817.20 Missions/6–2647

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

No. 1664

Sir: I have the honor to refer to Mr. Gordon Reid’s letter of June 18, to the Department’s telegram no. 137 of June 24, and to the Embassy’s telegram no. 251 of June 25,44 concerning the present status of the American Military Mission in Nicaragua and of the ammunition belonging to the Mission which had until recently been stored at the Casa Presidencial.

As reported in the Embassy’s despatch no. 1592 of May 9,43 Colonel Greco sent a memorandum on May 6 to the Jefe Director of the Guardia Nacional (Somoza) requesting that the ammunition in question be returned to him for transfer to American Army Headquarters in Panama. Shortly thereafter, Major Francisco Boza, Guardia Supply Officer, informed Colonel Greco that he had been authorized by General Somoza to say that due to the recent transfer of the Government Arsenal from the Presidential Palace to La Curva, the arsenal [Page 861] was considerably disarranged and the ammunition belonging to the United States Army could not be readily located. At that time, however, Major Boza stated that as soon as the ammunition was located it would be returned in accordance with Colonel Greco’s request. Although Colonel Greco frequently reiterated his request to Major Boza by telephone during the next few weeks, the answer was always the same and the ammunition was not returned.

On June 24, following the receipt here of Mr. Reid’s letter, Colonel Greco once again called Major Boza. This time he stated that the United States War and State Departments were interested in the ammunition and insisted that it be returned to him at once for shipment by air to Panama. After some hesitation Major Boza finally agreed to return it on the following evening (June 25), when he delivered the 214 rounds of 16 mm. mortar. The remaining 60 grenades were promised for tomorrow.

As to the status of the agreement which placed Colonel Greco at the Military Academy,45 there is nothing in the files of the Embassy or of the Military Mission which would indicate that it is valid after May 22, 1947. In accordance with my request, Colonel Greco, who has always understood that his detail here would not end until July 1948, sent a cable on June 24 to the Commanding General of the Caribbean Defense Command in the Canal Zone46 asking for information on the subject. No answer has yet been received.

Following our discussion yesterday on the matter, Colonel Greco handed me a memorandum, copies of which are enclosed,46 in which he states that even if the agreement in question has terminated, it is his belief that he should carry on as heretofore and that as soon as a recognized Government emerges in Nicaragua the agreement in question should be extended for another two years. …

. . . . . . .

As reported in the Embassy’s telegram no. 251 of June 25, 1947, there has already been some criticism of the apparent contradiction between non-recognition and continued United States participation in the Military Academy. Should the fact that the agreement has lapsed become known, such criticism would undoubtedly grow. It is the Embassy’s belief that the withdrawal of the Mission pending negotiation of an agreement with a recognized Government would emphasize to both Somoza and the people that the United States Government is serious in its non-recognition, [and] would re-emphasize its displeasure with the Somoza coup. …

. . . . . . .

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Should such action be taken, it would be desirable in the interest of at least consistency, that the same be done temporarily with the Aerial Mapping Plan and staff of the Public Roads Administration. As reported in this Embassy’s telegram no. 253 of June 25, 1947,54 the PRA representative has already advised the Embassy that his participation on Rama Road activities will cease on June 28 and that he advocates a temporary return to the United States of PRA personnel due to the current political situation. Similarly, it is informally understood that the first phase of the Ground Survey work of the Mapping Mission is nearing completion. This will be checked with Mr. Gee, Chief Engineer, upon his return to Managua during the next few days.

Respectfully yours,

Maurice M. Bernbaum
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  3. For documentation on extension of the 1943 Military Mission agreement to May 1947, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ix, pp. 1193. For the 1943 agreement, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 344, or 57 Stat. (pt. 2) 1109.
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