817.00 Woodward Electoral Mission/125: Telegram

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

132. From Admiral Woodward.

“I am sending this date to the Presidents of the ‘Juntas Nacional Liberal’, respectively, of Managua and Leon the following letters which are self-explanatory.

‘Sir: Under date of July 7, 1932, I advised you by letter that the brief submitted by that faction of the Liberal Party which you represent [Page 811] has been received and was being given careful study and consideration by this mission in order to determine the relative legal merits of the points in controversy between the two factions of the party. At the same time I suggested that, in order to avoid the possibility of more than one candidate for each of the offices of supreme authorities of the republic being nominated in the name of the Liberal Party, it might be well for the representatives of the so-called Leon and Managua factions of said party to meet together during the period July 7 to 12 with the view of reaching an accord satisfactory to the party as a whole. I am now informed by the representatives of both factions that the suggested meeting was held on July 11th and 12th, but somehow the results have failed of the object sought.

Your attention is invited to the fact that, declaration, supervision and conduct of the forthcoming national elections, the United States Electoral Mission must deal directly with the national governing bodies of the two historic parties, or such other parties as may be formed by petition in accordance with the Nicaraguan electoral law now in force, and to the further fact that the presentation and certification of party nominations to public office, as prescribed in the aforementioned electoral law, can be made only by that national governing body of the party concerned which is legally constituted in accordance with the statutes of said party. It is, therefore, of major importance to all concerned that the legality of the national governing body of every party be definitely established. Such is not the case at the present time with regard to the Liberal Party.

In view of the foregoing, it is my duty to inform you of the results of my study of the situation existing within the Liberal Party, as disclosed in the briefs submitted by the two opposing factions thereof and other information available to this Mission.

Several assemblies of delegates have been held at Leon and Managua since November 1931, and an alleged party plebiscite was held on April 3rd last for the election of party authorities. The legality of these proceedings has been challenged by one or the other faction of the party with the result that there are now in existence two rival national governing bodies of the Liberal Party, to wit, the “Junta Directiva Nacional y Legal” elected at the above mentioned alleged party plebiscite, and the “Provisional Junta Directiva Nacional y Legal” appointed by the March convention of the Liberal Party at Leon to substitute for the then incumbent Junta pending trial of the five members there of whom this convention declared suspended from office.

After making a minute and complete analysis of the facts and party laws relating to this situation, I find, and so resolve, that neither of the foregoing Juntas at this time constitutes the legal governing bodies of Liberal Party according to its own statutes. Consequently, it is necessary that a lawful party plebiscite be held at the earliest practicable date in the election of party authorities. The exact date for this plebiscite should be set by the Comision General de Control Electoral as organized by the March 1, 1932, convention at Leon but, because of the short time remaining in which the provisions of the party statutes and of the electoral law can be [Page 812] carried into effect, such date should be not later than August 7, 1932.

Lastly, you are advised that the Junta Directiva Nacional y Legal which may be elected at the above mentioned plebiscite, in conformity with the statutes of said party, will be accorded full recognition by the United States Electoral Mission in Nicaragua as the legal national governing body of the Liberal Party.

An identical letter to the above is being forwarded at this time to (President of the Junta Nacional Liberal of the opposite faction) and copies are also being furnished to the members of the Comision General de Control Electoral as organized by the March, 1932, convention at Leon.

With assurances of my high esteem, I am very respectfully, C. H. Woodward, Rear-Admiral, United States Navy, Chairman, United States Electoral Mission to Nicaragua.’ (Signed) Woodward.”