817.1051/627: Telegram

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

62. Legation’s telegram No. 59, April 16, 2 p.m.56 It asserted very undesirable to change the chief of the Guardia during the remaining months that it will be under the control of marine officers, especially as Nicaragua is just entering upon an electoral campaign which will be followed immediately by the important and difficult task of transferring control of the Guardia to Nicaraguan officers.

President Moncada has made it clear that he desires General Matthews to remain in command of the Guardia until the American officers are withdrawn and I think his wishes in this connection should be given much weight. He has complete confidence in General Matthews and this will be of the utmost importance in effective cooperation between the Guardia and the Nicaraguan Government, especially during the electoral period when the Guardia’s operations against the bandits will play an important role in the electoral supervision.

I have discussed this matter with General Matthews and he has confirmed his views as set forth in the Legation’s despatch No. 739 of April 4. He has told me however that of course he will remain here in command of the Guardia until it is turned over to Nicaraguans if the Navy Department should decide in that sense.

I know that General Matthews in thus indicating his willingness to give up the detail to the Navy War College is subordinating his own wishes to what others deem to be for the best interest of the service. Although I am reluctant to recommend any action which might interfere with General Matthews’ prospects for advancement in the [Navy], I feel compelled to do so in view of the extreme desirability of his being retained in command of the Guardia during the important and possibly critical period ahead of us.

I desire to suggest that an arrangement satisfactory to all others might be reached if General Matthews were left here with the [understanding?] that he would be detailed for the War College in 1933.

Admiral Smith has requested me to say that he unreservedly concurs in the foregoing and I believe he would welcome the opportunity to confirm if the Navy Department would ask him for his views.

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