Press Release Issued by the Department of State, January 2, 1933

Today the United States marines leave Nicaragua. No American armed forces will remain in that country, either as instructors in the constabulary, as a Legation Guard, or in any other capacity whatsoever. Their retirement at this time realizes in fact the intention announced by the Department of State in February, 1931, of withdrawing the marines following the presidential elections of 1932.

The American forces were sent to Nicaragua in 1926 because the Nicaraguan authorities stated that they were unable to protect Americans whose lives were endangered by the civil war then in progress, and that they desired the American Government to take appropriate steps to protect its citizens in Nicaragua. They were retained there after the termination of hostilities in accordance with the request of the Nicaraguan Government, and under the terms of the Tipitapa Agreement2 which put an end to the civil war—first, that American forces organize and train a non-partisan constabulary, and secondly, that they assist in the supervision of the elections for the Presidency and the Congress. The United States accepted these obligations out of a desire to assist Nicaragua to terminate the disastrous civil war and to lay the foundations for permanent peace through holding free, fair and impartial elections.

On three successive occasions, in 1928, 1930 and 1932, national elections have been held under American supervision3 and under conditions which guaranteed to the voters of Nicaragua the opportunity to express their free and untrammeled choice. With the conclusion of the election on November 6 last, by which Dr. Sacasa was elected to the Presidency, the commitment of the United States in so far as [Page 849] electoral supervision is concerned has been fulfilled. That the Nicaraguan people have just cause to be proud of their sense of civic responsibility is amply demonstrated by the services performed by the Nicaraguans who presided at 247 of the 429 local electoral boards. These chairmen performed their duties in a manner that has not admitted of criticism or reproach. This fact combined with the admirable attitude of the party in defeat should augur well for the future of popular government in Nicaragua.

Both Nicaraguan political parties to the settlement which ended the civil war supported the disbanding of the old National Army, which had frequently been an instrument of undisguised political aggression. In its place, at the request of Nicaragua, American officers and enlisted men have organized and trained an entirely new and non-partisan force, the Guardia Nacional, grounded upon the fundamental precept of service to the country as a whole. During the past five years this force has developed into a well-disciplined and efficient organization with a high esprit-de-corps. The direction of the Guardia has now passed from American to Nicaraguan officers, and it is noteworthy that both political parties have agreed on their own initiative to a plan for insuring the non-political character of that organization. This act of turning over the direction of the Guardia to Nicaraguan officers marks the realization of the other major commitment which the United States assumed at Tipitapa.

The withdrawal of the American forces, therefore, follows upon the fulfillment of the above-mentioned obligations and marks the termination of the special relationship which has existed between the United States and Nicaragua. This country has considered it a privilege to assist Nicaragua and will always look with friendly sympathy and satisfaction upon the progress which Nicaragua through her own efforts will inevitably achieve in the future. The United States desires for Nicaragua, as for her sister republics in Central America, peace, tranquillity, well-being, and the just pride that comes from unimpaired integrity.

  1. The Agreement between the Personal Representative of the President of the United States, Colonel Henry L. Stimson, and General Moncada, confirmed by Colonel Stimson’s Note to General Moncada, dated at Tipitapa, May 11, 1927, ibid., 1927, vol. iii, p. 345.
  2. See ibid., 1928, vol. iii, pp. 418 ff.; ibid., 1930, vol. iii, pp. 636 ff.; ibid., 1932, vol. v, pp. 785 ff.