Mr. Shannon to Mr. Gresham.

No. 320.]

Sir: Referring to the Department’s No. 154 of the 1st instant, directing me to report as to the nature of the oath to which Dr. Alberto Lacayo was required to subscribe in accepting the office of alcalde of Granada, I have to say that in accordance with article 66 of the constitution of Nicaragua every public official upon assuming the duties of his office is required to take a solemn oath to obey and cause to be obeyed the constitution and laws (“cumplir y hacer cumplir la constitution y las leyes”). An alcalde, being a public official, takes that oath.

Furthermore, should the office of prefect of department suddenly become vacant the first alcalde assumes the duties of that office, according to the laws of March 24, 1836, April 22, 1836, and July 4, 1851, as well as executive decree of August 20, 1857. It may be safely said that these laws do not contemplate the possibility of a foreigner serving as prefect of department.

Finally, alcaldes are members of the municipal corporation, and since according to the laws of May 9, 1853, and March 23, 1886, one must be a citizen to be a municipal officer, so one must be a citizen to be an alcalde. In fact, the language used in these laws is of the most positive character. “Those who are not citizens can not be municipal officers” (that is, alcaldes, regidores, etc.).

I have, etc.,

Richard Cutts Shannon.