The Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: Upon receipt of the confidential telegram from Panama6 in regard to Volio’s revolutionary plans against the Tinoco Government, I at once cabled our minister7 to give no encouragement to armed revolution and to prevent the censor from sending the filed cablegram to Castro Quesada, who is the moving spirit in this affair.

This I did in accordance with our policy not to countenance the use of force in gaining control of the government, a policy, which you may remember, I declared to Gonzales and Quesada when they called upon me several months ago. It seemed to me that we could not do less than pursue this policy in the case of the present movement.

We are in a peculiarly embarrassing situation in regard to Costa Rica, since our settled policy as to nonrecognition of Tinoco, which I feel we ought to continue, runs directly contrary to our interests in prosecuting the war. There seems little doubt (although I hope to be absolutely certain in a short time) that Castro Quesada and his party are pro-German and receiving financial support from the Germans in their revolutionary activities. Tinoco, on the other hand, [Page 522] by inclination or for politic reasons, is pro-Ally. Gonzales, the deposed President, counts little, Quesada being the strong man. . . .

In these circumstances I do not feel that we should give encouragement to Quesada or, on the other hand, protect Tinoco. I, therefore, adopted the course which I have stated and which is consistent with our announced policy. I think until we are fully satisfied about Quesada and the Germans we should maintain this attitude.

Faithfully yours,

Robert Lansing
  1. Telegram of Dec. 26, 1917, from the Minister in Panama (Price), ibid., p. 348.
  2. See ibid., p. 349.