714.44A15/3–1648: Telegram

The Ambassador in Guatemala ( Kyle ) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

144. Discussing withdrawal today of British cruiser Sheffield, Foreign Minister told me his government still concerned by presence unknown number British troops Belize which it regards as invasion threat; therefore is reversing decision re reopening border pending report from Guatemalan Consul at Belize.1

Reiterating Department’s sincere interest as stated Deptels 99 and 101,2 I expressed earnest hope Guatemala may accept this British conciliatory move as adequate assurances non-aggressive intentions and make next gesture toward normality by reopening border. Muñoz Meany replied he could not accept British assurances at face value, but did reassure me his government would not use withdrawal cruiser for propaganda purposes and that immediately upon receipt report from Consul at Belize and further conference with President Arévalo3 he would communicate with me again.

Foreseeing possibility Guatemala may attempt use presence British troops at Belize as pretext keep alive issue, I suggest advisability Department discussing situation with Ambassador Gonzalez Arévalo.4 Can Department inform Embassy for communication Foreign Minister if British troops now in Belize represent only normal peacetime garrison.5

  1. Ambassador Kyle reported in telegram 150, March 19, 4 p. m., not printed, that the Foreign Minister had said closure of the border with British Honduras and other restrictions would be maintained until all doubt of British hostility or intimidation were removed (714.44A15/3–1948).
  2. Telegram 101, March 15, 6 p. m. not printed.
  3. Juan José Arévalo, Guatemalan President.
  4. Ismael Gonzalez Arévalo, Guatemalan Ambassador in the United States. He presented his credentials on March 15.
  5. In telegram 106, March 17, 6 p. m., Secretary Marshall instructed Ambassador Kyle as follows: “British Emb this morning informed Dept that British Govt considers its troops in Belize not in excess of normal peace-time garrison (urtel 144, March 16). You may so inform FonMin.” (714.44A15/1648)