711.62115/8–1245: Telegram

The Ambassador in Costa Rica (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

476. This morning President Picado and Foreign Minister Acosta received me accompanied by secretaries Washington and Maney to discuss question of reparation [repatriation] of interned Germans (see Department’s telegram 338, August 9, 7 p.m.15). After I stated case as set forth in Department’s instructions President replied that Costa Rican Government must make distinction between Germans who are married to Costa Ricans and those who have no Costa Rican family ties. He pointed out that Costa Rica being a small country [Page 272] family connections play a large role and interests of one person are extended thereby to much larger group. He said that pressure on him is tremendous to protect Germans who have Costa Rican families. He called attention to fact that practically all Germans and families connected with Germans were Communist as in the last election and therefore he is not speaking on behalf of political partisans. He stated, however, that as he has to live in country he can not fail to be affected by strong pressure which families of certain Germans can bring to bear upon him. During temporary absence of the President from room, Foreign Minister Acosta stated that both President and he are deluged with appeals and that one anonymous letter to him threatened President’s assassination if Germans married to Costa Ricans are repatriated. President stated that according to one Costa Rican lady recently returned from internment camp, chief of camp told her and other Costa Rican women that only thing needed was intervention of Costa Rican President to free their husbands. President feels that responsibility has been placed upon him in minds of Costa Ricans.

Upon our pointing out that some Germans married to Costa Ricans are considered dangerous, President agreed to look over list name by name. [Here omitted are a list of three Germans whose return to Costa Rica the President would not insist upon, and a list of 20 individuals and families, amounting to 52 persons in all, with whose repatriation to Germany he did not concur.]

In opinion of Embassy potential harm which might be done to US interests by return of above Germans to Costa Rica must be balanced against anti-American feelings which would be aroused were we to insist on repatriating them to Germany.

Embassy recommends Department accede to President Picado’s request.

  1. Not printed; it instructed the Embassy to present to the Costa Rican Foreign Office a corrected classified list of German nationals from Costa Rica interned in the United States, and to request the Foreign Office to accept this list before August 12 in order to take advantage, of transportation opportunities (711.62115/8–945).