815.00 Revolutions/21: Telegram

The Minister in Honduras (Lay) to the Secretary of State

70. Honduran Government informs me that its military operations are greatly handicapped by a dearth of rifle ammunition. It advises me confidentially that the average of rifle ammunition for all its forces is not over 30 rounds per man and that some have much less than this. It is placing orders for ammunition with firms in the United States but delivery cannot be made here for several weeks. [Page 591] Therefore it requests that in order to meet the very urgent immediate need the United States Government lend it ammunition for its rifles and/or rifles with ammunition from the stocks of the United States in Nicaragua. Honduran Government promises to return these arms as soon as possible. It is presumed that these munitions would be transported by truck through Chinadega and Choluteca. Quantity requested is as much as can be spared and the cartridges needed for the Honduran Government’s rifles are Remington 7 and 11 millimeters and Enfield 7.62 millimeters. In my opinion, unless the Honduran Government forces press hard the rebel groups in the next week or two, the latter may make good their retirement into the mountains and there will result guerrilla warfare or wholesale banditry lasting for months or years similar to that in the Segovias of Nicaragua. The Honduran Government feels certain that Ferrera is now the supreme leader of the insurrectionists in the Departments of Cortes and Santa Barbara. If he succeeds in organizing his Indians, the Honduran Government will be confronted with a very serious problem. The key to the present situation is for the Honduran Government to strike hard and soon which it avers it cannot do because of the present shortage of rifle ammunition. I therefore recommend that this request be granted and promptly.