University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Foreign Relations of the United States

Page View

United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919
(1919)

Guatemala,   pp. 263-302 PDF (13.0 MB)


Page 263

GUATEMALA
POLITICAL AFFAIRS
Development of Opposition to President Estrada Cabrera-Criticism of the
Administration by Bishop Pifiol; His Arrest, May 16, 1919-Representations
of the United States in Behalf of Freedom of Speech-Release of Bishop
Pifiol, August 20-Organization of an Opposition " Unionist Party"
814.00/300
The Charge' in Guatemala (Thurston) to the Acting Secretary of
State
No. 754                         GUATEMALA, April 7,1919.
Strictly confidential                    [Received April 21.]
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Depart-
ment's instruction number 294 [unnwu'mbered], dated February 14,
1919,1 stating that inasmuch as it appears that the health of President
Manuel Estrada Cabrera is not good, the Department believes that
a thorough study should be-made of the conditions which are likely
to exist in Guatemala upon his death....
0 *   *   *   *   * S
Thus there exist in Guatemala two utterly conflicting elements:
that of the present and contemplated future dictatorship-and that
of an awakening people who demand emancipation from the intoler-
able burden of such a dictatorship.
It is but reasonable to foresee, then, that this latter element will
attempt to achieve its aims at the first definite sign of the end of
Estrada Cabrera's regime-and it is equally reasonable to assume
that those whose fortunes depend upon the continuance of such a
regime will violently oppose the change of system. I have already
heard, in fact, that a group of the President's staff generals have
formed a pact to support with their troops the man among them
chosen by the President as his successor.
The inevitable result of such a situation will be civil war. The
reality of the awakening I have just referred to is demonstrated
by the accompanying Open Letters to President Cabrera, the first
of which is signed by Sen-or Manuel Cobos Batres and the second
by Bishop Jose Piniol y Batres.' Sefior M. C. Batres, while not a
prominent citizen, seems to have placed his signature to this letter
more to encourage the people than to show any personal leader-
Not printed.          2Letters not printed.
263


Go up to Top of Page