Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Gerald A. Drew of the Division of the American Republics

Participants: Mr. Butler, Counselor of the British Embassy
Mr. Briggs21
Mr. Drew

Mr. Butler called to leave a copy of the British note of March 422 to the Guatemalan Government on the Belize matter. He had said that he had been instructed to state that this was not intended as a relaxation in any sense of the position of the British Government, particularly with regard to the validity of the Treaty of 1859. Nevertheless, while the new note was not “crystal clear” to him, he hoped it would represent a step forward in the direction of a solution.

Mr. Briggs said that now that the two Governments had formally stated their position in the case, it appeared to us that personal discussions between the British Minister in Guatemala and the Minister for Foreign Affairs with respect to the remaining points of difference would offer the best chance of reaching an agreement satisfactory to [Page 432] both governments. Mr. Butler agreed that such personal discussions would be desirable.

In discussing the latest British communication on the subject, Mr. Butler indicated that his own personal view was that the British Government did not intend to exclude from the competency of the arbitral tribunal authority to render an award including territorial compensation in the event that it should be determined that there had not been compliance with article 7 of the 1859 treaty. What it did reserve was the right to argue before the tribunal that territorial cession was not a proper form for the compensation to take. It was pointed out to Mr. Butler that it would be very helpful if just such clarification could be given to the Guatemalan Government in the course of informal conversations.

Mr. Butler volunteered the suggestion that it would be helpful if Mr. Welles, during his visit to London, could find an opportunity to discuss the Belize question with the British Government.

  1. Ellis O. Briggs, Assistant Chief of the Division of the American Republics.
  2. Not printed.