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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States with the address of the president to Congress December 2, 1913

Honduras,   pp. 590-607 PDF (6.2 MB)

Page 600

  [Inclosure 2—Translation.1 
TegucigalVa, February 7, 1912. 
 MR. MINISTER: With instructions from the President, I have the honor t~
transcribe to your excellency the following telegraphic messages: 
PUERTO C0RTEs, February 7, 1912. 
 At this moment, which is quarter before 11 of the morning, I have received
from the Vice Consul of the United States in this port, Mr. J. H. Watts,
the communication which literally says 
Puerto Cortds, February 7, 1912. 
 General, and Departmental Governor, 
 My DEAR SIR AND GENERAL: I have the honor t~ advise you that, having refused
us a brief delay in taking possession of the railroad, sufficient to permit
instructions to be received from Washington and Tegucigalpa, the captain
of the war-vessel now in the port has taken possession for the time being
of said railroad until able to receive replies to his telegrams and cables,
in which case he will return the railroad in accordance with his orders.
With high respect [etc.] 
J. H. WATTS." 
 In order to reply to this communication I await your instructions. 
Yours [etc.] 
PrERT0 C0RTE5, February 8, 1912. 
 Ma. PRESIDENT: At this moment 10 armed marines disembark without consent
of this Comanda ncia. 
 I await your orders. 
 My Government, Mr. Minister, has with profound surprise seen the conduct
of the Commander of the war-vessel Petrel, inasmuch as the matter in question
has as yet no international character and the act committed by him, with
violation of the national territory, is in every light contrary to the universally
recognized principles of the law of nations. 
 This act, Mr. Minister, constitutes, further, a transgression of the sovereignty
of the nation, for the exercise of jurisdiction belongs to its established
authorities alone, in conformity with legal precepts. 
 In view of what is here set forth, the Government is in duty bound to protest
ngainst the acts committed by the Commander of the war~vesse1 mentioned,
acts which it attributes exclusively to said Commander; for it does not for
a moment imagine that the American Government, cultured and civilized as
it is, has authorized such acts, much less if there are taken into account
*the frank and cordial relations that today more than ever strengthen the
bonds of friendship between the Governments of Honduras and the United States
of America. 
With the most distinguished consideration [etc.] 
[Inclosure 3—Translation.] 
Tegucigalj~a, February 8, 1912. 
 MR. MINISTER: I have the honor to transcribe to your excellency the follow.
lug telegram: 
PUERTo CORT~s, February 8, 1912. 
 We have the honor to transcribe to you the communication whicfr at this
moment, which is 10.15 a. m., we receive from Mr. D. II. ])ismnkes, Captain
of the American warvessel Petrel, of which the translation that accompanied
the Spanish says: 
"PUERTO CORTEs, February 7, 1912. 
"Puerto Unites, Honduras. 
 SIRS: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated the 7th
instant, in which you warn me to withdraw the armed force which I disembarked
in the territory of Honduras in connection with taking possession of the
National Railroad on the 
part of the authorities of the Government of honduras, formally protesting
against this action on my part and making me responsible for the same. 
 "In reply I must remind you that before taking these steps to avoid your
taking possession by force of the general office of the Railroad, you were
respectfully and urgently requested by the American Consul in a written communication
to delay your action until he, as well as I, could telegraph to our respective
Departments and reecive replies. 
 "My opinion, as well as that of the American Consul, is that the manner
in which you attempted to violate the rights of American citizens, which
are recognized or at 

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