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

No. 7

Sir: On December 14, 1933, the Secretary of State, while at Montevideo,4 addressed the following telegram to the Department:

“I have forwarded to the Department with an air mail despatch dated December 11 a memorandum submitted to me by Leonardo [Page 850] Arguello5 concerning the desire of Nicaragua to reorganize the National Guard. Dr. Arguello appears to be of the opinion that the Department’s consent to such action is necessary in view of an agreement signed in our Legation at Managua by the two candidates for the presidency in the last elections.

“The Nicaraguan delegation has now requested that a reply to the memorandum be transmitted to Dr. Arguello here if possible before the Conference ends but I have only felt able to inform them that the memorandum has been forwarded to the Department and have suggested that in view of the limited time it is improbable that the Department will be able to give the necessary study to the question upon which to base a decision in time to have the reply here before December 24, the probable date of the close of the Conference.”

The Department, on December 16, 1933, replied to the Secretary of State as follows:

“The American Minister to Nicaragua witnessed the signature of the agreement between the Presidential candidates but the United States was not a party to the agreement and Nicaragua incurred no obligation to consult us concerning any action contemplated under it or with reference to it.

“While the Department will await the receipt of Dr. Arguello’s memorandum with interest, it is its view that the proposed reorganization of the National Guard is not a subject on which it may appropriately express an opinion.”

In the event the Legation is approached officially by the Nicaraguan Government on this subject, its attitude will, of course, be that expressed in the Department’s telegram quoted immediately above.

The Department’s attitude in this connection is consonant with the statement of the Secretary of State on the occasion of the withdrawal of the American armed forces from Nicaragua on January 2, 1933, to the effect that the turning over the direction of the Guardia Nacional to Nicaraguan officers marked the realization of the commitment which the United States had assumed at Tipitapa to organize and train a non-partisan constabulary, and that the fulfillment of this obligation and of the promise to supervise Nicaraguan elections marked the termination of the special relationship which had existed between the United States and Nicaragua.

The Department does not feel that it could comment officially on the proposed reorganization of the Nicaraguan Guardia any more than it could on the reorganization of the military forces of any other independent, sovereign nation. It is the Department’s opinion, nevertheless, that the continued maintenance of a Guardia Nacional organized substantially as at present is important to the future peace and welfare of Nicaragua, and it believes that the maintenance of the nonpartisan [Page 851] principle, in particular, constitutes one of Nicaragua’s strongest guaranties of peace.

The Department has no objection to your expressing its opinion in this connection, orally and informally, to President Sacasa and to other responsible leaders in Nicaragua should those persons approach you in the matter.

Very truly yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles
  1. At the Seventh International Conference of American States; for correspondence, see vol. iv, pp. 1 ff.
  2. Nicaraguan Minister for Foreign Affairs.