191. Telegram From the Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Costa Rica1

240. Dept believes Figueres underestimates degree to which personal enmity between him and Somoza is generally and publicly recognized as having contributed substantially to Costa Rica–Nicaragua conflict. Factors contributing this belief are (1) bitter personal references in public statements by both Nicaraguan and Costa Rican officials including both Presidents and Facio, (2) widely discussed presumption Figueres knowledge of and failure halt assassination attempt April 1954. In view these factors Dept strongly believes personal gesture by two Chiefs of State important to reestablishment peaceful relations.

Dept does not agree such gesture would in any way detract from important achievement OAS in supporting principles non-intervention and security of States. On contrary, as Figueres gained much from OAS action, his willingness meet with Somoza would be widely applauded as support principles inter-American friendship and solidarity.

While desirable but not essential Figueres announce publicly his willingness meet Somoza, believe he should agree now he will do so if idea proposed by OAS or friendly third government. Meeting need not anticipate final resolution by COAS which Dept hopes will be soon.

Please express Dept’s gratification at Figueres’ willingness take conciliatory steps described urtel 266, and his determination prevent plotting against Nicaragua. Inform him above views and Dept’s hope he will agree to meeting if proposed.

[Page 609]

FYI Dept expects COAS will adopt some constructive resolution on future relations Costa Rica–Nicaragua involving further development of 1949 agreement2 and at least intimation desirability personal meeting. Latter point could be cited by United States or other friendly government in making specific proposal as mentioned above. Adolf Berle conferring with Holland on Feb 1 regarding possibility Berle’s visiting Figueres immediately to urge desirability reconciliation.3 End FYI.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 718.00/1–3155. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Dreier and Jamison and approved by Holland.
  2. Reference is to a Pact of Amity signed by Costa Rican and Nicaraguan representatives to the OAS on February 21, 1949. For text, see Annals of the Organization of American States, 1949, p. 204.
  3. Telegram 244 to San José, February 1, states that Adolph A. Berle, Jr., and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., met with officials of the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs on February 1 to discuss the Costa Rica-Nicaraguan situation. The telegram, drafted by Dreier and approved by Holland, states, in part: “Berle suggested that visit San José to discuss this matter with Figueres in a personal capacity was best step he could take if Dept so desired. He agreed furthermore discuss with President means of eliminating, insofar as possible, by some public gesture, factor of personal antagonism between two Presidents.” (Department of State, Central Files, 718.00/2–155)