817.00/8–2945: Telegram

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

471. When I saw President Somoza this morning regarding the visit to Nicaragua of Senator Theodore Francis Green,44 he took occasion to speak to me about the political campaign in the following vein:

There are at least 100 candidates or would-be candidates for the Presidency. There is no candidate in sight who can win enough support to be elected. Furthermore, the Conservatives realize that if anyone should be elected, it would be a Liberal. Outstanding Conservatives including Cuadra Pasos state privately to the President that if the next President has to be a Liberal they would prefer that Liberal to be Somoza. Quiet has continued thus far in Nicaragua because of the President’s standing with the people and with the Guardia Nacional. He believes he can continue to maintain tranquility. The time will come, however, when it will be necessary to settle on one candidate. The President reiterated his statement that he does not want to be elected for another term. However, it is taken for granted by him and all others concerned that the person elected must be persona grata to him. On this basis he said that he wanted me and the State Dept to be thinking with him regarding a proper person to receive the nomination. He emphasized that the person selected must be one who would look out for the interests of the [Page 1218] United States and Nicaragua. (I said “No, Mr. President, he must look out for the interests of Nicaragua. Those interests do not conflict with the interests of the United States.” To this the President agreed.) The President pointed out that were he not a friend of the United States and were considering the selection of a President solely on the basis of the best interests of Nicaragua, he could still best insure Nicaraguan interests by selecting someone friendly to the United States; he added “As long as the United States continues the great power she is today, the liberty of Nicaragua will be insured”.

The Department knows that I have confidence in President Somoza’s friendship for the United States but, unless we want the United States to figure in his thinking about and in the selection of a candidate to succeed him, we should now make perfectly clear to him our position on this point.

  1. Senator from Rhode Island and member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; he visited Managua between August 31 and September 3 during a personally financed tour of several of the American Republics.