817.00/8291: Telegram

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

88. This morning I showed to source referred to in my 83, September 26, 9 p.m. the first paragraph of the Department’s 52, September 27, 6 p.m. The following is an outline of the conversation which then ensued:

Informant: In other words we are to do nothing. We are to allow the present fine situation (sarcastically) to continue. Somoza will be President and then the United States will be satisfied.

Myself: You misunderstand my Government’s position. We are merely trying as a friend to prevent civil war and a Central American conflagration. We have no desire to intervene in Nicaraguan affairs. Nicaragua is perfectly free to take such administrative action as she wishes. Our hope however is that no action will be taken which will start bloodshed.

Informant: There will probably not be a drop of blood shed. The movement is civic not military. Any military steps which are taken are purely of a precautionary character in case Somoza should rebel (as a result of proposed action outlined in second paragraph of my [Page 875] 83, September 26, 9 p.m.). I do not think he will rebel but we must be prepared. We have on our side the Guardia commanders in Leon, Chinandega, Jinotega, Masaya, Rivas and Esteli. We will only call for help from abroad in case we are attacked. Does the United States Government wish us to be attacked without mercy and without defending ourselves?

Myself: If there is a threatened rebellion I shall be glad to assist in the cause of peace as I did in the Sandino and Cuadra cases. You must know that we want peace. It is for that reason I showed you the Department’s telegram.

Informant: El Salvador sent assistance to Honduras when the constituted government there was threatened and no objection was made. Why should the United States object now?

Myself: We are not objecting but we are in the most earnest way emphasizing our hope that the peace will not be disturbed.

Informant: All we ask is that if the Government should be faced with Somoza’s rebelling you and the Salvadoran and Honduran Ministers should endeavor to persuade Somoza not to upset the peace. (No mention was made of Guatemalan Minister who has recently been associated with Somoza element).

Myself: I have many times urged Somoza never to use violence. Are you sure however that the country is as unanimous in your favor as you say? What about the Conservatives?

Informant: It is true that Chamorro is against us but Cuadra Pasos, Joaquin Gomez and the better Conservative element support us. The people are tired of the threats and the criminal acts of the Guardia. Moncada also is against us. The followers of all those who have presidential ambitions are against Somoza.

I shall telegraph later substance of conversation I am having with Somoza this afternoon.

Lane