817.00 Bandit Activities, 1931/49: Telegram

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

The Department’s telegram No. 8517 apparently was sent before my telegrams number 2718 and 2619 were received. The present disturbance on the east coast, as may be deduced from my telegram number 27, constitutes but one element in the broad military and police problem continually confronting the Guardia. General Matthews who of course realizes his responsibility in this situation, tells me that he has disposed of the forces under his command in the manner he believes best suited to insure the maximum of protection throughout the entire Republic. He says he does not underestimate the urgent need for reenforcements on the east coast and lost no time in ordering the commander at Bluefields to increase his forces by enlargement. He was informed yesterday that recruits could not be found and he has decided to take the responsibility of sending reenforcements by air in spite of the hazards and the contrary advice of the commander of the air forces. The only available transportation are two transport planes to be specially conditioned for this service. They will leave here Tuesday morning carrying 18 enlisted Guardia. So far as is known here the Navy has placed no airplanes at the disposal of the Guardia other than those Marine Corps planes on regular service which need no special orders to cooperate in these operations.

I have shown your telegram No. 85 to General Matthews and he desires me to assure you that his conception of the responsibility of the Guardia in the maintenance of order in Nicaragua in general and on the east coast in particular is in full accord with your own views of the matter and that he will adopt every measure consistent with the [Page 814]maintenance of order elsewhere throughout the Republic to continue a successful opposition to the bandit hordes on the east coast. Information yet to be confirmed is now reaching Guardia headquarters of a bandit plan and initial concentration for an incursion from the Segovias to the southward probably in the general direction of Matagalpa. It appears that the situation on the east coast is complicated by labor unrest and subversive propaganda involving unusual danger for foreigners but General Matthews hopes that the situation may improve so as to permit of an early withdrawal of the moral support of American vessels now in east coast ports without unduly exposing Americans and other foreigners to danger.

Hanna
  1. April 18, 3 p.m., p. 812.
  2. April 17, 10 p.m., p. 810.
  3. April 17, 8 p.m., p. 809.