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

No. 983

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a memorandum, dated May 6, 1929, from the Commander of the Second Brigade, U. S. M. C., regarding the military situation in Nicaragua on that date.

I have [etc.]

Matthew E. Hanna

The Commander of the Second Brigade, U. S. M. C. (Williams), to the Minister in Nicaragua (Eberhardt)

Present Personnel Situation

The strength of the forces ashore at present is about 3100, exclusive of Aviation. It is the present intention of the Commanding General in accordance with recommendations submitted by the Admiral to the Navy Department to effect a further gradual reduction between now and July 1st of about 600. No reduction of Aviation is contemplated [Page 565]prior to July 1st but East Coast Aviation will be returned to Managua by June 1st.

In Eastern Area all stations have been ordered discontinued except Puerto Cabezas, Bluefields, El Gallo and the mining detachments in the La Lux [Luz?] and Pis Pis areas.

Several Southern Area stations have been discontinued.

Several Northern Area stations are being taken over by Guardia.

Bluefields at present has 6 officers and 53 Guardia and the Guardia is sending an experienced and capable field officer to that place today. Bluefields is the Headquarters of Guardia in the Eastern Area and very shortly it is planned to take Marines away from that place.

It is believed that all changes will be effected and reductions contemplated will be made without embarrassment to anyone concerned.

Guardia Situation

The Guardia National shows continued and what is believed to be lasting improvement.

The energetic measures taken by General McDougal and his appreciation of what the true role of the Guardia should be, has contributed greatly to our recent successes.

Volunteer Forces

Fifty Volunteers were mustered out about a month ago. The Plata group will be mustered out within the next few days.

The Flores group will be mustered out before the end of the month.

When the Plata group is mustered out about 150 Volunteers will remain. It is believed that the complete mustering out of the Volunteers will be accomplished prior to June 30th.

When the above is accomplished steps should be taken by those concerned to have the decree on martial law put out of force.

The Volunteers have done good work. The work has been of such a nature that Volunteers were more suitable for it than Guardia or Marines.

There was little abuse of authority and but 4 bandits were executed in the field.

Present Military Situation

The military situation can be said without fear of contradiction to be excellent, and this country has never been in such a peaceful state.

There are but two organized bands in existence at present, Ortez’ and Altamirano’s.

Ortez has been and is still in Honduras with a small band of about 30 men.

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Altamirano’s band has suffered considerably in the last few weeks. Several members of his band have been captured and killed and some were executed.

It is not believed that there is any organized group in alliance with Sandino at present, or that any bandits are in the field for Sandino patriotic motives.

It is fairly certain that Sandino is out of this country and his exit will most certainly result in the loss of any remaining prestige he might have had.

There are a few small groups in and around Telpaneca who assemble often, commit a few minor depredations and then disperse. They are Liberals and being such are difficult to apprehend.

It should be realized that it will be very difficult to stamp out all banditry. There has always been banditry in Nicaragua as there is in other Central American countries.


The military situation at present is such as to be susceptible of little improvement.

Dion Williams