84. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, June 11, 19571
- Honduras’ Political Situation; Boundary Dispute; Smathers Fund Loan
- Honduran Ambassador Villeda Morales2
- ARA—Mr. Rubottom
- MID—Mr. Warner
The Ambassador stated that he wanted to exchange views with Mr. Rubottom following his recent trip to Antigua, Guatemala and Tegucigalpa. First, he expressed Honduras’ gratification at the signing of the $3 million Smathers Fund Loan Agreement on May 31. He mentioned that by happy coincidence the announcement of the signing arrived in Honduras about the same time he himself did.
Mr. Rubottom expressed his satisfaction that conditions had permitted the making of this loan which will contribute to Honduras’ economic progress. It was to be regretted that the circumstances existing at the end of April were such that the postponement of the loan had been necessary. The Ambassador agreed that granting a [Page 184] loan for economic development would have seemed out of keeping in late April when a million “pesos” a week were being spent on military operations.
The Ambassador stated that at the Antigua meeting the Central American countries definitely went on record renouncing force as a means for the solution of their problems; he felt that this was one of the most important results of the meeting. He referred to the current meetings of the OAS Ad Hoc Committee and expressed the hope that the problem between Honduras and Nicaragua can be settled “within the family”. However, he stated that if this fails, he believes it would be best to go to the International Court of Justice.
Summarizing the political situation in Honduras, the Ambassador stated that the military Junta has decided firmly in favor of holding elections and he mentioned that the Minister of Defense (Lopez) assured him that there would be free elections. An electoral committee is being formed with Archbishop Turcios as Chairman to set up and supervise the electoral machinery. The emergency fund collected at the time of the border dispute might be used to finance this committee’s operations. The Ambassador referred to the possibility of a single slate of candidates in these elections. He indicated that he had been given full powers by his party leaders to choose candidates for this slate whom he believes to be competent regardless of party. His personal plans are not yet clear but he may run his wife as a candidate while he retains the Ambassadorship here.
Mr. Rubottom expressed the hope that Honduras will be able to restore responsible, constitutional, institutional government so that she can concentrate her energies on problems in the fields of education, public health and economic development. He stated that he was not in a position to advise the Ambassador regarding his personal problem of deciding how to participate in this process. Mr. Rubottom told the Ambassador he looks forward to further exchanges of views with him and he mentioned that Ambassador Willauer will probably be coming to the Department for consultation.