The Guatemalan Claim Pt. 6

So far, Guatemala and Britain have been going on about Article 7 and its contents of the Treaty of 1859. Britain suggests strongly that the Convention that holds article 7 is void. Guatemala on the other hand is using Article 7 as the sole or at least the most important piece of their argument. Both sides have shown frustration and Guatemala in some instances seem to be running low on patience.

9th March 1948  United Kingdom refutes Guatemalan objection to inclusion of British Honduras in West Indies Federation talks because the status of the territory was under judicial consideration. The British point out that Guatemala has failed to avail itself over the past two years to submit its claim to the International Court of Justice

April to June 1948  Guatemala threatens invasion

United Kingdom dispatches 2 warships to patrol the coast, and a battalion of infantry to protect the border of British Honduras, the latter to remain until the termination of the dispute

Guatemalan public opinion inflamed and 10,000 citizens demonstrate outside British Embassy in Guatemala City

Guatemala closes border entry point with British Honduras

21st June, 1948   Guatemala proposes that the dispute should be mediated by the United States of America. The United Kingdom refuses

15th October, 1948  Guatemala decrees that students in attendance at all schools in the country should be taught that British Honduras was Guatemalan territory and that all maps of Guatemala should be altered accordingly

26th October, 1948  United Kingdom repeats offer of Judicial settlement and states that it could not consider the surrender of territory against the wishes of the people of British Honduras to remain in the Commonwealth

The position of the British is in response to the internal situation in Belize where the Legislative Council urged that speedy measures are taken for the final termination of the dispute. A nascent anti colonial movement is also forming and organising along nationalist political lines

commonwealth-flag   vernoncorea.wordpress.comThe Flag of the Commonwealth.  Credit: vernoncorea.wordpress.com

September 1950  Peoples Committee becomes People’s United Party

December 1950  Guatemala objects to United Kingdom Government order which extends the se boundaries of Belize to include the marine continental shelf for the control of the natural submarine resources off the coast of British Honduras

12th February, 1951  United Kingdom renews for another 5 years, and on the same terms, its submission tot he compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice

No response from the Republic of Guatemala

21st May, 1951  Border point suddenly reopen with Guatemala citing ‘magnificent relations between the two countries’. In reality, pressure from local merchants at Melchor De Mencos feeling the pinch of the shut down of the border area commercial activities

19th March, 1952  Guatemala expresses the view that recourse to the International COurt of Justice to amicable resolve the dispute is not the only one and proposes that consideration be given to other instruments previously proposed that could be equally effective

1952 – 1961  Nationalist anti colonial movement in British Honduras gathers strength

Universal Adult Suffrage introduced in 1954

People’s United Party emerges as majority party and dominates Legislative Council winning all 9 elected seats in1957. Agitates for Self Government

Honduran Independent Party and National Party emerge to form National Independence Party in July 1958

People’s United Party intensifies self government campaign

By 1961 the United Kingdom agrees that British Honduras can become independent at any time. This is overshadowed by Guatemala’s threat to pursue the territorial claim to Belize, by force if necessary

Belize becomes an associate member of the UN Economic COmmission for Latin America ((ECLA)

16th April, 1962  First meeting between the United Kingdom and Guatemala attended by Belizean representatives convenes in Puerto Rico to find ways to reduce the tensions between the two countries caused by the ongoing dispute

The United Kingdom and Guatemala agree to request ECLA to explore closer economic cooperation between Belize and Guatemala

1963  Guatemala breaks diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom in protest over the decision to grant self government to Belize

1st January, 1964  British Honduras attains self government, with the United Kingdom retaining responsibility for defence, external affairs, internal security, and the civil service

George Price becomes Premiere

George Cadle Price   www.belize.comBelize’s First Premiere and First Prime Minister, George C. Price.  Credit:www.belize.com

July 1965  United Kingdom, Guatemala and bipartisan Belizean delegation agree to initiate tripartite mediation process engaging the US, a Scandinavian and an Asian country as mediators

Voice of America broadcasts in November 1965 that the USA, at the request of the United Kingdom and Guatemala, had agreed to act as sole mediator

Bethuel Webster appointed as Mediator for the Belize side expresses concern over mediation by the USA, a close ally of Guatemala

26th April, 1968  Webster Proposals in the  form of a draft Treaty handed over to the Belize officials at the UK embassy in Washington DC

Leader of the Opposition, Philip Goldson exposes contents

philip-goldson  amandala.comThe Honorable Philip S.W. Goldson, one of Belizes legendary leaders.  Credit: amandala.com.bz

There is violent reaction by the citizens of Belize to the proposals that give control of Belize’s defence, and external affairs to Guatemala

Proposals scrapped

1969 – 1978  Failure of negotiations involving the United Kingdom, Guatemala and Belize to draft a ‘Two Package Treaty’ that recognises Belize, and provides for cooperation between Guatemala and Belize in the areas of agriculture, commerce, defence and foreign affairs

Guatemala builds up forces on the border in 1972. Threat of force involving support by El Salvador to Guatemala in exchange for El Salvador to settle half million of her citizens in Belize

Two other threats of invasion occur in 1975 and 1978  requiring significant British military reinforcements to thwart Guatemala’s plans

British Honduras becomes Belize on 1st June, 1973

Failure of negotiations leads Belize in 1975 to launch a campaign to internationalize the dispute and to mobilise international community support for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity

Support received from CARICOM, the Non Aligned Movement, and the British Commonwealth of Nations are effective in the diplomatic successes achieved in the United Nations General Assembly

CARICOM-logo  www.ip-watch.orgFlag and Countries in CARICOM. Credit: www.ip-watch.org

From 1975, Resolutions in 6 successive General Assemblies affirm the ‘inalienable right of the people of Belize to self determination and independence’ and support the ‘inviolability and territorial integrity’ of Belize

The 1977 Resolution has the support of 14 Latin American countries that had hitherto either supported Guatemala or abstained from voting

The British pressure Belize in 1978 in secret talks to accept cession of territory as a means of settling dispute. Belize refuses

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