Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Lend-Lease and Surplus Property Affairs ( Maxwell ) to the Assistant Chief of the Division of Caribbean and Central American Affairs ( Newbegin )

The lend-lease agreement with Nicaragua,28 as is the case with the other Latin American republics, provides for reimbursement for transfers on a percentage basis. It has been the policy of this Government from the beginning to expect financial settlement in accordance with the terms of the Latin American lend-lease agreements, and [Page 1084] there has been no difference of opinion within the Department on this position as far as we are aware.

On July 11, 1945 the Staff Committee29 specifically affirmed this policy and urged that the American republics be pressed for settlement under the terms of their respective agreements in approving SC–142, dated July 5, 1945. The recommendations of the approved document included:

  • “1. The continued policy of this Government will be to ask for payment from the other American republics for items transferred under the terms of the Lend-Lease Agreements with them.
  • 2. More vigorous steps should be taken by the State Department to press for payment of arrears by (a) using positive and forcible language in the next billings to those other American republics in serious arrears and (b) having the appropriate officers of the Department orally inform the appropriate officers of the Embassies of these same other American republics that payment is expected.”

The first of these recommended actions (a) has been taken in the case of all countries in serious arrears, with general results considerably less than satisfactory. The second recommended action (b) has not been taken, so far as we are aware, in the case of any countries except Cuba. In the case of Nicaragua a series of notes to the Embassy requesting reimbursement has produced no results. Nicaragua is still in arrears and still has made no payment. The sum now due, as reported in Statement LL–7, is $651,000. A note transmitting copies of this statement and requesting payment of $651,000 is now in process of clearance. The same sum was requested in the note transmitting Statement LL–6 and is, therefore, now in arrears.30

In view of these facts, it is my belief that unless some very important political consideration makes such an interview undesirable at the present time it would be advisable for the appropriate official in ARA to tell the appropriate official of the Nicaraguan Embassy, informally, in the near future, that we mean what we say and do not intend to change our policy, at the same time, perhaps, reviewing briefly the general content of the present note and Nicaragua’s obligation and expressing the hope that some action will be taken.

A memorandum of March 13, 1946, by Mr. Newbegin to Mr. Briggs indicated that Nicaragua had made no payment whatsoever since the lend-lease agreement went into effect on October 16, 1941 (817.24/3–446).

  1. For text of agreement signed at Washington October 16, 1941, see Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. vii, p. 410.
  2. The Secretary of State’s Staff Committee.
  3. A note transmitting copies of Statements LL–6 and LL–7 was handed to the Nicaraguan Ambassador (Sevilla Sacasa) by the Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs (Briggs) on March 25, 1946, not printed.