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

258. In view profound genuine distrust, fear two Presidents of each other, I believe essential element in solution (reference Department’s niact 229, January 23)2 should be some method in addition to bilateral agreement for assuring security against international plotting or deliberately disturbing threats or actions. While complete security cannot be given by an outside entity, large measure of reassurance would be given by some routine method of recourse to an OAS commission or to the Inter-American Peace Committee. Either an OAS commission could investigate all forms of official complaints of one government against the other, or might only act as an appeal body from a Costa Rican-Nicaraguan mixed commission which would take up complaints in first instance.

Meeting between two Presidents (would probably) be acceptable to Figueres if for practical purpose of agreeing on concrete plan of this kind. Would seem virtually essential for such meeting to be in third country, preferably Washington. Meeting probably impossible arrange by suggesting either Managua or San Jose. San Salvador might be acceptable but meeting in Washington would give both parties greater obligation observe commitments and mere acceptance invitation would assurance agreement.

If OAS able offer concrete plan reassurance, question of tenor OAS finding in current hostilities would be subordinated.

Before anything can be done, current hostilities must be terminated. Developments January 25 when buffer zone eliminated may indicate duration guerrilla warfare.

Have discussed this with Ambassador Dreier who points out that investigating committee will not decide on nature and conclusions report until after return Washington. He sees no reason why any one of a variety of possible systems reassurance cannot be decided upon and adopted before OAS findings announced once [Page 605] present conflict is terminated. Dreier also convinced Figueres would not ask to be received by Somoza in Managua or vice versa. Dreier mentioned Somoza stated terms not yet decided whether to bring accusation against Figueres before OAS and in any event Somoza indicated he does not want to mix it up with present case.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 718.00/1–2455. Top Secret; Priority. Repeated to Managua.
  2. In telegram 229, drafted by Holland, the Department suggested that a solution might be for the OAS to find that various governments were lax in preventing the abuse of their territory for purposes which violated inter-American treaties rather than for the OAS to fix guilt on one party to the conflict. The telegram further stated: “Suggested solution would be facilitated by public reconciliation between Figueres and Somoza. If each made aware of prejudice to him from possible OAS findings regarding accusations by other and of strong US interest in seeing reconciliation achieved, each might agree reconciliation.” (Ibid., 617.18/1–2355)