58. Telegram From the Consulate in Belize City to the Department of State1

1434. USCINCSO for Polad. Subject: Anglo-Guatemalan Negotiations on Belize.

1. C-Entire text

2. British Governor General Hennessy has informed me that GOG has agreed to a resumption of UK-Guatemalan negotiations. He said GOG has responded in writing to a recent HMG invitation to meet, placing no conditions on their acceptance but suggesting a date later than HMG had in mind. Hennessy said HMG had hoped to begin this round of talks by late December but now expects them to start a few weeks later.

3. During December 23 call on Premier Price, I asked when the talks would resume and if he expects to participate. He said he expects the next talks will be held in late January or February, and he plans to take part in at least some of the negotiating sessions. He said he does not yet know the locale for the talks.

4. I pressed Premier Price on what GOB would be willing to accede to in order to facilitate an Anglo-Guatemalan agreement. He replied that while Belize cannot contemplate any territorial cession, GOB would go this far: (1) Guatemalan sovereign maritime access to Gulf of Honduras and Caribbean; (2) A pipeline from the Peten oil fields to a Belizean port; and (3) formalization of Guatemala’s present trade access to Belizean ports, which could include a wharf and warehouse at Belize City for in-bond trade where a Guatemalan flag could be flown. As an amusing point in a recent negotiating round, Price said he even offered the Guatemalans a sovereign territorial cession: one acre in Belmopan for the site of a Guatemalan Embassy

5. I reported to Price, as I had earlier to Hennessy, our hope that HMG and GOB would continue to keep their talks going with Guatemala. Each said he and his government would seek to do so, but neither was optimistic significant progress would be made. Price agreed specifically to my suggestion that an independent Belize would continue willing to talk to the Guatemalans, since Belize in any event must try to accommodate the economic and other interests of its much larger neighbor.

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6. I would welcome any corroboration or comments by Department or other addressees as to timing and substantive content of this next round of UK–GOG talks.2

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800608–1104. Confidential; Priority. Sent for information to Guatemala City, Mexico City, London, USCINSCO Quarry Heights, and USLO Caribbean.
  2. Telegram 316 from Guatemala City, January 16, 1981, reported that the UK-Guatemalan negotiations over Belizean independence would resume “some time in February.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D810026–0508)