it became generally known that the United States Government or its representative had suggested that he take a step in violation of his constitutional oath to defend the territorial integrity of Honduras. Moreover, he would almost certainly not agree to the proposition.

In lieu of the part referred to I would rather request him to take the following specific measures which I believe, if strictly carried out, would have considerable effect in curbing Honduran assistance to the bandits and which represent the maximum which can be reasonably expected of the Honduran Government under present conditions:

To reestablish border expeditionary force, which has been completely disbanded, with a strength of 50 men and put General Plata in command.
To place all sub-commandants on border and commandant at Danlí under his orders.
To search all persons crossing the border for arms and papers or other articles indicating they are bandits or their helpers.
To confine all those shown to be bandits or those supplying them arms to Tegucigalpa.
To remove commandants from Danlí and Las Manos and Collector of Revenue of Yuscaran who are known to be cooperating with the bandits.

[Page 929]

The foregoing measures have been selected as the most efficacious among those which it is now possible or feasible for the Executive to undertake. Proposing them has the merit of giving the President a definite program to work on without the opportunity for his evading or equivocating. I shall await Department’s reply before presenting the matter to the President.