810.20 Defense/1143/12

The Chargé in Nicaragua (Muccio) to the Secretary of State
No. 1125

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 40, dated June 5, 6:00 p.m. and to report that Major Clayton C. Jerome, U. S. M. C. and Captain Maxwell D. Taylor, U. S. A. arrived in Managua on Wednesday, June 12th at noon and, having accomplished their mission, left for Tegucigalpa, Honduras at noon June 14.

The confidential conversations envisaged in the Department’s instruction No. 39, dated June 3, 3:00 p.m. were held at the Presidential Palace at 6:00 p.m. on June 12, 1940. President Somoza was alone during the course of the entire conference which lasted for almost two hours. In addition to Major Jerome and Captain Taylor, I was accompanied by the Military Attaché who happened to be in Managua at the time. I should like to record that Major Jerome, Captain Taylor and I were each impressed by President Somoza’s apparent frankness and eagerness to convince us that he really wants to effectively co-operate [Page 148] with the United States, and to a lesser extent with other American Republics, in all matters affecting continental security and defense.

A brief memorandum of the conversations, in the preparation of which Major Jerome, Captain Taylor and I collaborated, is enclosed.5 A great deal of the long discourses injected by President Somoza were not recorded as they were not pertinent to the immediate object of the visit of Messrs. Jerome and Taylor.

Of particular interest was the information given by the President,—as recorded commencing on page five of the memorandum—in reply to questions regarding subversive activities and measures for counteracting them. General Somoza explained that all foreigners in Nicaragua are registered and photographed but that the Guardia Nacional does not have their fingerprints. He appreciates that there are some Nazi sympathizers in his Government and quite a few active Nazis in the country, but he pointed out that there were more anti-Nazis than pro-Nazis. He expressed absolute confidence that he could handle any Fifth Column activities that may be taken in his country, but realized that he has no facilities to effectively patrol his coast off shore.

…Dr. Octavio Pasos Montiel created quite a stir in the National Assembly on June 12 by accusing several of his fellow deputies of being active “Fifth Columnists” and by further accusing sections of the Managua press of being subsidized by German interests. The local representative of the United Press has just informed me that President Somoza summoned him yesterday and expressed his displeasure at having a report to this effect sent out of the country. The President then told the United Press representative to visit the National Assembly where he found that a “Pro-Democracy” resolution had just been rushed through. The text of this resolution as published in all papers this morning is being forwarded to the Department in a separate despatch. The Legation is now endeavoring to appraise the extent and effectiveness of Nazi influences in Nicaragua and will report thereon as soon as practical.

Respectfully yours,

John J. Muccio
  1. Not printed.