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The President Takes Measures to Expand the Economic Cooperation Between Nicaragua and the United States.

May 22, 1939

His Excellency

General Anastasio Somoza,

President of Nicaragua.

Excellency:

I HAVE received with great satisfaction Your Excellency's communication of May 22, 1939, expressing appreciation for the courtesies which it has been possible to extend to you in the course of your visit in the United States. Needless to say, it has been a very real pleasure for us to have had the opportunity of knowing you and of hearing from you the expressions of the sincere friendship of the Government and people of Nicaragua for this country. I fully share Your Excellency's conviction that increased cooperation between two friendly neighbors will further the common interests of this hemisphere.

I have noted with special interest the statement of the objectives of your Government of promoting the development of mutually beneficial economic relations between Nicaragua and the United States, and developing the national economy and natural resources of Nicaragua. As you well know, the Government of the United States is greatly desirous of taking any steps possible in order to continue and expand the economic cooperation between Nicaragua and the United States.

I

The objective of Your Government of providing adequate transportation facilities as a major step toward the development of production and foreign commerce of the nation appears to me to be entirely sound.

Regarding your suggestion for the canalization of the San Juan River for vessels of moderate draft, I have been pleased to instruct the United States Army Engineer Corps to make the necessary studies and surveys of a canalization and highway project to link the eastern and western regions of Nicaragua. I am impressed with the thought that such a project would very greatly facilitate and expedite communications between your country and mine and by opening new areas to the production. of complementary non-competitive products would provide new bases for an increase in commerce between those areas and the United States. Moreover, it is obvious that should occasion arise, the existence of such a waterway would have a very important bearing upon the defense of the hemisphere.

As soon as the necessary financial arrangements can be made in this country, a board of four officers of the Corps of Engineers, accompanied by an official of the United States Engineer Department and an officer of the Army Medical Corps, will be sent to Nicaragua. It is expected that the board would leave for Nicaragua next July and would be able to carry out the studies of the project within a few months. Upon the basis of their reports we can take such further action as seems in the common interest of our two countries.

II

The Government of the United States is also pleased to cooperate in the construction of certain sections of the proposed Pan American Highway, useful lateral feeder roads, and other projects. In order to expedite this construction, I am prepared to detail under the authority of Public No. 63—Seventy-sixth Congress, available engineers of the Bureau of Public Roads for temporary service with the Nicaraguan Government for engineering advice and supervision. Moreover, the Export-Import Bank of Washington will assist in arranging certain credits to finance the purchase of United States equipment, materials and services for the construction of highways and other productive projects.

III

I am in the fullest accord with Your Excellency's opinion that expansion of economic relations between Nicaragua and the United States will be facilitated by the prompt payment at all times of commercial obligations to United States nationals and concerns, and by the elimination of unusual fluctuations in the rate of exchange of the cordoba and those arising out of the irregular timing of international in- and out-payments. The Export-Import Bank will assist in the attainment of this objective by the extension to the National Bank of Nicaragua of a credit. A copy of a communication in regard to these matters addressed to you by the President of the Export-Import Bank is enclosed as Appendix A.

IV

The Government of the United States is keenly interested in cooperating with the Government of Nicaragua in every possible way in the study and development of non-competitive agricultural products which will complement production in the United States. As you are aware, legislation has already been enacted which authorizes the loan of experts of the Government of the United States to assist in specialized agricultural studies and developments, and suitable provisions are under consideration to enable the Government of the United States to undertake surveys of agricultural resources of foreign countries and assistance in the development of production of manila hemp, rubber and other non-competitive products.

V

In accordance with your request the Department of War has agreed to assign a qualified officer to act as director of the Military Academy of the Nicaraguan National Guard and arrangements will be made for the officer so detailed to carry out the necessary studies with respect to the project of the Nicaraguan Government for the establishment of a military aviation school.

I am confident that the investment by citizens of the United States of their capital and technical knowledge in the development of Nicaragua's mineral and agricultural resources will contribute to the sound expansion of the national economy and it has been reassuring to receive Your Excellency's statement that the Government of Nicaragua will give the fullest encouragement to present and future investments of this nature.

I extend, Excellency, the assurances of my highest and most distinguished consideration.

His Excellency

General Anastasio Somoza,

President of Nicaragua.

Excellency:

I have the honor to refer to your communication of this date to the President of the United States.

The Export-Import Bank of Washington will undertake either directly or through United States commercial banks to provide credits for the National Bank of Nicaragua in order to assist it to attain the expressed objectives of the Government of Nicaragua o[ encouraging the development of Nicaraguan foreign commerce and economic relations with the United States by meeting promptly at all times commercial obligations to United States nationals and concerns and eliminating unusual fluctuations in the rate of exchange of the cordoba and those resulting from the seasonality of major export crops. The total amount of such credits shall not exceed $500,000 at any one time, and such credits are to be utilized from time to time as required prior to June 30, 1941.

To permit the National Bank of Nicaragua ample opportunity to liquidate its obligations under the credit it is proposed that each availment there under shall be payable in equal quarterly installments during a period not exceeding thirty-six months, and the rate of interest shall be 3.6 per cent per annum. Details and other conditions of the transaction will hereafter be arranged between the Export-Import Bank and the National Bank of Nicaragua, but it shall be understood that all obligations under this arrangement shall be liquidated on or before June 30, 1944. Availments under the line of credit shall have the approval of the National Bank of Nicaragua and the Export-Import Bank.

To aid in improving Nicaragua's transportation facilities and the development of other projects designed to increase the productive capacity of the Nicaraguan people and their trade with the United States, the Export-Import Bank will cooperate with United States manufacturers and exporters and with the Nicaraguan Government in arranging for the financing in the United States of equipment, materials and technical services not available in Nicaragua. It is envisaged that the construction program may entail the extension of credits by the Export-Import Bank of as much as $2,000,000 prior to June 30, 1941.

We are informed' that available engineers of the Bureau of Public Roads will be detailed by the President to the Government of Nicaragua to furnish engineering advice and supervision, but that in order to carry on the proposed construction, they must be supplemented by the employment by the Government of Nicaragua in agreement with the Export-Import Bank of additional engineers and other technical assistants.

We understand that individual expenditures under the construction program shall follow examination of the feasibility and utility of particular projects and certification as to their necessity by the Government of Nicaragua and the Export-Import Bank.

To permit the improvements under consideration to be carried forward as rapidly as is consistent with sound financial policy it is contemplated that the credits will take the form of discounting, under conditions to be agreed upon by the Government of Nicaragua and the Export-Import Bank, of serial notes to be issued from time to time by the Government of Nicaragua bearing interest at the rate of 5 per cent per annum and maturing over a period of seven years.

During the time the Export-Import Bank is in position to assist in providing or arranging for these credits, and to the extent that its funds may be available for this purpose it will be pleased to cooperate as indicated above with the Government of Nicaragua.

Sincerely yours,

(Signed) WARREN LEE PIERSON

President

(Export-Import Bank of Washington)

Franklin D. Roosevelt, The President Takes Measures to Expand the Economic Cooperation Between Nicaragua and the United States. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/209112

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