817.00/7946: Telegram

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

65. Department’s telegram 14, February 23, 11 a.m. I have several times explained to General Somoza my understanding of Department’s policy.

As explained to Wilson over telephone today the situation has been aggravated since yesterday by the apparently growing and strong feeling that I conspired with Moncada and Somoza to have Sandino killed. This has been told me by Nicaraguan, American and diplomatic sources. This impression may have been emphasized by an article [in] La Noticia of February 20 headed “The Sandino Affair” with the subheading “Activities of General Somoza,” stating that I had dined with Somoza Saturday night (which is untrue) and attended a baseball game with him on Sunday.

It is true that I had seen Somoza many times prior to Wednesday night with a view to persuading him not to do anything rash. He gave me his word of honor on four separate occasions (the last at 6 p.m. on February 21) that he would take no action against Sandino without my consent. He has since apologized to me for what he claims he could not prevent, the feeling among the Guardia officers being too strong against Sandino. Somoza has admitted to me, however, that the officers who participated acted under orders. A statement from the Department at this time in support of the broadly [omission?] or indicating our policy of nonrecognition of non-constitutional governments should serve not only to quiet the anti-American [Page 536] feeling but also to check any military movement against the Government. Beside the President and his brother the following representative Nicaraguans told me today that they still consider the situation very serious: Chief Justice Cuadra Zavala, Vice President Espinosa and Senator Stadthagen. I concur. Although there are suggestions that the President or Somoza should resign, such action would not seem to solve the situation as the problem of relations between the Guardia and constitutional government would still exist. In the absence of a more radical solution it would seem that cordial and harmonious cooperation between the President and Somoza is essential and that Somoza must subordinate himself to the President. I am doing what I can to bring this about.

Lane