193. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the Embassy in Cuba1

256. For Holland from Sparks. Reviewing Costa Rica–Nicaragua situation at this point suggest following:

Recent actions Nicaraguan Government apparently indicate that Somoza genuinely if reluctantly has concluded fighting should end. While we cannot count 100 percent on this we must act on assumption that both US and OAS action can from now on concentrate on constructive efforts restore good relations.
At this writing it appears likely OAS Committee report will retain constructive tone and action by Council will follow similar line.
OAS Committee hopes finish its report end of week, copies to be distributed confidentially in advance to members COAS with view Council meeting Feb 17 to hear report and take final action. Positive recommendations expected to be made by Committee and approved by Council would include: a) strengthening 1949 Pact of Friendship to prevent acts, including terroristic plots, which might disturb relations in future and b) negotiation special agreement called for in Art IV 1949 Pact to prevent political exiles one country from initiating revolutionary movement in other country. COAS expected offer collaboration to both governments in executing these recommendations.
Situation not yet ripe for personal meeting Somoza and Figueres and strongly recommend Vice President Nixon not attempt arrange such meeting now. However if Council acts according foregoing schedule should be possible and desirable for Nixon during visit Managua and San José help achieve progress toward restoration good relations and eventual personal meeting Chiefs of State possibly on completion IA Highway Peña Blanca in April.
Suggest that Nixon in both capitals in addition expressing desire US for most rapid possible reconciliation obtain agreement both Presidents to issue separate but similar statements texts of which to be agreed upon in advance by two Presidents and Nixon, which would: a) express desire of Presidents personally and of governments terminate any past animosity and move toward restoration friendly relations; b) express desire immediately tackle problem restoration normal travel and trade; c) express approval OAS recommendations and desire take immediate steps implement them, such as appointment representatives to negotiate agreements referred to in 3 above. These statements could be issued on Feb 23 or 24 when Nixon is in Panama where he would issue third statement, text also agreed to in advance, expressing his pleasure at having seen both Presidents, his conviction both are genuinely interested restoring friendly relations within framework OAS and desire US continue supporting OAS steps toward full restoration friendly relations.
Value above proposal seen as permitting desirable personal intervention Vice President of US in process of reconciliation without either stepping beyond OAS framework or going too far in direction of guaranteeing settlement.
In meantime US would urge Somoza take additional steps of reopening navigation San Juan River and permitting LACSA resume transit stops Managua. Would also attempt arrange some counterbalancing gestures by Figueres if appropriate opportunity exists.

Embassies Managua and San José should cable comments Mexico for Holland repeating to Department and refrain any action or discussion with foreign officials until instructed further.

If above plan seems suitable Embassies would be instructed make preliminary approach to respective Presidents and given essential points to be included in statements.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 718.00/2–955. Secret. Drafted by Dreier. Repeated to Managua and San José. Holland was in Cuba accompanying Vice President Nixon on a tour of Central America and the Caribbean. The 11 countries visited between February 6 and March 5 were Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. Pertinent documentation on this subject is ibid., 033.1100–NI for 1955. For a report by Nixon on this trip, see Document 195.