817.00 Woodward Electoral Mission/70c: Telegram

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

49. Department has received from Nicaraguan Chargé d’Affaires a note41 transcribing a telegram from President Moncada on May 17th, giving the text of a note sent under his instructions by Minister for Foreign Affairs to you, setting forth the difficulty of Nicaragua in meeting the electoral expenses and implying a moral obligation on the part of the United States to help out in this matter.

Under the original understanding made by me in 1927 for the supervision of the 1928 elections, the expenses were to be paid by the Nicaraguan Government. Whatever contributions this Government made in 1928 and 1930 towards meeting the electoral expenditures were made purely voluntarily to assist Nicaragua in a situation where she was then unable to pay for herself. The situation this year makes it impossible for us to contribute anything like the amount we have contributed in the past. This letter of President Moncada’s indicates that he does not intend to contribute even what he contributed in the past. We can not go forward with preparations for the elections without knowing whether the expenses will be paid by Nicaragua, and I therefore desire you to call on President Moncada at once and find out exactly what his position is and whether he will definitely undertake to contribute on the dates requested the funds called for by Admiral Woodward in the Department’s telegram No. 44 of May 7, noon.

It is necessary for me to go before Congress to get the funds required for our part in the elections. Under present economic conditions I have very little hope at best that Congress will appropriate these funds. I want to know immediately President Moncada’s position in order to know whether we have any basis for asking for this money. If Nicaragua will not put up the small amount asked of her, certainly I have no grounds for asking our Congress to make funds available to us. If Moncada, as indicated by his letter, is not going to pay, I should rather have a refusal now in order that we can call the whole thing off at once and get the Marines out of Nicaragua. The purpose of this is to get an unequivocal answer—yes or no—as I have to go before a Congressional Committee in the next day or two.

  1. Note No. 361, May 19, 1932; not printed.