Memorandum for the Files, by the Officer in Charge of Central America and Panama Affairs (Leddy)1

top secret


  • United States Position on Electoral Crisis in Honduras

After Ambassador Willauer had the opportunity to review and discuss with Assistant Secretary Holland, Deputy Assistant Secretary Sparks, and Messrs. Newbegin, Leddy, and Ohmans of MID, the present electoral crisis in Honduras, which original discussion was held on November 11, 1954, the memorandum of decision dated November 12, 19542 was gone over by Ambassador Willauer with Messrs. Sparks, Newbegin, and Leddy on November 17. Ambassador Willauer stated that he disagreed with the conclusion but accepted the instruction, largely on the basis of his own comparative inexperience in Latin America. Having repeated on the same afternoon this view to Mr. Holland, the latter suggested that a review with Deputy Under Secretary Murphy might be useful to assure Ambassador Willauer of full consideration of his views, and this was arranged on the afternoon of November 18 in Mr. Murphy’s office.

Ambassador Willauer restated his disagreement with the conclusion in the memorandum of November 12, and said he felt conditions called for stronger action. Mr. Murphy indicated he was not convinced that a case was made out for a different course, and Ambassador Willauer was invited by Mr. Murphy to express his recommendations on present action. Ambassador Willauer recommended that, if no authority is to be given him to take measures, at least it is desirable that. … He stated that he would be speaking with Mr. Frank Wisner, Deputy Director [Page 1320]of CIA, that afternoon; Mr. Murphy said that he personally would have occasion to talk directly with Mr. Allen Dulles, Director of CIA, in the next day or two, and would discuss this problem.

It was emphasized by Mr. Sparks throughout the discussions with Mr. Willauer that ARA’s present position is a tentative one, based on the information now available, and would be subject to constant review and modification on receipt of further information and evidence to be submitted by the Embassy at Tegucigalpa; he urged Ambassador Willauer to keep the Department fully informed of current developments. Ambassador Willauer agreed that this would be done on as rapid a basis as possible, but mentioned inadequacy of communications. When this was stated by him to Mr. Murphy, the latter indicated that steps should be taken by ARA to check into the efficiency of our communications set up with Honduras.3

  1. Drafted by Mr. Leddy; cleared with Mr. Murphy and Mr. Sparks.
  2. Ante, p. 1316.
  3. In the left-hand margin of the source text appears a typed statement initialed by Mr. Murphy, dated Nov. 24, 1954, which reads in part as follows: “I discussed this subject with Allen Dulles today. He said that he had not had any conversation with Ambas. Willauer on this subject as perhaps Willauer had talked with Wisner regarding it. Mr. Dulles said that on the face of it, he was inclined to agree with the Department’s position.”