740.0011 Pacific War/842: Telegram

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

263. I saw the Minister of Foreign Affairs again this morning regarding anti-sabotage measures, restriction of communications facilities to totalitarians and Nicaragua’s declaration of war.

Guards have been placed at principal fuel and oil depots, radio and telegraph stations and offices and both air ports in Managua. Guards will be placed in the grounds of the German club which adjoins the West India Oil Depot.

The President is taking steps to restrict the communications by telephone and telegraph of Axis representatives and nationals. It is understood that the German Legation telephone is now out of order. I understand that orders have been given to confine the two Japanese nationals in the country.

The President and Cabinet have been exploring ways and means of arriving immediately at a state of war with Japan and yet doing so in accordance with their constitutional procedure which requires 5 days of preliminary sessions before the Congress when reconvened can transact war emergency business; or in this case, declare war. I inquired of the Foreign Minister whether it would be within their constitutional rights for the President to declare the existence of a state of war as a fact “de hecho”, leaving it to Congress as soon as possible to pass a formal declaration based on a formal message to them. This might enable the President to declare a complete state of emergency and “suspend guarantees” today.

The Foreign Minister felt that this would be feasible and subsequently I was called to the Casa Presidencial by the President and asked to sit in on the Cabinet meeting as a guest. The President and Cabinet then decided to issue a declaration in the foregoing sense today.

The President also asked me, in the presence of his Cabinet, to assure the United States that Nicaraguan territory is immediately available for the use of American armed forces; that Nicaragua can raise up to 10,000 men to cooperate in defense measures and that these can be used if necessary, in this hemisphere at least, outside of Nicaragua. He pointed out that the cost of maintaining a Nicaraguan soldier would not be over half the cost for an American soldier and instanced the possibility of their use at Panama.

He said that steps would be taken to make at least one of the two Nicaraguan patrol vessels at Corinto seaworthy for local patrol. He said that officers for these vessels would be needed and could only [Page 103] be obtained from the United States. (See my telegram no. 258 of December 7th.58) He said that if our Government so desired, he would place Colonel Mullins in charge of raising and training any Nicaraguan force so to be used.

He desired the unconditional support and solidarity of Nicaragua in this war to be expressed to you and to President Roosevelt.

The Nicaraguan Congress will probably meet tonight or tomorrow and some means will probably be found to hasten its formal action to follow up the declaration the President will make today.

I have the honor to recommend (1) an expression of thanks and appreciation which can be published from President Roosevelt to President Somoza (2) consideration and study with this Legation of the feasibility of the acceptance of his offer for the use of a very limited number of Nicaraguan troops to be incorporated into defense service. If some American force, air or naval, for instance, could be stationed in this country such troops might be assigned with them. (3) Expedite measures for arming the patrol vessels GN–1 and 2. (4) Sending a Military Attaché who can act as liaison officer with the War Department or [on?] military defense measures who can act from day to day.

Daily communication is being maintained between naval radio station Panama and the Guardia station at the Presidency.

  1. Not printed.