714.44A15/117: Telegram

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

10. Department’s telegram No. 5, January 31, 11 a.m. The President this morning informed me that although the British were not acting correctly and were trying to make it appear that Guatemala does not desire arbitration the Guatemalan reply would accept in principle the arbitration proposed by the British note. It would, however, insist that the Treaty of 1859 is void and that the arbitral tribunal should be permitted to pass on this.

The President appeared annoyed by developments but not so indignant as the Foreign Minister. I believe that he is entirely prepared to chaffer for better terms of reference but he seems determined to insist that the tribunal be permitted to pass on the validity the Treaty of 1859.

I repeatedly urged upon him the necessity for patient negotiations and suggested that nothing be said publicly which might jeopardize these.

Des Portes