817.00/2868: Telegram

The Minister in Nicaragua (Ramer) to the Secretary of State

31. About one hundred revolutionists representing dissatisfied faction of the conservative party under Generals Arsenio Cruz and Salvador Castrillo quietly seized Loma fortress about noon today. Castrillo was captured shortly after in attempt to effect similar seizure of the Nicaraguan portion of Campo de Marte. Loma party gradually augmented by gathering sympathizers to about two hundred.

Major Marston1 warned Cruz that any firing upon the American camp or the city of Managua would result in immediate intervention of American forces to preserve order and protect American interests (situation makes it impossible to fire upon Managua without jeopardizing American life and property). Cruz replied that he had no intention of firing upon city or camp.

Legation repeating the warning of possible military intervention proposed and secured the agreement of both sides to a conference which was held in the Legation during the afternoon under the auspices of Major Marston, Mr. Muse2 and myself. Representatives of President Chamorro, Adolfo Cardenas, Acting for Foreign Minister, and Fernando Solorzano; [of] General Cruz, Adan Canton and Ramon Molina. Following is abbreviated text of agreement signed.

Loma Fortress evacuated before ten oclock this evening. All arms and ammunition to be left in fortress as found fortress surrendered to American marine officer who will see that terms of agreement regarding arms is carried out. General amnesty extended to all civilian participants and maximum punishment of 30 days detention to all military participants in revolution.

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Marston, Muse and I signed arrangement as witnesses. Seal of the Legation affixed.

Loma Fortress surrendered to Captain Gregory of Marine Corps at eight o’clock according to agreement and Government forces took over half an hour later.

Most of the American residents gathered in the marine camp during the afternoon as well as Nicaraguan officials with their families including President Chamorro and his Cabinet to all of whom protection was extended. Two insurgents and five regulars were wounded in desultory fighting before and during conference. No killed, no Americans or American property touched.

Admiral Cole with squadron due here on 25th for courtesy visit was telegraphed to proceed immediately to Corinto.

The Legation acted drastically in this crisis and I am eager to secure the Department’s approval. As only hope of averting imminent bloody civil war I informed both parties that my Government would not permit this revolution in Nicaragua. In reply to repeated promise of the insurgents to respect the inviolability of Managua and of the American camp I indicated to them that they could not carry out their revolutionary plans without eventually involving this Government which would go to the limit in suppressing it and preserving order. I informed them of Admiral Cole’s approaching visit and added that 10,000 additional Marines were within a few days call.

Populace still agitated but Government has situation well in hand. Despatch follows.3

  1. Maj. John Marston, commanding officer of a detachment of U. S. Marines assigned to guard the Legation.
  2. Benjamin Muse, 3d secretary of the Legation.
  3. Not printed.