Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Middle American Affairs (Newbegin) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Holland)1

top secret


  • United States Policy in Connection with Honduran Elections


Ambassador Willauer has returned to Washington to present his views on the political situation in Honduras and to participate in a reconsideration of our policy regarding the elections. Ambassador Willauer believes the United States policy should be:

To encourage the formation of a coalition government in Honduras with substantial Liberal party representation. If absolutely necessary, the Ambassador suggests that he might have to participate with the Ambassadors of other Central American countries in witnessing any agreement for a coalition.
Ambassador Willauer says that he would do this only after failure of an attempt to get the Papal Nuncio or the other Central American Ambassadors to guarantee the coalition by themselves had failed.
In the event that it is impossible to work out a coalition government, the Ambassador proposes that he be authorized by the Department to indicate to Galvez in the most discreet manner possible that the United States would view with favor his continuance in office for a year or two. This would avoid the chaotic situation which in the Ambassador’s opinion would certainly result from the emergence of Carias as President without the restraining influence of a strong Liberal representation in his government or which would also result from the election of Villeda and his party.

Ambassador Willauer points out that there is already substantial public support for Galvez continuing in power. There is reason to believe Carias woud accept such a development. Williams, of course, would be delighted since it would give him another chance to run for President. Surprisingly, Villeda Morales and the Liberal party are reluctant to agree to any coalition or to Galvez continuing in power. Villeda has the idea that he alone is the properly elected President of Honduras.

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The Ambassador should not be a witness to any election arrangement in Honduras. This would be interpreted as our guaranteeing the arrangement and as undertaking an obligation which we would not be able to enforce if one party should back out. Moreover, such an action would create a precedent for similar action or request for action in other Central American countries.
It is further recommended that the Ambassador should not, officially or unofficially, seek to influence a coalition of parties, or the continuation of Galvez in the Presidency, as a solution for the political impasse now existing in Honduras but should leave this problem to the Hondurans to resolve by themselves. However, should the Ambassador be asked by President Galvez for an expression of the attitude of the United States toward his continuing in office as President, the Ambassador should indicate that we have had and would continue to have a high regard for the President’s administration and would cooperate with him in the future in the same degree as in the past.

Finally, it does not seem either possible or desirable for us to try to evolve a fixed detailed policy with regard to the Honduran political situation at this time. That situation is fluid and subject to change at any moment. We should not set a course which will prevent us from taking advantage of any change that may occur.2

  1. Drafted by Mr. Newbegin.
  2. The source text bears the following handwritten notation, initialed by Assistant Secretary Holland: “Messrs Sparks & Woodward—Will you handle this for me.”

    A memorandum by Deputy Assistant Secretary Woodward to Assistant Secretary Holland, dated Oct. 26, 1954, reads as follows: “I recommend that, when you see Ambassador Willauer, you caution him to be very careful with respect to internal political maneuvering in Honduras and not consider any further use of the concrete persuasion except in the most extreme circumstances.” (MannWoodward files, lot 57 D 598, “Honduras”)