File No. 817.00/1484.

The Nicaraguan Minister for Foreign Affairs to the American Special Agent. 2


Hon. Thomas C. Dawson, City.

Sir: After a period of 11 months of war, the Provisional Government of the Republic, presided over by Gen. Juan J. Estrada, by establishing itself in this capital achieved the triumph of the just cause it sustained. This country, however, having been operated by unfortunate administrations for 17 years, had reached such disorganization in all branches that it was impossible to reestablish at once the administrative order which we so much need in order to raise the nation from the horrible decadence which it has suffered.

The chief obstacle to this work of reconstruction has been encountered in the public finance, weakened by the abuses committed against it by the governments of Gen. Zelaya and Dr. Madriz. The illegal concessions granted to private parties for their profit, much to the detriment of the nation, have been a principal party to this ruin. Foreigners have participated in these contracts, and the Government that will have to destroy all these illegalities may also encounter hindrances through a lack of confidence that the Governments of these foreigners might have in the proceedings of my Government, which is in the category of a government created originally out of a revolution.

My Government, in order to overcome these obstacles, has thought of the moral support of the United States, and in order that we may agree in this respect with the Department of State, His Excellency President Estrada, in a telegram dated September 10 last, solicited the sending of a commissioner who would come to learn, near at hand, the difficulties that confront us and the plans that have been formed by my Government, and thereupon present a plan to overcome them.

The Department of State had the good judgment to choose your excellency for this purpose, and your excellency, with the time you have had to observe the country, must have acquired the conviction that our promises as revolutionaries, which were in entire sympathy with the noble American people, are to-day our firm purposes of government.

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Wishing to strengthen the esteem of which the American Government has already given us so many proofs, and which my Government requires for its political redemption, I desire to manifest through your worthy medium to the Department of State in Washington the political and economic program that will be put in force by my Government during its administration, relying on the support of all the chiefs of the revolution, both those that occupy office and those not now actually members of my Government.

The following are the bases of this program:

The convocation, by decree, which was published at the time, of a constituent assembly, whose deputies will be elected by unrestricted popular vote, which my Government guarantees to the Nicaraguan people, to the end that the said assembly, being a true and popular representation, may reestablish in a democratic constitution the principles of liberty and the guaranties fallen into disuse during the administrations of Zelaya and Madriz, and which Gen. Estrada promised to restore in his proclamation of October 11 of the past year. In this constitution, with the amplitude of modern rights, there will be equal guaranties to nationals and foreigners and, in expressed form, a proscribing of commercial monopolies.

This assembly will be called also to legalize the provisional status of the Government of the Republic; and the chiefs of the revolution, in order to give time for their program to develop and to insure the establishment of their principles, have agreed to use all their influence in favor of the deputies elect, in order that the presidency of Gen. Juan J. Estrada be ratified for a period of two years; creating at the same time the post of vice president, to fill which Don Adolfo Diaz, identified with Gen. Estrada, will be a candidate; and which will secure, in case of vacancy, the continuation of the President’s policy. This policy, the principles of which were contained in the above-mentioned telegram of September 10 of this year, will also guarantee a free election, in order that the people may choose the successor of Gen. Estrada. The constituent assembly will enact laws that will guarantee this liberty; and the Government will maintain the liberty of the press, in order that its adversaries may have voice in the direction of the destinies of the country; will abolish the monopolies, concessions, leases, and other illegal contracts relative to national revenue and properties which were created during the administrations of Zelaya and Madriz.

In order to give full guarantee of impartiality to foreigners in these acts, the Government desires to place itself in accord with the Department of State in the formation of a tribunal to investigate the claims which might originate from such acts and to this effect submits for the approval of the Department of State the project of appointing a commission composed of one Nicaraguan and one American citizen recommended by the Government of the United States. This commission in case of disagreement between its members will submit its judgments to the decision of a third, whom they will appoint by mutual accord.

It is understood that this tribunal will investigate only unliquidated claims. Regarding those which are now liquidated, my Government will respect whatever has been agreed upon between the former Governments of Nicaragua and other nations, paying such amounts as by virtue of those settlements this Republic may owe.

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In order to reestablish the public finance, consolidate the foreign and internal debt and pay the legitimate claims of nationals as well as foreigners, my Government, desires to obtain a loan in the United States the payment of which will be guaranteed by a certain per cent of the customs fees of the Republic, collected in conformity with the terms of a contract satisfactory to both Governments.

The minister of hacienda having indicated to me that he has been informed that the Washington Government would lend us its good offices to this end, we solicit, through the worthy medium of your excellency, of the American Government the sending of a financial expert in its confidence, for the purpose of agreeing with the minister of hacienda upon the plan of a loan on terms satisfactory to creditor and debtor.

My Government, having the best disposition to strengthen the ties of friendship that bind us to the United States, and hoping fully to remove the causes that severed the relations between the American Government and those of Zelaya and Madriz, has the firm purpose to prosecute and punish those responsible for the death of Cannon and Groce, and to pay a reasonable indemnity to the families of those good servants of the cause of the redemption of Nicaragua. The amount of this indemnity will be agreed upon between my Government and the United States after being duly informed of the results of these proceedings.

My Government requests of your excellency to manifest to the Department of State all these purposes and desires.

I am, etc.,

Tomás Martínez.
  1. Mr. Dawson, American Minister to Panama, had been designated special agent of the United States near the Provisional Government of Nicaragua. See For. Rel. 1910, p. 764.