817.00/5–2647: Telegram

The Chargé in Nicaragua ( Bernbaum ) to the Secretary of State


204. ReEmbtel 203, May 25, 10 p.m.28 In surprise move taking President and loyal Guardia unaware, Somoza tonight seized control of Managua key points including Palacio Nacional, police barracks, communications system, Guardia hospital, Campo De Marte, Defensa Nacional and others. Casa Presidencial surrounded and cut off.

Embassy assistance was telephonically requested by Minister of Sanitation.29 He was told that Embassy could not accede in absence instructions. A presidential messenger who escaped from the Casa Presidencial later conveyed President’s request that I visit him there. After an unsuccessful attempt to telephone him, I telephoned General Somoza who advised against making the visit owing to the danger involved.

Somoza stated that he had been driven to the wall and forced to take drastic measures to protect his life. He alleged having already secured complete control of the country and stated he will communicate with me in the morning. He mentioned something about mediation.

Embassy will maintain neutral position and refuse any request by Somoza or the President for mediation or other assistance. The Department will be kept currently informed.

No news yet available of developments outside of Managua. City quiet with most inhabitants apparently yet unaware of what is going on. Military operations have been most discreet and effected with minimum, if any, firing.

Delay in transmittal of this and previous telegram due to strange absence from offices, stations and homes of all responsible personnel All America Cables and Tropical Radio.

Due restricted communications, Military Attaché requests this pass to War Dept without delay.

  1. Not printed; in this telegram, the Chargé reported that President Argüello had informed him that General Somoza had agreed to leave for the United States, that he would not permit General Somoza to delay departure, and would, if necessary, publicly force his resignation (817.00/5–2547).
  2. Jacinto Alfaro.