817.00/6165: Telegram

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

6. Admiral Sellers, General Feland, General Beadle, Munro2 and I called on President Moncada this afternoon to discuss with him the recommendations which the Admiral wished to make regarding the number of marines to be retained here for the present. The Admiral stated that he proposed to recommend that the force be reduced to 3,500 men for the present upon the understanding that the Nicaraguan Government would make every effort to increase and strengthen the Guardia Nacional so as to permit a further reduction when the guardia had demonstrated its ability to assume an added share of responsibility for the situation in the north.

The President said that he fully concurred in this recommendation. He was glad to have as many marines retained here as we might wish and for as long a time as we considered desirable. He stated however that he wished himself to assume more of the responsibility for checking banditry in the north and to organize a Nicaraguan force of about 500 carefully selected volunteers who would conduct an active campaign against Sandino and whose operations would make it unnecessary for the marines to continue their present active field work. This force would merely be a temporary expedient to be disbanded as soon as order was restored and he would wish to have it placed under guardia and marine officers. He felt that the operations of this force would make possible a very much larger reduction of the marines in the near future.

The President also said that he desired to make the guardia more efficient principally by more careful selection of its members. He expressed admiration for the work already done by the organization [Page 550]but said that he thought it would require two years to bring it to the highest level of efficiency. He expressed particular interest in the establishment of a school for officers and said that he contemplated placing the appointment of all local police chiefs and other police officials under the control of the guardia. He said that he would always wish to have American officers in this organization.

As a result of this conversation the Admiral is recommending that the marine forces here be reduced to 3,500 men which he considers sufficient to continue the work of maintaining order in the interior and the present active campaign against outlaws in the north.

Eberhardt
  1. Rear Admiral David Foote Sellers, U. S. N., Commander of the Special Service Squadron; Brigadier General Logan Feland, U. S. M. C, Commander of the Second Brigade, U. S. Marines; Brigadier General Elias R. Beadle, Chief of the Guardia Nacional of Nicaragua; Dana G. Munro, Foreign Service Inspector.