87. Telegram From the Embassy in Nicaragua to the Department of State1

4085. Subject: Opposition Does Not Want USG Mediation in Current Crisis.2

1. Managing Director of opposition daily La Prensa Xavier Chamorro called on Ambassador early this morning (Aug 31). He brought with him an AP press report by Robert B. Cullen3 which stated that USG is studying the possibility of offering its services as a mediator in the current crisis, according to functionaries of the Department of State. The article states that sources say that this possible mediating role is only one of various ideas that are being studied in Washington.

2. Chamorro, who said he was speaking on behalf of the opposition, said that they did not want the USG to engage in mediation if it meant that Somoza would remain in power until 1981. The opposition believes that Somoza must go now. Chamorro expressed great fear that civil [Page 236] war would develop in Nicaragua. Chamorro said he had no recent reports on the Matagalpa situation but a La Prensa reporter on the scene yesterday had reported many killings and exchanges of gunfire.4

3. Amb promised Chamorro that he would report conversation immediately to Washington.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Files, Country Files, Box 38, Cables: 8/78. Confidential; Immediate. Sent for information to Guatemala City, San José, San Salvador, and Tegucigalpa. Printed from a copy that was received in the White House Situation Room.
  2. In telegram 218953 to Managua, August 29, the Department instructed the Embassy to deliver a “human rights demarche” to Somoza including the message that “repression by the GON will only serve to exacerbate further the already polarized political situation” and that he should “implement his announced intentions to effect a genuine reform of the political system.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780352–0681) The Embassy responded in telegram 4099 from Managua, August 31, noting that Solaun had delivered the démarche to Somoza, who “confirmed his intention to remain in power until 1981.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Files, Country Files, Box 38, Cables: 8/78)
  3. Not found.
  4. Street fighting between the National Guard and insurgent groups in the city of Matagalpa and the Air Force’s use of rockets in the surrounding area caused numerous causalities. (Telegram 4057 from Managua, August 30; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780354–0461; Karen DeYoung, “Fighting Intensifies in Nicaraguan City Following Air Attacks,” Washington Post, August 31, 1978, p. A18)