818.00/4–648: Telegram

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


133. In long frank conversation April 5 Foreign Minister speaking in name of President Picado expressed bewilderment at US attitude which inexplicably appears unfriendly to government Costa Rica. Personalizing he alleged Picado administration, like previous Calderon,1 had expelled Germans at our request although due close family ties with influential Costa’s occasioned President serious embarrassment [sic]. When government which did US this favor now desperately [Page 505] needs arms finds US blocks efforts every turn, Figueres got “tons” arms munitions from Guatemala and persistent but unverified rumors getting others from Panama. Unfair prevent government acquire desperately needed modern arms match his. Government tried “purchase” arms Nicaragua, Honduras elsewhere but US intervened each time.2 As to Nicaragua stated blandly effort was only to buy arms and Somoza’s suggestion guardia be sent was rejected. I explained our well known policy non-intervention local disputes with special emphasis localize conflicts and referred obligations America nations non-intervene. Also factual account Somoza’s own version proposed guardia participation. Stated, however, much we regret strife within any country and desire assist every proper way restore peace prosperity convinced basis long experience if internal conflict should arise is best for people in long run settle it among selves rather than risk spread conflict to neighbors. Assured him basis our policy and activities is sincere friendship for people of Costa Rica. Said in reporting conversation I would ask instructions containing Department’s statement policy which could show him since my personal interpretation might be incorrect.

Believe foregoing points to realization by government situation desperate unless outside supplies available. Since Foreign Ministers’ complaint introduced by statement Archbishop visit to Figueres fruitless therefore government has no recourse but fight to end with less efficient armament than that obtained by Figueres from abroad. René Picado left for Mexico April 5 to purchase arms.

  1. Rafael Angel Calderon Guardia, President 1940–1944.
  2. See memoranda of conversation, April 13, pp. 508 and 509.