817.00/8369: Telegram

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

18. My 17, February 11, noon.50 Somoza51 informed me at 12:20 p.m. that the mob had greatly increased in number and that the situation was getting out of hand. Mob was led by chauffeurs and workers and demanded removal of Porfirio Perez.52 Latter agreed to resign but President Sacasa refused to accept resignation and ordered Somoza to ask the crowd to disperse and to open fire if it refused to obey. Somoza telephoned me and said that would mean civil war.

On invitation of the President, and accompanied by Somoza, I called on the President and stated [that?] while I did not want to interfere in internal matters, I must insist, as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and American Minister, that order be maintained for the protection of the lives and property of Americans and other foreigners.

President authorized Somoza to address mob and say that resignation of Perez had been accepted. Somoza went to address the mob some two blocks away from the Legation.

Certain leaders of the mob have endeavored to incite the crowd against foreigners, but as yet Americans do not appear to be in danger. …52a

Politically, the trend of events are favoring Somoza. He is the only man who can quell the riot by force and certain elements of the mob are demanding that he take over the Government at once.

Will telegraph later this evening after seeing the President and others.

  1. Not printed; it reported that rioting had broken out in Nicaragua, as a result of the chauffeurs’ strike in protest against a shortage of gasoline (817.00/8368).
  2. Commander of the Nicaraguan Guardia Nacional.
  3. President of National District.
  4. Omission indicated in the original.