The Minister in Honduras (Erwin) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 28.]
Sir: Referring to my telegram of November 18, 1940, 12 noon, and to my despatch no. 1174, of November 19, 1940,86 transmitting a Note from the Honduran Foreign Office, I have the honor to transmit as an enclosure to this despatch another Note from the Honduran Foreign Office, No. 910, dated December 19, 1940, on this subject, with a free translation of the same.87
It will be noted that the Honduran Government expresses its gratefulness for the cooperation extended by my Government, given through General Van Voorhis, Commander of the Canal Zone, in sending to Tegucigalpa Colonels S. M. Montesinos and Herbert O’Leary and two enlisted men, on the mission under reference.[Page 133]
Colonel Montesinos first arrived in Tegucigalpa on November 28, 1940, to offer his services to the Honduran Government, under instructions from General Van Voorhis, in pursuance of the request transmitted through this Legation. After the arrival of Colonel Montesinos and after he had had opportunity to confer with the Sub-Secretary of War, Navy and Aviation, General Leónidas Pineda, it was found that not only an infantry officer’s temporary services were desired, but that it was necessary to have an additional officer trained and expert in ordnance matters, to inspect certain arms on hand, including trench mortars, and pass judgment and give technical advice as to use. Colonel Montesinos returned to the Canal Zone base by plane, presented the situation to General Van Voorhis, as to the necessity for an ordnance officer and two enlisted men to help with the heavy arms. General Van Voorhis authorized the detail of Colonel O’Leary, an ordnance expert, and the two officers and two enlisted men returned to Tegucigalpa on December 8, and remained until December 12, when their mission was completely and satisfactorily discharged.
The expeditious action by the Department and the Commanding Officer of the Canal Zone on this request obviously impressed the Honduran authorities very favorably. Colonel Montesinos, who speaks very fluent Spanish, was of especial assistance in collaborating with the Honduran military authorities to ascertain their exact wants. The officers called on President Carías, who expressed to them his personal appreciation.
This being the first time the Honduran Government has availed itself of the offer of the United States Government of technical assistance under the Hemispheric Defense plan, the speedy action and thorough spirit of cooperation manifested on behalf of my Government created a very desirable impression, which is manifest here in the verbal statements of the Honduran military authorities as well as in the formal Note from the Foreign Office transmitted herewith.