715.00/12–654:Telegram

The Ambassador in Honduras (Willauer) to the Department of State

confidential
priority

176. Called on President Lozano 1 10 a.m. today. He opened conversation expressing deep thanks my “valuable assistance maintaining peace Honduras” recent months. I congratulated him on smoothness his necessary assumption power effected this weekend.

Lozano said he had deliberately shown considerable military force, and in discussions with all three party leaders latter had agreed this best for maintenance public order. Lozano said he had taken steps assume power early this morning with full fore-knowledge and support Cariista and Reformist Parties and he especially appreciated “patriotic gesture” of Villeda Morales who called on him shortly after radio broadcast. Embassy understands that Villeda first asked Lozano if he intended establish truly “national” government (i.e. one assuring liberal participation) and on receiving affirmative answer gave Lozano public “abrazo” and assurance support. Lozano said he understands Villeda has issued liberal manifesto containing “two or three strong paragraph” about Lozanos assumption of power, but that he (Lozano) understands these necessary in order show Villeda’s followers Villeda has not sold out.

Lozano said Galvez telephoned from Miami December 3 would return Honduras “some time this week”, and wished Lozano luck. Lozano now expects Galvez return (presumably as private citizen) December 8 and this return confirmed by telephone from FOA director Hummel 2 still with Galvez Miami. Lozano deliberately expressed great admiration Galvez and obviously desires create impression he loyal Galvez.

[Page 1323]

Lozano added he appointing Congressmen elect to Consultative Board today, and will add prominent (Conservative) Liberal Antonio Castillo Gega as member Consultative Board and President that body’s Fizmaq Executive Board to which Lozano appointing two representatives each party.

Lozano said he had been questioned as to whether members Consultative Board would enjoy prerogative personal immunity as they would have if members Congress. He replied he had specifically omitted this guarantee, in order prevent any “Leftist” from acting or speaking under cloak immunity.

Lozano deeply pleased at maintenance peace, and embarking with apparent sincerity on “reconciliation of Honduran family”; says he has sent instructions all local commandants work toward this goal.

I told Lozano that although I would personally recommend US Government recognition, if necessary, and support his regime, I did not know whether there was in fact any problem of normal recognition and accordingly my visit could only be a personal one without implying any commitment US Government attitude.

I recall when consulting in Department there seemed considerable doubt whether any act of recognition required if Galvez continued, and personally feel that since Lozano initially took over legally when Galvez left country, the legal situation is same as if Galvez had continued. Recommend if possible avoid recognition issue but if not, strongly recommend rapid recognition because of obvious democratic machinery set up by Lozano, evidence widespread support, and probability that act and manner of Lozano’s assumption power has saved Honduras from very nasty situation from which communism would have been sole gainer.

After calling on Lozano I telephoned Villeda extending personal congratulation his “patriotic gesture” of support Lozano. Villeda was obviously greatly pleased.3

Willauer
  1. On Dec. 6, 1954, Acting President Lozano Díaz decreed himself Supreme Chief of State, following the failure on the previous day of the Honduran National Congress to convene, because of lack of a quorum, to elect a president.
  2. John L. Hummel.
  3. On Dec. 16, 1954, the United States decided to continue diplomatic relations with Honduras, thereby recognizing the government of President Lozano Díaz. For the text of a Department of State press release concerning this subject, dated Dec. 16, 1954, see the Department of State Bulletin, Dec. 27, 1954, p. 985.