175. Telegram From the Ambassador in Venezuela (Warren) to the Department of State1

196. Saw Foreign Minister2 this afternoon say good-bye. I had intended ask him about Central American situation but he beat me to it. He is worried about situation in Honduras which he considers grows worse daily. That in Guatemala is far from good. Stated Castillo Armas does not have the ability or the character lead Guatemala and that situation is bad and getting worse. Added he foresees Guizado3 will be superseded in Panama because his weakness and ineptness. Referred to our Central American policy in almost same words he used speaking Assistant Secretary Holland during last visit here.4 I denied we are “sosteniendo” any government in Central America but are supporting the regional OAS and concepts for which it stands.

This turn of conversation enabled me mention presence Managua yesterday seven Venezuelan planes and inquire whether Venezuela her friends maintaining policy of nonintervention militarily in affairs Costa Rica. He did not deny or confirm presence planes Managua. He assured me neither Nicaragua, Dominican Republic or Venezuela will send their soldiers into Costa Rica—that they will not invade that country.5 I gave him an opportunity to confirm that Venezuelan planes did not carry arms to Nicaragua but he did not so confirm. I am inclined believe from this conversation that arms being available in Nicaragua they would be given to Costa Ricans wanting to invade their own country. He did say Venezuela would recognize within 2 hours new government following overthrow Figueres.

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Pedro Estrada admitted in separate conversation that planes sent to Managua for moral support Somoza and to alarm Figueres. Compared operation to flight US C–47s to San Jose which claimed designed support Figueres and warn Somoza. Stated planes had already returned Venezuela. Although repeating elaborate case for necessity eliminating Figueres to restore Central American tranquility, he reaffirmed President Perez determination not intervene with either men, equipment, arms or money. Stated Somoza would be particularly unreliable recipient arms and that Figueres in any case doomed soon to fall through internal revolt.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 713.00/1–955. Limited Official Use; Priority. Repeated to San José and Managua.
  2. Pedro Estrada.
  3. José Ramón Guizado, Panamanian Foreign Minister and First Vice President, became President when José Antonio Rémon was assassinated on January 3. Guizado was brought to trial in connection with the assassination and was impeached on January 15. For documentation on this subject, see vol. vii, Documents 116 ff.
  4. Holland attended the Tenth Inter-American Conference at Caracas in March 1954, where he was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs. For text of a press release on this subject, see Department of State Bulletin, March 22, 1954, p. 429.
  5. In a memorandum to Holland, January 7, Raymond C. Leddy of the Office of Middle American Affairs wrote that he had seen a report which indicated that Presidents Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua, Marcos Pérez Jiménez of Venezuela, and Generalissimo Rafael L. Trujillo of the Dominican Republic planned to aid the attempted overthrow of President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica. (Department of State, Central Files, 718.00/1–755)
  6. Telegram 169 from Managua, January 10, to Holland from Ambassador Thomas E. Whelan, reads:

    “In fulfillment of previously repeated assurances that he would let me know when there is anything definite, President Somoza stated to me this morning that a revolt ‘100 percent Costa Rican’ will take place within Costa Rica before end of week.” (Ibid.)