Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State ( White )

Mr. Salvador Guerrero Montalvan called and said that he had been asked by Doctor Sacasa, who has now been appointed candidate of the Liberal Party in Nicaragua for President of that country during the next four years, to come to the Department and say that Doctor Sacasa hoped that the United States Government would continue to take the interest that it has in the past in Nicaraguan affairs and that we would not abandon Nicaragua now but would continue the Marines on in that country. Mr. Guerrero said he realized that there had been criticism in the past regarding having the Marines there but that public opinion has completely changed in Nicaragua and they now realize the benefit of our cooperation and help and want this to continue.

I told Mr. Guerrero that the policy of withdrawing our Marines had been very carefully thought out and had been decided on over eighteen months ago and public statement to that effect had been made in February, 1931. This decision had been supported by Congress and public opinion generally in this country. We in the Department thought it was the wise policy and we would not change it now.

I told Señor Guerrero that he might tell Doctor Sacasa that we would of course continue our great interest in Nicaragua and our desire to be helpful and the very fact that this policy had been announced [Page 871] eighteen months ago clearly showed that it was a policy based on questions of principle and not of personality as to who might be the next President. It was made eighteen months before Doctor Sacasa’s nomination so of course it had nothing to do therewith. Furthermore, no one can tell until after the elections who the next President will be.

Señor Guerrero then asked that the Marines be withdrawn little by little and not all at once next January. I said it was my understanding that they would probably not all be withdrawn at one time but that preparations would be begun some time in November and would be completed during the first few days of January.

Señor Guerrero then suggested that American officers be left in the higher positions in the Guardia Nacional. I told him that so far as I knew the Nicaraguan Government had not suggested a military Mission of a few officers and that the matter had not been considered; that we were making all our plans to get out bag and baggage in January and this applied to the officers in the Guardia as well as the Marine Brigade. I added that I thought that in the long run it was perhaps better for Nicaragua to take over now complete responsibility for the preservation of order rather than look to a foreign country to do so. After all, this is the obligation of Nicaragua and should be assumed by her.

F[rancis] W[hite]