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

No. 1007

Sir: Referring to my strictly confidential despatch No. 993 of August 17, 1935, I have the honor to advise the Department that this morning I again broached to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the President, in that order, the matter of the negotiation of a reciprocal trade agreement with Nicaragua. The Minister of Foreign Affairs’ advised me that yesterday the President had held a Cabinet meeting at which the general provisions, as transmitted by the Department in its Instruction No. 305 of August 3, 1935, were discussed. Dr. Argüello said that when Article 1 of the provisions had been read, the Cabinet desired to examine Schedule I with a view to ascertaining what our wishes were. Dr. Argüello said that as’ Schedule I was not attached to the general provisions, the discussion stopped there and the meeting adjourned.

I explained to Dr. Argüello that the procedure which I had outlined to him as being most satisfactory and in which he had concurred, was that as soon as we had agreed on the general provisions, and as soon as Nicaragua had formulated her desiderata we could then take up seriatim the various products on which the United States would ask for concessions. I added that if the Cabinet had read on for one more paragraph, they would have found, in Article 2, that Schedule II was likewise mentioned; and that, as Schedule II comprised the concessions to be granted by the United States to Nicaragua, obviously Schedule II could not be included until the Nicaraguan Government had made up its mind with respect to the concessions which it desired of us. I expressed the hope that another meeting might very shortly take place, in order that our point of view might be clarified, and that we might have some definitive action from the Nicaraguan Government.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs made it clear that he was not objecting in any way to the general provisions; in fact, he informed [Page 832] me that an aide-mémoire, addressed to me, had been written on August 5 in which it was stated that in principle the general provisions were agreeable to Nicaragua, subject to correction by either party. Dr. Argüello went so far as to show me the original of this note, which he stated was merely awaiting the approval of the President before being sent to me.

I called Dr. Argüello’s attention to an article which had appeared in La Noticia this morning to the effect that it would be convenient for the details of the negotiations between Nicaragua and the United States on the reciprocal trade agreement to be made public. I said that of course the Nicaraguan Government would not give any publicity to the negotiations, but I felt impelled to call the Minister’s attention to the publication. Dr. Argüello said that naturally no information would be given out, except through mutual agreement, with respect to the negotiations.

After seeing Dr. Argüello, I called on the President and spoke to him along the lines of the foregoing, both with respect to the abortive Cabinet meeting of yesterday and the report in La Noticia. Dr. Sacasa confirmed the information given to me by Dr. Argüello regarding the reasons for the termination of the discussion yesterday on the part of the Cabinet, and added that he had instructed the Ministers of the Cabinet to study the general provisions more carefully. I emphasized to the President that these general provisions were the bases in principle of our other reciprocal trade agreements, and that it would, in my opinion, facilitate negotiations if we could agree on the general principles and then take up, one by one, the various products in which the two countries are respectively interested. He said he would endeavor to have another Cabinet meeting held as soon as possible with a view to letting me have a prompt decision.

Respectfully yours,

Arthur Bliss Lane