The Minister in Guatemala ( Hanna ) to the Secretary of State

No. 652

Sir: With reference to the Department’s instruction No. 173 of March 30, 1935,31 I have the honor to report that Mr. E. W. James of the United States Bureau of Public Roads, accompanied by Mr. George Curtis Peck, arrived in this capital on May 15.

I introduced Messrs. James and Peck to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on May 16. I had previously informed the Minister of their prospective visit and its purpose and had requested him to advise the appropriate Guatemalan authorities. I had also discussed the purpose of their visit with the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Guillermo Cruz, to the end that he might be prepared for the visit of Mr. James. The Minister for Foreign Affairs received us with marked cordiality and, after expressing his own enthusiastic interest in the proffered cooperation of the United States in the construction of the Inter-American Highway, he made engagements for us to call on the President and the Minister of Agriculture.

We had a very satisfactory preliminary conversation with Dr. Cruz and his assistants the following day, as a result of which Dr. Cruz addressed a letter to Mr. James outlining the assistance desired by this Government, but omitting any reference to the cooperation this Government will give, although this point had been discussed in our conversation with Dr. Cruz. Consequently, in our subsequent conversation with President Ubico, the matter of the cooperation which might be expected from Guatemala was fully and frankly discussed, and a definite understanding reached. The President realized that this would expedite the termination of a definite arrangement for beginning work, and he authorized us to request Dr. Cruz to revise his letter so as to specify the cooperation to be given by this Government. In our subsequent conversation with Dr. Cruz, a satisfactory understanding was easily arrived at and was embodied in Dr. Cruz’s [Page 256] letter to Mr. James dated May 17, 1935, copy and translation of which is transmitted herewith.

President Ubico’s attitude was in every respect most friendly.

Mr. James is leaving for Mexico tomorrow, and Mr. Peck is returning to Panama by ship on May 24.

Respectfully yours,

Matthew E. Hanna

The Guatemalan Minister of Agriculture ( Cruz ) to the Chief of the Inter-American Highway Commission ( James )

Distinguished Sir: Referring to the conversation that I was pleased to have with you this morning in this connection, I desire to inform you that, after having studied the present condition of the International Highway from the Mexican frontier to that of Salvador, I have reached the conclusion that, in order to put said Highway in perfect condition for transit, the following is needed:

Construction of three bridges of great importance, and
Acquisition of indispensable machinery and vehicles, as follows:
  • Bridges
    • Eastern Section of the Highway
      Bridge over the Tamazulapa river
      Bridge over the Esclavos river
    • Western Section of the Highway
      Bridge over the Panajachel river.
  • Machinery & Vehicles

[Here follows list of machinery and vehicles.]

The Government of this country formally agrees, provided it is supplied with the bridge material and the vehicles and machinery mentioned above, to expend annually and during the necessary time the sum of seventy-five thousand Quetzales (Q75,000) (1 quetzal equal 1 dollar at the present time) on the Highway, and, in addition to the personnel whose salaries are paid from those funds, to utilize the laborers who will work in exchange for vialidad tickets, the emission of which is authorized by laws and regulations issued by the Executive Power.

I should add that the construction and erection of the three first-class bridges to which I referred at the outset will be the subject of studies, specifications and plans which will be prepared in due time; [Page 257] that the material for said bridges will be furnished by the Institution that you represent, as will also the skilled labor for erecting them, the salaries for which labor will be to your exclusive account. The foundations for those bridges will be made at the expense of the Government (of Guatemala).

With expressions [etc.]

Guillermo Cruz
  1. See footnote 22, p. 250.