70. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Nicaragua1

41757. From the Deputy Secretary for the Ambassador. Subject: Role of U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua.

1. We have just completed review of our policy in Nicaragua. Following instructions are to guide role of Embassy until further notice.

2. Key U.S. objectives are:

A. To avoid direct involvement in internal political manuevering.

B. To avoid being seen to be propping up Somoza government or supporting efforts by opposition to unseat Somoza.

C. To maintain our support publicly and privately for individual human rights and open political processes.

3. Embassy role should not go beyond counsel to both sides to avoid violence and reprisals and support negotiations. Regardless of whether or not Somoza’s intentions are positive, we must not be in position of guaranteeing his performance in any way. Similarly we cannot vouch for any opposition group with Somoza. It is important that Embassy avoid sliding into a middleman role between opposition and Somoza and should not offer specific suggestions on how political forces should resolve their differences. There are many ways in which contending sides can communicate with one another in Nicaragua. You should encourage direct contact and should not repeat not carry messages, proposals or assurances of any kind.

4. We sense that some opposition groups are trying to convince Embassy that Somoza must go and U.S. should somehow manage departure. You should make clear to Nicaraguans that this issue is one of a purely Nicaraguan internal political character and one in which the U.S. will play no role.

5. In general, less contact with both opposition and government might be best course for immediate future except as needed to implement above.

6. Separate message deals with move of MilGroup to Embassy offices.2

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7. Request Embassy provide general implementation plan for above to cover next two to three weeks. We look forward to detailed discussions with you during week February 26.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of the Office of the Deputy Secretary, Warren Christopher, Lot 81D113, Box 17, Human Rights—Nicaragua II. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Sent for information Immediate to Caracas, Guatemala City, San Salvador, and San José. Drafted by Bushnell; cleared by Todman, and in ARA, S/P, and S/S; approved by Christopher.
  2. In telegram 43217 to Managua, February 18, the Department cited the “delicate situation in Nicaragua” and instructed the Embassy to transfer the Military Group from Nicaraguan National Guard property to the chancery. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780075–0104)