The Chargé in Guatemala ( Wells ) to the Secretary of State

No. 553

Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s despatch no. 544 of November 3 and previous communications with regard to the Belize dispute, I have the honor to enclose the text of a note dated November 5 from the British Minister to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in which the British Government, commenting upon the Guatemalan note of October 29 declines to accept the Guatemalan statement that it has been [Page 97] responsible for closing the door to all understanding in the matter as a result of having declined to agree to the proposal for mediation by the United States.

It will be observed that this latest British note reiterates the British position that the legal claim of Guatemala to sovereignty over Belize territory first be resolved, and repeats the offer contained in the British note of October 26 “to do their best to dispose of any outstanding problems with Guatemala on a friendly basis” once the legal question is adjudicated. This important point in the previous British communication was entirely ignored in the Guatemalan reply of October 29.

According to the British Minister, the enclosed note is being released to the press in London on Monday morning, November 8, and the Guatemalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs was so informed as a matter of courtesy.

Respectfully yours,

Milton K. Wells

Chargé d’Affaires ad interim