817.00 Bandit Activities/507

The Minister in Honduras (Lay) to the Secretary of State

No. 599

Sir: Referring to my despatch No. 598 of August 18, 1932,78 I have the honor to enclose herewith the report of Third Secretary Higgins of his conference with General Plata at Danlí on yesterday.78

I have made it very clear to the President, both in a conversation and in a memorandum, that the Legation has thoroughly reliable information that during the past ten days large shipments of arms, [Page 938] many of them taken from the Government arsenals have been purchased by Sandino agents here and have been sent to the Nicaraguan frontier; that within the last few days mules were loaded with munitions, in daylight, in front of the Ritz Hotel in Tegucigalpa, destined for the frontier and that a truck load of rifles left Tegucigalpa on the early morning of August 16 for the same destination; and that Mr. Higgins was informed by a Nicaraguan at Danlí that part of this shipment was yesterday at a place between Tulanga and Danlí.

I told the President that it was difficult for me to understand and it would be difficult to explain to the Department how large shipments of arms could be stolen from the National arsenals in Honduras and sold and sent to Sandino through known agents of Sandino without any of them having been captured. This observation seemed to impress the President as he assured me that he would not only see that the recommendations in Mr. Higgins’s report were carried out at once, but he would order immediately to Danlí twenty police agents and some machine guns to be placed under General Plata’s orders.

I pointed out to the President, however, that it was easier to capture arms for the bandits before they left Tegucigalpa than while they were en route, and that greater vigilance should be exercised over the activities of Sandino agents who have, to the knowledge of many people, negotiated for the purchase of large quantities of arms in Tegucigalpa and exchanged 14,000 cordobas for this purpose.

I have not much hope that any arms now en route will be captured by General Plata’s men, although he is apparently doing everything that is humanly possible to effect a capture. The Legation will continue to urge the President to take more effective action on this end.

Respectfully yours,

Julius G. Lay
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