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Repeat the position of the Department informally and unofficially to General Martínez, inviting his suggestions as to the manner in which he feels the government of El Salvador can be placed on a basis that will permīt its recognition by the United States and the Central American Governments. Telegraph fully General Martínez' views. You are not authorized to make any suggestions as to how a regime which can be recognized can be brought into office because the Department is not prepared as yet to express any opinion on this point. You are merely to hear and report General Martínez' suggestions.


816.01/18: Telegram The Minister in El Salvador (Curtis) to the Secretary of State

SAN SALVADOR, December 13, 1931–9 a. m.

[Received 1:50 p. m.] 116. Your telegram 67, December 11, 7 p. m. Minister of Foreign Affairs Araujo and Undersecretary Avila called upon me yesterday morning, apparently for the express purpose of making the suggestions desired by you. They said (1st) the Military Directorate has now been dissolved, (20) martial law has been abolished, and (3d) the Congress at its next ordinary session early in February will be requested to approve the present reorganization of the Government. They added that no steps would be taken to seek recognition until the Congress had acted favorably.

I spoke informally and unofficially with General Martínez in the afternoon and he said that his Government was entirely constitutional and he read to me articles 81 and 92 of the constitution in support of his statement. (Refer to my telegrams Nos. 106 25 and 110.28) When I asked again about satisfying the provisions of the treaty of 1923 he began by calling attention to the part of article 2 not ratified by Salvador, and as to the first part of the second paragraph said that the country had been completely reorganized on a constitutional basis now that the Military Directorate has ceased to exist. He made no mention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs' points 2 and 3 above.

[Paraphrase.] Yesterday morning announcement was made that the Military Directorate had on the night of December 11 held its last meeting and dissolved. I believe this dissolution to be genuine, but I shall report later if there is any indication to the contrary.

I think that too early recognition might encourage future revolutionary movements in El Salvador. On the other hand, prolonged delay might result in such weakening of the Martínez government as to encourage subversive activities by Claramount or some other ambitious politician. [End paraphrase.]

* December 5, noon, p. 174.

See footnote 22, p. 186.


816.01/20: Telegram

The Minister in Honduras (Lay) to the Secretary of State

TEGUCIGALPA, December 14, 1931—noon.

[Received 4 p. m.] 196. Legation's telegram No. 191 of December 9, 1 p. m. Having talked with a number of persons here including a very prominent nationalist leader I find that feeling of Government officials and people in general is that present regime in Salvador cannot and should not be recognized in conformity with Washington Treaty of 1923. As the Government of Honduras intends to decide on recognition in conformity with the decision of the Government of the United States it will obviously be placed in a very difficult position if the Department should decide to recognize the present regime and, feeling that the Department has placed it in such a position, will be resentful. Moreover such action will tend to undo the restraining and stabilizing effects of the 1923 treaty at a very unsettled time here and give encouragement to certain unruly elements to overthrow this Government by a coup d'état or revolution.


816.01/19: Telegram The Minister in Guatemala (Whitehouse) to the Secretary of State

GUATEMALA, December 14, 1931–4 p. m.

[Received 6:16 p. m.] 71. Minister of Foreign Affairs has just informed me that Doctor José Victor Gonzales has come to Guatemala on an official mission from the Salvadoran Government to request Guatemala to grant recognition of the new regime and to state what conditions it would impose.

The Minister replied that he must have time for reflection as Guatemala intended to be guided entirely by the letter and spirit of the treaties.

Both the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are quite firm on this point particularly as they seem to expect trouble in Honduras at any moment. Repeated to Salvador.

WHITEHOUSE 816.01/20a : Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Honduras (Lay)

WASHINGTON, December 15, 1931–6 p.m. The Honduran Minister called at the Department yesterday to say that his Government had received a request for recognition from the regime headed by General Martínez in Salvador, and that before making a reply his Government wished to know what the attitude of the United States Government would be.

The Minister was told that the Department is giving the most careful consideration to the matter but is not yet in receipt of sufficiently complete information on which to base a decision. It was added that the Department will be in a position by the end of this week to advise the other Central American Governments of its views, and the hope was expressed that the Honduran Government might defer giving any reply to the request received from Salvador until the Department has been able to apprise the Honduran Government of its views. Repeat for information to Guatemala, Managua and San José.


816.00 Revolutions/48

The Minister in El Salvador (Curtis) to the Secretary of State No. 26

SAN SALVADOR, December 15, 1931.

[Received December 21.] SIR: Referring to my telegrams regarding the events of the revolution which took place in this country during the first days of the month, I have the honor to make the following corrections of statements contained therein.

In my telegram No. 97 of December 3—7 AM, I stated that the President was bringing troops from Santa Tecla. This statement was based on information given me by telephone from Santa Tecla by Mr. Salvador Godoy, the private secretary of President Araujo. As a matter of fact armed men were sent as outposts approximately onethird of the distance from Santa Tecla to the capital and no advance against the capital was attempted.

My telegram of December 3, 9 [11] a. m., No. 98, stated that the civilian population was apparently decidedly in favor of President Araujo. Even allowing for the fact that in such a country as this nothing succeeds like success and that therefore the vast majority of the people are now more or less enthusiastically on the side of the government of General Martínez, I believe that the loyalty to President Araujo was limited to appearances due to the fact that there was still a possibility that he would be able to reestablish himself as President.

The statement in my telegram No. 100 of December 3–4 p. m., that Messrs. Gomez Zarate and Enrique Cordova and General Claramount were probably back of the revolution and that the last was probably one of the leaders, has been partly contradicted by my telegram No. 105 of December 4-10 a. m. [1 p. m.] I should add, however, that there is now every indication that General Claramount was not concerned in this revolution. A definite statement was made to me by one of President Araujo's intimates to the effect that General Claramount was the organizer and leader of the revolution and, although it soon became clear to me that this statement was inaccurate, I believed at the time of sending my telegram that he had participated in it. Since then I have learned that he has been completely ignored by the leaders of the revolution. I am unreliably informed that he was organizing a revolution of his own and that he is now seeking to place himself in a position to overthrow the Government of General Martínez.

In my telegram No. 105 of December 4-10 AM (1 p. m.], I stated that Generals Martínez and Claramount and other higher officers were assisting actively in the revolution. The statement concerning General Claramount has been dealt with in the preceding paragraph; that concerning General Martínez has been dealt with in some detail in later telegrams. As nearly as I can now learn the only higher officers actively assisting in the revolution were Colonels Joaquín Valdes and Osmin Aguirre, concerning whose activities I have reported in some detail.

Respectfully yours,



The Minister in El Salvador (Curtis) to the Secretary of State No. 27

SAN SALVADOR, December 15, 1931.

[Received December 21.] SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department's telegram No. 67 of December 11, 7 PM, instructing me to report to General Martínez its position regarding nonrecognition of Central American governments resulting from a revolution and to invite his suggestions as to the manner in which he feels that the Salvadoran Government can be put on such a basis as to permit its recognition.

Early on the morning of December 12, Mr. Avila telephoned that he wished to bring and present to me Mr. Miguel Angel Araujo, whom General Martínez had recently appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, and they called upon me at 10.30 that morning. Keeping in mind the instructions contained in the last portion of the Department's telegram, I made absolutely no suggestion to them but they made the statements reported in my telegram No. 116, of December 1349 AM, in such a manner as to make it clear that they wished to show me that the government of General Martínez was even now entitled to recognition in conformity with the terms of the Treaty of 1923, notwithstanding their assurance that that government would make no effort to obtain recognition until after the new Legislative Assembly had given its endorsement to it.

In accordance with an appointment obtained through Messrs. Araujo and Avila, I called upon General Martínez at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and, paraphrasing as closely as possible the words of the Department's telegram, invited his suggestions as to the manner in which he felt that the Salvadoran Government could be put on a basis that would permit its recognition by the Central American Governments and the United States in view of the provisions of the Treaty of 1923. General Martínez opened a copy of the Salvadoran Constitution and read to me articles 81 and 92, pointing out that, if there was no President, the Vice President assumed the Presidency and that, the President was forbidden to leave Salvadoran territory without having first obtained the permission of the Legislative Assembly; he stated that President Araujo had left the territory of the Republic without permission of the Legislative Assembly and had thereby vacated the Presidency and that he, as Vice President, had therefore succeeded to the Presidency in strict conformity with the provisions of the Constitution. As he appeared to feel that he had answered me fully, I asked again regarding his suggestions as to steps to be taken for compliance with the provisions of the Treaty of 1923. He at once turned to the copy of this Treaty published in the Diario Oficial after its ratification by El Salvador. He began by reading that part of the resolution of the Legislative Assembly ratifying the Treaty with the exception of some of its clauses, especially the parts of Article 2 detailing those classes of persons who should not be recognized as President even if their Government could otherwise be recognized. He then added that the matter of the reorganization of the country on a constitutional basis by the freely elected representatives of the people had been fully complied with inasmuch as he was a duly elected representative of the people and the Military Directorate was no longer in existence. Although I felt that I had had little success in obtaining the suggestions desired by the Department, I refrained from asking any further questions largely because of the caution contained in the last part of the Department's telegraphic instruction.

At his writing there is every indication that the Military Directorate has ceased to exist in fact as well as in name and that the de facto government headed by General Martínez complies with all the provisions of the Salvadoran Constitution provided due allowance is

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