817.00/3361: Telegram

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


120. Legation’s 184 dated December 18, 4 p.m. Department approves your action in discouraging the calling of a constituent assembly to bring about a change of government.

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The action of Congress in disqualifying 11 of its members is of concern to the Department. Is this not tantamount to at least a partial nullification of the last elections? The Department desires your views on this subject. Such action might bring about the formation of an unconstitutional Congress whose acts like the appointment [Page 645] of designados might be questioned as to their legal validity. In the opinion of the Department the followers of Chamorro may subject themselves to serious criticism, because of the action taken against Sacasa. According to the Department’s understanding, Sacasa is the Constitutional Vice President and merely sought refuge outside the Republic when armed troops without warrant were dispatched to arrest him. This action is greatly deprecated by the Government of the United States and if continued might well be considered prima facie evidence of unconstitutional action by those responsible for it. You may make this clear.

The following is for your own information. Señor Sacasa as Vice President requested an interview today to pay his respects. I received him and after the usual complimentary remarks he attempted to explain political matters. I replied that it was my invariable custom not to discuss the political questions of a foreign nation with its citizens unless the latter were introduced by the diplomatic representative of that nation; that I had received him in his capacity of Vice President and because he merely desired to pay his respects; and that I must decline to discuss with him the political situation in his country. I then stated that I perceived no objection to his expressing his views informally to the Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs, Mr. Francis White. The latter then explained to Señor Sacasa the policy of the United States of lending our moral support to the Constitutional Government and extending our efforts in behalf of orderly procedure in Central America. However, Mr. White made it clear that this did not mean that while the United States would not recognize the unconstitutional government it would use force to place in office the Constitutional Government: in other words, to place Señor Sacasa in the Presidency should President Solorzano resign and some other person unconstitutionally usurp the office. Mr. White also told him that although the Department desired to render any proper aid to the republics of Central America in the solution of their political problems nevertheless it believed that the regeneration should come from within through a desire of the people for constitutional government; that although the Department would lend its support to any element seeking this end yet it would not assume the responsibility of seeing that this is accomplished. To be more specific, as long as the people of Central America feel that the “last word” comes from the Department the attainment of political stability will be postponed; the sooner there is created among the citizens of Central American countries a feeling of responsibility which shall give rise to the realization that they themselves must work out their own destiny the sooner will orderly government develop in those countries.