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File No. 763.72113/664

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Guatemala (Leavell)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, August 16, 1918, 5 p. m. Department's July 23, 5 p. m. By note of August 6, acting under instructions of President Cabrera, Minister Méndez assures the Government of the United States that " Guatemala observes and will continue to observe exactly the same attitude toward enemy property within its territory as the United States observes and will hereafter observe."

Alien Property Custodian authorized by paragraph 4, section 12 of the Enemy Trading Act, as amended by act of March 28, 1918, and Executive order of July 16, 1918, issued in pursuance thereof, to sell enemy property or properties in United States taken over by him, the proceeds of such sales being held for ultimate disposition at termination of war.

You are instructed to seek an interview with President Cabrera, refer to his above-quoted instructions, and intimate in that connection that you would be happy to be able to inform the Government of the United States of the date upon which the Government of Guatemala, as a cobelligerent with the United States in the present war, intends to put into operation similar measures with respect to enemy property in that country in accordance with the abovementioned note of August 6.

In order to cooperate with Guatemala and give her the advantage of the experience of the United States in taking over property of alien enemies, and in order to discuss plans for carrying on trade and ensure the uninterrupted flow of commerce between the two countries so that it will not directly or indirectly inure to the advantage of the common enemy, the Government desires to send to Guatemala a special representative of the United States War Trade Board and the Alien Property Custodian.

In view of the foregoing and keeping in mind the desire of the Government of Guatemala to take steps similar to those taken by the Government of the United States, you are instructed to inquire of President Cabrera whether such cooperation would not also appear desirable to him.

The Department feels that it is essential to practical and efficient cooperation to have such an agent visit Guatemala, and you are instructed to emphasize as much as possible the necessity of this course. Report promptly and fully by cable results of interview.

LANSING

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File No. 763.72113/664
The Minister in Guatemala (Leavell) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
GUATEMALA, August 20, 1918, 8 p. m.

[Received August 22, 2.10 p. m.] Your August 16, 5 p. m. Taking Custodian Hodgsdon with me I had an interview with President Cabrera this afternoon, and the three of us were closeted together for an hour going over as far as possible every aspect of the situation. Without giving the President's exact words I will try to put the Department of State into possession of his mind as to the question under consideration :

1. He takes the same attitude as that of the Government of the United States towards the property owned by alien enemies.

2. In the matter of taking it over and disposing of it he will go as far as is both wise and practicable for him to go.

3. That the situations of the two countries are entirely dissimilar because in Guatemala a very large fraction of the productive property is owned by Germans, and it would not be feasible to find purchasers for such large amounts of valuable properties when once they had been taken over.

4. That such a situation of affairs might lead to both present and future embarrassment for his Government besides doing injustice to other interests that may be involved with those of the Germans.

5. The only safe and wise course of action for his Government is to scrutinize carefully these several properties, determine what can be and ought to be done, and then do it.

6. Therefore, it is not practicable at this stage to fix a day upon which to begin taking over these properties owned by alien enemies.

7. But in view of the fact that the Government of the United States and that of Guatemala are cobelligerents in the same great war and each is anxious to do what lies in its power to win the war, the Government of Guatemala will be glad to have the cooperation of the Government of the United States especially in such matters where the experience of the latter is so much greater. So if the Government of the United States will send to Guatemala a special representative of the War Trade Board and the Alien Property Custodian to consider this whole matter, the Government of Guatemala will welcome his cooperation, assist

ance, and advice. President Cabrera with great earnestness, withal in diplomatic phraseology, emphasized the very great importance of sending a man of great probity as well as a man of experience, more judge than appealer, a man able to look upon every side of the question and reach his conclusions in view of all the facts in the case; that is to say, a man who is both capable and fair. Not his words but his whole manner lead me to judge that he will want the representative

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to be a man of recognized responsibility and reputation. Such a representative would receive attention and get active cooperation, and anyone less well qualified would be politely neglected ...

LEAVELL

File No. 614.119/103
The Minister in Guatemala (Leavell) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
GUATEMALA, September 12, 1918, 3 p. m.

[Received September 13, 12.53 p. m.] D. B. Hodgsdon, Custodian of Alien Property for the Government of Guatemala, now conducting the Empresa Electrica de Guatemala for the Government, informs me that unless electrical supplies ordered from the United States some months ago are forwarded at once this city will be in total darkness within six weeks. The order for the material necessary to reconstruct and operate the plant was placed through A. Rosenthal & Sons, 82 Beaver Street, New York, and was refused export license because the electric company was on the enemy trading list. After the company was taken over by this Government the order was renewed under the changed conditions, but without result so far. Please investigate the trouble and have the War Trade Board grant the license immediately in order to prevent impending darkness, for otherwise it will create a calamitous state of affairs. The necessity is very urgent, so will you kindly inform me as soon as possible.

LEAVELL

File No. 614.119/10:3
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Guatemala (Leave77)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, September 18, 1918, 5 p. m. Your September 12, 3 p. m. You may inform Guatemala Government that when its Alien Property Custodian is given full authority to sell the German property, the War Trade Board will be pleased to license freely supplies for Empresa Electrica de Guatemala.

LANSING

File No. 614.119/104
The Minister in Guatemala (Leavell) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
GUATEMALA, September 20, 1918, 10 a. m.

[Received September 22, 12.34 a. m.] Your September 18, 5 p. m. In an interview yesterday afternoon President Cabrera assured me that full authority to sell would be

given to the Alien Property Custodian within a few days, and asked me to inform the Department, but not to reveal it otherwise until the decree is published.

LEAVELL

File No. 703.72113/711a

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Guatemala (Leavell)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, September 27, 1918, 3 p. m. Inform Hodgsdon confidentially that the Government of the United States deems it of the first importance that American interests be given every opportunity to offer their bids upon any German properties which might under Guatemala's Alien Property Custodian's ruling be sold. It is the duty of the United States diplomatic and consular officers to use the best efforts in every proper manner to assure to American citizens every possible advantage. There are at present important American groups anxious to enter the Guatemalan field. Request the delay of sale of any German properties until representatives of these United States groups arrive. Wire the moment legislation is passed permitting the sale of German properties.

LANSING

File No. 763.72113/704

The Minister in Nicaragua (Jefferson) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]

MANAGUA, September 27, 1918, noon.

{Receired September 28, 5.45 a. m.] With respect to the loan of a special agent to the Nicaraguan Government as outlined in the Department's despatch No. 219, July 31, 1918.1 President Chamorro informed me today that he would accept the offer, and he is today telegraphing his Minister at Washington to this effect.

JEFFERSON

* See footnote 1, ante, p. 367.

File No. 614.119/111

The Minister in Guatemala (Leavell) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]

GUATEMALA, October 16, 1918, noon.

[Received October 17, 11.22 a. m.] My cipher telegram September 20, 10 a. m. Governmental decree has just been issued empowering Custodian Hodgsdon to sell the German-owned Empresa Electrica de Guatemala. Text of decree follows by next mail.

LEAVELL

File No. 763.72113/664
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Guatemala (Leavell)?

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, October 22, 1918, 4 p. m. Your August 2, 4 p. m.Department at request of War Trade Board has designated Edward Winslow Ames to act as special agent for the Department of State to give advice in connection with the management of alien property administration in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mr. Ames will leave for Guatemala toward the end of the month.

LANSING

Honduras: German Enterprises at Amapala File No. 815.156/2 The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Honduras (Ewing)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, September 29, 1917, 6 p. m. Mr. Casey, of W. R. Grace & Co., has been authorized by Mr. Rosseter, of the Pacific Mail, to sound the Government of Honduras regarding development of the port at San Lorenzo. Casey should leave Salvador in October, spending the 4th and 5th at Tegucigalpa. Believe he wants port concession on Sacate Grande Island.

In view of conditions, Department desires you to use every possible proper effort to advance interests of American commerce.

POLK

*Note in file: “Telephoned to A. J. R. Mitchell to release goods to Electrica de Guatemala. J.G.L.” (Julius G. Lay, Acting Foreign Trade Adviser of the Department of State.)

2 The same, mutatis mutandis, on the same date, to the Minister in Honduras and the Minister in Nicaragua. (File Nos. 763.72113/684,704.)

3 Not printed.

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