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ir28.02.07  B-2 report, managua


28.02.07  •  B-2 Report  •  Managua  •  Jan 29 - Feb 5, 1928  •  Lt. A. C. Larsen


7 February 1928

FROM: 0000 29 January 1928
To: 2400 5 February 1928

MAP: Nicaragua by C. D. Ham, 1924: 1:500,000.


          (a) Conditions in the Southern Area shown but slight improvement. There is a spirit of unrest manifesting itself in many sections of the Southern Area caused, no doubt, by the great amount of political propaganda being spread by both factions. These troubles, having as their source political differences, are but petty disturbances; resulting from passionate political speeches delivered fro the sole purpose of arousing the unwarranted suspicions of the natives against the American Forces which serves to make the maintaining of absolute peace a difficult task.


          The attitude of the civilians toward our forces is the direct opposite to that of but a few months ago. At the present time, their attitude may be looked upon as a reflection of their political tendencies.

          The effect of the bitterness with which the Conservatives are opposing the proposed supervision of the elections by Marines is being strongly felt by our forces who are endeavoring to indoctrinate the local police in the discharging of their duties in an impartial manner. A policy entirely foreign to the authorities of Latin-America.


          Nicaragua's economic situation is showing a slow but steady improvement. The merchants are just realizing the beneficial effects of a successful coffee crop, Nicaragua's chief expert. The principal roads of Nicaragua being constantly used by Marine columns is another factor of paramount importance contributing toward this stabilization of Nicaraguan markets. The merchants have been a little slow to take advantage of the security lent to those roads by Marine usage. However, at the present time, many of the leading merchants are sending trains of their merchandise to the interior where it finds a ready market.

          With the closing of the coffee season many laborers have been thrown out of employment, but the greater share of these unemployed are being absorbed by the contractors engaged in rebuilding the roads to the interior. Work is being rushed on the highway from LEON to OCOTAL, when this road is thrown open it will quickly develop into one of the most important lines of communication in western Nicaragua. This will greatly encourage the investing of money in the fertile lands along this highway thru the departments of LEON, ESTELI, and NUEVA SEGOVIA.


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(D) POLICE OPERATIONS:     Routine work; nothing to report.

(E) FRICTION BETWEEN MARINES AND CIVIL POPULATION:     None of any consequence reported.

(F) MILITARY OPERATIONS:   See attached sheet.


          The McCoy electoral law is still the object of many heated debates in the house of Deputies. Chamorro and his colleagues are expending their energies to the utmost in an effort to block its passage. The latest move on the part of Conservative faction is the starting of an intensive anti-McCoy campaign. Handbills have been printed, and are being given wide distribution through-out the country, in which the proposed electoral law is is painted as an act of imperialism; a distinct violation of the Nicaraguan Constitution; as a move decidedly Liberal and anti-Conservative. The Latin-Americans readily accept such statements as facts and are most willing to do the bidding of their leaders in all efforts to defeat the election law. In speeches delivered by various prominent Conservatives as well as in articles by the Conservative press, in which the Conservative program is being outlined, it is proposed that the Conservatives do not cast their votes should the McCoy law be approved by the Congress.

          The Liberals are lending their support to the passing of the McCoy Law, and have started an active campaign proposing Moncada as the Liberal candidate for president. A small campaign button bearing the picture of Moncada set in a Nicaraguan flag is being worn by the greater share of the Liberal elements.

          The following is the translation of an article which appeared in "La Prensa" of 5 February 1928.

          "In a telegram received yesterday, we learn that Dr. Sacasa will circulate in Nicaragua, and all of Central America, after the official proclamation of the candidacy of General Moncada is published. The booklet makes the Liberals understand the fatal selection of the Candidate that goes with the disgraceful circumstances of the moment. It appears that there is a frank understanding existing between Sacasa, Arguello, and Espinosa to oppose Moncada."


          In order that proper evaluating may be made on all news dispatches sent to American Newspapers from Nicaragua it is deemed advisable to forward the following information about the news services and newspapers represented and their correspondents;

          Associated Press, Irving Lindberg. He is employed as the Assistant Collector of Customs under Colonel Ham. He is intelligent and fairly well informed but is necessarily close to the Government because of his official position and has recently been accused, unfairly it is believed, by the Liberal newspapers of coloring despatches to favor the Conservatives.

          United Press, Gerad Sola, local manager of the West India Oil Co. He is closely related to a prominent Conservative family by marriage and closely associated personally with Conservative politicians, is politically active; exposed himself to criticism because of active assistance rendered to Chamorro last year.


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          Universal Press, G. Le Franc, local representative of Cuyamel Fruit Co., and other concerns and also strongly Conservative in his sympathies; he is a British West Indian of French extraction; is considered unreliable.

          International News Service, Pedro Belli Chamorro, editor of La Prensa, the principal militant Conservative paper. He is unscrupulous and unreliable.

          New York Herald-Tribune, Charles Eyton-Jones, a local English merchant, who is known to be impartial and honest.

          Chicago Tribune, Louis Rosenthall, Manager of the National Bank of Nicaragua, honest and fair minded but very closely associated with the Government.

          Hearst by R. A. Gamble, British Subject, local insurance man.

          New York Times, Scripps Howard Services, Associated Press, Chicago Daily News and the Hearst interests also have staff correspondents here at present, most of whom appear to be reliable and able. James Williams, the Hearst man, is the best known.




          None. Persistent rumors are being received to the effect that groups of outlaws are moving toward the towns in the morn northern section of the Southern Area.

          Movements: The greater share of the bandit acitivity has now moved to the North-western section of the Department of Jinotega. Inhabitants of many of the towns in the departments of ESTELI and JINOTEGA are abandoning their homes and fleeing to the towns of garrisoned by Marines.

          Supply and Equipment: The outlaws continue to obtain their supplies by plundering and letting all ranches and towns along their line of retreat.

          Units in Contact: Nothing to report.

          Probable Intentions: It is believed that Sandino's forces, from their hiding places in the mountains, will continue to harrass our forces by their attempts to carry on a guerrilla warfare.

          Miscellaneous: The following telegram has been received from the American Legation, Tegucigalpa, Honduras:

          "President Pas has informed the Legation that Commander of patrol opposite JALAPA, Nicaragua, telegraphed fourth instant that Sandino with about 300 poorly armed men has crossed into Honduras; that he has a few hand grenades and is being led by Indian guides toward CATACAMAS and that his men are deserving him. Authorities opposite SANTA MARTA have been notified fourth instant that revolutionary hands crossed into Honduras night of February second and also burned farm in Nicaragua. Summerlin."


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His Excellency, General Frank McCoy.


The men of the Liberal Party ... [transcription forthcoming] ...


Managua, 23 January 1928



Source:  US National Archives, RG127/209/2 and RG127/43A/3.
Many thanks to Lebanon Valley College student researcher Katrina Wells for transcribing this document.