Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Caribbean and Central American Affairs (Cochran)

Participants: Señor Dr. Don Guillermo Sevilla Sacasa, Ambassador of Nicaragua.
Mr. Ellis O. Briggs, Director, Office of American Republic Affairs.
Mr. William P. Cochran, Jr., Chief, Division of Caribbean and Central American Affairs.

The Nicaraguan Ambassador called this morning at Mr. Briggs’ request. Mr. Briggs stated that he understood that the Ambassador was returning to Nicaragua in a few days (a statement which the Ambassador confirmed) and that he wished to speak to him about Lend-Lease. Mr. Briggs then presented the Department’s note of July 26 enclosing Lend-Lease statement no. 8.38 The Ambassador was very profuse in his assurances that the failure to pay was not due to any bad faith. He mentioned the drought which had reduced Nicaragua’s agricultural production this last season. However, he said that the recent increase in the coffee price, together with a scheme to sell some of Nicaragua’s gold production to China for more than it brought in the United States, might provide the necessary foreign exchange. He also mentioned in passing, the Nicaraguan application to the Export-Import Bank for a $3,000,000 loan to buy agricultural machinery and equipment and to make loans to small farmers. The Ambassador said that he had already had the Lend-Lease matter high on his list for discussion with President Somoza and said that he knew President Somoza was anxious to liquidate this account before he left office.

Mr. Briggs then brought up the $166,000 owed by Nicaragua to the United States Army Engineers.39 Mr. Cochran explained that this was the balance due for equipment purchased from the Army Engineers when they abandoned work on the Pioneer Highway.40 The Ambassador said that he would also take this up with his President and made the same assurances that he (the President) would desire to pay off this sum before he left office (next May).

W[illiam] P. C[ochran]
  1. Not printed; according to this note, the sum of $587,000 was due on account from the Nicaraguan Government (817.24/7–2246).
  2. See memorandum by Mr. Cochran, April 17, p. 175.
  3. For documentation on the Pioneer Highway, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. v, pp. 76 ff., and ibid., 1944, vol. vii, pp. 187 ff.