Miller Files, Lot 53 D 261

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Fred G. Heins of the Office of Middle American Affairs


Subject: Visit of Ambassador Oreamuno

Participants: Ambassador Oreamuno
ARA—Mr. Miller
MID—Mr. Heins

Mr. Miller said to the Ambassador that President Truman this morning had approved a proposal that Mr. Miller stop in San Jose to award President Ulate the Legion of Merit. He said he would prefer no announcement at this time of the proposed decoration, but suggested that the Ambassador inquire of President Ulate whether August 26 would be an appropriate time to make the award. Mr. Miller said he would fly from Panama to San Jose and return to Panama the same day.

The Ambassador said he was delighted at the news and felt certain that August 26 would be satisfactory. He said he would check with President Ulate and let Mr. Miller know. He said the purpose of his call was to invite Mr. Miller to visit Costa Rica after the Conference in Panama.2

The Ambassador said he had just received a letter from President Ulate expressing his concern because nothing was being done on the Inter-American Highway since the agreement between the United States and Costa Rica had been concluded in January.3 (After checking with Mr. James4 of the Bureau of Public Roads, the Ambassador was informed by telephone that the Bureau’s Resident Engineer in Costa Rica had informed the Bureau last week that he is now dismantling a rock crusher and other equipment in southern Costa Rica and moving it to the new project in northern Costa Rica, that he is preparing and moving lumber to the project, and that everything is being done to begin actual road construction as soon as the dry season begins.)

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The Ambassador said his brother (Vice President Oreamuno) had been requested to prepare a new inventory of all the ammunition and military equipment now in the hands of the Costa Rican Government. He said they are complying with this request even though it should not be necessary because the U.S. Military Mission had made an inventory only a few months ago and copies had been furnished to the Department in June. Mr. Spalding5 checked into this matter, and was informed that a complete new inventory is not desired, but only certain additional information with respect to condition, etc.

The Ambassador was informed that a re-distribution of the presently available Inter-American Highway funds had just been agreed upon between the Department and the Bureau of Public Roads. After checking with the Bureau of Public Roads, the Ambassador was informed that Mr. Miller would advise President Ulate on August 26 that the U.S. would contribute $1,000,000 provided Costa Rica would contribute $200,000. This should be sufficient to complete an all-weather road from San Jose to Liberia. If Mr. Miller thinks it desirable, he may also advise President Ulate that up to $300,000 or $400,000 additional U.S. funds might be allotted to Costa Rica later from a reserve, if it is found that additional projects can be undertaken in Costa Rica and if Costa Rica is able to contribute necessary matching funds. Mr. Miller indicated, and Mr. James later concurred by telephone, that there would be no objection to President Ulate making a public announcement of these proposed allocations. It was made clear that these figures included the $400,000 U.S. funds already allotted to Costa Rica.

Ambassador Oreamuno said he might possibly leave this week for a few days’ visit in Costa Rica and, if possible, would try to remain in Costa Rica until August 26.

Ambassador Oreamuno was informed that three additional Point IV consultants had been selected for Costa Rica and should arrive there within a few weeks. Mr. Pietri Vigna is ready to leave Washington as soon as Costa Rica informs us that he is acceptable. He is an airport engineer. Dr. H. Mallory from Florida has been selected to coordinate all the Point IV agricultural projects in Costa Rica, Mr. Irwin R. Vaughn is from the National Office of Vital Statistics. Ambassador Oreamuno expressed his appreciation, and it was agreed that, if possible, these men would be put in touch with him before they leave Washington.

  1. Files of Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Edward G. Miller, Jr., for the years 1949–1953.
  2. Reference is to the Second Extraordinary Meeting of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council, held at Panama, August 20–30, 1951. Mr. Miller served as Chairman of the United States Delegation. For additional information, see the editorial note on p. 1065.
  3. Apparent reference to the exchange of notes signed at Washington, January 13 and 17, 1951, and entered into force on the latter date, by which the United States and Costa Rica agreed to amend and to extend the Inter-American Highway Agreement of January 16, 1942, between the two countries. For text of the notes, see TIAS No. 2319, or 2 UST (pt. 2) 1844. For text of the original agreement, see EAS No. 293, or 56 Stat. (pt. 2) 1840.
  4. Edwin W. James, Chief, Inter-American Regional Office, Bureau of Public Roads, Department of Commerce.
  5. Hobart A. Spalding, Intelligence Adviser, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.