810.20 Defense/304/11

The Minister in Nicaragua (Nicholson) to the Secretary of State4
No. 1115

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s strictly confidential telegraphic instruction No. 39 of June 3, 3:00 p.m. and my telegraphic reply thereto No. 51 of June 5, 3:00 p.m.

Immediately upon receipt of the Department’s telegram I took steps to arrange an interview with President Somoza. There was a slight delay as President Somoza is now in his country place, Montelimar, on the Pacific ocean, about two and half hours from Managua by car, and the only means of communication is by telegraph. An appointment was obtained for 9:30 on the morning of June 5th. I drove to Montelimar accompanied by Mr. Flournoy and was most cordially received by President Somoza. After conversing on various topics the telegram under acknowledgement was brought up. When the proposals set forth in the telegram and the visit of Army Officers were explained, the President quickly and without qualification said that he was in full agreement and offered his whole-hearted support to the Department’s policy. He took the opportunity to declare his friendship for the United States, explaining, as he put it, that he did not wish to throw himself at the feet of the United States but that he was convinced that a small country such as Nicaragua needed the protection and assistance of the United States and could not progress without it. [Page 147] In closing this phase of the conversation, I emphasized the secrecy of the telegram.

In discussing the practical aspects of the visit of American officers the President repeated what he had said before on public occasions, that is, that Nicaragua could and would contribute an army of 40,000 men to the armed forces of the United States should it become necessary. He pointed out however, that even with the recent purchase of 5,000 Enfield rifles from the United States he did not have sufficient rifles to arm 40,000 men. He suggested that it might be advisable to construct a small arsenal on the Gulf of Fonseca to store enough arms for his proposed army. He was quick to add that naturally such an arsenal would be under the protection of American troops. He also said that the arsenal being near the population center of Central America could be used also to store arms for other Central American Republics. The President’s only other concrete suggestion was that the United States furnish sufficient funds to complete the inter-American Highway as far as Panamá in order to facilitate mobilization and defense.

The President volunteered the suggestion that the Nicaraguan delegation that takes part in the conversations should include himself, two Guardia Nacional officers, and Major Charles L. Mullins, U. S. A., Director of the Military Academy. Civilian members of the government will not be included.

Respectfully yours,

Meredith Nicholson
  1. Printed from carbon copy. Original not found in Department files. No receipt date indicated.