817.00/6921: Telegram

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

5. Recent intensified bandit activities in northern Nicaragua, one incident of which was the almost complete extermination of a Marine patrol of 10 men which was ambushed when engaged in the repair of a telephone line of communication, have aroused public indignation and alarm and a greatly increased popular demand that energetic measures be adopted to exterminate banditry and reestablish and restore peace in the Segovias. President Moncada discussed this matter with me this morning and requested me to consult you concerning the following measures which he proposes for meeting the situation.

The President suggests that a temporary military force of approximately 500 men be raised to cooperate with the Guardia in the bandit regions. This force would be enlisted, equipped and trained by the Guardia and its military operation would be directed and controlled from Guardia headquarters and by the Guardia officers serving with such forces in the field. The President has assured me that it is not his intention that this force should be independent of the Guardia in any respect but, on the contrary, that it should constitute a temporary auxiliary to the Guardia under such conditions that it will not violate the provision of the Guardia Agreement31 which establishes the Guardia as the sole police force of the Republic. The President believes that this proposed force can be created and maintained at a cost scale such that a greater increment of military strength can be acquired in this manner than could be attained with an equal expenditure by increasing the strength of the Guardia.

President Moncada proposes to combine the proposed intensification of such military campaign with a road construction program [Page 833] within the bandit territory provided the necessary funds can be made available. With this end in view he is opening negotiations through the manager of the National Bank here and the Nicaraguan Legation in Washington to obtain from the International Acceptance Bank a credit of one million dollars to be guaranteed by some acceptable specific revenue of this Government.

I have shown the foregoing to President Moncada and he has expressed approval.

General McDougal32 is in Jinotega personally directing the Guardia operations and I will not have an opportunity to discuss this with him before Wednesday or Thursday. A portion of the press here has been advocating for some time the creation of a volunteer force separate and distinct from the Guardia and this idea appears to be finding considerable popular support. This was the idea the President appeared to have in mind at the outset of our discussion this morning but he finally formulated his proposal as expressed above after I had told him that I believed the proposal would not be acceptable to the Department unless the military force to be created is as completely under the administration and control of the Guardia as though it constituted a part of the Guardia itself. I think we should insist upon this point and establish it beyond doubt. I also told him that I believe his proposal would be more favorably considered by the Department if he could give assurances that the military operations would be combined with a road building program adequate to solve the economic features of the situation as set forth in the letters on this subject recently addressed to him by the Secretary.

Hanna
  1. Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. iii, p. 434.
  2. Douglas C. McDougal, chief of the Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua.