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

No. 1741

Subject: Attitude of Costa Rica in the Event of Trouble between the United States and Russia.

Sir: I have the honor to report that President Picado and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have many times assured me that the international policy of Costa Rica will be guided by that of the United States. The sincerity of these statements has been proven many times.

Communism and the Soviet Government has long been the “bête noire” of Don Julio Acosta, and his attitude in case of trouble between the United States and Russia would be unequivocal. The President has no such obsession regarding Russia, but his friendship for the United States is so firm that no doubt exists as to the position he would take in case of such trouble. The same may be said for the other members of the Costa Rican Government.

Moreover, the followers of Picado, of the Calderón Guardias26 and of the opposition leaders would back up the Government solidly in any position it might take in favor of the United States against Russia. The leaders of the opposition are continually inveighing against Communism, both in and out of Costa Rica.

There remains the ex-Communist Vanguardia Popular Party, which according to available figures controls some 10 to 15% of those entitled to vote in Costa Rica. Manuel Mora, the leader of the party, is an opportunist and an admirer of the Soviets. He has, however, cooperated with American business interests and has stated to me that he follows no “line” other than the betterment of the laboring classes. Some of the subleaders of Vanguardia Popular might side with Russia against the United States, either openly or in secret, but I believe that the majority of their followers would be pro-United States in almost any eventuality. Mora himself would be governed by circumstances, and it is difficult to predict accurately what his attitude would be. It is true that Trabajo, the weekly paper of Vanguardia Popular contains many articles attacking capitalism and a few criticizing the United States and its attitude toward Russia, but this paper does not necessarily represent the attitude of Mora, who after V–J Day organized a large pro-Allied demonstration which turned out to be mainly pro-United States.

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In summary it can safely be said that not only the Government but that a great majority of the Costa Rican people would be with us as opposed to Russia in any struggle between the two countries.

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Respectfully yours,

Hallett Johnson
  1. Rafael Angel Calderón Guardia, Costa Rican President, 1940-44.