The Minister in Honduras (Erwin) to the Secretary of State

No. 1424

Subject: Results of Discussion with Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Regarding Honduras–Nicaragua Boundary Dispute.

Sir: Referring to your telegram No. 31 of June 24, 8 p.m., I have the honor to report that I sought an engagement with the Honduran [Page 259] Foreign Minister early today to discuss this matter, with the following results:

The Foreign Minister was informed that a copy of his note on this subject, referred to in a telegram from the American Legation at San José, had not reached the Department and I wished to discuss the subject matter with him primarily to seek information. He stated that doubtless a copy of the note in question would shortly be delivered to the Department at Washington, since instructions to that effect had been issued.

The Foreign Minister produced a copy of the note and read to me the essential parts. I discussed the subject in the sense of the Department’s instruction under reference. The Foreign Minister emphasized that his note merely seeks to reaffirm the position of Honduras respecting the award of the King of Spain in the light of the Mediation Commission’s findings to date and that it was not intended any tone of belligerency should be read into the note. There have been no recent border incidents to prompt him in reasserting Honduras’ rights at this time. However, he had felt that in view of the Mediation Commission’s statement that the “second phase” of its investigation and deliberations had been completed, without, as Honduras viewed it, appreciable results, that the development of a third section would not be productive of good. He mentioned what he regarded as a tendency of the Commission to go beyond a reasonable scope in its deliberations; in this connection, he mentioned the topographical studies and the proposal of the Commission to make aerial maps, to which project Honduras had withheld its assent. He appeared to feel that further meetings of the Commission in the near future would not have a tendency to heal the situation and that the time is not opportune to press for any further settlement.

The difficulties under which the Mediation Commission have labored, particularly with the restriction imposed at the outset by Honduras that there should be no tampering with the award of the King of Spain, are too well known to require review. Since the position of the Government of Honduras, as outlined in the note of its Foreign Minister, dated June 13, is merely to maintain the status quo, and the phrase concerning defense of its sovereignty is merely rhetorical and carries no implication of any belligerent steps, it would not appear that this Legation should take any further action at this time, except as instructed by the Department after full consideration of the Honduran note under reference, in all its phases, when it has been received by the Department.

Respectfully yours,

John D. Erwin