185. Telegram From the Ambassador in Costa Rica (Woodward) to the Department of State1

217. Eyes Only Holland from Dreier. Submit following for your consideration:

If the present attack on Costa Rica, which is clearly foreign supported and based, succeeds, it will constitute a seriously damaging, if not destructive, blow at the Rio Treaty which is, from standpoint our national security, the most important feature of Inter-American system.
Attack on Costa Rica may, therefore, be considered an attack on vital interests of the US, warranting, as an act of self-defense, our participation in any military effort sanctioned by the OAS under Rio Treaty procedures to protect territorial integrity and political independence of Costa Rica.
Present situation here makes clear to me that those responsible for aggression have nothing but contempt for OAS resolutions or observations, and will be deterred by nothing short of force. Action of P–47 and ground forces under observation by US plane today demonstrates this. We should therefore urge Council OAS adopt resolution under Rio Treaty calling on states render military assistance to Costa Rica.
On approval such resolution US should be prepared render immediate assistance of sort calculated end present aggression with minimum violence and bloodshed. Personal conversations with informed people here lead me to believe this could best be accomplished by ordering one of P–5Ms, currently used for observation immediately on approval resolution proceed to La Cruz airport and using rockets, destroy the three or four aircraft there while on [Page 602] ground. Physical and psychological impact of this action would, in my opinion, knock the bottom out of aggressive movement.
It should be noted that no government has yet publicly supported revolutionary movement, but the greater the success of latter, the more likely that some revolutionary government will be set up and recognized, adding diplomatic complications.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 718.00/1–1555. Secret; Niact.