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

No. 487


Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegrams Nos. 254 and 264 of October 6 and 151 respectively concerning information which has [Page 231] come to my attention indicating that a decision has been made by the United States Air Force to close the 5712th Air Squadron Base at Mercedes Air Field, Managua, Nicaragua, and to turn over the building and such permanent installations as are provided for in the contract with the Government of Nicaragua.

On October 12 a group of Air Force officers arrived in Managua from Albrook Air Force Base, Canal Zone, and informed me they were instructed to make an inspection of the installations and facilities, and to advise me that a decision had been made to effectively abandon the Base, and to discuss with me appropriate procedures in connection with making this change, advising the Government of Nicaragua, and delivering certain fixed installations to such Government. The reason given for the above decision was lack of appropriations by the United States Congress to continue maintenance.

Colonel Ladd informed me that he had been instructed to say that a decision had been made to abandon the Base and to effectively suspend all services except weather reporting. He desired to have my comment on the basic agreement by virtue of which the Base existed, and appropriate procedures for turning the building and fixed installations over to the Nicaraguan Government, as well as removing certain other property and personnel from Managua by cargo plane.

The agreement of June 2, 1942,2 is very general in its terms and provides only that any buildings erected upon the land granted to the Base and any “fixed installations” would, when the Base was abandoned (within six months after the signing of the peace treaties) be returned to and become the property of the Government of Nicaragua.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Air Force plans to leave a force of nine men, sufficient for three men on three eight-hour shifts, to operate the weather observation service. Their communications on this subject are to be received and forwarded by the facilities of the Pan American Airways. The Pan American Airways has these facilities and, I am informed, has indicated its willingness to cooperate in the manner indicated. The Airways naturally are interested in these weather reports themselves. The Air Force personnel mentioned will live in civilian quarters in the city. The Air Force will leave Government transportation (two jeeps or other vehicles) with them. I suggested that these men immediately, but unostentatiously, move out of barracks to find quarters and establish themselves in the city.

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Respectfully yours,

Geo. P. Shaw
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Not printed.