817.00/10–2245: Telegram

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

622. At 8 p.m. I saw the President at the end of a long hot day to tell him of my trip to the US.45 He appeared tired, a bit nervous and somewhat harried.

[Here follow several paragraphs concerning a local strike, student unrest at the Central University, suspension of the newspaper Flecha and the results of a recently-held, nationwide Liberal plebiscite.]

I asked the President when the Liberal convention would be held. He replied that the Junta Directiva Nacional y Legal of the Liberal Party, the highest Liberal authority, would call the election. He expects that the convention will be called to meet in the next month or so. He said it might select him as its candidate.

Having in mind the President’s promise to Mr. Rockefeller and to me not to be a candidate, I inquired whether he had thought of his plans beyond the convention. He replied that he had. They are as follows: He will go to the U.S. in June of 1946 to see his son graduated from West Point. Before going he will, in accordance with Constitution, deposit the executive power in one of the designated members of [Page 1220] the Senate or the House. He will also before going turn over command of the Guardia Nacional to a new chief. The President will remain in the U.S. until after the elections of February 1947. During that period he would confer with the Department of State and on the basis of what he says and what the Dept observes from events transpiring in Nicaragua, it will be decided whether he is to be a candidate for the Presidency. (It was evident that he felt that events in Nicaragua would be such that the Dept of State would want him to be a candidate.)

The following must be borne in mind:

President Somoza sincerely believes that he is the only man in Nicaragua today capable of keeping order and the peace.
He says he has spent sleepless nights trying to think of someone capable of taking his place.
He has convinced himself that it is his duty to Nicaragua and the Nicaraguan people to be reelected President for the next term.
He feels intensely that democracy in Nicaragua calls for different expression and different processes from that obtaining in the US.
He has contempt for the independent Liberals because most of them have been his supporters and beneficiaries of his favors at one time or another.
He has a sincere belief that ultimately Chamorro46 and the Conservatives will be the gainers if he disappears from the political scene.

Briefly, it may be said that the President sincerely believes that he is the only man in Nicaragua today capable of governing the Republic and that without him chaos will result.

In the final seconds of the conversation, I gained the impression that although the ideas mentioned above represent the present thinking of the President, they are not necessarily his final thoughts on the subject.

  1. Ambassador Warren arrived in Washington for consultation on October 14 and resumed his duties in Nicaragua on October 21.
  2. Gen. Emiliano Chamorra, former President of the Republic and Minister to the United States, leader of the Traditionalist Conservative Party.