Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham.

No. 10.]

Sir: I have the honor to report to your excellency further upon the condition of public affairs in the Republic of Nicaragua. In a preceding dispatch, No. 8, dated May 23, I mentioned my agreement, at the urgent request of many foreign citizens as well as the solicitation of public men on both sides of the military lines, to act as a mediator between the Government and those in rebellion against its authority.

Accordingly on the morning of the 24th instant, at 6 o’clock, I started from this city for Granada, the capital of the revolutionists, at which point they have set up all the machinery of a civil government, which is presided over and directed by a junta composed of three citizens of high character and intelligence, viz, Gen. Joaquim Zavala, Eduardo Montiel, and Santos Zelaya.

I arrived after a hard ride, much of it on horseback as the railroad track has been destroyed by the military. To add to the discomfort the heat was intense and for three hours while in the saddle the rain poured in torrents. I was accompanied by Mr. William Newell, the U. S. consul [Page 190] at this city, Mr. H. E. Low, the vice-consul, and Mr. J. F. Medina, the latter a native of Central America but an adopted citizen of the United States. His wide acquaintance, general intelligence, the high respect in which he seems to be held by the leading men on both sides, and his fine social qualities combined to make him a most agreeable traveling companion and valuable assistant in the proposed negotiation.

During the two and a half days which we remained we had several conferences with the members of the junta and such of their military officers and distinguished citizens as they cared to call into their councils. They were all polite and profuse in protestations of their desire for the peace and prosperity of Nicaragua, but they were firm in their assertion that these desirable objects could be attained only by a change in the administration of the Government; and they were equally firm in the expression of their belief that the great majority of the people of the country not only were in full sympathy with the views held by them, but were full of enthusiasm in the cause of the revolution; that their armies were more powerful and better handled than were those of the Government; that they would certainly be triumphant in the field and that at an early day; and, therefore, while desiring peace, prosperity, and good order, they would yield nothing in order to gain these desirable ends except a guaranty of protection to the life and property of President Sacasa if he would promptly abdicate. No compromise seemed possible. Nothing short of the complete abdication by the Government and the handing over of all power to the revolutionists.

On my return to Nicaragua I had a lengthy conference with the President. I found him in a reasonable and conciliatory frame of mind. I conveyed to him the kind impressions toward him personally indulged in by the revolutionists; and I explained to him their professions of a desire for peace. While I had no authority from them for saying that they would meet a commission from the government by commissioners from themselves, yet I would advise him to authorize me to express to them the willingness of the Government to refer all differences between them to a commission with fall powers to arrange an honorable peace. This proposition the President patriotically acceded to, and I prepared and promptly forwarded by special messenger to the members of the junta (inclosure herewith, marked No. 1), a copy of which I sent to the President.

The junta accepted the terms set forth in the letter, advising me of their action on the forenoon of the 29th. On my notifying the President of this fact, he appointed the three commissioners to act on the part of the Government. (See inclosures Nos. 4 and 5.)

By request of the President I accompanied his commissioners, taking with me Mr. Medina, on a special train to Sabana Grande, where the commissioners from the junta met us.

After calling the members of the commission to order, having read to them in Spanish my letter which formed the basis of the agreement for the creation of the commission, and having impressed upon them the magnitude of the duties devolving upon them as patriotic citizens and statesmen, and cordially thanking them and the respective appointing powers for the ready and courteous responses made to my offers as a peace mediator, I withdrew.

The commission first tendering me a cordial vote of thanks for my efforts in favor of peace, unanimously asked me to preside over their deliberations. * * * I asked in most deferential language to be excused from the honor, giving as reasons my lack of familiarity with their laws, modes of procedure, customs, habits of thought, language, [Page 191] etc., but I was overruled. Mr. Medina was named as honorary secretary and the serious work began. The proceedings and the conclusions are set forth in the protocol, marked inclosure No. 11.

On the 30th instant I cabled you as follows:

Sabana Grande (via Masaya and San Juan del Sur).
May 30, 1893.


Peace commission, composed of three revolutionists and three for Government, American minister presiding, in session here.


The sessions lasted three days. The discussions were, as a rule, in excellent temper, and much learning and ability were displayed. Every effort was patriotically made to find a basis of permanent peace, and so far as I have been able to gather public sentiment, I believe a fair success has been achieved. The people of Nicaragua are naturally a peace-loving, well-meaning people. They are neither turbulent nor restless. The country has enjoyed a long period of peace, and during the recent years its prosperity has been great and general. This prosperity has been interrupted by the recent military disturbance, and the people have felt the business paralysis keenly. All classes so warlike yesterday, now that peace seems in sight, welcome its coming with joy, and they exhibit many signs of gratitude toward those who were chiefly instrumental in bringing it about.

I have, etc.

Lewis Baker.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 10.]

Mr. Baker to Gens. Montiel, Zavala, and Zelaya.

Gentlemen: After my conversation with yourselves on the subject of bringing back to your distracted country the blessings of peace, I have conferred with President Sacasa and I find that he, animated, as well as yourselves, with the desire of coming to a peaceful settlement, has agreed to the following:

The President to appoint three commissioners and you gentlemen to appoint three; these commissioners to meet in convention at Sabana Grande on Monday next at 12 o’clock noon.

A condition of the sitting of such a commission of peace would be that a suspension of hostilities would be agreed upon between the parties from 6 o’clock on Monday morning until 6 o’clock on Wednesday morning, in so far as the commencing of an attack by any division of either army is concerned.

This condition is based upon the sound reason that a peace conference could not be otherwise than seriously disturbed by the sounds of clashing armies, reports of successes and defeats, the groans of the wounded and dying.

The question of any longer armistice will be in the hands of the commission, as will be the question of terms of peace.

Gentlemen, by your acceptance of this proposal, made by me in the cause of humanity and of the good of your country, I hope that the result will be to stop bloodshed and devastation.

Without going into details, which would not be my mission to discuss, the professions which I have heard on both sides and the spirit which has been shown to me by both parties lead me to believe that an understanding can be arrived at if the contending parties should appoint the commission proposed.

Of course this commission will be composed of men of standing, patriotism, and be animated with the patriotic desire of bringing back happiness and prosperity to the Republic of Nicaragua, a country which has been pointed to with pride by all civilized nations as presenting a model of good government to all its neighbors of Central and South America.

Trusting that this suggestion will meet your approbation, and that you will so notify me by wire from your most convenient station and also by the bearer,

I am, gentlemen, etc.,

Lewis Baker.
[Page 192]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 10—Translation.]

Gens. Montiel, Zavala, and Zelaya, to Mr. Baker.

Sir: Regarding the communication of your excellency, dated yesterday, and our telegram and dispatch of to-day, with the object of complying with what we promised to your excellency, we have named commissioners Messrs. Dr. Franco Alvarez, O. César, Asc. P. Rivas, to go to-morrow to Sabana Grande to confer with the commissioners of Dr. Roberto Sacasa about the basis of a settlement of peace.

Our commissioners will be, as it has been agreed, at the appointed place to-morrow at 12 o’clock noon, and will have due instructions for the fulfillment of their errand.

Trusting that your excellency will present to our commissioners, in their position, to the other party, we protest once more our regard and we subscribe ourselves,

Yours, attentively,

  • Eduardo Montiel.
  • Joaquim Zavala.
  • J. S. Zelaya.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 10—Translation.]

Gens. Montiel, Zavala, and Zelaya to Mr. Baker.

Sir: We have had the honor of receiving your excellency’s polite communication, dated yesterday, in which you lay before us your humanitarian offices with the object of bringing back the blessings of peace to our country; and you propose us an armistice, which must begin to-morrow at 6 a.m. and end next Wednesday at the same hour, so that a conference may be held between the commissioners on the part of Dr. Sacasa and three on our part, which conference will meet in Sabana Grande to-morrow at 12 o’clock noon, in order to discuss the basis of a settlement.

We have already had the honor to answer your excellency by telegraph, accepting, fully, what you have proposed to us about the armistice as well as the conference of peace; and in confirming now our telegram, we comply with the duty of expressing to you our gratitude for your efforts to save Nicaragua from further suffering the fatal consequences of civil war, and for your kind words about our country.

Wishing that your noble offices, worthy of the great American nation, be crowned with the best success, we subscribe ourselves, etc.,

  • Eduardo Montiel.
  • Joaquin Zavala.
  • J. S. Zelaya.
[Inclosure 4 in No. 10—Translation.]

Señor Sacasa to Mr. Baker.

Mr. Minister: In reply to your favor of to-day, I have the pleasure to report to you that I have already appointed the commissioners which are to go to Sabana Grande, viz, Dr. Modesto Barrios, Dr. José Franco Aguilar, and Col. Don Hipolito Saballos.

Thanking your excellency for your courtesy, etc.,

Roberto Sacasa.
[Inclosure 5 in No. 10—Translation.]

Señor Sacasa to Señores Barrios, Aguilar, and Saballos.

With the important object of responding to the honorable mediation of his excellency, the American minister, Mr. Lewis Baker, in order that our disgraceful civil war may cease, you have been appointed by my Government to immediately go to Sabana Grande to attend the conferences for the settlement of peace, acting in accordance to the instructions which I inclose you herewith.

With the greatest consideration, etc.,

Roberto Sacasa.
[Page 193]
[Inclosure 6 in No. 10—Translation.]

Señor Bravo to Mr. Baker.

Mr. Minister: To-day the following decree has been issued:

the government

Finding the preceding agreement in accordance with the instructions given to the commissioners, Messrs. Dr. Don Modesto Barrios, Don José Francisco Aguilar, and Gen. Hipolito Saballos, jr.,


To approve it in all its parts.

Be it published.

Managua, May 31, 1893.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Provisionally in Charge of the Department of State.


Which I have the honor to transcribe to your excellency for your information. And I have the pleasure, etc.

Jorge Bravo.
[Inclosure 7 in No. 10—Telegram—Translation.]

To the Commissioners of the Supreme Government Dr Modesto Barrios, Don José Francisco Aguilar, and Don Hipolito Saballos, jr.:

The agreement of peace agreed upon yesterday at Sabana Grande has also been approved on the part of the revolutionary junta.

  • F. Alvarez,
  • Octaviano César,
  • Ascension P. Rivas.
[Inclosure 8 in No. 10.—Telegram.—Translation.]

Gens. Montiel, Zavala, and Zelaya to Mr. Baker.

Nicaragua enjoys again to-day the blessings of peace, due in a large measure to your generous mediation and to the noble effort with which you worked in order that it might take effect. We protest to you in the name of our country our obligation, assuring you that with this event you have conquered for the American people and Government a new bond of friendship and sympathy on the part of the Nicaraguans.

  • Eduardo Montiel.
  • Joaquin Zavala.
  • J. S. Zelaya.
[Inclosure 9 in No. 10.—Telegram.]

Mr. Baker to Gens. Montiel, Zavala, and Zelaya.

I most sincerely thank you for the kind terms in which you are pleased to refer to my Government and to my modest efforts to serve the best interests of the people of Nicaragua. And I warmly congratulate the people of this Republic and of the cause of good government everywhere on the patriotic and self-sacrificing spirit displayed by yourselves.

Lewis Baker.
[Page 194]
[Inclosure 10 in No. 10.]

Mr. Baker to Señor Bravo.

Honored Sir: I beg the high privilege and honor of extending to you and through you to your distinguished and accomplished chief, the President, General Dr. Roberto Sacasa, and your colleagues in the Government, for the highly patriotic course you have all shown during your country’s crisis. Especially do I commend the statesmanship, patriotism, and self-sacrifice exhibited by his excellency, the President.

I further desire to bear testimony to the patience, good temper, and consideration exhibited by all the commissioners in the discussion of the many delicate questions which came up for decision, and to their enlightened patriotism.

The good opinion which I and my countrymen have held of the people of Nicaragua as a peace-loving, patriotic, and enlightened people devoted to the development of her great and valuable resources, has been immensely enhanced by what we have passed through during the last few days. The elevated action of your leading citizens, fully indorsed no doubt by the masses, will receive the admiration and applause of the civilized nations of the earth.

With sentiments of the highest respect, etc.,

Lewis Baker.
[Inclosure 11 in No. 10.—Translation.]

Organization of the Nicaraguan Peace Commission.

First Day.

Commission of peace held in the village of Sabana Grande, on the 29th day of May, 1893, Messrs. Dr. D. Modesto Barrios, Dr. D. Francisco Aguila, and Col. Hipolito Saballos, jr., being present as commissioners of the supreme Government of the Republic, and Messrs. Ascencion P. Rivas, Dr. Francisco Alvarez, and Oetaviano Cesar as commissioners of the junta of the revolutionary Government. Having examined their respective credentials and found them to be correct, the commission was declared to be inaugurated, in the presence of the U. S. minister, Mr. Lewis Baker.

The Hon. Mr. Baker spoke, in order to express his obligation for the promptness with which the two contending parties in the unfortunate and warlike struggle in which the country was found on his arrival had responded to his offers of mediation. He said that, having succeeded in bringing together the two parties in a spirit of union and peace, his mission was now at an end. It only remained for him to wish the best success for the work of the commission.

Dr. Barrios arose and, in the name of his colleagues, gave thanks to the minister for his mediation in order to obtain the pacification of the Republic.

Mr. Rivas expressed the same sentiment, and he, as well as Dr. Barrios, requested the minister not to consider his mission ended, but to continue assisting the conferences with his advice, and to accept the position of honorary president of the commission.

Mr. Barrios proposed also that Mr. J. F. Medina be appointed honorary secretary and, his nomination being accepted by the other commissioners, the minister, as well as Mr. Medina occupied their respective places.

Dr. Alvarez, in the name of his commission, said that notwithstanding the personal qualities with which Dr. Sacasa is endowed, they believe that his retirement from power was, under the circumstances, necessary for the reestablishment of peace.

Dr. Barrios said that President Sacasa, abounding in sentiments of the most elevated patriotism, does not wish in anyway that his remaining in power should be an obstacle to the reestablishment of peace, and that he is willing to resign power, but, as it must be done in conformity to the constitution, it would be necessary to call Congress together in order that he may present his resignation.

Mr. Rivas said that the reasonings which Dr. Barrios just expressed would be in order if the country was found in normal circumstances, but, after the events which have placed the country in an abnormal state, he believes that Dr. Sacasa would commend his name very highly, and would contribute to the object of this conference if, disregarding this legal form, he should decide to resign the power.

Dr. Barrios said that, in his judgment, the President is not authorized to resign the power in a form different from that established by the constitution, even though the circumstances be abnormal, and that the President can scarcely disregard the [Page 195] provisions of the constitution even to accomplish so noble a purpose as the establishment of peace. He would not be justified in following a bad precedent rather than to follow a written law.

Mr. Barrios appealed to the patriotism of the commissioners to look for a means of obtaining the result they wish, but respecting the constitution.

After a long discussion, Dr. Alvarez proposed that the conference be continued tomorrow at 12 o’clock noon.

Second Day.

Sabana Grande peace commission reassembled at 12 o’clock, noon, the 30th day of May, 1893. The protocol of the session of the day before was read, and the honorary president opened again the discussion of the objects of the present conference.

Mr. Barrios repeated his appeal to the patriotism of the commissioners of the revolution in order that they present a proposition which might save the situation of the country.

Dr. Alvarez moved that Dr. Sacasa resign the power in favor of Mr. Vicente Quadra or of Mr. Santiago Morales, separating the military command from the Presidency and with the condition that said military command be devolved upon Gen. Eduardo Montiel.

Dr. Barrios, in the name of his colleagues, said that the former proposal could not be accepted on account of being unconstitutional, because the proposed gentlemen were not senators, and because the separation proposed was also unconstitutional; and further, because in the past a similar experiment in the way of separating the civil from the military power of the President had resulted in disturbances.

Dr. Barrios continued, and proposed the following: The deposit of the power in any of the following senators: Mr. S. Machado, Mr. L. A. Aguilar, Mr. E. Arana, Mr. J. Chaves, Mr. T. Tigerino, Mr. J. F. Aguilar, Mr. Santiago Arguello, Mr. F. M. Lacayo, Mr. J. Bravo, Mr. H. Saballos, jr., Mr. S. Avilez, Mr. J. J. Bareenas, Mr. F. Sanchez, Mr. M. Zuniga, Mr. C. Zuniga, Mr. S. Montealegre, Mr. S. Noguera.

Dr. Alvarez, referring to the constitutional point, said that, not to enter into recriminations, he had abstained from stating that the main motive of the revolution was that its promoters thought that Dr. Sacasa had, in many of his acts, totally violated the constitution, and that for this reason they do not accept as a basis of discussion anything that is prescribed in a constitution which they consider violated.

Regarding the persons proposed by Dr. Barrios, the commissioners will go to Masaya to consult.

At this point Dr. Barrios amplified his proposition with the following details: A gradual disarming; a mixed cabinet; to call a constitutional convention within six months to reform the constitution; mutual payment of expenses of war, and recognition of military degrees upon the same footing; reciprocal amnesty and unconditional and ample guarantee to everybody. This amplification was also referred to the Government at Managua as well as to the junta at Masaya.

After having suspended the session for some time, Dr. Alvarez stated that his commission accepts the proposals with the following modifications: First, that the time for calling the constitutional convention be reduced to four months; second, wishing to finish this matter in the most harmonious possible way, we wish to leave to President Sacasa the task of naming of the person to whom the power is to be resigned from the following four taken from the list presented by the Government commissioners: Mr. Salvador Machado, Mr. Eleodoro Arana, Mr. Francisco Mateo Lacayo, and Mr. Hipolito Saballos, jr.; third, that xhe junta appoint three out of the four ministers which will compose the cabinet, being understood that all the resolutions of any kind whatsoever must be adopted by a majority, inclusive of the vote of the President; fourth, neither the President nor any of the members of his cabinet may be elected president for the first constitutional period.

Mr. Barrios expressed in the name of the Government commission that the President, being animated with the best desire of reestablishing peace and harmony between the Nicaraguans, accepts the modifications proposed.

With this understanding both commissions agreed to meet to-morrow at the hour they may appoint by telegraph, and the armistice is consequently continued until Thursday morning, at 6, to enter into the consequent details of the stipulation. At this moment they agreed to meet to-morrow at 10 o’clock, in Sabana Grande.

It was resolved by both commissions to give a special vote of thanks to Minister Baker and to Mr. Francisco Medina for their assistance in this delicate question, which, through their mediation, has been ended with so happy result.

Third Day.

The commissioners of the supreme Government of the Republic, Messrs. Dr. Modesto Barrios, José Francisco Aguilar, and Gen. Hipolito Saballos, jr., and [Page 196] those of the junta of the revolutionary government, Messrs. Dr. Francisco Alvarez, Col. Ascencion P. Rivas, and Octaviano Cesar, assembled at Sabana Grande the 31st day of May, 1893, under the honorary presidency of Mr. Lewis Baker, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States, with Mr. José Francisco Medina, former minister of Nicaragua in France, as honorary secretary with the important object of treating about the basis for the reestablishment of peace in the Republic, after exchanging their respective credentials and finding them in due form they have agreed upon the following treaty of peace:

Article 1st.

The President of the Republic, Dr. Roberto Sacasa, will deposit the power in Senator Salvador Machado the 1st of June of this current year at 12 o’clock.

Article 2d.

The cabinet will be organized with three gentlemen appointed by the junta of the revolutionary government and the other by President Machado, which cabinet will be inaugurated the 2d of June. The President and the ministers will distribute the offices.

Article 3d.

Each of the members of the cabinet organized according to the former article will have deliberative and decisive vote in all the resolutions of the Government of any kind whatsoever, whether administrative or military, inclusive of those of military command, and they will be adopted by majority of votes, counting that of the President.

Article 4th.

The President, as well as the cabinet, will be immovable until the country be organized by the constitutional convention, which will be called within four months from the date of the present treaty. Neither the President or his secret taries may be elected President for the first constitutional period.

Article 5th.

The disarming of the troops of the Government, as well as those of the revolution, will be effected by the new Government. The expenses of war on both sides will be recognized and paid upon the same footing; the military degrees will also be recognized.

Article 6th.

There will be mutual amnesty and ample and unconditional guaranty for everybody.

Article 7th.

The troops of the two sides will continue occupying their respective positions until the inauguration of the new Government, for which purpose the hour of twelve o’clock noon of the 2d day of June is appointed and this armistice is prorogued until that day and hour, when it is declared that the Republic begins to enjoy the benefits of peace.

Article 8th.

In case of absolute absence of President Machado, Messrs. Francisco M. Lacayo, E. Arana, and H. Saballos, jr., will succeed him in order.

In case of absolute absence of any of the ministers appointed by the revolutionary junta the absent one will be succeeded by the person appointed by the remaining ministers of the same source, and if the Minister appointed by President Machado should retire the latter will name the person who must succeed him.

The minister of the United States interposes in the agreement his official mediation and his moral guaranty for the good faith in the compliance by both sides.

  • Lewis Baker,
    Hon. President.
  • Octaviano Cesar,
  • F. Alvarez,
  • José Franco Aguilar,
  • Modesto Barrios,
  • Ascencion P. Rivas,
  • H. Saballos, Jr.