The Guatemala-Honduras Boundary Dispute

Courtesy Reuters

IN March, 1928, the United States Government, acceding to requests from the Governments of Honduras and Guatemala to assist them in a renewed endeavor to settle their long-standing boundary dispute, appointed Roy T. Davis, United States Minister to Costa Rica, to represent the State Department on a mixed commission which was to study the situation on the ground and, if possible, lay out a tentative boundary. The commission held a series of meetings at Cuyamel during March and April from which nothing definite resulted because both the Guatemalan and Honduran delegates had definite instructions as to the minimum claims of their governments and no compromise of even a tentative nature was possible. The State Department, therefore, suggested that the matter should be submitted for arbitration to the Central American tribunal. Guatemala accepted the proposal but Honduras refused to consider it, giving as her reason a number of technical considerations, chief of which was that there was no adequate panel of judges available to sit on such a question, and asserting her willingness to submit the case to the President of the United States or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for arbitration. The State Department in reply insisted that the question could and should be arbitrated by the tribunal which had been created for just such a purpose and that the contention of Honduras that there was no adequate panel of judges was baseless. Honduras repeated her refusal and there the matter stands with little immediate prospect of further action.

The Guatemala-Honduras boundary dispute is one of the most important of the many (involving every one of the Latin-American republics) that arose when Spanish rule was overthrown and it became necessary to determine the jurisdiction of the newly-established republics. In general, other major boundary disputes in Latin-America, whether settled or unsettled at the present time, involve regions of undeveloped and actually little-known resources, with little or no white population and no immediate prospects of extensive colonization. The Guatemala-Honduras dispute, however, deals

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