Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Central America and Panama Affairs (Wise)

Participants: Mr. John Carrigan, Chargé d’Affaires at San José
Walter J. Donnelly, Ambassador to Costa Rica (in Washington)
M. M. Wise—CPA

After discussing with Ambassador Donnelly and Mr. Wright the subject of Mr. Carrigan’s inquiry of this morning (see memorandum of telephone conversation) I telephoned Mr. Carrigan and said that the Department desired that he protest informally and verbally rather than in writing about inadequate protection of American property. I stated that we believed his attitude should be conciliatory, although firm, and that he should say that unless American interests were adequately protected a formal written note of protest would have to be submitted. I stated further that he might frankly inform the appropriate Costa Rican authority that the protest was being made at present informally inasmuch as we did not wish to give any appearance of interfering in the internal affairs of Costa Rica.

Mr. Carriagan said that he would like to go on record as very deeply regretting the decision not to protest in writing. He said that two American stores had been damaged, one American gassed, and that the trolley company operated by American interests had been ordered to resume service and that it did not have insurance to cover damages which might occur under the present circumstances. He felt that it should be definitely on record in writing with the Costa Ricans that we were protesting against inadequate protection. He said another reason for his request was that Vanguardia partisans were now apparently openly participating in the disorders.

Mr. Carrigan did say that in support of our position was the fact that the President had just sent him word that protection would be extended to all American interests and that the demonstration scheduled for this afternoon had been cancelled. Mr. Carrigan was not sure that the President could guarantee this.…

Mr. Donnelly Masked Mr. Carrigan whether he had received protests from American business and received the reply that Americans had visited the Embassy expressing concern. In describing the situation further, Mr. Carrigan stated that the banks had not opened, many business houses were still closed, railways were still operating, Pan-American Airways was operating in San José with three employees, and that TACA was operating internationally but not within the country. [Page 583] Mr. Carrigan reported that there were stray shots yesterday but no killings and that there was no shooting today.

Mr. Donnelly then stated that the Department and he would prefer Mr. Carrigan’s approach to the Costa Rican authorities be informal and that if this did not bring the required results he should advise the Department immediately for he felt certain that instructions would then be given to make a written protest.

Mr. Carrigan was informed of the visit to Mr. Armour10 by the Costa Rican Ambassador today, as covered by separate memorandum.11

M. M. Wise
  1. Norman Armour, Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
  2. Memorandum not printed.