818.20 Missions/11–2946

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


357. Policy of military assistance to Costa Rica has been limited primarily to helpfulness in organizing and training officers principally [Page 690] for police duty. With concurrence interested Costa Rican authorities, other than René Picado,20 policy has been to discourage growth of military organization.21 Costa Rican public, traditionally peaceful, apparently has always feared armaments and generally speaking has opposed entry of same into Republic. Importation of arms by Military Mission might well be misinterpreted, publicized and grossly exaggerated. Under present local political atmosphere Emb most likely would be drawn embarrassingly into matter. Accordingly, Dept concurs fully with position taken by Amb and supports his disapproval of proposed requisition (Embs desp 2628, Nov. 2922).

War Dept informed.

  1. General René Picado, Costa Rican Minister of Public Security.
  2. In reply to a request of August 29 for assistance in obtaining five aircraft which the Costa Rican Government desired to purchase in order to organize a small military air force, the Department informed the Costa Rican Ambassador that inasmuch as Costa Rica’s lend-lease account was entirely in arrears, this Government could not give serious consideration to the request for help in establishing an air force in Costa Rica. The Ambassador in Costa Rica was informed of this action, in instruction 646, October 30 (818.248/8-2746).
  3. Not printed; it transmitted a requisition submitted by the Chief of the United States Military Mission to Costa Rica (Messinger) for United States weapons and ammunition which he considered necessary to demonstrate in order to train the Costa Rican Army in United States tactics and methods of instruction and to acquaint them with United States weapons. Ambassador Johnson indicated that he could find nothing in the agreement regarding the Military Mission (July 14, 1941, Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 212) stating that it was the duty of the Mission to acquaint the Costa Rican Army with United States weapons, and further, if it was not the intention of the United States Government to supply the Costa Rican Army with such weapons in the near future, he could see little object in training the Army in use of such weapons (818.20 Missions/11-2946).