817.00/12–145: Telegram

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

770. In order to comply immediately with Dept’s telegram 459 of November 30, I arrived at 3 p.m. at Finca San Juan without appointment. President Somoza received me immediately.

I allowed Somoza to read exact text of No. 459 but gave him no copy. He seemed hurt. We discussed message for several minutes during which he said:

The Dept has misunderstood my statement. I did not “offer” to renounce my presidential candidacy to State Dept. What I meant to say was that I was prepared to renounce my candidacy to the people of Nicaragua within 30 days.

[Page 1229]

Our conversation was a private one and I made my statement in writing as a token of friendship toward US. I only wanted to let US as a friendly country (the elder brother of the Continent, as I say) know beforehand my decision in hope that my action would help to bring tranquility to Nicaragua. I did not aim to offend or harm the US in any way.

It was not intended that my message should indicate that US was exerting any pressure on me to renounce my candidacy. In fact, I did not and do not contemplate making public the statement. I did not even keep a copy of it. (Embassy later sent Somoza a copy.)

I authorize State Dept to strike out of statement the five words “formalmente al departemento de estado’.”

The President’s reaction was that he had tried to act on friendly basis with Dept and that he was afraid it had taken offense. He said he should always deal with Dept on formal, technical basis.

When I got up to go he repeated: You tell them I did not mean to harm or offend; I only wanted to be friendly.