File No. 817.00/1562.


No. 28.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that for some time past, in fact ever since I arrived at this post, Gen. Emiliano Chamorro, who in the elections had secured a majority of the Constitutional Assembly, has been using his power to attack and endeavor to weaken the administration of President Estrada, * * * bring about his retirement from the presidency and the succession of himself, Chamorro. * * * Finally it was rumored that the Assembly would endeavor to hurriedly finish and proclaim the constitution and, voting itself into a congress, adjourn as a constitutional assembly. And in order to provide against any action that President Estrada might take, it passed an article authorizing Congress to meet in any city of the country. This coming to the knowledge of the president on the morning of April 4 last, through the minister of the interior (Go-bernación), he sent a message to the Assembly stating his objections to the constitution and requesting a reconsideration of certain points in accordance with the announced principles of the revolution. On the receipt of this message the Assembly ignored it and the majority members began at once to sign a prepared copy, the friends of President Estrada having in the meantime withdrawn from the body. After the constitution was signed and proclaimed by the president of the Assembly the president’s message was read and tabled as having arrived too late.

The President then issued a decree in which all the members of the cabinet, except don Pedro Chamorro, an uncle of Gen. Chamorro, joined, dissolving the assembly and calling elections for another assembly to be held on April 16 next, the new body to assemble in Managua on May next, and vetoing or rejecting the constitution. * * *

Throughout all this I took the position that I could in no way interfere with matters that were purely internal, but counseled harmony and used every endeavor to persuade Chamorro to support Estrada, as he was pledged to do, but to no avail; on April 4 I saw Chamorro at least six times. President Estrada was at all times ready to meet Chamorro more than half way, and had there been the slightest disposition on the part of the assembly to compromise, the whole matter could have easily been arranged.

On the whole, I feel that all pending negotiations between the United States and Nicaragua will be greatly expedited by the President’s action, and I am convinced that Chamorro would never have [Page 658] allowed any ratification of the loan that did not give him control of its expenditure.

I have, etc.,

Elliott Northcott.