817.00/6177: Telegram

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

17. In connection with his plan to have the volunteer forces assume a large part of the burden of cleaning up the scattered outlaw bands still marauding in the north, President Moncada wishes to establish martial law in the departments affected. He and General Feland feel that this would greatly facilitate their operations because it would make it possible to arrest and hold outlaw agents and spies who now come and go freely, obtaining information about troop movements and maintaining contact with sympathizers in the interior. It would also relieve both the marines and the guardia of the embarrassment resulting from the absence of legal authorization for holding outlaw prisoners.

General Feland states that the marines would have no direct part in the enforcement of this martial law except to turn over to guardia officers any prisoners who might be taken with the evidence. They would however be in a position to prevent any serious abuses or unnecessarily severe action by the Nicaraguan leaders in charge of native volunteer patrols.

Since the establishment of martial law would be very helpful as a military measure and is an essential part of General Moncada’s plan to clean up the bandit situation through direct efforts of the Nicaraguan Government, I feel that we should consent to it unless the Department sees some objection. Please instruct as soon as possible.