William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson


William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson


Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925




1914 January 15


William Jennings Bryan writes to Woodrow Wilson about a proposed treaty in Nicaragua.


Wilson Papers, Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Washington, District of Columbia


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924--Correspondence


My dear Mr. President

The Nicaraguan Minister is very anxious to have the proposed treaty taken up for consideration. You will remember that I went before the committee and asked the opinion of the committee as to a treaty providing for the purchase of the canal route and a naval base in Fonseca Bay. The sum to be paid was$3,000,000. The treaty was at the request of Nicaragua, including a provision substantially like the Platt Amendment which is now in operation in Cuba. Have you changed your opinion as to the advisability of this treaty in whole or in part? And if not, shall I proceed to confer with the committee with a view to getting the opinion of the members? Minister Chamorro would like to have the Platt Amendment cover free elections, and I am inclined to think that it would be well to have the securing of free elections emphasized. Our experience in Mexico illustrates the importance of this. Of course, if the committee objected to that we would have to leave it out and take what we could get, but it would, in my judgment, be a good plan to secure such a provision in the treaty if possible – that is, let that be one of the causes for intervention. I understand that some of the countries down there, especially Salvador, are fearful that the adoption of this amendment in Nicaragua will be construed as a desire upon our part to embody it in our treaties with all of the Central American countries. I have stated to them and have continued to emphasize the fact that we have not asked this of Nicaragua, but are consenting because Nicaragua desires to strengthen her credit and to insure the maintenance of a stable government. It has been customary for the money loaners to collect a high rate of interest because of the risk taken in those countries, and then have the risk eliminated by the action of foreign powers. If we can eliminate the risk before the loan is made, the people will receive a pecuniary benefit from the lower rate of interest that stability will secure. I shall be pleased to know your wishes in this matter.

With assurances of respect, etc., I am, my dear Mr. PresidentVery sincerely yours,
WJ Bryan

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924





Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925, “William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson,” 1914 January 15, WWP18286, First Year Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.