710.Consultation (2)/334

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

No. 1356

Sir: With reference to my telegram No. 67 of July 11, 5 [3] P.M., 1940, I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy and translation of the Note which the German Minister forwarded to the Guatemalan Foreign Office under date of July 1st with regard to the forthcoming Consultative Meeting at Habana.

As reported in the above-mentioned telegram, I discovered when checking up the newspaper story mentioned by the Department, that a copy of this Note had already been forwarded to me by the Foreign Office that morning and, in fact, it reached me shortly after midday. I do not know why the Foreign Office should have sent a copy of this Note to this Legation ten days after it was written, but presume that it must have been done on the basis of the newspaper story similar to that mentioned in the Department’s telegram which was published in the local newspapers on the evening of July 10th, under date line of San José, Costa Rica.

The German Minister’s Note does not appear to call for any particular comment. It is couched in the same arrogant terms as other [Page 799] recent communications to the Guatemalan Government in connection with acts of the latter which have been distasteful to the German Government (see particularly this Legation’s despatch No. 1268 of May 22, 1940, file No. 711.1/820.0252a).

As mentioned in my telegram under reference, I hope to be given a copy of the German protest to the Foreign Office in regard to Alfredo Schlesinger’s recently published pamphlet, El Arma Secreta: La Quinta Columna, (see despatch No. 1348 of July 6, 1940, file No. 820.0253), and if it is given to me I shall forward it in a separate despatch.

Respectfully yours,

John M. Cabot

The German Minister in Central America (Reinebeck) to the Guatemalan Minister for Foreign Affairs (Salazar)

Mr. Minister: Under instructions from my Government, I have the honor to communicate to Your Excellency the following:

The Government of the German Reich has been informed that the following proposals have been made for the deliberations of the Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the American Republics:

The work of the Neutrality Commission in Rio de Janeiro should be given an efficacious and uniform form. Respect for American neutrality and the prevention of activities by the belligerent powers within American territory should be attained by new measures.
Measures of an economic character:
European products should, whenever possible, be replaced in the American market by merchandise of American origin.
The maritime tonnage of the belligerent States should be employed exclusively in inter-American traffic, against suitable payment which should be made only after the present war, in order to avoid economic aid to the belligerent State in question.

The Government of the Reich takes the following position in regard to these proposals:

With regard to point 2, a), be good enough to take into consideration that, in view of the future development of commercial relations between Germany and the American States, a substitution of European products by American, even where it might theoretically be [Page 800] possible, would be contrary to the economic interests of the majority of the American States, since only European suppliers and particularly Germany, are in a position to receive in payment the products of those countries in the desirable and necessary manner.

Point 2, b). The proposal to give the work of the Neutrality Commission in Rio de Janeiro an efficacious form apparently refers to the project submitted for discussion to the Neutrality Commission—and which in practice would only affect German and Italian boats unilaterally—by which merchant vessels of the belligerent nations laid up in American ports should be interned. I should not wish to fail to call the attention of Your Excellency to the fact that the Government of the Reich in such case would find itself under the necessity of considering the utilization of German boats now in American ports, by an American State, and without the consent of Germany, as an attitude contrary to neutrality and incompatible with the friendly relations between Germany and the American nations.

Moreover, I am instructed to express in general the firm hope of the Government of the Reich that the work of the above-mentioned Conference, in accordance with its purposes, will be carried out within a well understood policy of neutrality, and that no resolutions aimed directly or indirectly against Germany will be adopted.

I avail myself [etc.]

Otto Reinebeck
  1. Department file No. 740.00111 A.R./1152.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Original in Spanish.