The Minister in Nicaragua (Eberhardt) to the Secretary of State

No. 982

Sir: With reference to the Department’s confidential telegrams No. 59 of April 24 (5 p.m.) and No. 61 of May 1 (4 p.m.), regarding the precedence of the Chargé d’Affaires of this Legation with respect to the Commander of the Special Service Squadron and the Brigade Commander, I have the honor to report that I have informed the Nicaraguan Government as desired by the Department and have also brought the telegrams to the attention of General Williams, the Brigade Commander.

General Williams, I am pleased to inform the Department, is in full accord with the Department’s views in the matter. He showed me an order of the Navy Department directing him to be guided by the views of the Department of State as set forth in a letter of Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy, a copy of which accompanied the order. The pertinent paragraph of that letter stated in substance that the Secretary of State had noted the opinion of the Secretary of the Navy to the effect that the special rank conferred upon the Commander of the Special Service Squadron and the Brigade Commander by the Nicaraguan Congress applied only to the officers who occupied those respective positions at the time the legislation was enacted and did not apply to their successors. General Williams stated to me that that was also his understanding of the matter, and he requested me so to inform President Moncada and to say that he, General Williams, felt that, in view of all the circumstances, he could not accept the honor conferred by the legislation in question.

When I saw General Moncada today he brought up this subject and said that he had considered asking Congress to repeal the legislation but had decided that it would be preferable to allow the legislation to stand but to disregard it entirely in practice.

I have [etc.]

Charles C. Eberhardt