817.812/736: Telegram

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

66. Your strictly confidential no. 107, November 3, 1 p.m. Please call on President Somoza as soon as an appropriate occasion is presented and discuss with him informally his proposal to include the provisions of the Bryan–Chamorro treaty in the new constitution.

Please inform him that this Government is sincerely appreciative of his courtesy in apprising you of his plans and likewise for this new manifestation of his desire to strengthen the ties of friendship with this country. Please tell the President that while the question of deciding what provisions shall be included in the new constitution is obviously the exclusive concern of the Nicaraguan Government this Government feels warranted in view of his frankness in acquainting you beforehand with his intentions in requesting you to place before him certain observations for his informal consideration.

You should state that it is the view of this Government that the treaty of August 5, 1914 remains in full force and effect and that at such time as the Congress of the United States may authorize construction of the Nicaraguan canal it feels that this treaty will serve as a satisfactory basis for whatever negotiations may be found necessary [Page 797] prior to actual construction of the canal and it does not consider that the rights of either party under the treaty would be strengthened by action of the nature which the President has in mind.

You may also point out to the President that he may wish before taking further action to give careful consideration to the historical position of Costa Rica and El Salvador toward the Bryan–Chamorro treaty.17 While we do not feel that inclusion of the provisions of the treaty in the new constitution would in any way affect the juridical position of this Government it would be a matter for sincere regret if such action should in any way disturb the friendly relations now existing between Nicaragua and the countries mentioned.

With regard to the President’s interest in the canalization of the San Juan River, please inform him that this appears to be a project of such magnitude that careful study of the technical features and of other considerations involved would be necessary before we would be in a position to make any comment thereon. You may of course inform the President that this Government would be happy to be of assistance to him in obtaining competent engineering advice and assistance in connection with the necessary preliminary studies.

The Department does not consider it would be necessary for you to leave with the President any written record of your conversation.

Please inform the Department promptly by telegraph of the results of your conversation.