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

No. 1228

Sir: I have the honor to enclose press reports10 covering a press conference given by me on November 18, the day following my return from Washington on consultation. …

Following a series of Conservative press attacks on the Department’s policy of non-intervention in Nicaragua’s electoral problem (see Embassy’s despatch no. 1188 of November 5, 194611) and widespread conjecture that my trip to Washington was related to possible solution of the political situation, the questions asked by all reporters were primarily related to this subject. In accordance with both written and verbal instructions from the Department, my answers emphasized that the Department will continue its policy of strict neutrality in Nicaragua’s political problems, the solution to which rest in the hands of the Nicaraguans themselves.

Judging by press comment as well as conversations with General Emiliano Chamorro, Dr. Enoc Aguado, Senator Joaquín Gómez (Conservative), Dr. Fernando Saballos (Independent Liberal) and others, the Nicaraguan opposition has regretfully arrived at the realization that the Department will not intervene. For this reason, and in the desire to capitalize on the favorable features of Assistant Secretary Spruille Braden’s negative response to the request of the Conservative [Page 1074] Party for supervised elections,* the letter12 was on November 20 released to the press by General Chamorro for publication.

Open criticism of the Department’s non-intervention policy has, as previously, been confined chiefly to the Conservative La Prensa and El Heraldo. …

Parallel editorials in El Heraldo by Drs. Salvador Buitrago Diaz and Geronimo Aguilar Cortés, both Conservative deputies, attack United States “indecision” and refusal to “accept responsibility” as the basic reason for the decline of democracy throughout the world. …

Approval of the United States non-intervention policy was expressed with varying degrees of enthusiasm in El Diario Nicaraguense (Conservative) La Nueva Prensa (Independent), El Universitario (University Students) and in the Socialist weekly organ, Ahora. El Diario Nicaraguense on November 21 and La Nueva Prensa on November 24 editorially hail the press conference as clearing the air of wish-thinking regarding United States intervention and as paving the way for a realistic acceptance by Nicaraguans of their sole responsibility in solving Nicaragua’s political problems. Both newspapers urge the necessity for a conciliation agreement between the opposing political groups. Signed articles by Dr. Francisco Frixione and Francisco Ibarra Mayorga in the November 22 issue of El Universitario stress the service being performed by the United States in forcing Nicaraguans to stand on their own feet to solve their own problems without outside dictation. The point is stressed that the old line politicians have by their call for intervention been perversely hindering the development of Nicaraguan political maturity and reacquisition of self respect as an independent nation. This viewpoint is repeated in the Socialist Ahora which has for the moment discarded its usual anti-United States propaganda.

The official newspapers, Novedades and El Liberal Nacionalista, as well as the anti-Chamorro, anti-Somoza La Noticia seized upon belated publication of Assistant Secretary Braden’s letter as evidence of double dealing by General Chamorro to falsely maintain hopes of United States assistance and prevent healing of the schism within the Liberal Party.

I believe on the whole that my definite statement of United States policy has had the healthy effect of forcing the Conservative-Independent Liberal opposition to discard its crutch of interventionist thinking in favor of self-action. Only time and the President’s attitude will tell whether such action means revolution. Although opposition [Page 1075] leaders were initially disgruntled over the categorical statement of policy and its encouraging effect on President Somoza, I believe that there is today a greater understanding, however reluctant, of the Department’s position.

While pre-electoral intervention no longer figures in opposition calculations, indications are that Dr. Aguado and General Chamorro are hoping for non-recognition by the United States of a Somoza-controlled Argüello Government on the grounds of electoral fraud. General Chamorro’s interest in the forthcoming conference at Rio de Janeiro13 (see my telegram no. 583 of November 21, 194614) is also indicative of hope for assistance through acceptance of the Uruguayan proposal for collective action.15

Respectfully yours,

Fletcher Warren
  1. Not reprinted.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Request was made directly to Assistant Secretary Braden by General Chamorro in a letter dated May 31, 1946. [Footnote in the original; letter of May 31 not printed.]
  4. See letter of August 1 by Assistant Secretary Braden, supra.
  5. For documentation on this subject, see pp. 1 ff.
  6. Not printed.
  7. For documentation on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ix, pp. 185 ff.