817.00 Johnson Electoral Mission/207: Telegram

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

135. Legation’s 91, May 29, 3 p.m., and 98, June 5, 11 a.m. In view of the clear intent of Decree No. 102 of July 26, 1930, as expressed in Article 3, that the changes and suspensions of the provisions of the Electoral Law promulgated March 20, 1923, should be effective only with respect to the elections for supreme authorities, it obviously is not practicable to proceed further at this time with the proposed appointment of Major Price to the National Board of Elections under Article 16 thereof.

You may so inform the appropriate authorities, stating that while American supervision of the municipal election is not contemplated it is considered desirable that Major Price should be present in Nicaragua prior to and during those elections to observe them and report thereon. Such action would be in conformity with the request of the Nicaraguan Government as conveyed to the Legation in the note of February 12, 1929, and would likewise, in view of the important bearing of the municipal elections on the forthcoming presidential elections, constitute a preliminary step in the plans for their supervision.

You may state furthermore, in compliance with paragraph 2 of the Department’s telegram No. 125 of May 27, 1 p.m., that the expenses [Page 880]which will be incurred by Major Price during his mission in Nicaragua will be defrayed by this Government.

The Department considers it desirable for you to convey the substance of the foregoing to the Nicaraguan Government in the form of a written communication and to obtain from the Government of Nicaragua a written response thereto acquiescing in the assignment of Major Price to the duties contemplated. In this connection you may mention that it is the intention of the Department to have Major Price proceed to Nicaragua in the month of July. He will be accompanied by Lieutenant Floyd A. Stephenson as assistant.

Upon being informed by you of the formal acquiescence of the Government of Nicaragua in the assignment of Major Price to this duty the Department will issue to the press the “Statement of Policy with respect to the Elections in Nicaragua between now and November, 1932” a copy of which was transmitted to you with the Department’s air mail instruction No. 132 [134] of March 7, 1931.58 You may make the statement public in Nicaragua at the same time. The first full paragraph on page 2 should be omitted. The third and fourth sentences of the next paragraph on that page should be deleted and the following sentences substituted: “It is nevertheless desirable that an American electoral official should be present in Nicaragua at this time. Captain Johnson has gone to sea and is unable to return to Nicaragua, in view of which the Department has designated Major Charles F. B. Price, United States Marine Corps, as electoral observer.”

Stimson
  1. Instruction not printed; for statement of policy, see Department of State, Press Releases, July 11, 1931 (Publication No. 211), p. 51.