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

No. 204

Sir: With reference to the Department’s telegram No. 26, February 10, 3 p.m., regarding the plan for the establishment of a Constabulary in Nicaragua, there is transmitted herewith a copy of the plan as outlined in the telegram.7

It is assumed that you will transmit to the Department a copy of the plan as presented to the Nicaraguan Government, together with your note presenting the plan and any other correspondence regarding it.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Joseph C. Grew

Plan for the Establishment of a Constabulary in Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan Government will establish a civil police force which shall be referred to hereinafter as the “Constabulary.”
The strength of the constabulary, exclusive of the American personnel, shall be 23 officers and 392 enlisted men, but this force will be increased should such increase appear advisable.
The Constabulary is to be armed, equipped and trained as a military police force with the object of entirely replacing the existing national police, navy and army of Nicaragua. This force is to be trained free from political influence as a national institution and used only to maintain peace, law and order.
To provide efficient organization and training the Constabulary will have a division known as the “Nicaraguan National Constabulary Training Branch.” The numerical strength of this force will vary in size as the state of the organization and training of the Constabulary dictates. This force will be hereinafter referred to as the “Training Branch” and, in counter-distinction to this branch, the remainder of the Constabulary will be termed the “Constabulary proper.”
In view of the desire of Nicaraguan Government that the United States lend its friendly cooperation in the formation of the Constabulary it is agreed that the officers and enlisted men of the Legation Guard, now stationed at Managua, will, until their withdrawal, voluntarily lend their service in its formation and training.
To this end it is agreed that these officers and enlisted men, whose voluntary service the Nicaraguan Government has accepted, shall within the training branch but not within the Constabulary proper, have full and complete authority. It is further agreed that upon the withdrawal of the Legation Guard detailed and more permanent arrangements for the development of the Constabulary will be made. In accordance with the request of the Government of Nicaragua the Government of the United States will suggest the names of qualified persons who may be employed under contract by the Nicaraguan Government to take over the management of the training branch after the withdrawal of the Legation Guard. The Nicaraguan Government will make every effort to obtain the services of these instructors a sufficient time in advance of the withdrawal of the Legation Guard to assure the uninterrupted functioning of the training branch.
The training branch, and all the Nicaraguan officers and enlisted men who may from time to time compose it, is not to come under the authority of the Ministry of War or the Commander of the Constabulary proper but be subject directly and solely to the command and authority of the senior American Marine Officer who is subordinate only to the President of the Republic in all matters pertaining thereto.
The commander of the training branch will prepare such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the proper administration, discipline and control of the Constabulary and these rules and regulations, when approved by the President of Nicaragua, will be binding on all persons who are or who may become members of the Constabulary. Such persons will not be subject to Civil Law process.
All officers and enlisted men of the Constabulary must first pass through the training branch and qualify by such physical, mental, moral and professional standards as the training branch commander may prescribe.
All replacements of either officers or enlisted men must come from the training branch.
Whenever the Commander of the training branch deems it necessary all officers and enlisted men of the Constabulary proper, either as individuals or as entire organizations, may be returned to the training branch and their places taken by individuals or organizations of the training branch.
The American Officers who have volunteered their services with the training branch will have the authority to make such inspections of the Constabulary proper as the Commander of the training branch deems desirable and necessary.
The procurement of all supplies for the Constabulary will be made by the Supply Officer of the training branch who will honor all reasonable and necessary requisitions from the supply officers of the Constabulary proper.
Such existing army supplies, buildings, grounds and other army utilities as may be considered by the Commander of the training branch necessary for the establishment and maintenance of the Constabulary are to be placed at his disposal by the Nicaraguan Government.
The Nicaraguan Government will appropriate in its annual budget the funds necessary for the execution of this plan, as set forth in the appendix hereof. Checks drawn against this appropriation must in each case be approved by the supply officer of the training branch.
All disbursements for the Constabulary accounts will be made by the supply officer of the training branch. Officers accounts may be audited not to exceed twice in one year by a competent auditing commission (which is to be selected by the American Minister to Nicaragua and the Nicaraguan Minister of Finance.) Unless the question of the correctness of the auditing of the accounts be presented within thirty days after the auditing of the accounts, no question concerning the correctness of such auditing shall thereafter be raised. If the correctness or legality of any payment cannot be satisfactorily determined by conference between the auditing commission and the Supply Officer, the matter shall be referred to the American Minister to Nicaragua and the Nicaraguan Minister of Finance, whose decision is to be final. If any account is paid in good faith and with honest intention no disallowance of such account shall be made.
American officers and enlisted men who are being utilized in the training branch of the Constabulary shall enjoy the privileges of free entry into Nicaragua of their personal and household effects and other supplies needed for their personal and family use.
Such changes in the present arrangement as may seem necessary on account of the withdrawal of the Legation Guard, or at any future time, will be made by the Nicaraguan Government in consultation with the Government of the United States.
  1. Telegram not printed. This copy of the plan incorporates the Department’s amendments to an earlier draft transmitted by the Legation.