314.115C43/134

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

No. 2483

Sir: I have the honor to report that when, in compliance with the Department’s cablegraphic instructions of June 14, 6 p.m. and June 19, 4 p.m.,20 I informed Minister for Foreign Affairs Eduardo Aguirre-Velásquez, on June 20, that the Department is convinced that the Government of the United States would be warranted in presenting a diplomatic claim against the Government of Guatemala for the damages suffered by Mr. Shufeldt as the result of the cancellation of his contract, but hopes that the parties will negotiate a settlement, Dr. Aguirre-Velásquez requested me to give him a Memorandum, which I did, and a copy thereof is transmitted herewith.

I respectfully beg leave to add, that, on June 29, the Minister for Foreign Affairs told me, that he, together with Minister of Agriculture Manuel Herrera, will be pleased to receive Mr. Davidson, representative of Mr. Shufeldt, on July 1, for the purpose of discussing with him a compromise of the dispute. Dr. Aguirre-Velásquez said that it is to be understood, that, unless an agreement be reached, the Government will continue to take the position that it does not owe Mr. Shufeldt anything, and that on the other hand the latter will be free to claim any amount he chooses, notwithstanding any compromise offer which may have been made.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs told me furthermore, that he does not believe that the Government’s budget would permit it to pay any amount such as those which have been under discussion, unless the payments were made in installments extending over a term of two years. It will be recalled, that, in November 1928, the then Minister of Agriculture and the then Minister of Finance suggested four years. See despatches 2196 of November 24, 192821 and 2202 of December 4, 1928.

I have [etc.]

Arthur H. Geissler
[Page 139]
[Enclosure]

Memorandum by the American Minister (Geissler) for the Guatemalan Foreign Office

On June 20, 1929, the American Minister, accompanied by Mr. David M. Davidson, authorized Attorney-in-fact of Mr. Percy W. Shufeldt, called on His Excellency Minister for Foreign Affairs Aguirre-Velásquez, and stated that he had been instructed by the Department of State to say, that, the evidence submitted by Mr. Shufeldt’s attorneys having been examined, the Department is convinced that the Government of the United States would be warranted in presenting a Diplomatic Claim against the Government of Guatemala for the full amount of damages suffered by Mr. Shufeldt as the result of the cancellation of his contract covering certain rights in the Department of El Petén, but that before taking that step the Department desires to give the Guatemalan Government an opportunity to make a settlement with Mr. Shufeldt.

Mr. Geissler added, that the Government of the United States entertains the earnest hope that the Government of Guatemala will negotiate a settlement of the difficulties, in accordance with the principles expressed in the last paragraph of the Memorandum of July 20, 1928, initialed by His Excellency Mr. Salazar, at the time Minister for Foreign Affairs and by the American Minister.22

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. See footnote 19, p. 137.