817.1051/70: Telegram

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

96. My 95, May 15, 9 p.m. President Solorzano informed me Saturday that it is his intention to begin at once the organization of the National Guard. In answer to my inquiry whether, in view of the omission in the new plan of the references to American cooperation which were contained in articles 5 and 6 of the plan as presented [Page 631] to Congress, the Nicaraguan Government intended to forego American cooperation, the President stated that it is his desire that the National Guard be organized by American instructors and that he would have the Minister for Foreign Affairs make formal application for our assistance in a note similar to the one of March 19th, quoted in Legation’s 63, March 20th, 4 p.m.9

Monday I received a note from the Minister for Foreign Affairs stating that in accordance with the note of March 13th from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Government of the United States was requested to designate the experts who should definitely organize and manage the instruction school of the National Guard. I advised the Minister for Foreign Affairs that the note of March 13th had been recalled by his Government (Legation’s 63, March 20, 4 p.m.) and that communication just received did not accord with the President’s statements on Saturday. The Minister then called at the Legation apparently with the purpose of endeavoring to make informal arrangements whereby the marines should begin the organization of the National Guard without formal request for their services being made. I stated to Dr. Urtecho that if his Government desired our cooperation it should formally request it and I further advised him that owing to the time which has been lost and for other reasons it was not to be regarded as certain that a request for the services of the marines would be granted. After a consultation with the President, Urtecho returned to the Legation Monday night and renewed his efforts to bring about an informal arrangement …

The next day I received another note from the Minister for Foreign Affairs stating that the Nicaraguan Government “accepted” the services of the marines pending the arrival of the experts. I therefore again explained to Urtecho that the omission in the new plan of all provisions for our cooperation made it impossible for his Government to accept that which no longer could be considered as proffered and repeated that if the assistance of the marines was desired it must be requested. The note was then withdrawn and a new one presented last night which contains the following requests:

  • “1. In accordance with the terms of the note of March 19th from this Ministry, my Government hereby requests of Your Honor’s Government that the marines of the Legation guard, who recently arrived and who possess some training therefor, be directed to begin at once the organization of the school of the National Guard.
  • 2. That according to the note just cited and the note of May 18th, Your Honor be so good as to request through the Department of State the expert instructors who will come to take definite charge of the school or training branch of the National Guard”.

[Page 632]

Apart from all consideration connected with the unnecessary delays … which have characterized the entire course of this negotiation, it is my earnest conviction that based solely upon the nature of the plan as now worded we should under no circumstances associate ourselves with the organization and management of the Nicaragua constabulary. The present plan is so designed as to place absolute control over training school and constabulary proper in the hands of the Minister of Gobernacion which will result in its conversion into a strictly political agency. It is my opinion that request for the use of the marines now reluctantly made is designed principally as an emergency measure to detain the Legation guard until some other means may be found to bring about its definite retention.

I respectfully recommend therefore that the request for the services of the Legation guard be refused and that the Legation guard be withdrawn at once and that before sending American instructors the Department take such steps as may be best designed to safeguard us from being placed in the position of appearing to be responsible for the kind of constabulary which is to be formed.

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  1. Telegram not printed.