Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State

The British Ambassador29 called to see me this morning by appointment.

At the conclusion of our conversation the Ambassador said that he was very gratified to be able to inform me that the British Government had determined to propose to the Government of Guatemala the immediate arbitration of the controversy between Guatemala and Great Britain involving the frontier between Guatemala and British Honduras and the provisions of the Treaty of 1856 [1859]. The British Government intended to propose as the arbitral tribunal an ad hoc tribunal composed of international lawyers, provided the President of the United States would agree to appoint as umpire on such tribunal an American citizen. The Ambassador said that if the President consented to take such action, his Government trusted that the President would select as umpire some outstanding judge in the United States, preferably an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

I told the Ambassador that it would give me much pleasure to submit this information to the President for his decision, and that I believed the determination arrived at by the British Government would be warmly received on this continent and would have very favorable results in stimulating the rapid solution of all existing boundary controversies by means of arbitration.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Marquess of Lothian.