File No. 818.00/74
Consul Chase to the Secretary of State
San José, January 27, 1917.
Sir: I have the honor to report that this morning at ten a revolution was started in San José by Minister of War Federico Tinoco, who immediately took possession of the central and large armory of the city and the telegraph and cable offices. There was no surface indication of any unrest on the part of the people or discontent as to the policy of the administration of President González. Some firing was had later at the Post Office and rumor has it that three civilians were killed there, being Ricardo Peña and two postmen. Col. Picardo Chacon is also reported killed because he refused to surrender. At 12.30 today the President’s Mansion and adjoining armory were taken by the revolutionaries, there being but 100 men with rifles there to defend them.
About 11 a.m. Secretary of State Acosta called this Consulate by telephone and said that President Gonzáles was coming here for refuge. I suggested that he had better go to the Legation, but said if he came to the Consulate everything possible would be done for his protection. Later it was reported that he had reached our Legation about midday and was still there with other authorities, including Maximo Fernandez, President of Congress and Manuel Castro Quesada, the Minister to Washington.
Mr. Harry Berliner of the Department of Justice who was in the city and had been at the Consulate yesterday was very active and useful in rendering aid, as otherwise, the Consulate would have been without any aid whatever. Captain A. C. Cron of the 11th U. S. Infantry, Lieut. Uhl detailed at West Point, here on leave, also called and tendered their services, as also Dr. Louis Schapiro, Chief of the Rockefeller Foundation in Costa Rica.
Many American citizens, tourists and others called at the Consulate during the day to seek information but nothing of value could be told to them. So far as is known all of the armories have been finally surrendered to the representatives of General Tinoco. The Minister of Government of Police who was on his way from the town of Heredia about seven miles away with some troops was overpowered by the followers of General Tinoco and he was bound and brought a prisoner to the town. It is reported that Lie. Dr. Pacheco, chief counsel for the Northern Railway Co., the line between here and Limón controlled by the United Fruit Company, has advised the manager to do nothing in the way of attempting to run trains without the approval of the former Minister of War, Tinoco. Proclamation has been issued by the Military Dictator, former Minister of War Federico A. Tinoco announcing that he has taken control to save the country. Another has been issued by his Secretary of State for War and Marine. Copies of each of these are enclosed herewith.1 El Imparcial, the daily paper which has been supporting the administration of President González came out with a special sheet praising the action of General Tinoco. A copy of this is also enclosed.1 It [Page 303]might be interesting to know that the editor of the special sheet had recently been deposed from the paper and another man put in his place, but this morning the other man was forcibly removed and the editor friendly to the revolution put in control.
Rumor also has it that about two o’clock this morning, i. e. Saturday, 27 inst., at 2 a.m. some loyal supporters of President González heard of the intended revolution and succeeded in getting some provisions and munitions into the armory of District No. 1, being nearest the’ Executive Mansion, so that it held out against the revolutionaries until after midday.
That the revolution was well planned is evidenced by the number of men in civilian dress who were given rifles and placed on picket duty. Men in uniform were stationed at the most prominent crossings of streets.
A report came to the office tonight that General Tinoco Would have a demonstration before our Legation tonight and would request recognition of his Government. On attempting to advise our Minister of the same I was advised that the telephone communications with the Legation had been broken and Mr. Berliner went to advise him in person, if possible.
Further information which will likely be more reliable than that gathered under existing circumstances will be reported as obtained.
I have [etc.]