611.1831/90: Telegram

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

15. Referring to my despatch No. 1013 of February 4. If the Department has not heretofore advised me by air mail and if it perceives no objection, may I suggest a telegram to me along these lines: “please advise the Minister for Foreign Affairs that because the unrestricted most-favored-nation clause is the cornerstone of the Government’s tariff policy toward all the nations of the world, it is regretted that we cannot consent to any modification whatsoever of the most-favored-nation clause as he has suggested. You are authorized, however, to inform the Foreign Minister that the Government of the United States views with sympathy the complaint of Costa Rica against alleged excessive freight rates and in an exchange of notes will promise to use its best efforts to assist Costa Rica to attain its objectives”.

My reasons for suggesting such a telegram from the Department is the fact that this afternoon in the American Legation, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Finance were not so insistent on the inclusion of their proposed amendment to the general provisions as they were at our last conference and Gurdián emphasized that whether or not his amendment is acceptable to the Department, his Government will sign the trade agreement with the Government of the United States during the present administration. Gurdián said he appreciated that if the Department of State promised to assist Costa Rica to obtain equitable freight rates, it will do so. I feel, therefore, that Gurdián, guided by the instructions of President Jiménez as well as by his own better judgment, will withdraw his proposal which was regarded by this Legation as objectionable.

At the conference this afternoon, Gurdián and Brenes definitely and finally assured us of their acquiescence to every feature of the agreement with the exception of his desire for modification of the freight rate situation and increased wharfage charges, as reported in the despatch referred to above, and a minor modification in article IV with regard to existing slight differences in consumption taxes on certain imported and domestic articles, chiefly beer and cigarettes.