714.44A15/87: Telegram

The Chargé in Guatemala ( Cabot ) to the Secretary of State

57. The Secretary of the British Legation informs me that his Government will insist upon an important reservation in connection with the proposal outlined in the Department’s telegram No. 51, November 15, 5 p.m. to wit: that the arbitration shall be confined to the consequences of the nonfulfillment by Great Britain of the 1859 Treaty. Although he denied that this reservation would absolutely prevent the Arbitral Tribunal from rendering a decision providing for any territorial readjustment his earlier remarks made it reasonably clear that this was the object of the reservation.

It appears from comment made to the Legation by Foreign Office officials that the President would be willing to accept the proposal foreshadowed in the Department’s telegram but that he is not enthusiastic about it. It seems improbable, however, that he will accept the British proposal with a reservation excluding the possibility of territorial readjustment inasmuch as Guatemala now holds that the 1859 Treaty is void.

The Department may wish to consider whether the fact that the Guatemalan Government was not informed by this Legation of a reservation which the British Government apparently intends to incorporate in its proposals might not eventually give rise to suspicions which would jeopardize the success of the negotiations.

The British Legation while fully informed of the proposals has evidently not yet been instructed to present them.

Cabot