800.8591/626: Telegram

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

50. Referring to my telegram No. 49 of March 26, 8 p.m., I was summoned by the President of the Republic this afternoon to discuss plans for preventing scuttling of the German and Italian ships in Puntarenas harbor.

I informed the President that I had no instructions from my Government on this subject, but that I would be glad to comply with his request and ascertain if on the day that his police assumed possession of these ships the United States Government would be kind enough to instruct an American gunboat to arrive casually in the harbor of Puntarenas, for the moral effect of the same.

He also inquired as to whether or not the proposed action of taking over these ships might embarrass the United States with Germany and Italy and said that if the Department of State objected to his so doing he would refrain from taking such action.

He is very much of the opinion that the two ships are a menace to the harbor and believes that some drastic action should be taken immediately. [Page 85] He furthermore requested me to advise the Department by cable of his plans and to advise him immediately of the Department’s reaction.

I await the Department’s telegraphic instructions.