818.00/4–1148: Telegram

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


138. This afternoon Bonilla Lara called upon me bring request of government utilize my good offices bring about acceptable political arrangement resolve constitutional necessity having presidential designate May 8. If arrangement acceptable to Figueres this would end both political and military difficulties; if not acceptable to Figueres it would represent feeling majority directors political parties, desire of government and approval of Congress. Preliminary idea differs little in essence from negotiations under auspices Archbishop.… Suggested possibility preliminary conferences certain leaders 3 parties ascertain their opinions.

I said naturally could take no action without previous consultation Department assuring Minister desire US satisfactory settlement by Costa Ricans for Costa Rica. Pointed out extreme delicacy of entire subject since almost inevitable appearance intervention. Suggested before further consideration would like to have for transmission Department assurance; (1) all parties agree to seek agreement with such encouragement or advice I could offer, (2) bases for agreement in fundamental factors be previously decided upon, and (3) agreement reached be arrived at by mutual agreement not imposed in any manner whatever by US. Added difficulty of separating purely political from necessity of military settlement expressed belief Figueres would have to indicate at least agreement that if satisfactory the settlement would be accepted by him and not rejected as was Archbishop’s on basis no political compromise was admissible.

Foreign Minister expressed difficulties obtain Figueres views left me promising consult leaders 3 parties and endeavor ascertain indication [Page 507] Figueres thoughts if known to his intimates. He said neither Calderon nor Ulate would be consulted, former because he is completely inadmissible politically and latter not available as in hiding. I held out no open hope but naturally indicated that if Department approved and satisfactory conditions could be worked out indicating possibility of solution arrived at by Costa Ricans in their own ultimate interests I would be glad to accord such assistance as lay within my power.

Two hours later Minister again called upon me stating he came on behalf President urge that I in some manner communicate with Figueres ascertain whether willing enter conversations for political and military settlement. If agreeable government would give full guarantees to emissary proceed San José for this purpose and return Figueres lines. Despite natural reluctance proceed prior consultation Department general situation such that I have agreed endeavor meet Figueres April 12 or following day ascertain his views. I have not committed myself further. Military situation state flux. Port Limon taken by Figueres forces April 11 after abandoning San Isidro no longer apparently of sufficient military value to justify his holding it. Government DC–3 (LACSA) plane on bombing mission crashed killing Wilson, Canadian pilot, several others. Embassy learns reliably high military officers fear breakdown civil order San José with widespread looting arson. This very possibly behind mediation efforts.