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File No. 815.001 B 64/17.

The Minister of Ilonduras to the Secretary of State.

[Translation. )

LEGATION OF HONDURAS,

Washington, April 19, 1913. MR. SECRETARY: I have the honor to transmit to your excellency the following cable message which I received last evening from the President of Honduras:

TEGUCIGALPA, April 18, 1919, Sumptuousness of the obsequies of the never-to-be-forgotten President, General Bonilla, gratifying. Please express gratitude of Honduran people and Government and my own to His Excellency the President of the United States, VicePresident, Secretary of State and Diplomatic Corps. Most cordially,

BERTRAND. It affords me pleasure to carry out the foregoing instructions of my Government, and in so doing I renew [etc.]

ALBERTO MEMBREÑO.

File No. 815.001 B 64/17.

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister of Ilonduras.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, April 30, 1913. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your esteemed note of the 19th instant giving the text of a telegram which you have received from the President of Honduras expressing appreciation of the attendance of the President, the Vice President, the Diplomatic Corps and the Secretary of State at the religious services held in this city on April 18th in memory of his late Excellency the President of Honduras.

The President and Vice President desire me to say that they were glad to show their respect for the late President Bonilla by being present at the Requiem Mass said in his memory and to convey to President Bertrand their appreciation of the friendly feeling expressed by the President, Government and people of Honduras.

I also beg to assure you that the expressions of the President and Vice President voice the Secretary's feelings toward the late President Bonilla and the country over which he so worthily presided. Accept [etc.]

J. B. MOORE.

File No. 815.001 B 46/2.

The Minister of Ilonduras to the Secretary of State.

[Translation. )

LEGATION OF HONDURAS,

Washington, May 6, 1913. MR. SECRETARY: I have the honor to transmit to your excellency a copy of the autograph letter by which His Excellency Señor Doctor

140322-F R 1913- 38

Francisco Bertrand announces his elevation to the Presidency of the Republic of Honduras to His Excellency the President of the United States.'

I beg your excellency to be pleased, if you deem it expedient, to arrange the manner in which I may have the said letter reach its high destination. I renew [etc.]

ALBERTO MEMBREÑO.

File No. 815.001 B 46/2.

The Secretary of State to the American Minister.

No. 141.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, June 16, 1913. Sir: I inclose, with office copy, a letter addressed by the President to His Excellency Francisco Bertrand,' acknowledging His Excellency's letter of April 1 last in which he announced his assumption on March 21 last of the Presidency of the Republic of Honduras and his entrance upon the duties of that office.

You will forward the copy to the Foreign Office and deliver the original in the manner most agreeable to His Excellency. I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:

J. B. MOORE.

RECOVERY BY HONDURAS OF THE NATIONAL RAILROAD OF HONDURAS AND THE WHARVES AT PUERTO CORTÉS FROM THE LESSEE, AN AMERICAN CITIZEN. ATTITUDE OF THE UNITED STATES.

File No. 815.77/76.

The Secretary of the Nary to the Secretary of State.

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,

Washington, January 29, 1912. Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith, for the information of the Department of State, a copy of a cablegram, dated January 27. 1912, from the Commanding Officer, U. S. S. Petrel, in which it is stated that there are well founded rumors that the Honduran Gor ernment, upon assuming control February 1st, intends to take charge of railroad now leased to American Company, and that it is deemed advisable for the Petrel to remain at Puerto Cortés, Honduras.

I have the honor, further, to state that instructions, by cable, were issued on January 28th to the Commanding Officer, U. S. S. Petici, to remain at Puerto Cortés at his discretion.

GEORGE von L. MEYER.

1 Not printed.

File No 815.77/78.

The Secretary of State to the American Minister.

[Telegram--Paraphrase.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, February 5, 1912. It is represented to the Department that W. S. Valentine, an American citizen, fears that the Government of Honduras will dispossess him of railway and wharf properties at Puerto Cortés without his claim connected therewith having been adjusted. He is willing to relinquish control and management of the properties as soon as his interests are properly protected and protests against any action by the Government of Honduras which would take from him his properties without full compensation. You will make representations to the Foreign Office in the sense that this Government, without going into the legal merits of the claim at this time, is convinced that the claim possesses equities which should be met and that any action taken in violation of such equities could not be regarded by this Government as an indication of that friendly attitude toward American enterprise which the Government of the United States would like to see animate the actions of the Government of Honduras.

Knox.

File No. 815.77/85.

The Commander of the U.S. S. Petrelto the Secretary of the

Navy.

(Telegrams.)

U. S. S. Petrel,

PUERTO CORTÉS, February 6, 1912. I am informed by the American Consul that the authorities will seize the railroad today. The superintendent of road refuses to give up unless he receives orders from New York. Consul requested me to protect the lives and property of American citizens. If necessary I will by force prevent seizure until I hear from the Department. Instructions from the Department are requested.

DISMUKES.

File No. 815.77/87.

U.S. S. Petrel,

PUERTO CORTÉS, February 7, 1912. Government officer arrived February 6th to seize railroad. I have informed the appointed Government superintendent that I should not permit seizure. Without instructions from Department or Minister, I will enforce this decision. I believe it will not be necessary to use force.

DISMUKES.

File No. 815.77/84.

The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

[Telegram-Paraphrase. )

AMERICAN LEGATION,

Tegucigalpa, February 7, 1912. The Minister for Foreign Affairs says that American forces were landed at Puerto Cortés this morning; all were reembarked but one, who is stationed in the office of the superintendent of the railroad. A communication was quoted from the American Vice Consul at that port advising the Minister for Foreign Affairs that the commander of the American war vessel had taken possession of the railroad pending instructions. Firm but courteous protest was made by the Minister.

WHITE.

File No. 815.77/101.

The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

No. 94.]

AMERICAN LEGATION,

Tegucigalpa, February 8, 1912. Sir: Referring to your cablegram of the 5th instant, in regard to the fears expressed for Mr. Washington S. Valentine that he may be dispossessed of the wharf and railroad at Puerto Cortés without adjustment of his claims in connection with them, I have the honor herewith to enclose a copy and a translation of a note of yesterday's date, received last evening from the Minister for Foreign Affairs in reply to a note' which I addressed to him on the 6th instant and in which I paraphrased your above-mentioned telegram. The Minister's note is accompanied by certified copies of Decree No. 28' of the National Congress, dated the 5th instant, whereby the Executive was called upon immediately to proceed to recover the National Railroad, and the Executive Order. also dated the 5th instant, where by the President directed the Governor of the Department of Cortés to take possession of the said railway with its appurtenances and accessories. I have [etc.]

CHARLES D. WHITE.

(Inclosure-- Translation. )

The Minister for Foreign Afairs to the American Minister.

FOREIGN OFFICE,

Tegucigalpa, February 7, 1912. MR. MINISTER: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your excellency's courteous note addressed to me under yesterday's date in which you advise me that arcoriling to representations made by the attorneys of Mr. Washington S. Valentine it appears that he fears that he may be dispossessed of the railroad and wharf of Puerto Cortés without the adjustment of his claims connected with both properties having been made; that said attorneys of Mr. Valentine

1 Not printed.

affirm that he is willing to relinquish control and management of said railroad and wharf provided his interests be duly protected; but that he protests against any act by the Government of Honduras by which he might be deprived in any measure of his properties without adequate compensation.

Your excellency adds that your Government, without discussing at present the legal merits of the claim of Mr. Valentine, is convinced that his claim possesses certain equities that should be satisfactorily met; and that any aci violative of such equities could not be considered by your Government as an indication of the friendship with which it would like to see the acts of my Government toward American enterprise animated.

In reply, and under instructions of the President, to whom I have given account of your excellency's important note, I have the honor to inform you that there is no reason whatever for complaint on the part of the representative of Mr. Valentine because of the action of the Government in respect to the railroad of Puerto Cortés, to which the decree issued yesterday and sent to the Gobernador Político of Cortés for execution was confined.

As your excelleney must know, the railroad of Puerto Cortés, exclusive property of the Government, was turned over on August 1, 1908, to Mr. Valentine, with whom a contract of lease was made which was never perfected in the form prescribed by the Constitution of the country, which requires for the validity of these contracts the approval of Congress. Nevertheless Mr. Valentine has in fact been administering and managing the railroad and enjoying the proceeds from it without having any right thereto.

The Congress now in session-in view of the contracts entered into with Mr. Valentine and the fact that, in spite of the invalidity of the same, Mr. Valentine continued in possession and control of the railroad-declared by Decree No. 28 of the 5th instant “that the Executive proceeded hastily and unconstitutionally in delivering the railroad to Mr. Valentine by virtue of a contract which, to be perfected, needed the approval of the Legislative Assembly; and directed the said Executive Power, availing itself of the most proper and efficacious means, to proceed immediately to recover that property and to determine the consequent obligations toward (deducir las responsabilidades consiguientes al) Mr. Valentine.

By virtue whereof and in compliance with the said decree the Government, through the Ministry of Fomento and Public Works, issued a decree, which your excellency will find enclosed' as an annex to this note, in which it is ordered : (1) that “the Gobernador Político of the Department of Cortés, with previous injunction (requerimiento) and notification of the Decree of Congress of which mention has been made and of the present order to the administrator or agent of Mr. Washington S. Valentine, take possession of the railroad with the appurtenances and accessories, with formal judicial inventory, advising the said administrator or agent in order that he may attend the transfer and inrentory if he wishes to do so; (2) that Mr. Valentine be required to give account of the returns from the railroad during the time he has exploited it, and that liquidation be made in order that there may be adjudicated to each of the parties the portion that belongs to it."

As your excellency will see, the Government in taking possession of the railroad has taken possession of an enterprise entirely the property of the nation and not of Mr. Valentine, a property that figures in the inventories of transfer subscribed by the representative of the said Mr. Valentine on August 1, 1908, with a value of $1,140,976.35, plus the warehouses, etc., at $33,428.94, values which illegally and without the approval of Congress as the Constitution provides had been turned over to Mr. Valentine.

But the Government in issuing the order cited, in compliance with the legislative decree to which I have made reference, has desired to clothe the act with every kind of guaranty for Mr. Valentine; wherefore it ordered that a formal judicial inventory be made, being disposed, upon liquidation of accounts, to recognize and pay the sum or sums, if there should be any, due to Mr. Valentine by reason of the transaction.

My Government has no knowledge of any claim on the part of Mr. Valentine connected with the railroad. It has confined itself to the exercise of a right conferred by the Constitution, and your excellency may be sure that it is and always will be the most faithful guardian of the rights and privileges of foreigners that reside in Honduras, and very especially of Americans.

* Not printed.

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