The Acting Secretary of State to President Roosevelt29

My Dear Mr. President: The President of Nicaragua, General Anastasio Somoza, consulted this Government early in November regarding the possible inclusion in the proposed new constitution of Nicaragua of a provision making the Bryan–Chamorro Treaty a matter of organic law with the leases extended to perpetuity. He also expressed interest in the canalization of the San Juan River to permit navigation by medium draft ships and expressed a wish to visit the United States within a few months to discuss this project. The Nicaraguan Government later consulted with this Government with reference to the inclusion in the proposed new constitution of a provision which would remove a conflict which is alleged to exist between the terms of the present constitution and the Byran–Chamorro Treaty.

With reference to the proposed provisions of the new constitution, this Government expressed the opinion that they were an exclusive concern of the Nicaraguan Government, while pointing out possible objections from Nicaragua’s point of view to raising the subject of the Bryan–Chamorro Treaty in this connection.

The Nicaraguan Minister, in a note dated November 30, has formally requested our assistance in conducting a study of the feasibility of canalizing the San Juan River. I am having inquiries made to determine whether we can lend the Nicaraguan Government such assistance.

In his note, the Nicaraguan Minister referred again to General Somoza’s desire to visit Washington in order to discuss with you personally the desire of Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan Government [Page 808] appears to be under the impression that this Government would favor such a visit.

Although I think the specific requests of Nicaragua have been or will be adequately answered, I perceive no objection to General Somoza’s visiting Washington sometime after the first of the year if it is agreeable to you. I should be grateful if you would let me know your wishes in the matter.

Faithfully yours,

Sumner Welles
  1. The original of this letter was returned by the President with an endorsement at the top reading as follows: “S. W. Visit OK FDR”. (817.001 Somoza, A./31½)