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

No. 979A

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith enclosed, a single copy of a clipping, together with translation,73 of the leading article in [Page 867] today’s La Prensa of Managua, purporting to give the substance of an interview between a representative of President Sacasa and an official of the Department of State.

When I called on President Sacasa this morning in connection with another matter, he referred to this publication and then read to me a rough draft of a letter which he said he proposed to send to the Managing Editor of La Prensa in answer to the article, together with a rough draft of a letter from his Private Secretary to the editor of the paper, requesting to be informed as to the source of the information contained therein. The President’s letter to Dr. Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, as he read it to me in draft form, stated categorically that the information was false; that he had not sent his brother, Federico Sacasa, to Washington to sound out the Department of State; that it was an insult to attribute to him the desire to extend his own presidential term in violation of the Constitution; and that it was, as well, an insult against the sovereignty of Nicaragua. The President said that this article is but another instance of the desire of the Conservatives to create trouble, particularly now that Generals Chamorro, Moncada and Somoza apparently have an understanding among one another with a view to obtaining control of the succeeding government. Dr. Sacasa said that it would be most helpful if I could make a statement to the effect that the Department of State had not been approached by any representative of his with a view to prolonging his presidential term.

I said that while I did not doubt that the President’s information is entirely accurate, I could not make a statement regarding what had transpired or had not transpired with the Department of State without specific instructions from the Department. Should it be the case that the Department has not been approached in the sense indicated, I believe, not only for President Sacasa’s sake, but for the sake of affirming our policy of non-intervention as well, it would be advisable to authorize me to make a very brief statement in the matter. It would seem that such a statement might embrace two points:

The fact (if it is a fact) that we have not been approached by a representative of the Nicaraguan Government with a view to ascertaining our views with respect to the amendment of the Constitution of Nicaragua to permit the extension of President Sacasa’s term; and
The policy of the Department of refraining from taking action in matters of purely Nicaraguan internal concern.

I should deeply appreciate a telegraphic reply to this despatch.

Respectfully yours,

Arthur Bliss Lane
  1. Not printed.