The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Nicaragua (Hanna)
107. Legation’s 176, June 28, 4 p.m. The Department has consulted the Departments of War, Navy, Agriculture, and Commerce with respect to President Moncada’s desire to obtain the services of American Government engineers to assist the Nicaraguan Government in its road building program.
No reply has yet been received from the Department of Agriculture. The Department of Commerce states that while it does not have available for assignment any engineers especially qualified in road building, it would be in a position to suggest the names of one or more engineers with experience in ground and air survey work in connection with topographic map making. The Navy Department states that it has made arrangements for the assignment of Marine officers or officers of the Civil Engineer Corps of the Navy to duty in Nicaragua for this purpose. The War Department states that two engineer officers can be detailed to accompany the troops which will make the Canal survey under the supervision of Major Dan I. Sultan if desired.3
You may inform President Moncada of the foregoing, pointing out that civilian engineers presumably would have to be employed under salary and transportation contracts, whereas the Army or Navy engineers could be assigned to duty in Nicaragua with the Canal survey forces or the Marine or Guardia Nacional forces at less expense to the Government of Nicaragua. In view of the extensive topographical survey work which presumably will be conducted by Major Sultan’s Canal survey forces, it might perhaps be most effective and economical for the Government of Nicaragua to entrust this work to Major Sultan.