Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Central America and Panama Affairs (Newbegin)


Mr. Hadow1 called to inquire whether the Department had been able to get in touch with Ambassador Kyle to request him to approach the Guatemalan authorities with regard to the withdrawal of the Sheffield. I informed him that we had received a telegram this morning stating that the Ambassador had spoken with the Guatemalan Foreign Minister yesterday, who had given him categorical assurances that the withdrawal would not be used for propaganda purposes. There would naturally be some publicity on the withdrawal itself. Mr. Hadow expressed great concern with regard to the publicity, but I informed him that we could see little use in the withdrawal of the Sheffield were it not known, and I thought there was little cause for concern in as much as Muñoz Meany had stated that the withdrawal would not be used for propaganda purposes. I believe Mr. Hadow was in agreement that no real damage would arise from an announcement that the Sheffield had been withdrawn if the publicity were restricted merely to that.

Mr. Hadow was informed that the Guatemalan Foreign Minister had expressed an interest in learning whether the British were likewise evacuating the military forces brought to Belize on the Sheffield. Mr. Hadow replied that the number of such forces was very small indeed, and that he thought it outrageous that the Foreign Minister should insist on their withdrawal. It was, in fact, his understanding that they were remaining. I suggested that there was nothing outrageous in Muñoz Meany’s attitude, which in view of the present situation was perfectly natural. He had merely expressed an interest and had not insisted upon or requested anything. I further indicated to Mr. Hadow that I thought it might be helpful if the troops were withdrawn on the understanding that Guatemala would likewise withdraw the forces it had sent to the frontier area. Mr. Hadow indicated that he would be glad to take this under serious consideration if we were willing to act as intermediaries. I told him that I would, of course, have to receive approval of the proposal from higher officers in the Department, but that I felt reasonably sure there would be no difficulty.2 Mr. Hadow mentioned the difficulty there would be in removing the forces once the cruisers had departed, intimating that Great Britain may have difficulty in sending in another ship to remove them.

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In closing Mr. Hadow stated that the Sheffield “had already left or at least would leave today.”3

  1. Robert Henry Hadow, Counselor of the British Embassy.
  2. Assistant Secretary of State Norman Armour indicated his approval of the proposal in a memorandum of March 16, not printed.
  3. The Vice Consul at Belize (Springer) reported in telegram 9, March 17, 8 p. m., not printed, as follows: “Sheffield left for Jamaica dawn 16th. 200 troops left ashore, 40 Cayo, 160 at airport and Belize barracks. Expected stay three months.” (714.44A15/3–1748)