817.00 Bandit Activities, 1931/40: Telegram

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

26. Your 81, April 16, 7 p.m. Captain Schwerin Guardia National reports the following from Puerto Cabezas:

“Company manager has received despatch from American Consul Bluefields containing advice from State Department that American citizens cannot expect protection of United States forces, that they remain in Nicaragua at own risk. In view of fact that Memphis now here may leave at any time manager believes all Americans will evacuate on steamer Sumay closing plant. Commanding officer Memphis orders permit his landing case of trouble in or attack on the town. He has stated that he will stay here at least until evacuation of Americans is completed. British Consul here has applied to British Minister Managua for protection of British citizens. Until receipt of despatch by company manager conditions were starting to get back to normal. I believe with naval forces assured in harbor ready to land that normal conditions would return but with evacuation of Americans and closing of plant putting many out of work concerted uprisings will take place with attack on town for looting immediately upon departure of Memphis. In such case Guardia force entirely inadequate to guard lives or property. Radio communication will stop. Request instructions as to action in case evacuation of Americans and departure of naval force.”

Captain Marston Guardia National Commander forwarding the above report, states “Captain Wood reports conditions in fair way to improve when he left Puerto Cabezas this morning and he and I concur in Schwerin’s estimate of situation.”

The British Chargé d’Affaires here has just received a telegram from the British Consulate at Bluefields [Puerto Cabezas?], stating that it [Page 810] has been informed of Department telegram number 81 and stating that 1,500 British subjects including women and children were in immediate danger of bandit attack on April 15th and that the Asheville had arrived. The telegram adds the following:

“As the situation has not changed and I have received no reply from Rees (British Consul at Bluefields) British subjects have requested me to apply direct to you for protection lives and property. Several British subjects have already been murdered and others are still unaccounted for. Bandits are directing their animosity against Americans and Jamaicans principally. Please advise what protection our Government will afford us.”