Countries

A Guide to the United States' History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Nicaragua

Summary

Nicaragua and the United States first established diplomatic relations in 1824 while Nicaragua was joined with Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador within the Federation of Central American States. The United States recognized independent Nicaragua in 1849.

Modern Flag of Nicaragua

Modern Flag of Nicaragua

Recognition

United States Recognition of the Federation of Central American States, 1824.

Following its independence from Spain and the Mexican Empire, Nicaragua joined the Federation of Central American States in 1823 along with Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. The United States recognized the Federation when President James Monroe received Antonio José Cañaz as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on August 4, 1824.

United States Recognition of Nicaragua, 1849.

Nicaragua withdrew from the Federation of Central American States on November 5, 1838. The United States recognized independent Nicaragua on December 24, 1849 when President James K. Polk received Nicaraguan Chargé d’Affaires, Eduardo Carcache.

Consular Presence

Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with the Federation of Central American States, 1824.

The United States established diplomatic relations with the Federation of Central American States when President James Monroe received Antonio José Cañaz as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on August 4, 1824.

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with Nicaragua, 1849.

Nicaragua withdrew from the Federation of Central American States on November 5, 1838. Diplomatic relations were established between Nicaragua and the United States on December 24, 1849, when President James K. Polk received Nicaraguan Chargé d’Affaires, Eduardo Carcache.

Establishment of U.S. Diplomatic Mission, 1851.

The First U.S. diplomatic mission in Nicaragua was established on February 18, 1851, when Chargé d’Affaires John B. Kerr presented his credentials.

Diplomatic Relations Severed by the United States, 1909.

The United States severed diplomatic relations with Nicaragua on December 1, 1909, when Secretary of State Philander Chase Knox returned the passport of the Nicaraguan Chargé d’Affaires. Nicaraguan President José Santos Zelaya, facing an armed rebellion, had ordered the execution of U.S. citizens Leonard Croce and Lee Roy Cannon who had aided the revolutionaries lead by Liberal General Juan J. Estrada. U.S. Marines landed in Bluefields soon after the break of diplomatic relations. Zelaya resigned on December 17, 1909. The Marines remained stationed in Nicaragua until 1932, aside from a nine-month period in 1925-26.

Diplomatic Relations Re-established by the United States, 1911.

The United States re-established diplomatic relations with Nicaragua on February 21, 1911, when Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary Elliot Northcott presented his credentials to the government of President Estrada.

Normal Relations Interrupted, 1926.

On October 25, 1925, General Emiliano Chamorro Vargas began insurgent operations in Managua against the government of Carlos José Solórzano. Charles C. Eberhardt, U.S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, immediately informed Chamorro that the United States would not recognize any government that assumed power by force. Chamorro claimed the Presidency on January 17, 1926 and failed to win U.S. recognition. On October 30, 1926, Chamorro deposited the presidency upon Senator Sebastián Uriza. The U.S. Department of State deemed the Uriza regime “merely a transition between the Chamorro regime and a government which can be recognized.”

Normal Relations Resumed, 1926.

A reconstituted Congress, including Senators and Deputies who had been expelled by General Chamorro, elected Adolfo Díaz as President Designate on November 11, 1926. Díaz took the oath of office on November 14. On November 17, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Lawrence Dennis, delivered a note to the Nicaraguan Minister of Foreign Affairs extending U.S. recognition of the Díaz government.

Legation Raised to Embassy, 1942.

The Legation at Managua was raised to an Embassy on March 27, 1943, when U.S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Nicaragua James B. Stewart was promoted to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

Diplomatic Relations Severed by the United States, 1947.

On May 25-26, 1947, former President Anastasio Somoza García seized control of the country from President Leonardo Argüello Barreto. When Nicaraguan Ambassador to the United States, Guillermo Sevilla Sacasa called at the U.S. Department of State on June 5 he was received in his private capacity and informed that the U.S. Government “would not be disposed to enter into official relations with the regime then in power in Nicaragua.”

Diplomatic Relations Reestablished, 1948.

Víctor Manuel Román y Reyes was elected on August 15, 1947. He was the fourth Head of State within 6 months. The U.S. State Department cited a resolution of the Ninth Inter-American Conference that underscored the desirability of continuity of diplomatic relations among the American republics and announced, on May 6, 1948, that the U.S. government was prepared to appoint a new Ambassador to Nicaragua. George P. Shaw, U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, presented his credentials on September 1, 1948.

Ambassadors Expelled, 1988.

On July 11, 1988 the Nicaraguan Government expelled the American Ambassador to Nicaragua, Richard Melton, along with seven other members of the American Embassy at Managua. The Sandinista Government decried U.S. support of the opposition. The following day President Ronald Reagan ordered the departure of the Nicaraguan Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Carlos Tunnerman, and seven other Nicaraguan Embassy members for abusing their privileges of residence. The American Embassy in Managua remained open under Ronald D. Godard as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.

Ambassadorial Relations Resumed, 1990.

Harry W. Shlaudeman presented his credentials as U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua on June 21, 1990.

Resources

  • Department of State Country Fact Sheet: Nicaragua
  • Department of State Country Information: Nicaragua