800.8591/623: Telegram

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

49. I have seen telegram No. 42 of March 13, 11 a.m., despatch No. 3001 of March 21 and the Department’s telegram No. 37 of March 19, 6 p.m.6 regarding the German and Italian ships at Puntarenas.

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The Legation was informed this morning that the President and four of the five members of his Cabinet are in favor of taking over immediately the Fella and the Eisenach at Puntarenas and that the opposing member of the Cabinet is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Albert Echandi.

I was also informed this morning by the British Chargé that he had made representations to the Costa Rican Government and had obtained a favorable reaction.

The Legation was informed that the President would seek an interview with me for the purpose of discussing [apparent omission]. I had been expecting the President to communicate with me this afternoon, but I now learn that a member of the Military Attaché’s office was called by telephone this afternoon to come to the office of the Chief of Staff who told him that the Government had decided to take possession of these ships. Shortly afterwards the Minister of Public Safety entered the office of the Chief of Staff and repeated that the Costa Rican Government had decided to take possession of these ships and was attempting to devise a plan by which this can be done without giving the crews an opportunity of scuttling them.

The Legation understands action contemplated is a police or public security measure based upon persistent rumors that the ships are to be scuttled.

  1. None printed.