817.00/8370: Telegram

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

19. My 18 February 11, 5 p.m. I have just returned from conferences with the President and Somoza, respectively, in the order named. The President informed me that Somoza instead of complying with his instructions of this morning, given in my presence, to prevent further meetings and manifestations, was in fact encouraging them; that under Somoza’s “tolerance”, radical elements were proceeding with plans for further meetings which would demand, in view of Government’s concession of today, (in accepting resignation of Perez), resignations of Chief of Police Melendez, of other officials and finally that of the President himself. The President indicated that this movement on the part of chauffeurs and others is political in character instigated by Guardia and other elements unfriendly to the Government. I said that the Diplomatic Corps is in agreement that we are not to be used as instruments for any political element but that we insist on the maintenance of order and the protection of foreign interests.

I said that in the interests of maintaining peace I would be glad to see Somoza immediately and ascertain whether appropriate measures had been taken to guarantee order.

At interview with Somoza he informed me that the body of the chauffeur killed this morning has been sent to Masaya by special train with a view to avoiding further demonstrations here; that he had given adequate orders to maintain order and that he is issuing a public circular this evening, after having consulted with Sub-Secretary of Gobernacion, to calm public intranquility. He promised me that no further mob influence on the Government would be permitted and that any attempt to organize groups would be quickly frustrated.

Somoza promised me that he would take no step against the Government. I reminded him of his having given me similar promises prior to the killing of Sandino.53 Nevertheless, he gave me his word of honor that he would not attempt anything against the constituted authorities.

This evening quiet appears to be restored, crowds having been dispersed.

  1. For the killing of Sandino, see telegrams Nos. 57 and 58, February 22, 1934, 5 a.m. and 4 p.m., from the Minister in Nicaragua, Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. v, pp. 529 and 531.