817.00/8204: Telegram

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

20. Press of this morning reports arrest of General Castro Wassmer in Leon and his having been brought to Managua for imprisonment under orders of General Somoza, who has just returned from a 12 days tour through the Departments of Melilla, Jinotega, Nueva Segovia and Leon. Wassmer is reported to have been charged with having bombs in his possession. Despite absence of martial law, case does not appear to have been referred to normal judicial authorities.

Minister for Foreign Affairs said to me this morning that Wassmer’s arrest is merely another indication of Somoza’s intention of acting as the supreme authority in Nicaragua. Argüello expressed opinion that situation is serious.

In my opinion the arrest of Wassmer, who is generally considered one of the most loyal adherents to the President and to the President’s family, is significant in indicating Somoza’s complete disregard of Presidential sensibilities. Danger is that Somoza has gone so far that he cannot now turn back.

Full details by air mail despatch leaving here Sunday.53

  1. Despatch No. 803, April 12, not printed. In telegram No. 22, April 17, 9 a.m., the Minister in Nicaragua reported the release of Castro Wassmer (817.00/8206).