817.00/7940: Telegram

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

58. My 57, February 22, 5 a.m. The President sent for me this morning and asked me to accompany General Portocarrero to aviation [Page 532] field. I complied with request. Calderón Ramirez left on the same airplane for San Salvador.

President showed me decode of telegram from Jefe Politico at Jinotega indicating that crowd of Government (as distinguished from Guardia) sympathizers had gathered to offer loyalty to President. President stated that similar telegrams had been received from all parts of the country.

He said he had placed censorship on all outgoing communications and that he proposed to establish state of siege.

Later I saw General Somoza. He told me that General Sandino, his brother Socrates, and Generals Estrada and Umanzor had been killed last evening and that son-in-law of Salvatierra had been badly wounded in the fighting outside of latter’s house.

Somoza said that his code message regarding operations at Wiwili, as reported in my telegram 57, February 22, 5 a.m., had been stopped by order of the President but that later it had been released, necessitating a delay, however, of about 8 hours; and that the telegram with respect to the release of Conservatives had been sent.

It is evident that the relations between the President and his associates, on the one hand, and Somoza, on the other, are severely strained as a result of the murder of Sandino and his companions. As this relationship is openly discussed here, Somoza told me he would issue statement to the press emphasizing his loyalty to the President. Somoza assures me that he will support President and his government. Since events of last night, however, I have less confidence in his assurances than formerly.

Managua is quiet outwardly. Have as yet no reports from other parts of country but have instructed Consul at Puerto Cabezas to telegraph such reaction in his district as he may be able to confirm.