The Secretary of State to the American Minister.

Sir: The President having appointed you to be envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Nicaragua, I inclose your commission.

In order that you may have before you a concise account of the events which have led to the resumption of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Nicaragua, and of the considerations which have prompted this Government to recognize the Government of Gen. Estrada, I inclose copies of certain pertinent documents and call to your attention the following facts connected with the recent history of our relations with Nicaragua:

On December 1, 1909, in a note addressed to the Nicaraguan chargé d’affaires, transmitting to him his passports, the Secretary of State declared that the Government of Gen. Zelaya, by its intolerable abuses and excesses, had not only forfeited the esteem and support of its own people, but also, by a series of petty annoyances and studied insults to the United States, culminating in the illegal and unwarranted execution of two American citizens, had exhausted the oft-tried patience of this Government so that under the circumstances the President no longer felt for the Government of Gen. Zelaya the respect and confidence which would make it appropriate further to continue diplomatic relations. Shortly thereafter Gen. Zelaya fled from the country on board a Mexican warship, his last act being the dictation to the legislature of the selection of his successor, Dr. José Madriz, in a manner violative of the provisions of the Nicaraguan constitution.

On October 11, 1909, Gen. Juan J. Estrada, governor of one of the eastern Provinces of Nicaragua, with headquarters at Bluefields, issued a manifesto reciting the evils of the Zelaya administration, proclaimed himself the provisional president of the Republic, and solicited the recognition of the United States. The Department, following its usual practice in such cases, made no response to his request, but shortly thereafter notified the leaders of the revolution, as it did the representative of Zelaya, that the Government of the United States would hold strictly accountable for the protection of American life and property the factions de facto in control of the eastern and western portions, respectively, of the Republic of Nicaragua, for Gen. Estrada had already gained military control of the Nicaraguan territory bordering on the Atlantic, representing substantially half of the area of the Republic. Winning new accessions to his ranks on his march westward, he eventually, after several temporary repulses, took and occupied the cities of Granada and Managua, at which latter place he received from his brother, José Estrada, such remnants of authority as had been left by Dr. Madriz upon his precipitous flight from the country.

Being in control of the capital, and having suppressed all organized opposition, Gen. Juan J. Estrada, on September 10, 1910, again sent a telegram to the Department pledging his Government to certain reforms and requesting the dispatch of a commissioner to Nicaragua to investigate and report on the situation, with special reference to the question of recognition. In consequence thereof, Thomas C. Dawson, Esq., minister to Panama, was instructed on [Page 650] October 12 to proceed to Managua as special agent. He was cordially-received in that capacity by the de facto Government and supplied with full information, including copies of four several agreements signed at Managua October 27, 1910,1 by the leaders of the revolutionary party, Señores Estrada, Diaz, Mena, and Chamorro, pledging themselves to carry out the announced policies of the Estrada Government, pledges which were reaffirmed in a note dated November 5, 1910, from the minister for foreign affairs of the Provisional Government to Mr. Dawson.

From an inspection of the above-mentioned documents you will note the very gratifying desire of the officials connected with the de facto Government of Gen. Estrada, which had then been recognized as such by the United States, to restore civil peace and economic order in Nicaragua by the establishment of constitutional guaranties and by the rehabilitation of the finances of that country and their oft-repeated request for the friendly assistance of the United States in carrying out such laudable purposes.

The Department is glad to bear witness to the favorable impression created by these officials in performing in such good faith certain of their promises and in renewing their determination to execute without unnecessary delay the undertakings which remain to be fulfilled. In whatsoever may contribute to the full realization of its high aims, the restored Republic of Nicaragua can rely unhesitatingly upon the cordial and loyal support and cooperation of the Government of the United States and the warm sympathy of the American people, whose desire is to see peace, justice, prosperity, and ordered liberty prevail in the Republic now being reconstituted as in all of Central America.

Among the things already accomplished by those at present in authority in Nicaragua may be mentioned the convocation of the people of the Republic for the purpose of holding elections, with the object of naming members of a constituent assembly, in November last, the elections having been conducted with proper safeguards for an orderly, free, and honest expression of the popular will, and in a manner conducive to general acceptance of the results by the people of Nicaragua; the constituent assembly has met in general session and has elected Gen. Juan J. Estrada constitutional president and Señor Adolfo Diaz constitutional vice president for the term of two years beginning January 1, 1911, and the said two officials have been duly inducted into office.

Upon receipt of this information the President sent a telegram of cordial felicitation to Gen. Estrada, congratulating him upon his assumption of the presidency by popular mandate, unanimously expressed through the constituent assembly, and assuring him of the sincere sympathy and friendship of the Government and people of the United States in the work of regeneration, which it is hoped will prove to be the beginning of an era of progress, peace, and prosperity for the people of Nicaragua.

Of the pledges which remain to be fulfilled your attention is directed to the following:

1. The constituent assembly, now in session, is to proceed to the adoption of a constitution tending to the abolition of illegal or oppressive [Page 651] monopolies and the prohibition of new ones, and guaranteeing the legitimate rights of foreigners. And in addition the constitution is to contain provisions for the free popular election of the constitutional president who will succeed Gen. Estrada at the expiration of his present term of office.

2. The Government of Nicaragua will continue in its expressed purpose to prosecute and punish those persons truly responsible for the death of Lee Roy Cannon and Leonard W. Groce, will carry out the necessary judicial proceedings and will make every effort to secure the punishment of all guilty persons involved, and will justly indemnify the families of the deceased.

3. All liquidated claims are to be paid as they now stand determined and agreed upon between the former administrations of Nicaragua on the one side and foreign nations or the citizens thereof on the other, the Government of Nicaragua paying such amounts as by virtue of those settlements are found due.

4. All unliquidated claims, including such as may arise out of the abolition or discontinuance of the monopolies, concessions, leases, and other contracts created during prior administrations, shall be submitted to a claims commission, and in order to give a guaranty of impartiality to foreigners in the adjustment of these matters the Government of Gen. Estrada has expressed a desire to place itself in accord with the Department in the formation of a tribunal which is to investigate such claims, and to this effect has submitted for the approval of the Department a project for a commission composed of one Nicaraguan and one American citizen recommended by the Government of the United States, this commission to give its judgment by unanimity, submitting in case of disagreement to the decision of a third, to be appointed by the two commissioners by mutual accord.

To this proposal this Government has assented and the commissioner selected by the United States is Thomas P. Moffat, Esq., to whom you will give all proper information and support conformable to your duties as minister.

5. A financial expert designated by the Government of the United States is to be appointed for the purpose of advising, confidentially, with the Government of Nicaragua, through its minister of hacienda, regarding a plan for the complete rehabilitation of the finances of that country, including the placing of a loan on terms satisfactory to the interested parties.

The name of the expert designated by this Government is Ernest H. Wands, Esq., and for his information and guidance you will give him access to the following documents, inclosed herewith,1 to wit, copies of. pertinent papers in regard to the existing loan of the Dominican Republic and copies of similar documents in regard to the proposed loans to Honduras and Liberia.

6. The Government of Nicaragua is to proceed at the earliest possible date to the signature of a convention with the United States which shall authorize the contemplated bankers’ loan contract, the terms of the latter to be approved thereafter by both Governments, and to make provision, among other things, for the service of the loan secured by a certain percentage of the customs receipts of the Republic collected in a manner satisfactory to both Governments.

[Page 652]

In this connection you are informed that Dr. Salvador Castrillo, jr., who has been received by the President as the Nicaraguan envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, has requested of his Government special full powers authorizing and enabling him to sign the desired convention, to the negotiation of which the Government of the United States, in view of the expressed desire of the Government of Nicaragua, is disposed to proceed.

I inclose a copy of the financial convention with Honduras,1 a counterpart of which, it is believed by the department, will answer all the requirements of the present case.

Relying upon the present Nicaraguan Government’s loyal support of the Washington conventions and their peaceful and progressive aims, the Government of the United States will, in case of need at any time in the future, rely also upon the cooperation of the Government of Nicaragua to seek some arrangement whereby the beneficial ends sought by those conventions may be effectively guaranteed.

The archives of the legation will afford information concerning other questions which have engaged the attention of the two Governments, and further instructions will be sent you as required.

You are instructed to proceed to your post by way of Salina Cruz, Mexico, where you will go aboard the U. S. S. Vicksburg, which has been designated by the Navy Department, at the direction of the President, to convey you to Corinto. You will be accompanied by Mr. Wands, the financial expert herein above mentioned, and by Franklin Mott Gunther, Esq., who has been appointed secretary of the legation.

Entire confidence is entertained that the affairs of the legation will prosper at your hands, and that the formal relations between the two Governments having been resumed, the friendly intercourse and cordial intimacy which so long existed in the past, and which promise so auspiciously to develop and grow closer in the future, will be fostered during your incumbency.

You will be guided in your efforts toward this end by the policies and desires of this Government as expressed herein.

I am, etc.,

P. C. Knox.
[Inclosure 1.]

Translations of agreements signed by Provisional President Estrada and others.

Agreement No. 1.

After numerous conferences the undersigned have agreed upon the following political and economic bases for the reorganization of the country:

The convocation of the people of the Republic to proceed to hold elections with the object of electing the members of a Constituent Assembly in November next, and that they will assemble in the following December and will elect a President and Vice President for a period of two years, on the basis of a democratic constitution.
To lend all support in the said Constituent Assembly to the candidacy of Gen. Juan Jose Estrada for President pro tempore and to that of Adolfo Diaz for Vice President for the said term of two years.
The Constituent Assembly will adopt a constitution tending to the abolition of monopolies, guaranteeing the legitimate rights of foreigners, and in addition [Page 653] will convoke the people for the election of constitutional President corresponding to the period following upon that previously mentioned.

Signed in triplicate at Managua, October 27, 1910.

Juan J. Estrada,

Adolfo Diaz.

Luis Mena.

E. Chamorro.

Agreement No. 2.

We have likewise agreed that all unsettled claims proceeding from the annulment of contracts and concessions, associated with the previous regime of Nicaragua will be submitted to the impartial examination of a mixed commission appointed by the Government of this Republic in harmony with that of the United States.
The election and number of its members and the plan of its proceedings will be in conformity with the agreement with the American agent, after submitting it to the consideration of the Department of State, which must be done before signing it.
In the same way we obligate ourselves to pursue and punish the executioners and accomplices in the death of Cannon and Groce. Concerning the indemnity that must be paid to the families of both victims, it will await the result of these proceedings.

Signed in duplicate at Managua, October 27, 1910.

Juan J. Estrada.

Adolfo Diaz.

Luis Mena.

E. Chamorro.

Agreement No. 3.

In order to rehabilitate the public finances and to pay legitimate claims, both foreign as well as national, the good offices of the American Government will be solicited, with the object of negotiating a loan, which will be guaranteed by a certain per cent of the customs receipts of the Republic, collected in accordance with the terms of an agreement satisfactory to both Governments.

Signed in triplicate at Managua.

Juan J. Estrada.

Adolfo Diaz.

Luis Mena.

E. Chamorro.

Agreement No. 4.

The signers, desirous of duly complying with the program of the revolution of October 11, have agreed to designate at an opportune time and by a majority a candidate for constitutional President of the Republic and another for Vice President, corresponding to the period following the presidency pro tempore of Gen. Estrada, obligating themselves to take into consideration that the one chosen must represent the revolution and the Conservative party.

The subscribers obligate themselves in order that, in addition to the established laws guaranteeing a free election, there will be no concentration of armed forces of the Government in any point of the Republic other than shall be necessary for the preservation of order and proper policing.

They add that Gen. Estrada can not be a candidate for the new period, or that which follows the provisional one.

Also it is agreed that the Government to be established in Nicaragua must not permit, under any pretext, the Zelayista element in its administration.

Managua, October 27, 1910.

Juan J. Estrada.

Fernando Solorzano.

Luis Mena.

E. Chamorro.

Adolfo Diaz.

[This “Agreement No. 4,” being one affecting Nicaraguan politics, but not international relations, is not referred to in the note of the minister for foreign affairs, which touches only the first three “Agreements.” Signed originals of all were left in the legation archives. T. C. Dawson.]

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[Inclosure 2.]

[This inclosure is identical with the first item of the foregoing correspondence entitled “Establishment of a tribunal or mixed commission,” etc., namely, the note of November 5, 1910, from the Nicaraguan minister for foreign affairs to the American minister, Mr. Dawson.]

[Inclosure 3.]

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

Mr. Minister: I am in receipt of your important note of to-day setting forth the program of your excellency’s Government for the maintenance of peace, order, and liberty; the reestablishment of constitutional and democratic government, the assuring of honest and economical administration, the rehabilitation of the finances, the faithful performance of international obligations, and the consequent removal of danger of outside pressure.

The Government of the United States is profoundly gratified at this declaration of principles and policies. The good offices of the United States Government are at the disposition of your excellency’s Government in regard to its proposed loan, and it will welcome any further opportunity to lend its good offices whenever in your excellency’s Government’s opinion they would be! beneficial to Nicaragua. I cherish the conviction that the good relations now so happily entered into with this Government and my own will continue uninterrupted, thus giving assurance that the two sister Republics will each always enjoy the respect and warm friendship of the other on frank, cordial, and equal terms.

My Government has already been briefly informed by telegraph of the principal provisions of the Government’s program, now fully set forth in the present note, and has authorized me to express its gratification. There will doubtless arise various details to be arranged later and I have cabled my Government suggesting that the financial expert, whose presence you ask for, be sent at once.

Urgent official duties elsewhere make it necessary for me to absent myself shortly. Until my return Mr. Thomas P. Moffat is charged by me with the matters between your excellency’s Government and this agency. I bespeak for him, the same confidence and courtesy that has been shown me.

I avail, etc.,

T. C. Dawson.
  1. See Foreign Relations 1910, p. 767.
  2. See inclosures.
  3. Not printed.