124.1718/113: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Nicaragua (Thurston)

8. Your January 9, 10 a.m. You will present the following note to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and telegraph the Department when do you so, in order that it may be made public together with the Nicaraguan Government’s note of January 7:

“I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s note of January 7, 1925, in which Your Excellency refers to the unfortunate consequences which might follow the immediate withdrawal of the Legation Guard which has been stationed in Nicaragua since 1912,5 and expresses the desire of the President of Nicaragua that this Guard should not be withdrawn until there shall have been established, under the guidance of American instructors, an efficient Nicaraguan National Guard.

I am instructed to state in reply that my Government is somewhat surprised at Your Excellency’s statement that both Governments have considered it undesirable to withdraw the American Marines before the establishment of a National Guard, and the further statement [Page 623] that this Legation had informed the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Relations that the withdrawal of the Marines would not be effected until the proposed National Guard had been organized. The note which this Legation presented to Your Excellency’s Government on November 14, 1923,6 contained the following definite statement of my Government’s intentions: ‘Therefore my Government instructs me to inform Your Excellency that upon the installation in January 1925 of the Government coming into office as the result of the elections to be held in October 1924 it will feel that there is no further reason to maintain the Legation Guard at Managua, and the American Marines will accordingly be withdrawn at that time.’ The note further stated that ‘As another evidence of its desire to assist Nicaragua in the orderly and undisturbed conduct of its normal existence my Government would be glad to assist the Nicaraguan Government in the organization and training of an efficient constabulary which would assure the maintenance of order after the Marines are withdrawn.’ While the note in question, therefore, definitely informed Your Excellency’s Government that the withdrawal of the Marines would take place in January of this year, it further proffered the assistance of my Government in training the proposed constabulary, should the Nicaraguan Government desire such assistance. My Government informed the Nicaraguan Government 14 months in advance of its intentions with respect to the Legation Guard in order to allow ample time for the Nicaraguan Government to take such steps as it might deem advisable. Under these conditions the responsibility for any unfortunate developments which might result from the failure to make adequate preparations to meet the situation created by the withdrawal of the Legation Guard clearly rests upon the Nicaraguan Government. My Government feels, therefore, that it would be entirely justified at this time in withdrawing the Legation Guard in accordance with its announced plan.

The Government of the United States, however, has always desired to cooperate in any proper way in promoting the peaceful development and prosperity of Nicaragua and it is therefore prepared, in consideration of Your Excellency’s statement that the Nicaraguan Government now desires to establish the constabulary, to accede to that Government’s request and to permit the Legation Guard to remain for such time as is absolutely necessary for the organization of the new police force. It can accede to the request of the Nicaraguan Government in this matter, however, only upon the definite understanding that the work of organizing the police force will be immediately undertaken and energetically prosecuted in accordance with a suitable plan. My Government understands that a period of from 3 to 6 months should be sufficient for the creation of the constabulary and it is therefore disposed to permit the Legation Guard to remain at Managua until a date not later than September 1, 1925, provided that satisfactory progress in the organization of the constabulary is made in the meantime.”

You may say that instructions will be sent at once to Major Keyser to cooperate with Nicaraguan officials in taking the first steps toward [Page 624] the organization of a constabulary, and to assist, so far as his duties permit, in the training of this body. The Department sees no reason why the necessary regulations should not be formulated and recruiting and training should not begin at once. Officers of the Legation Guard will be able to assist in the instruction of the constabulary for the present, but it will be necessary to consider later the permanent arrangements to be made regarding instruction.

The Department desires that you should impress upon President Solorzano the fact that the organization of the constabulary must be pressed energetically, in order to have that body in satisfactory condition at the earliest possible time. The Department desires to withdraw the Marines before September 1, if practicable.

  1. See Foreign Relations, 1912, pp. 1012 ff.
  2. See instruction No. 102, Oct. 8, 1923, to the Chargé in Nicaragua, ibid., 1923, vol. ii, p. 607.