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

266. (1) Figueres and Foreign Minister emphasized (reference Department telegram 237, January 26) wish cooperate US, deeply appreciate US help and concern, but believe offer by Figueres meet Somoza would confuse issue which has, in Latin America particularly and other parts world, taken on broad significance reflecting great credit on OAS and US. They believe personal meeting would detract from achievement by placing emphasis on personal relationship two Presidents as cause conflict. However much this was cause in Somoza’s mind, Figueres points to much broader interpretation placed on issue all over world to advantage principles which are foundation US world leadership during critical period when large issues elsewhere at stake. He believes gesture personal reconciliation would appear contrived and would dilute great boost to public faith Western world that high principles international charters and treaties may be implemented. Figueres and Esquivel stated in course long discussion and have now confirmed on basis written draft following points (2) to (8):

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(2) Costa Rican authorities in conducting own investigations and cooperating OAS investigations wish avoid embarrassment in relations with Guatemala, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and all countries other than Nicaragua. They wish avoid anything that could weaken Guatemalan Government. This approach might avoid serious danger split in OAS since evidence against Nicaragua may prove irrefutable even to closest friends.

(3) Costa Rica does not wish form sanction against Nicaragua except moral; Foreign Minister placed particular emphasis on desirability multilateral juridical conclusion not confused by preceding bilateral negotiations in order consolidate step forward in practical implementation Rio Treaty both for its future use and for example it gives to possible future implementation Atlantic Treaty. He also mentioned desirability eventual report to UN Security Council which will inspire maximum faith UN in OAS procedures.

(4) Immediately upon announcement finding provisional organ Costa Rica prepared agree any system insuring security two countries and investigation complaints within its own territory. This could be system specified in 1949 agreement with Nicaragua or under Bogota Treaty.

(5) Immediately upon announcement finding provisional organ Costa Rica prepared offer send well-qualified resident Ambassador to Managua and assure hospitable treatment to a Nicaraguan Ambassador in Costa Rica.

(6) Costa Rican Government emphatically determined prevent any plotting against Nicaragua within Costa Rica and avoid actions statements that could disturb bilateral relationship.

(7) Foreign Minister of course prepared meet with Nicaraguan Foreign Minister to agree on conciliation machinery, preferably in some third country before scheduled ODECA meeting March or prepared go Managua if this gesture should prove essential, but in any event does not think such agreement should take place until after announcement finding provisional organ.

(8) Costa Rica willing have US for confidential negotiating purposes present any of attitudes from (2) to (7) as resulting from US persuasion.

(9) Department will recognize Figueres has gained domestic political advantage from widespread foreign broader interpretation issue and he is attempting consolidate this by conciliatory speeches denying personal animosity Somoza. He obviously loathe dilute advantage by gesture calling attention2 aspects and subject internal [Page 608] interpretation as damaging admission which could encourage public wrath and allegations responsibility for having provoked Somoza.

(10) Department, of course, far more able than this Embassy judge soundness Figueres’ observations paragraph (1) and extent to which attitudes (2) to (8) may provide methods safeguarding against dangers foreseen by Department.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 718.00/1–2855. Top Secret; Niact.
  2. The handwritten notation “personal?” appears at this point in the margin of the source text.