817.00/8417a

The Assistant Secretary of State ( Welles ) to the Minister in Nicaragua ( Long )

My Dear Mr. Long: I had intended sending on Friday last a cable, but in view of our telephone conversation of last Saturday, the 16th, and in view of the encouraging reports which De Bayle gave me [Page 822] yesterday, it seemed unnecessary to send a cable and I am accordingly quoting in this personal letter what I had intended to send in order that you may be fully advised of our correspondence with the Government of Salvador. The intended cable reads as follows:

“Since his conversation with the Secretary, referred to in instruction No. 27 of May 11, 1936,66 the Nicaraguan Chargé d’Affaires, acting on instructions from President Sacasa, has had a number of further conversations in the Department. He has reiterated the request for some friendly advice by the Department in connection with the present political crisis. To these requests for assistance the Department has consistently declined to give any advice or comment, or, in fact, to take any action of any kind to influence internal political affairs in Nicaragua.

“The Minister of El Salvador called, as you indicated he might, on May 13th and stated that his Government is greatly concerned with the political situation in Nicaragua and, with the knowledge of the Government of Nicaragua, had instructed him to discuss the situation with officials of the Department. The Department’s policy of non-interference was fully explained to the Minister. At the same time he was told that if no satisfactory solution should be arrived at, and if the situation should become so critical as to threaten life and property, and if requested by all contending factions, this Government would consider the possibility of rendering some assistance but that this Government would not act alone, but only in company with a group of nations, and that even under these circumstances this Government would not take the initiative.

“The foregoing views which were given to the Minister of El Salvador have also been conveyed to the Nicaraguan Chargé and are repeated to you for your own information only.

“Athough it was believed advisable to state in these very general terms what the Department might consider doing under the circumstances mentioned, nevertheless, in view of the unlikelihood that all the conditions mentioned would be met, and in view of the extreme reluctance of this Government to take any action, under any circumstances, you should be very careful not to lend any encouragement to the possibility, or to discuss the matter with anyone without prior consultation with the Department.”

Yours very sincerely,

Sumner Welles
  1. Instruction No. 27 not printed; see memorandum by the Secretary of State, May 5, p. 819.