817.1051/128: Telegram

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

36. Your 32, February 7, 9 p.m., second paragraph. The Department was not aware that American aviators were accredited to the constabulary or that there was any aviation service connected with [Page 310]this organization. In any event, the American instructors of the Nicaraguan constabulary, Major Carter and Major Rodriquez, were not expected to participate in hostilities between political factions in Nicaragua. The constabulary was intended purely as a police force and it was with that understanding that the Department approved the appointment of Americans as instructors. Messrs. Mason and Brooks appear to be combatant aviators attached to the Nicaraguan armed forces.

While this Government has not undertaken in such cases to regulate the conduct of American citizens abroad and beyond the jurisdiction of the United States it feels constrained to observe that the very evident intent of the neutrality laws of the United States is to discountenance the enlistment of American citizens in foreign armed forces.

In order to remove any misapprehension on the part of American citizens now attached to the Nicaraguan constabulary or other armed forces, you should make plain to them the Department’s views as expressed above and further inform them that in the event of their taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign government they forfeit their American citizenship and that if the instructors attached to the constabulary actively participate in hostilities between the Government forces and the revolutionaries or if other American citizens enlist or attach themselves to the Nicaraguan armed forces they cannot look to the Government of the United States for protection.