The Minister in Nicaragua ( Hanna ) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 19.]
Sir: I have the honor to report that satisfactory progress is being made by Colonel F. L. Bradman, Commanding the Marine Brigade in Nicaragua, and General C. B. Matthews, Commanding the Guardia Nacional, in carrying out the policy for reducing the marine forces in Nicaragua decided upon during my recent visit to Washington. The cooperation of the Government of Nicaragua in this matter has also been satisfactory.
Under General Matthews’ direction, the Guardia Nacional has been recruited to a total enlisted strength of approximately 1,950 men and it is estimated that the remaining 200 new enlistments to bring the Guardia up to the authorized total of 2, 150 enlisted strength will have been completed by April 15 at the latest. General Matthews is subjecting these new enlistments to a period of intensive training which should prepare them for effective active service by June 1 at the latest.
General Matthews is also making his preliminary preparations to appoint 75 new cadets for the Military Academy who will begin their instruction in the Academy about July 15, which will be shortly after the graduation of the present class. General Matthews plans to complete the instruction of the new class in a period of nine months and immediately thereafter begin the instruction of another class for a like period. He expects to be able in this manner to graduate sufficient cadets to fill all except the higher grades of the Guardia Nacional by about January 1, 1933.
He is also perfecting plans to train Nicaraguan officers to take the place of marine officers in the staff departments of the Guardia. He expects to fill two existing vacancies in the Medical Corps with medical students who will graduate in the near future from the medical college in Leon. If this proves satisfactory he will fill future vacancies in the Medical Corps of the Guardia as they occur with Nicaraguan medical students or qualified doctors. The Nicaraguan officers for the Quartermaster and other staff departments will be obtained probably in large part by promoting Nicaraguan non-commissioned officers now serving in those departments.
The total number of officers line and staff for the Guardia after the increase of 500 men is to be 204 in accordance with the plan for the increase which was accepted by this Government. The decrease to a total of 160 in the number of officers contemplated in the plan agreed upon in the last months of 1930 was not completed before the present plan went into effect. The number had been decreased to 182 and [Page 847] that number has now been increased to 188 by the appointment of six more marine officers. This was necessary to carry on the increase in an effective manner but it is General Matthews’ intention not to appoint any more American officers to the Guardia if that can be avoided. He is holding 16 vacancies at present for graduates of the class now in the Military Academy, which class will graduate somewhere between 20 and 25 cadets. The new appointments of American officers for service in the Guardia and the reappointment of American officers now serving with the Guardia have been and will be made at the reduced scale of pay decided upon in the plan of last November. There probably will not be any considerable replacement of American officers by Nicaraguan officers until the class entering the Military Academy in July graduates about a year from the present date.
The Nicaraguan Government is cooperating effectively with General Matthews in the creation of the Guardia Municipal. These local auxiliaries to the Guardia are being created as rapidly as the municipal authorities concerned can be induced to cooperate and can provide the necessary funds. In addition to the 30 Guardia Municipal in Managua, the Guardia Municipal has been created in the following cities and villages in the number set opposite each respectively:
The total number of Guardia Municipal organized to date is 111. Their pay varies from $10 to $21 per month, not including uniforms, depending on the locality where they serve. The Guardia Municipal in Leon, Granada, Masaya and Rivas is attached to the Guardia Nacional serving in those places. There is also a non-commissioned officer of the Guardia Nacional in command of the Guardia Municipal in Nandaime. The Guardia Municipal in the other places mentioned constitutes the only police force for their protection, subject to the orders and occasional inspection of the Headquarters of the Guardia Nacional of their respective districts.
Soon after I returned from Washington, a delegation of twenty or more coffee growers from the Matagalpa district called upon me to protest against the withdrawal of marine protection from their property. They represented American, British, German, Italian and Swiss nationalities. They were extremely anxious about the future protection [Page 848] for their lives and property. I explained the situation to them and their views underwent a material change when they became aware of the steps being taken to give them adequate protection after the withdrawal of the marines. I invited Colonel Bradman and General Matthews to be present at a second conference with them to give them further assurance concerning the military measures being carried out for their protection. Colonel Bradman told them that the marine guards would remain at their present posts in the Matagalpa district until about May 15, and General Matthews assured them that the Guardia Nacional would be prepared to relieve the marine guards by that date. I understand that they returned to Matagalpa reconciled in a degree although still anxious concerning their future safety.
I have had numerous conferences with Colonel Bradman and General Matthews since my return to Managua at which we have discussed and decided upon plans for carrying out the reduction in the marine forces with the least possible likelihood of encouraging disorder. The marine forces in Ocotal and vicinity will be withdrawn first. This withdrawal has already begun and will be completed as rapidly as General Matthews can send Guardia to replace the marines. The marines in the Matagalpa area will be withdrawn at a later date but in time to complete the withdrawal and embarkation at Corinto by June 1.
The additional funds necessary for the increase of the Guardia and the construction of roads in the bandit regions presumably were made available to the Nicaraguan Government by the approval of the million-dollar loan by the Nicaraguan Congress. I assume that President Moncada will now adopt measures to inaugurate the road-building program in the near future. I will not fail to keep in touch with this phase of the general project.