The Acting Secretary of State to the Nicaraguan Minister for Foreign Affairs (Argüello), Temporarily in Washington

Excellency: With reference to conversations which Your Excellency has held with officials of this Government and to conversations held by His Excellency President Somoza during his visit to Washington in 1939, I have the honor to inform you that careful and sympathetic consideration has been given by the appropriate officials of this Government to the matter of developing communications between the eastern and western sections of Nicaragua. In this connection I refer particularly to the Nicaraguan Legation’s memoranda of November 30, 1938 and August 10, 1940,17 and to the exchange of views with regard to the possible canalization of the San Juan River.

I regret to inform Your Excellency that these studies have clearly shown that the construction of the proposed barge canal is economically impracticable and that, therefore, I consider the project to be one to which the two Governments will wish to give no further consideration. However, my Government is fully aware of the importance of linking the east coast regions of Nicaragua with the regions of the interior and the Pacific coast. The matter is one which has been frequently discussed by representatives of our two Governments. It has now been agreed that the most promising method of achieving the objective would be the construction of a road from San Benito on the Inter-American Highway north of Managua to Rama on the Escondido River, from which point river communication to El Bluff and Bluefields on the Atlantic is available.

It is the opinion of my Government that the existence of the road mentioned would have, under present circumstances, a very important bearing upon the defense of the hemisphere.

Therefore, taking into account the spirit of the communications which were exchanged on May 22, 1939 between President Somoza of Nicaragua and President Roosevelt of the United States, my Government is willing, at its own expense, to carry out the following:

The construction of a highway between San Benito and Rama.
The survey and recommendation of the route of a highway from Rama to El Bluff; the construction and financing of such a road being a matter for the decision of the Nicaraguan Government in the light of the survey, and no obligation in regard thereto being contemplated by this Government.

The construction of the road from San Benito to Rama and the survey from Rama to El Bluff will, in the opinion of my Government, [Page 575] constitute a complete execution by my Government of any obligation which it may have incurred particularly under numbered paragraph “1” of the aforesaid exchange of letters of May 22, 1939.

From the technical and administrative point of view, it would seem desirable that the construction of the proposed highway from San Benito to Rama and the survey from Rama to El Bluff be carried out in the manner contemplated in the subsidiary agreement to be reached between the pertinent Nicaraguan authorities and the United States Public Road Administration for the completion of the Inter-American Highway.

Accept [etc.]

Sumner Welles
  1. Neither memorandum printed.