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

No. 864

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith copy and translation of a note36 received from the Foreign Minister late on Saturday in reply to my Note No. 101 of September 16, 1935 which I was authorized to forward in the Department’s Instruction No. 208 of September 3, 1935;37 also a copy of an exchange of personal letters36 between Foreign Minister Gurdián and myself; and to make certain observations concerning the note of the Costa Rican Government.

[Page 263]

The note received on Saturday afternoon from the Costa Rican Government is not at all satisfactory to this Legation, for two reasons: In the first place, the United States Government in my Note No. 101 proposes certain conditions whereby it would cooperate with the Government of Costa Rica by way of assisting in completing some of the required work on the proposed Inter-American Highway, and my Government specifically requested that the Costa Rican Government state whether the “proposed procedure is acceptable”.

The Foreign Minister, in his answer, does not undertake to say whether the proposal is acceptable, but instead says that after certain additional surveys are made, the whole proposal will then be submitted to the Congress. The identic language used is:

“When these studies have been carried out and the definitive route to be adopted has been decided upon, my Government, with the prior agreement of the Legislature, will express to Your Excellency’s Government its acceptance of the conditions now proposed to carry out these constructions” (underscoring mine).

This means, according to the specific language of the note, that before the Government of Costa Rica will accept the generous offer of the United States Government to give to Costa Rica services and materials conservatively estimated by the Bureau of Public Roads to be in excess of $100,000, the Costa Rican Congress will have to give its approval.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I feel warranted, therefore, in requesting the telegraphic authority of the Department to visit President Jiménez to discreetly voice my apprehensions over the possible consequence of his contemplated plan to submit the offer of the United States to Congress, and to tell him how much I will regret it if the motives of the United States Government are misunderstood by Congressmen to the extent that sharp anti-American sentiments will be aired. Personally, I feel that the United States Government in its generosity should not be allowed to be placed in a position where its motives will be questioned by politically-minded Congressmen.

While I of course realize that the Department would not wish to take any action which might be interpreted as an attempt to dictate the procedure to be followed by the Costa Rican Government in providing for the proposed cooperation with the Government of the United States, I feel it my duty to apprise the Department of the possible embarrassing consequences which I believe would occur if the question is submitted to Congress. Such a situation, I feel, might be avoided if I am authorized to hold the conversation with President Jiménez suggested in the preceding paragraph.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Respectfully yours,

Leo R. Sack
  1. Not printed.
  2. See footnote 33, p. 260.
  3. Not printed.