817.00/6999a: Telegram

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

16. The following statement was issued to the press February 13:

“At the recent conferences held by the Secretary of State with Minister Hanna, the American Minister to Nicaragua, Colonel McDougal of the Marine Corps, who has been commanding the Nicaraguan National Guard, and Major General McCoy, who supervised the Nicaraguan elections in 1928, a definite plan for the future has been arrived at which has been accepted by President Moncada of Nicaragua. Under this plan the Nicaraguan National Guard is to be increased by approximately 500 men to be used exclusively in the bandit area, and the necessary financial arrangements for this increase of force have been made by the Nicaraguan Government.

By this increase of the Nicaraguan National Guard it will be possible to withdraw from Nicaragua all of the Marine Brigade who are now on combatant duty probably by June next, leaving in Nicaragua [Page 845] only the Marines who are still engaged in instruction in the Nicaraguan National Guard and an instruction battalion to support such instruction and an aviation section which is being used for the present to carry supplies in the bandit provinces which are entirely without roads. This means that by June next the total force of Marines in Nicaragua will have been reduced from over 5,000 men, which was the size of the force in January, 1929, to probably not over 500 men. The Nicaraguan Government by this arrangement has also secured funds to increase the school in which Nicaraguan officers are being trained to completely replace the Marines now officering the National Guard.

In addition to this the Nicaraguan Government has obtained further funds which it has agreed to spend in the construction of long needed roads and trails in the bandit provinces. These roads will greatly facilitate the future work of its National Guard in that area and make it much more effective and protective to the surrounding country. The Department feels that the foregoing steps will greatly expedite the completion of the task of this Government in instructing the National Guard of Nicaragua, and that they have paved the way for the ultimate removal of all of the Marine forces from Nicaragua immediately after the election of 1932.”