Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham.

No. 135.]

Sir: In the line of keeping you informed upon the condition of affairs in Central America, I inclose herewith a telegram detailing certain action by the Government of Honduras, which seems to threaten the peace of this country. I also inclose a copy of a personal letter which I addressed to Hon. Pierce M. B. Young, U. S. minister to Guatemala and Honduras, covering this telegram. The telegram and letter are self-explanatory.

I also transmit herewith copy of a telegram which tends to show the existence of a very unfriendly feeling in Salvador toward Nicaragua, and another mentioning some troubles on the frontier of Honduras.

I am, etc.,

Lewis Baker.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 135.]

Mr. Baker to Mr. Young.

My Dear Sir: I take the liberty of handing you herewith a copy of a telegram which has come into my possession. It will give you a glimpse of the uneasy condition of political feeling in this section of the country. My excuse for troubling you with this communication is founded upon the threatening attitude of Honduras, which country is within your jurisdiction as a public official, towards Nicaragua. While it is true that a small number of political refugees from Honduras are now and have been for some time residing in Nicaragua, I feel reasonably well assured that the Government of this country entertains no hostile feelings toward its neighbor on the north. On the contrary, I am convinced that it is the earnest and honest desire of the present Government of Nicaragua to cultivate the most friendly relations with all its neighbors, and that it is the highest ambition of the President and his colleagues to give to this people a good and stable government, guaranteeing peace to the citizen and personal rights to all.

President Zelaya, Vice-President General Ortiz, and the ministry are young men of good ability, and they have governed, considering the unsettled condition of affairs when they came into power, wisely and[Page 435]conservatively in the main. I do not pretend, Mr. Minister, to indorse all the acts of this Government, for the wisest men make mistakes, but I say that in the main they have acted well, and they seem to be striving for the good of their people.

I write to you this personal letter upon my own impulse, and without having given a hint of the fact to any one, and I do so in the hope that you may feel inclined to exert your influence in such a way as seems to you best in the interest of the preservation of the peace and the promotion of the prosperity of these naturally rich countries.

I am the more earnest in my desire to avert war between Honduras and Nicaragua because of the fact that we have an important colony of Americans near the borders of Honduras, who are investing quite largely in the culture of coffee. I refer to the localities of Matagalpa and Jinotega. Further, a wise effort is at this time being made to induce capital and enterprise from abroad to build a railroad for the opening up of that section of Nicaragua.

I have recently returned from a month’s visit to Costa Rica, and I am sure that I am not mistaken in saying that the Government in that country earnestly desires the preservation of peace throughout Central America. The Costa Ricans are engaged in a laudable effort directed to the development of the resources of their country, and I am of the opinion that those in authority will find better uses for the expenditure of their means and energies in this direction than in destructive wars.

I leave here to-morrow morning for Salvador, where my best offices shall be judiciously exerted toward a good understanding between the Governments to which I am accredited and in favor of the maintenance of peace among them.

It would afford me much pleasure to have you visit us at the legation in Managua at your convenience. Besides the pleasure such a visit would afford, I am sure that in the interest of the public service good would come of it. In fact, were it convenient for you to do so, I would be gratified to have you join me during my present visit to Salvador and to accompany me to this city during the latter part of this month. I am sure that such a visit, affording you an opportunity to make the personal acquaintance of the men in power in these two countries, as well as a comparison of views and the exchange of information between ourselves, would result in much good to all concerned.

I am, etc.,

Lewis Baker.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 135.—Translation.]

From Honduras. Señor Don Ascencion P. Rivas.

To-day the Congress of this Republic issued the following:

Decree No. 108.

Whereas although the people of Nicaragua have taken no part in the disturbance of the peace in Honduras—repeatedly caused by aggressions from that Republic, and which have brought about such great and lamentable evils, and that, on the contrary, their natural sentiments of fraternity and sympathy for the Honduranean people have been increased—this Republic must, as a security against new outrages, take the necessary measures to prevent future disturbances, and thus protect the national honor and dignity and safeguard the various interests of the country already so severely damaged, the National Congress decrees:

Sole article. The executive power is authorized to declare and make war upon the [Page 436] Government of Nicaragua as soon as the peace of this Republic shall be disturbed and any invasion shall take place from that of Nicaragua.

  • V. Williams,
    D. President.
  • Joaquin Soto,
    D. Secretary.
  • Sotero Barahoua,
    D. Secretary.

To the executive power.


There are many Nicaraguan fugitives here, among whom,

Yours, affectionately,

Alberto Rivas.