Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Deputy Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs (Woodward)


Upon the basis of information received in a telegram from Managua, Mr. Woodward telephoned Señor Sevilla Sacasa and expressed [Page 500] the deep concern of the United States Government that General Somoza was planning to send 1000 members of the Nicaraguan National Police into Costa Rica to intervene in the disturbed conditions in that country. Mr. Woodward told Señor Sevilla Sacasa that the United States Government was very much afraid that such intervention would have an inflammatory effect.

Señor Sevilla Sacasa reiterated several times the view of the Nicaraguan Government that this “assistance to a friendly government in response to a request from the Chief of State of that government” did not constitute “intervention”. He also reiterated several times that the Communists had turned against President Picado and that General Somoza’s assistance was intended to protect both Nicaragua and Costa Rica from Communism.

Mr. Woodward replied with respect to the first point that the United States Government could only consider such military participation in the affairs of a neighboring country as “intervention” in the absence of any clearly defined provision in inter-American agreements for such “assistance”, and with respect to the second point, the information concerning a supposed sudden turning of the Communists against the Picado Government was at variance with the reports received by the Department of State.

Señor Sevilla Sacasa said that he would telephone his Government promptly and would inform Mr. Woodward of his Government’s response.1 He stated repeatedly that the Nicaraguan Government naturally wishes to cooperate to the fullest possible extent with the United States Government.

  1. In a later telephone conversation on March 22, Mr. Sevilla Sacasa informed the Chief of the Division of Central America and Panama Affairs (Newbegin) that he had been authorized by “the President” to state that, in view of the position of the United States Government, which had been brought informally to his attention, Nicaragua would follow a “hands off” policy, despite the official request of President Picado. Mr. Newbegin stressed the undesirability of intervention, which might invite similar action on the part of others (818.00/3–2248).