The sudden and prompt occurrence of solar energetic particle events poses a hazard to manned space activities and interferes with robotic space science missions. This study demonstrates the possibility of short-term forecasting of the appearance and intensity of solar ion events by means of relativistic, near–light speed electrons. A list of the most severe proton events measured by GOES 8 in the years 1996–2002 serves as a basis to derive the fundamentals of the forecasting method with statistical and superposed epoch techniques. The Comprehensive Suprathermal and Energetic Particle Analyzer (COSTEP) on SOHO provides relativistic electron and <50 MeV proton observations at 1 AU. With a subset of solar particle events (SPEs) where the location of the associated flare on the Sun has been determined, we find that (1) relativistic electrons always arrive at 1 AU ahead of nonrelativistic SPEs allowing their forecasting; (2) the intensity increase of both, electrons and protons alike, depends on the magnetic connection, i.e., the magnetic longitude difference between the observer and the flare; and (3) as coming from one source under near-identical propagation conditions, significant correlations exist that show that the early electron intensity and increase can be utilized as a matrix to forecast the upcoming proton intensity. The study demonstrates one initial empirical forecasting technique with electron and proton observations in 2003.