817.48 Earthquake of 1931/41: Telegram

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

City still burning. Lack of water combined with continual high wind and highly inflammable character of demolished houses renders control exceedingly difficult. Colonel Sultan with Army engineers is in chargé of this problem and is doing everything possible under the circumstances. He is concentrating on saving the National Bank building. Arrangements are being made to transfer bank’s archives and funds to Granada. Shifting winds of high velocity earned smoldering embers to National Palace yesterday afternoon and it was totally destroyed by fire including archives of nearly all Nicaraguan executive departments and archives of the Customs Service and Claims Commission. The condition of the Palace due to the earthquake combined with subsequent minor shocks made it unsafe to enter the Palace. Shocks of minor intensity continue.

The recovery and burial of dead continues. Seventy-five more Nicaraguan injured will be evacuated to Granada today. A temporary hospital under canvas is being established on the Loma Field to which all Nicaraguan sick and injured will be removed thus relieving the congestion in Campo de Marte. Arrangements are being perfected for vaccination against infectious diseases. Facilities for feeding refugees well organized on Loma Field.

I cannot praise too highly the initial measures taken by Colonels Bradman and Matthews with great promptitude to meet the first crisis. The services of the Marines and Guardia under their respective commands are receiving universal commendation. The relief organization initiated by them is being expanded and perfected to meet the disaster. I am in close communication with President Moncada and there is the closest cooperation between the American and Nicaraguan agencies. Mr. Swift probably will not arrive before tomorrow morning.