817.1051/676: Telegram

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

87. Your despatch 865, August 9, 1932. The Department supports General Matthews’ plan for turning over the Guardia to Nicaraguan officers, and desires you to lay it before President Moncada for his approval at an early opportunity. You may consider it advisable to request General Matthews to accompany you.

The Department leaves to your discretion the manner of presenting the plan to President Moncada. You know his present mood and the type of argument best calculated to gain his support. However, if you see fit you may inform President Moncada of the Department’s views as follows:

It was inherent in the logic of the Tipitapa Agreement58 that a day must arrive when Nicaragua would take over the control of the [Page 872] Guardia. The plan drawn up in February 1931 after consultation with Mr. Hanna and General McDougall contemplated the withdrawal of all the American forces immediately after the presidential elections of 1932. This plan was thereupon submitted to President Moncada, who approved and initialed it. The elections are now not far off and consequently the time is rapidly approaching when, in accordance with this predetermined plan, the Guardia must be turned over to Nicaraguan officers. It is of vital importance that this transfer be effected smoothly and with the least loss of efficiency. The Department considers that the plan now proposed is satisfactory from both the military and political standpoint. It will permit those Nicaraguan officers who are to fill the higher and most responsible positions to gain instruction and experience by working alongside the American personnel. It also will allow the incoming President, whoever he may be, to select the officers who will command the Guardia during his term. Finally it will assure the continuance of the non-partisan basis of the Guardia since its officers will be drawn equally from the two historic political parties.

Please urge upon President Moncada the early acceptance of this plan so that General Matthews may take the necessary steps at once to secure the lists of names from the presidential candidates. Should President Moncada raise objection and fail to submit some equally sound proposal would a personal letter from the Secretary supporting General Matthews’ plan strengthen your hand?

Please suggest to General Matthews the importance of having the two presidential candidates in selecting for their lists men from the opposing political party name those who are able and reliable and will strengthen the Guardia instead of figureheads who will later have to be replaced. The new President will have to place great reliance on the Guardia to maintain peace and order and should be interested in having the best possible persons drawn from both parties. The advantages of selecting at least some of the higher officers from those already in the Guardia are obvious. It would, of course, be very helpful for the success of the plan if the two candidates could be persuaded to draw up lists composed of practially the same names.

  1. i.e., the agreement between Colonel Stimson and General Moncada, confirmed by Colonel Stimson’s note to General Moncada, dated at Tipitapa, May 11, 1927, Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. iii, p. 345.