105. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Honduras1
Washington, April 4, 1968, 2338Z.
142043. Ref: Tegucigalpa 1943.2
- Department shares your distress at manner in which elections were
carried out and your concern re possible consequences. However,
before a final determination is made of the necessity for
consultation [Page 246] you may wish
to consider the following factors that have occurred to Department:
- We believe it important that Lopez be persuaded to decide for himself to take steps to redress the situation. If such actions were taken following your return from hurried consultation, it would be apparent to practically all Hondurans that Lopez acted only under severe U.S. pressure.
- On the other hand, if you returned from Washington and nothing happened, it probably would be interpreted as evidence U.S. acceptance of repression.
- It seems to us that you now even more than before offer only possible channel of communication between Lopez and Liberals. Your presence and influence may well be only calming factor in this highly volatile situation.
- Your departure with its obvious implication of disapproval of Sunday’s happenings could tempt Liberals to greater militancy.
- Above considerations lead us to believe it may be advisable that you remain in Tegucigalpa and continue your attempt convince Lopez that it is to his advantage to assuage Liberal outrage. Nullification of elections in five to ten municipalities where violations of electoral laws and spirit of democracy were most flagrant and announcement of date for new voting would be important to show Liberals that Lopez seeking meet them half way. We also believe that Lopez’ idea of sending Zuniga on mission outside Honduras would be helpful in giving passions time to cool. In your conversations with Lopez you may wish to tell him of Department’s deep concern and hope that he will take immediate steps to restore confidence of Honduran people and rest of world in GOH dedication to democratic principles. If it later becomes evident that Lopez unwilling to act to restore situation, we will consider bringing you to Washington for longer period (sixty to ninety days).