The Minister in Costa Rica (Hornibrook) to the Secretary of State
No. 2298

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 2290 of June 21, 1940,19 and to report as follows:

Following, the funeral of the Salvadorean Minister today I had an opportunity to sound out one or two of the colleagues as to the activities of the Germans in Central America.

The Guatemalan Minister20 asserted that his Government had taken the necessary steps to prevent a “blitzkrieg” in his capital, but added that there are now domiciled in his country so many Germans that the matter of controlling them is most difficult. He stated, however, that he hoped and believed his President would be able to handle the situation.

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[Page 88]

In view of the repeated assurances given by Germany, Great Britain and France to the small countries of Europe during the past year as to the maintenance of their sovereignty, all of which were violated with impunity, these people down here have lost faith in treaties, conversations and pledges. They expect and demand something more concrete than words. We are on trial at the present moment in Latin America, and unless we are prepared to make good our assurances by a substantial contribution to the defense of this part of the world in terms of arms and ships, it is not impossible that we may expect as an alternative a successful German “blitzkrieg” in the not too far distant future.

We have a group of women coming down here during the next week to talk of cultural relations, friendship and goodwill, but unfortunately these people are not thinking in terms of cultural relations at the present moment. They are thinking in terms of armament, and asking each other as to whether or not the United States Government is strong enough, and also willing to throw all of its military and economic resources behind Latin America in its hour of need. …

I should roughly say that three-fourths of the people here are proally and pro-American at heart, but they will play with us only as long as they are convinced we are ready to play the game with them. Without encouragement from us, they are not going to buy arms and ammunition to defend the Sabana airport against a German “blitzkrieg”, even though they know that the commercial planes basing on such field may possibly be used for an attack on the Canal locks. They expect our material aid as a condition precedent to further cooperation. In my opinion this aid should be given speedily and without cost to the Costa Rican Government.

Respectfully yours,

Wm. H. Hornibrook
  1. Not printed.
  2. Alfonso Carrillo.