Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Caribbean and Central American Affairs (Newbegin)

In the course of a conversation this afternoon, Dr. López-Herrarte stated that during his recent trip to Guatemala he had taken occasion to impress upon the local authorities the necessity of reaching a solution of the Aviateca case. He said that, speaking quite unofficially, he had taken Dr. Matos, Denby’s father-in-law, to the Foreign Office to talk to the Foreign Minister and that he believed it might be possible for the two parties to reach a settlement. He expressed the opinion that if a definite settlement were reached the State Department would not be interested in its exact terms. I told him that that was the case but our principal interest was that a settlement be reached agreeable to both parties without reference to terms. We would, however, have a direct interest in the terms of settlement provided Denby and his lawyers on the one hand and the Guatemalan Government on the other, failed to reach a prompt and mutually satisfactory agreement. I told him that speaking entirely unofficially that I considered it desirable for him to know of a development which had caused us considerable concern here but which was not as yet being made a matter of any official record and that I hoped it would be unnecessary to do so.

I then informed him that we had been advised that up until the intervention of Aviateca by the Guatemalan Government, Aviateca had been flying the two C–47’s which had been the subject of previous discussions between us, on scheduled flights notwithstanding repeated assurances of the Guatemalan Government that this was not [Page 900] the case and that action was being taken to remove the planes from Aviateca. I told him again, emphasizing that I was speaking purely informally and as a friend, that this seemed to me to be about as near an example of bad faith as had come to my attention. Dr. López-Herrarte expressed his agreement with this point of view and informed me that he was quite aware of that situation.

R[obert] N[ewbegin]