The Minister in Guatemala (Des Fortes) to the Secretary of State

No. 841

Sir: Referring to previous correspondence from this Mission with respect to the British Honduras-Guatemalan boundary dispute, I have the honor to enclose herewith copies and translation of a note addressed to this Legation3 during my recent absence in the United States. Foreign Minister Salazar points out in his note that pursuant to conversations which he held with the Secretary of State and Assistant Secretary Adolf A. Berle at the recent Lima conference,4 during which both expressed the “desire to know the question in detail”, he has sent instructions to the Guatemalan Minister at Washington, Dr. Adrián Recinos, which are to be communicated to the Department. A copy of these instructions (a translation3 of which is enclosed herewith) was attached to the note under reference with the suggestion that they be transmitted to the Department.

A few days ago the Minister for Foreign Affairs sent the Chief of Protocol of the Foreign Office to the Legation to inform me of the continued interest of his Government in the question, and at the same time to leave with me a draft memorandum which refers in part to his note of February 11, and which reads in translation as follows:

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Memorandum for the Legation of the United States

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala has the honor to inform the Honorable Legation of the United States of America:


On February 8, 1939, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs addressed the Guatemalan Legation in Washington in order that, in conformity with the conversation which Secretary Salazar had the honor to have with the Honorable Cordell Hull on board the S. S. Santa Maria, he approach the Secretary of State and beg his friendly cooperation in the Belize matter which is being discussed between the Chancelleries of Guatemala and London.


The Government of Guatemala desires that experts of the Department of State study the problem of Belize, together with our Minister in Washington, as presented in the historic and diplomatic documentation which is contained in the official publication called The White Book: and that the Government of the United States give us its friendly advice in conformity with the results of the study.


The Ministry for Foreign Affairs gave instructions to Minister Recinos and a copy of these instructions was handed to that Honorable Legation in order that, through its means, it come to the attention of the Secretary of State.


The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, duly instructed by the President of the Republic, begs of the Minister of the United States his valuable influence in the Department of State in order that, whenever it may be possible, the wishes of President Ubico be acceded to.

I have the honor further to report that in a recent interview with President Ubico, he spoke at some length on the British Honduras dispute, taking the occasion to state his belief, as he has done before, that England would immediately settle the dispute if the United States Government would manifest an interest in the matter. At the same time he informed me that the Guatemalan Government would be perfectly satisfied if an agreement could be reached whereby “the territory up to the Sibún river would be returned to Guatemala”.

Respectfully yours,

Fay Allen Des Portes
  1. Not printed.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1938, vol. v, pp. 1 ff.
  3. Not printed.