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

No. 1246

Sir: With reference to the Department’s secret Instruction of September 11, 19453 entitled “Future Military Cooperation with the Other American Republics,”3 I have the honor to refer to the fact that while I was on consultation with the Department I received a letter from the Chargé d’Affaires, Mr. Gibson, stating that he considered it best to postpone answering the Instruction until my return to San José.

Upon receipt of this letter in Washington, I conferred with Mr. Cochran4 and Mr. Furniss5 and gave these Offices my opinions upon the recommendation resulting from the staff conversations.

In confirmation of my remarks at that time, I desire to repeat that the recommendations resulting from the staff conversations in San José appear to be sound but that the political conditions in Costa Rica [Page 885] would make it unwise to supply more than the minimum military supplies recommended. It must be borne in mind, however, that any arms turned over by the United States Government to the Costa Rican Government may make their appearance on election days here and thus give the losing opposition the opportunity to allege that the result of the elections was decided by the potential use of guns coming from the United States. My own opinion as to the soundness of the recommendations is predicated upon the understanding that higher authorities have decided to make a certain amount of arms available to Latin American countries.

It is well known to the Department that there is no money in the Costa Rican treasury and it obviously follows that the probable effect upon the financial structure of this country of expenditures for armaments of any kind would be unhappy.

Respectfully yours,

Hallett Johnson

[An agreement between the United States and Costa Rica, signed at Washington December 10, 1945, authorized the establishment, as of that date, of a 4–year military mission to Costa Rica for the purpose of enhancing the efficiency of the Republic’s army, and provided that prior to inception of operations by the mission, a tentative program for the mission would be agreed upon informally between the Minister of Public Security of Costa Rica and representatives of the War and State Departments of the United States. For text of the agreement, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 486, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1682.]

  1. Ante, p. 249.
  2. Ante, p. 249.
  3. William P. Cochran, Chief of the Division of Caribbean and Central American Republics.
  4. Edgar S. Furniss of the Division of American Republics Analysis and Liaison.