817.00/11–945: Telegram

The Ambassador in Nicaragua ( Warren ) to the Secretary of State

683. At my request I saw the President November 9 at 4 p.m., on his return from Montelimar. He is still ill from amoebic infection and malaria. He has lost 20 pounds and looks thinner.

Since I wanted to discuss frankly the general political situation in Nicaragua, I took advantage of his repeated offer to speak unofficially. We talked intimately and off the record for over two hours. We covered pretty thoroughly the political situation.

Somoza was as cocksure as ever. He has utter contempt for the opposition. He claims 80% of the Nicaraguan public support him. He concedes his opponents may have the other 20% During the conversation he suggested that the United States supervise the elections. When I expressed belief we are unprepared undertake such task, he said other American Republics could be asked and would have to comply.

He again mentioned idea of referring to Supreme Court question of constitutionality his reelection.

During conversation Somoza said he did not want to be obstacle in electoral proceedings, that he is ill, and that he does not want to be President again. He said that he is ready to meet with responsible leaders (with certain exceptions) of Liberal and Conservative opposition in an endeavor to agree upon a single strong candidate to go before the people in election of February 1947. As a result of his suggestion, I understood that I am free to tell opposition leaders who may call on me that President is ready to meet with them and try to agree on a single strong candidate.

We also mentioned other phases of the political situation which need not be set forth now.

Thinking that Somoza might not have seen during his stay at Montelimar copies of Mr. Braden’s and Mr. Byrnes’ speeches47 and of Time article48 on Braden, I took those along. When President said he had not seen them, I showed and left copies so that he might peruse them at his convenience.

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As our conversation proceeded I became convinced that President was not aware of my receipt of Department’s clear telegram No. 408 of October 30 [29]. Consequently I handed him a copy. He was visibly moved and shaken. I left him with the idea that I am to see him again next week after departure of President Rios,49

  1. On October 27 and October 31, 1945, respectively, Assistant Secretary of State Spruille Braden and Secretary of State Byrnes referred in public speeches to certain measures of local tyranny practiced abroad by one or more unidentified regimes, a situation deplored by the United States as counter to its conviction that governments must rest upon the free consent of the governed. For texts of the speeches, see Department of State Bulletin, October 28, 1945, p. 658, and ibid., November 4, 1945, p. 709.
  2. The reference here is probably to an article entitled “Democracy’s Bull,” in Time magazine, November 5, 1945, p. 42.
  3. Juan Antonio Bios Morales, President of Chile.