Editorial Note

In telegram 21 from Managua, dated July 28, 1954, the Embassy reported that President Somoza insisted that the Government of Costa Rica (1) submit in writing assurances that Rómulo Betancourt and others allegedly involved in the assassination attempt be deported, (2) undertake to investigate fully the complicity of all officials suspected of involvement, and (3) return three persons taken the previous week from Nicaraguan soil (617.18/7–2854). Assistant Secretary Holland telephoned Ambassador Whelan on July 30, 1954, to report that the Costa Rican Ambassador had delivered a note which advised the United States that Costa Rica was taking action which appeared to satisfy President Somoza’s three conditions. The note to the United States, however, did not specifically name Betancourt as one of the individuals who had been deported, a condition which Ambassador Whelan believed that Somoza would insist upon. (Memorandum of telephone conversation by Mr. Holland, dated July 30, 1954, 617.18/7–3054) In telegram 64, dated August 7, 1954, the Embassy In San José reported that Costa Rica would not include Betancourt’s name in an official note to Nicaragua since the Costa Rican Foreign Minister had publicly stated that Betancourt could return to Costa [Page 1389] Rica in the future (617.18/8–754). Telegram 38, dated August 8, 1954, confirmed that President Somoza would only accept a Costa Rican note which specifically included Betancourt’s name in the list of persons outside of Costa Rica to whom reentry to Costa Rica would be refused (617.18/8–854). At the Secretary of State’s staff meeting on August 12, 1954, Assistant Secretary Holland reported that United States efforts to reduce tension between Costa Rica and Nicaragua had been unsuccessful. He therefore recommended that no further efforts be made to placate Somoza and that the Department should “let it be known to Somoza by appropriate means that he had impaired his position with the United States.” Under Secretary Smith concurred. (Secretary’s Staff Meetings, lot 63 D 75, Note No. 255) For the balance of 1954, relations between Costa Rica and Nicaragua remained tense despite continuous United States efforts to arrange a mutually acceptable solution to the controversy.