714.44A15/112: Telegram

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

5. Your telegram no. 7, January 29, 7 p.m. Please telegraph at once a report of any significant remarks made by the Foreign Minister with respect to the note presented by the British Minister relating to the Belize question.

In the event of future conversations with the President or the Foreign Minister, it would seem desirable for you to endeavor to get across the idea to them that although they may find unsatisfactory the terms of reference submitted by the British Minister, nevertheless, by using these terms of reference as a basis for discussion the Guatemalan Government might through direct negotiation succeed in improving them to the point where they are satisfactory to it. This will undoubtedly require patience and tact and persistence and the absence of public recrimination, but a mutually satisfactory solution of the entire problem is certainly worth the time and effort of both parties. Of course, this Government will be glad to do what it can appropriately at any time to assist this process of direct negotiation between Guatemala and Great Britain.

Within these limits, and after setting forth the Department’s views as indicated, you may say that you feel confident that the Department will be pleased to give its attentive consideration to whatever views the Government of Guatemala may desire to present regarding the British note.

For your guidance and information, I am sure you understand that although this Government will do whatever it can in this matter, it cannot become responsible for carrying the burden of the negotiations [Page 424] for the settlement of this dispute. This must rest on Guatemala and Great Britain. This Government entered the picture at a time when direct negotiations between the two countries had not attained any progress towards a solution. We were glad informally to urge the British to a reconsideration of their position. We believe that the presentation of a note by the British, however unsatisfactory that note may be to Guatemala, represents a first step forward. Now that the British have presented a proposition in writing, it would seem that the next step is for the Guatemalan Government to examine it and to reply. This Government, however, cannot undertake to argue the Guatemalan case before Great Britain. Guatemala must do that for herself. Our contribution will be an endeavor to keep the negotiations moving forward and to secure full consideration by Great Britain of Guatemala’s views.