Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Guy Walter Ray of the Division of the American Republics

Minister DeBayle62 called to see me yesterday to discuss a number of subjects and stated that he had received a telephone call from the Nicaraguan Foreign Minister63 informing him that Honduras has sent an identical note to the Governments of the United States, Costa Rica and Venezuela, the substance of which was that Honduras stood on its rights under the award of the King of Spain and felt compelled to defend its rights. Minister DeBayle recalled that following the Habana conference in July 194064 the Honduran Minister had stated at a meeting of the Governing Board of the Pan-American Union that he was instructed referring to a Habana resolution regarding the peaceful settlement of boundary and other disputes and to state formally that Honduras had no pending boundary questions. Dr. DeBayle said he had objected, explaining that the Mediation Commission had been created for the purpose of finding a solution of the Honduras–Nicaragua dispute.

Dr. DeBayle said that some time ago Minister Caceres had told him that possibly the only way to reach a solution of the difficulties between Honduras and Nicaragua would be by direct negotiation. Dr. DeBayle asked me if I would object to telling him whether Minister Caceres had discussed this with the Department. I replied that I had had no discussion of this possibility with Señor Caceres, and that so far as I knew it had not been discussed with anyone in the Department. (Some time ago Minister Caceres suggested to me the possibility of transferring a certain amount of Honduran territory to Nicaragua in exchange for recognition of the award. The idea presented by Señor Caceres seemed to be that action should be taken through the Commission and no mention was made of direct negotiation). In reply to Dr. DeBayle’s direct question as to the attitude of the Government of the United States, I told him that I had not been authorized to make any formal statement but that I felt I could safely go so far as to say that the Department considered the recent Honduran statement as a re-affirmation of that country’s claims based on award of the King of Spain, and assumed that no precipitate action would be taken by either of the countries, and that efforts to facilitate an amicable solution of the difficulties would continue. Minister DeBayle [Page 261] indicated that he would advise his government for the moment to “sit tight” and await further developments.

  1. León DeBayle, Nicaraguan Minister in Washington.
  2. Antoni Barquers.
  3. For correspondence concerning the Second Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics, held at Habana, July 21–30, 1940, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. v, pp. 180 ff.