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

165. Preliminary meeting of the Secretariat of National Liberal and National Conservative delegations first met on the Denver on October 16, at 9 a.m.24 It was [the decision] of both delegates [delegations] to hold the sessions on a war vessel and that the meetings be presided over by the undersigned. Because the delegates stated that a neutral chairman was necessary I agreed to lend my good offices as presiding officer. It was understood that I would incur no responsibility therefor or would sign no final agreement, and that no remarks by me in conference be entered upon the record, and that no statement would be given to the press or outsiders except those signed by the two secretaries.

Plenary session met on October 16 at 4 p.m. In the two sessions held yesterday there was a spirit of extreme conciliation, cordiality and frankness and both delegations were fraternizing. Last night the program of the conference was agreed upon, mentioning the reestablishing of peace on the basis of a constitutional government. After much discussion and disagreement by Liberals, the formula for the reestablishment of constitutional government was admitted to be the problem for discussion and settlement in the conference.

I anticipate the necessity of allowing both parties to talk themselves out and expect conference to last a week. It was agreed upon by both parties, the Liberals being very insistent that until settlement between themselves had been reached the conference should [Page 796] be limited to the two belligerent parties after which time minor parties may be admitted.

The Government reports that on October 15 there was an engagement near the Honduran borders at Sonata with some 300 Liberals in which the latter were routed. The Liberal casualties were 17 killed and many wounded.

  1. For the proceedings of the conference, see J. Barcenas Meneses, Las Conferencias del “Denver” actas autenticas de las sesiones, con introduction y Ujeros comentarios (Managua, Tip. y Encuadernacion Nacional).