818.00/1329: Telegram

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

10. Your 14, February 12 [16], 11 a.m. The fundamental principle underlying the Treaty of Peace and Amity of 19231 is that change of Government shall be effected by elections and not by force. The help that this Government has given to Nicaragua in the last 4 years was directed toward providing free and fair elections which would be accepted by all parties loyally and that there would be no attempt to change the results thereof through force or threats of force. This is the cornerstone of all democracy.

Applying these principles to the situation in Costa Rica and looking at the matter from a distance, we feel that the solution should be found in the acceptance of the results of the election which has just taken place, rather than through an attempt to change that result through force or threats of force. A compromise brought about through force or threats of force is of course equally undemocratic.

The Department is concerned lest your inviting a representative of Castro Quesada to visit you and then carrying the latter’s proposal to President Gonzáles Víquez may tend to create the impression that the Department is not adhering strictly to the principles which it has followed in Central America in the past. You, of course, are in the midst of the situation and the Department does not wish to give you specific instructions until the situation has developed more concretely. It may be that there are local reasons, with which the Department is unacquainted, which would make this action on your part advisable. Nevertheless, in view of the importance of maintaining a consistent policy, the Department desires you to advise it fully of all developments and the reasons which you may think would require a departure from the policy outlined above before you embark thereon, in order that it may have a chance to consider the matter in all its phases and advise you as to its conclusions.

It is of course proper for you to use your influence to prevent fighting and bloodshed but you should be careful to distinguish between such action and steps which might change or impair the results of the Presidential election. You should carefully avoid any [Page 517] action which would make you participate in the political settlement strictly limiting your activities to attempting to restore peace and to bring about a cessation of fighting.

  1. Conference on Central American Affairs, Washington, December 4, 1922–February 7, 1923 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1923), p. 287.