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

No. 108

Sir: The Department refers to your personal letters of November 28 and December 4, 1930, to Assistant Secretary of State Francis White, and your despatch No. 270 of December 16, 1930, and their respective enclosures, relating to the arrest and deportation, apparently for political reasons, of members of the Conservative Party and others in Nicaragua. The acts described in these communications indicate a tendency in the administration of government by President Moncada which, if persisted in, may well defeat the broader constructive efforts in which he is engaged.

You are requested, therefore, to say to President Moncada orally and in a most friendly manner, stating that you do so by my direction, that this Government is much concerned by the situation you have reported. It is, of course, imperative that the Government of Nicaragua exercise all proper diligence in the suppression of seditious activities, but it is believed that this end can be served by the usual methods of vigilance and detention for proper cause, without resorting to general arrests and deportations upon hearsay or mere suspicion.

In this connection, you may point out that President Moncada’s recent message to Congress touches upon a fact of much importance with respect to the problem under discussion. It was formerly very generally asserted that the presence of a small detachment of United States Marines in Managua from 1912 to 1925 constituted an effective barrier between the established Governments and those who might have desired to effect their overthrow, and it may safely be assumed at present that, as stated by him, those who might otherwise resort to violence in opposition to his administration are restrained from such action because of the military cooperation now extended to the Government of Nicaragua by the United States. It is the opinion of this Government that its active military cooperation with the established Government of Nicaragua makes it necessary for it to assure itself that the Nicaraguan Government should not, in the enjoyment of its immunity to serious attack from within, undertake measures against its political opponents which are open to the charge of being of a retaliatory or unjustifiably oppressive nature. You may say to President Moncada that I have directed you to express the request that within the limits imposed by his recognized obligation to safeguard his person and his administration, political arrests and deportations of the nature described be discontinued, and the ordinary processes of law be substituted in dealing with those against whom legitimate cause for suspicion is found to exist.

Very truly yours,

H. L. Stimson