818.00/1326: Telegram

The Minister in Costa Rica ( Eberhardt ) to the Secretary of State

13. Shortly after my visit this morning the President and family abandoned the Presidential residence, the family remaining with relatives and the President having taken refuge in the artillery barracks. The leaders of the Ricardo Jiménez faction are with the President. They have had several conferences with partisans of Castro Quesada whose last proposal has been that the Ricardistas name six men of their party from among whom Castro Quesada will name one who shall succeed to the Presidency. The President’s secretary advises me that this proposition has been refused outright and that the President and those with him maintain that they will uphold the Constitution at all hazards.

The situation looks serious and hard fighting sometime during the next 24 hours seems certain. There has been intermittent firing of both rifles and machine guns during the day from the barracks opposite the Legation where Castro Quesada is said to have 500 or more men armed with rifles and some 20 machine guns. The President has called for reenforcements from Cartago, Alajuela and other provinces and claims that by nightfall he will have approximately 1,000 men under arms, including probably 10 or more machine guns.

Minister of Public Safety, Quirós, appears to have broken with Castro Quesada and to be lined up with his father-in-law at the artillery barracks. Some believe that with or without the full knowledge and connivance of the President, he is still working in accord with Castro Quesada to whom he will ultimately deliver the artillery barracks and that his only reason for not now openly cooperating with Castro Quesada has been the failure of the artillery barracks and police to go over to Castro Quesada during the night. Unless this combination is effected, Castro Quesada and followers, who are now all concentrated at Buena Vista Barracks, seem to be in a precarious position, though nobody doubts the declaration of Castro Quesada that they are determined to fight to the death.