The Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs ( Braden ) to Señor Adolfo Diaz and General Emiliano Chamorro, Former Presidents of Nicaragua

Gentlemen: The receipt is acknowledged of your letter of July 16, 1946,7 discussing conditions in Nicaragua, in the light of the elections scheduled for February, 1947, and requesting that the Department “give serious consideration and study to (1) the establishment of some effective supervision of the elections or (2) the formation of a group of ‘Observers of Elections’ in sufficient numbers to engage actively in their duties, not only in the cities but also in the widely separated rural voting districts of the Country”.

As I explained to you when you called on me on June 28, 1946,8 to make much the same suggestion, the Government and people of the United States of course have a more friendly feeling for, and a greater desire to collaborate with, those countries whose governments rest upon the periodically and freely expressed consent of the governed. However, the proposal for supervision of elections would have to be considered in the light of our existing non-intervention commitments. I commented that it is incumbent upon the United States not only to avoid intervention, but equally scrupulously to avoid even the appearance or suspicion of intervention.

As regards supervision of the elections, I pointed out that this would be impossible unless all the major political parties, including the Government, should request it; and that even in that case the United States would not be willing alone to undertake such supervision. I added that should such a request from all the major political parties and the Government be addressed to and be accepted by, say, three or five of the American republics, and if the United States to be included in that request then my Government might have to reconsider its position, although I still expressed doubt as to whether or not the President of the United States would even then be willing for this Government to take part in supervising the elections. I commented further that the proposal that the electoral supervision should be undertaken by the United States alone, rather than through the Inter-American System or through the United Nations, might, if adopted, operate to weaken those systems; a result which we would all certainly wish to avoid.

I furthermore informed you that the Nicaraguan Ambassador9 had called upon me some time before to state categorically and on instructions, that President Somoza would not be a candidate for reelection.

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More recently, the Nicaraguan Ambassador called again, on his own initiative, and assured me that the forthcoming elections in Nicaragua will be completely free. The Ambassador added that President Somoza intended to ask representatives of the press of the United States to come to Nicaragua during the election period so that they could observe for themselves and see that the voting was entirely open and free and the elections exemplary in every respect. I naturally expressed my gratification at these voluntary assurances.

In conclusion, I should like to emphasize that responsibility for the solution of the Nicaraguan electoral problem belongs to the people of Nicaragua. The United States will of course view their efforts with interest and real sympathy, and earnestly hopes that they will find that satisfactory solution through the peaceful methods inherent in the democratic tradition to which all America is dedicated.

Sincerely yours,

Spruille Braden
  1. Not printed.
  2. Memorandum of conversation not printed.
  3. Guillermo Sevilla Sacasa.