The Chargé in Guatemala (Lawton) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 17—4:42 a.m.]
17. The Foreign Minister sent for me this morning to say that, in view of the difficulties that have arisen over fixing a date for the Conference and because of the desire of certain of the Governments to know beforehand what proposals are likely to be made, the Guatemalan Government is sending to the four other Central American Governments by air mail tomorrow two draft treaties that its delegation will submit to the Conference. Copies of these drafts and of their covering letter were furnished me this afternoon and I am forwarding them with translations to the Department and the Central American missions by air mail tomorrow.[Page 436]
Skinner-Klee indicated that his Government was no longer greatly concerned over the date of the Conference as the decision to make known its draft proposals to the other Governments as well as to the press makes it less important to hurry the opening of the Conference.
The following are summaries of documents mentioned above:15
1. Identical letter sent by Guatemalan Minister for Foreign Affairs to Foreign Ministers of Costa Rica, Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Letter states that Guatemalan Government did not prepare a program to cover the activities of the Conference as it seemed more fitting that each delegation should form its own projects and announce them at the Conference. However, Guatemalan delegation was instructed to draw up a draft treaty of peace and amity that would be simpler than the present one and would not cause differences of interpretation. This draft was prepared and embodies in one instrument most of the provisions of the several treaties of 1923. Letter further states that President Ubico had intended to present his personal views of the needs of Central America to the Conference but that he has embodied them in another pact which is enclosed along with the draft treaty of peace and amity. He feels that with good will the Conference cannot fail to be a success and he sees no obstacle to the meeting of the Conference in the near future at the date agreed upon by the five Governments. In conclusion the letter states that if for any reason the Conference does not take place President Ubico is pleased to make known his proposals by means of this letter.
2. Draft of general treaty of peace and amity. Article I renounces armed force for the settlement of differences declaring that war is impossible and that it is banished forever.
Article[s] II and III provide for limitation of armaments as agreed upon in 1923 treaty.
Article IV prohibits exportation of arms or munitions from one Central American state to another if they are intended for revolutionary activities.
Article V condemns use of poison gases.
Article VI affirms the principle of nonintervention in the internal affairs of another state but provides for concentration at a distance from frontiers of political emigrants.
Article VII declares that the only legal method for the transfer of public authority is that set forth in the various constitutions and provides that in case a revolutionary movement upsets that procedure “the new situation will not be recognized until it has been legalized in the constitutional manner provided by law”. (This is the only provision as to nonrecognition of revolutionary governments.)
Articles VIII and IX provide for free trade within the Isthmus.
Articles X through XVIII provide for extradition of fugitives.[Page 437]
Article XIX provides for recognition of public documents.
Article XX provides for recognition of judicial decisions.
Article XXI declares that arbitration is the only means of settling disputes and allows no exception to this provision.
Articles XXII, XXIII and XXIV prescribe the arbitral procedure but make no provision for a Central American tribunal.
Article XXV states that the present treaty summarizes the Washington Treaty of 1923.
Article XXVI is the last and provides that the treaty shall continue indefinitely but that after 5 years any state may denounce it and withdraw, the treaty continuing in force among those remaining.
3. Draft of a treaty of Central American fraternity to be submitted to the Conference by President Ubico. Article I declares the maintenance of peace and the elimination of war as the primary duties of the Central American states.
Article II states that the political union of Central America is the principal aim of its peoples and that the Governments represented at the Conference will cooperate to that end as far as possible without detriment to their sovereignty.
Article III provides for a common Central American citizenship.
Article IV provides for free trade, the unification of import and export tariffs and the abolition of passports.
Article V exempts monopolies and existing contractual rights from the provisions of article IV.
Articles VI through IX provide for a unified educational system and announce the creation of Guatemalan scholarships to students of other Central American states.
Article X provides for the recognition of public instruments throughout the five republics.
Article XI provides for the unification of civil, commercial, and procedure codes.
Article XII provides for agreement within 6 months after ratification on unification of our systems on a common gold standard and for uniform tariff schedules.
Article XIII provides for cooperation if requested by another state in suppressing revolutionary movements.
Article XIV provides for arbitration without exception of all disputes.
Article XV stipulates that pending disputes will retain their status quo for 10 years unless settled by direct and friendly action.
Article XVI provides for cooperation in development of all forms of transportation.
Article XVII provides for exchange of news and publications.
Article XVIII provides for encouragement of tourist industry.
Article XIX insures retention of full sovereignty and independent administration of all internal matters by each Government.
Article XX provides for suppression of subversive activity against another state and for concentration of emigrants.
Article XXI states that Central American foreign offices will communicate directly with each other, that diplomatic service between them is abolished and that a Consulate alone will be maintained between them.
Article XXII provides for effectiveness of treaty if as many as three states ratify it but grants other states the right to adhere at any time.[Page 438]
Article XXIII provides for modification of various national constitutions to accord with treaty.
Article XXIV pledges Governments not to delay ratification of treaty and provides for exchange of ratification in Guatemala.
Article XXV is the last and states that treaty will continue indefinitely but that any state may denounce it subject to 1 year’s notice. Treaty will continue in force for the other states if there remains as many as three.
First two paragraphs repeated to Central American missions.
- For texts of the documents, see Primera Conferencia Centroamericana, Guatemala, Marzo de 1934, Nota Circular dirigida por el Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Guatemala a los Excelentísimos señores Ministros de Relaciones Exteriores de El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua y Costa Rica, 15 de Febrero de 1934 … (Guatemala, C. A.—Febrero de 1934). See also Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores Costa Rica, Documentación relativa a los Tratados Centroamericanos firmados en Guatemala el 12 de Abril de 1934 (San José, Costa Rica, Imprenta Nacional, 1934).↩