The Ambassador in Nicaragua (Waynick) to the Department of State
Ref: Department’s Instruction No. 67, June 5, 1951.1
Subject: The Embassy’s Attitude Toward United States Military Mission.
In your communication above referred to, the views and recommendations of this Embassy were invited concerning a proposed U.S. Army Mission to Nicaragua. With the communication you sent me a copy of a memorandum1 to the Department of State on this subject signed by Major General Maxwell D. Taylor, GSC, Assistant Chief of Staff, in which a favorable attitude toward the Mission by the Department of the Army is indicated.
From time to time responsible officers in the military establishment here have indicated to our Attachés and to me an interest in the restoration of a U.S. Army Mission. On one occasion the President’s son, Colonel Anastasio Somoza, Jr., was quoted as saying that a mission was not formally requested because the Nicaraguan military authorities did not desire to risk an embarrassing refusal.
About three months ago our Army Attaché located in El Salvador, Colonel Samuel P. Walker, in a report through channels, recommended re-establishment of a military mission in Nicaragua. Colonel Walker inquired at the time as to my position in the matter. I told him that I would concur in his recommendation, provided he would include in his report that in a choice between a military mission and a resident attaché for the Embassy, I would elect the latter. In 1950, when this Embassy was deprived of its resident Military Attaché, I protested on the theory that the Attaché was needed for contacts in Nicaragua. Col. Walker included this reference to my preference when he forwarded his recommendation.
Last night I asked President Somoza how he would feel about the restoration of a military mission here and he replied immediately that he would welcome it.
Measuring up to your request for the views and recommendations of the Embassy, I offer these observations:
The political opposition to Somoza in Nicaragua harps upon the charge that the United States created the Nicaraguan Army which, according to this opposition, is the force that has kept Somoza in power and continues to support him in power. Repeatedly oppositionists have called upon this Embassy to help break the chains which they claim we forged to bind them under Somoza domination. It is possible that restoration of a military mission would intensify this complaint [Page 1525]and be interpreted as our lining up more strongly with the Somoza government for perpetuation of the alleged bondage. This is the sole political objection I see to restoration of the mission. I do not regard it as particularly important.
I have opened conversations with President Somoza with a view to encouraging him to offer a battalion of Nicaraguans to the United Nations through our Department of Defense for service in Korea. These conversations have just started, the President is deliberating the matter and has promised to indicate his course of action to me in a few days. I suggested to him that he would face Communist protests and possibly some unfavorable press reaction, but I suggested the value of being the first government in Central America to make an offer of military aid to the United Nations. We discussed the fact that a battalion of 1080 men from Nicaragua would be equal, populations considered, to about ten times the contribution Colombia is making. I took the position that nothing less than a battalion under a major would be a satisfactory unit.
The President is intrigued by the idea. He unquestionably would like to proceed with it and he informed me that he would discuss the matter with the leader of the opposition party and with some of his key officers with a view to decision. If he decides to make the offer, it probably will be submitted to the Nicaraguan Congress.2 In the event of such an offer I believe that a military mission should be sent here immediately. In any event the net of my opinion is that the Department of the Army should be encouraged to assign the mission to Nicaragua.3
- Not printed.↩
- Not printed.↩
- As of January 15, 1952, the Nicaraguan Government made no offer of ground forces for service in Korea to the United Nations; see United Nations, Yearbook of the United Nations, 1951 (New York, 1952), p. 249.↩
- In a memorandum dated July 13, 1951, not printed, enclosing a copy of the instant despatch, the Special Assistant to the Chief of the Acquisition and Distribution Division, Office of Intelligence Research (Anderson), informed the Chief of the Latin American Branch, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G–3, Department of the Army (Colonel Somerville), that the Department of State concurred with Ambassador Waynick’s recommendations concerning the proposed United States Army Mission to Nicaragua (717.58/7–1351). No agreement for such a mission was concluded in 1951.↩