Costa Rica


168. Telegram 563 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, February 27, 1969, 2134Z.

The Embassy reported that the Government of Costa Rican had received an offer from the Soviet Union to rehabilitate two major ports, financed through loans repayable with coffee exports to the USSR.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica. Confidential.


169. Telegram 1011 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, April 17, 1969, 2339Z.

A report received by the Embassy described a pledge by Costa Rican President José Figueres to legalize the Costa Rican Communist Party—prohibited under the Costa Rican Constitution, Article 98. Ambassador Boonstra indicated that he personally discussed with Figueres the danger presented by communists. Boonstra indicated that the Embassy planned a “discreet campaign” to oppose the Communist Party’s legalization.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 12 COSTA RICA. Secret; Noforn; Limdis.


170. Telegram 69007 From the Department of State to the Embassies in Panama and Costa Rica, May 2, 1969, 2133Z.

The Department of State reported on its May 2 conversation with Panamanian Ambassador Alemán regarding Costa Rican allegations that Panamanian National Guard forces had entered Costa Rican territory. Alemán, denied the allegations, but reported “shooting across the border both ways” on April 30, and indicated that a “bilateral solution” would be found.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 32–1 COSTA RICA–PAN. Confidential. Drafted on May 2 by Sanders (ARA/PAN); cleared by Breen and Ford; and approved by Sanders. It was repeated to USCINCSO.


171. Telegram 311 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, February 6, 1970, 2352Z.

The Embassy reported preliminary information indicating that José Figueres won the 1970 presidential elections with a 73,000 vote margin over his nearest competitor, Mario Echandi.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 14 COSTA RICA. Confidential. Repeated to Guatemala City, Managua, Panama, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa, and USCINCSO. In Airgram A–44 from the Embassy in San José, February 20, the Embassy reported the official results from the election, which indicated that Figueres won 55.3 percent of the national total. (Ibid.)


172. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, undated.

The intelligence memorandum detailed a personal “loan” channeled to president-elect Figueres from the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica. Secret; Sensitive. It was forwarded to Kissinger by Helms under an April 10 covering memorandum, in which Helms promised to follow developments closely and report discussions with the Department of State.


173. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, April 11, 1970.

National Security Council staff member Vaky forwarded and analyzed Document 172 under a covering memorandum in which he recommended a 40 Committee meeting to discuss the matter and provided four options for dealing with the situation.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica. Secret; Sensitive. Kissinger placed a check-mark next to Vaky’s recommendation to go with Option 3 and suggested that the person to carry it out would be Governor Nelson Rockefeller. At the bottom of the page, Kissinger wrote, “OK. HK. Let’s just have Helms & Johnson keep out of Defense.” No record of a 40 Committee meeting was found. In Telegram 2872 from San José, June 7, the Embassy reported that Figueres had made a secret agreement with Costa Rican Communist Party Secretary General Manuel Mora, that Figueres was “deeply in debt,” and that the agreement might have been motivated by “both political and financial” concerns (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 14 COSTA RICA)


174. Telegram 1246 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, May 21, 1970, 1730Z.

The Embassy reported that President Figueres told Ambassador Ploeser that Costa Rica intended to conduct trade with the communist bloc, but that it would remain firmly on the U.S. side.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 1 COSTA RICA. Confidential. It was repeated to Guatemala, Managua, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa, and CINCSO/POLAD.


175. Telegram 1621 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, June 23, 1970, 2358Z.

Ambassador Ploeser noted that President Figueres informed the Embassy that his government was considering a plan to allow Sandinista captive Carlos Fonseca Amador to escape to Spain. According to the Embassy, the Nicaraguan Government was aware of the plan and had no objections.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–8 COSTA RICA. Secret. It was repeated to Managua, Madrid, and USCINCSO for POLAD.


176. Telegram 1730 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, July 6, 1970, 2300Z.

President Figueres told the Embassy that the Costa Rican Government was still studying a plan to arrange the escape of Sandinista captive Carlos Fonseca Amador to a third country.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 29 COSTA RICA. Confidential; Priority. It was repeated to Guatemala, La Paz, Madrid, Lima, Managua, Santiago, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa, and USCINCSO.


177. Telegram 2278 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, September 7, 1970, 1900Z.

The Embassy reported on an informal dinner between Ambassador Ploeser and President Figueres, during which they discussed Costa Rica’s policy toward the Soviet Union.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica. Confidential; Priority. It was repeated to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, San Salvador, and Tegucigalpa.


178. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, September 15, 1970.

National Security Council staff member Vaky forwarded President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger an update on President José Figueres’ dealings with the Soviets. He indicated that CIA and the Department of State had decided to collect information to use as a trump card against Figueres at the proper moment. Vaky recommended that the issue be placed on the agenda for the next 40 Committee meeting.

Source: National Security Council Files, Country Files, Costa Rica, 15 Sept 70–5 Mar 71. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action. A copy was sent to Frank Chapin. The memorandum is a “non-log” item. Neither recommendation was initialed. Attached is a September 10 memorandum from Broe to Vaky, which included a memorandum detailing the information summarized in Vaky’s September 15 memorandum to Kissinger.


179. Telegram 2860 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, November 10, 1970, 2238Z.

Ambassador Ploeser reported on an informal dinner with President Figueres, in which they discussed a variety of topics, including the Soviet presence in Costa Rica.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL COSTA RICA–US. Secret; Priority.


180. Memorandum From the Director of Central Intelligence (Helms) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, November 17, 1970.

Director of Central Intelligence Helms verified that President Figueres had received money from the Soviet Union and that he had developed increasing ties to the Soviets. Helms recommended that retired Ambassador C. Allan Stewart, a long-time friend of Figueres, be sent to confront Figueres with the evidence.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Costa Rica. Secret, Eyes Only. A copy of the memorandum was sent to Johnson.


181. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, November 20, 1970.

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger forwarded CIA’s proposal for a confrontation with President José Figueres regarding his relationship with the Soviets. President Nixon approved the recommendation.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent for action. The memorandum was a “non-log” item. Attached at Tab A is a November 17 memorandum from Helms to Kissinger, Document 180. A December 16 note from Nachmanoff to Kissinger, indicates that “Ambassador Stewart has agreed to undertake the mission” (Ibid.)


182. Telegram 3129 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, December 10, 1970, 0002Z.

Foreign Minister Facio contacted the Embassy to discuss Costa Rica’s plans to permit the Soviet Union to open an embassy in San José. Ambassador Ploeser described Facio as embarrassed about the decision and suggested exchanging intelligence on the Russians with the Embassy.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL COSTA RICA–USSR. Confidential. It was repeated to Guatemala, Managua, Moscow, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa, and USCINCSO.


183. Memorandum From Arnold Nachmanoff of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, January 9, 1971, 5:30 p.m.

National Security Council staff member Nachmanoff summarized an attached report of Ambassador Stewart’s confrontation with President Figueres regarding his ties to and receipt of money from the Soviets. Figueres denied having received any money, but discussed his relations with the Soviets. Stewart provided Figueres with hard facts and Figueres seemed shaken by the confrontation, but remained unimpressed regarding the dangers of Russian subversion.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only; Outside System. On December 14, Broe provided a copy of the “Hard Fact Paper” to Meyer, in addition to a “Talking Paper,” “Contingency Plan,” and additional supporting materials (Ibid.) (S)


184. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, February 8, 1971.

Responding to a February 7 Miami Herald article, which alleged that President José Figueres had demanded the recall of both the U.S. Ambassador and “the reputed CIA chief in Costa Rica,” Executive Secretary Eliot noted that Figueres had not requested the Ambassador’s removal.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica. Secret. An unknown person signed for Eliot above his typeset signature.


185. Memorandum From Deputy Director for Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Karamessines) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, March 25, 1971.

Deputy Director Karamessines sent a report, which concluded that President Figueres and Communist Party Secretary General Manuel Mora were encountering difficulties in implementing their 1968 secret agreement. Figueres had encountered stiff opposition from the Legislature and his own party.

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, ODDP Registry, Job Number 80–B01086A. Secret; No Foreign Dissemination; Controlled Dissemination; No Dissemination Abroad; Background Use Only. Copies were sent to Helms, Irwin, Johnson, and Meyer. On March 29, Nachmanoff sent this memorandum with a covering memorandum summarizing it to Kissinger, who initialed it. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica)


186. Telegram 810 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, April 1, 1971, 1420Z.

The Embassy reported that President Figueres gave an interview to state that his goal in warming relations with the Soviet Union was “in favor of peace, not war,” and that he would provide a full written statement to clear up any misunderstandings about his policy. Figueres also publicly offered to open up Costa Rica to U.S. intelligence to allow for any necessary vigilance.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL COSTA RICA–USSR. Confidential. Joint State-USIS message. Repeated to Guatemala, Managua, Mexico City, Moscow, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa, and USCINCSO.


187. Memorandum for the Record, Washington, May 6, 1971, 1500–1645 Hours.

In a weekly meeting, William Broe indicated that President Figueres continued to deal with the Soviets.

Source: Department of State, INR/IL Files, Latin America General, 1971–72. Secret.


188. Airgram A–283 From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State, June 11, 1971.

Ambassador Kubisch notes that anti-U.S. comments made by Costa Rican President José Figueres embarrassed Mexican President Luis Echeverría so much that he had the remarks “deleted from press accounts.”

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 COSTA RICA. Confidential. It was drafted on June 8 by Zweifel and approved by Matthews. It was repeated to San José. Stamped notations on the Airgram indicate that it was received at the Department of State’s Bureaus of Inter-American Affairs and Mexican Affairs on June 16.


189. Telegram 2000 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, July 27, 1971, 2028Z.

Ambassador Ploeser reported the growing opposition within Costa Rica to President Figueres’ efforts to normalize relations with the Soviet Union. In particular, the Catholic Church and the president’s own political party opposed the opening of a Soviet Embassy in San José.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 12 COSTA RICA. Confidential.


190. Letter From the Ambassador in Costa Rica (Ploeser) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Meyer), San José, September 1, 1971.

Ambassador Ploeser reported an improvement in relations between Embassy personnel and Costa Rican officials during the months successive to the January confrontation with President José Figueres.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL COSTA RICA–US. Secret; Eyes Only; Official-Informal.


191. Intelligence Memorandum, No. 2111/71, Washington, December 29, 1971.

The memorandum discussed President José Figueres’ efforts at negotiating a commercial relationship with the Soviet Union.

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of Current Intelligence, Job 79–T00831A. Secret; No Foreign Dissemination.


192. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Karamessines) to the Office of the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kennedy), Washington, January 7, 1972.

Deputy Director Karamessines forwarded a memorandum regarding Guatemalan plotting against President Figueres, noting that Ambassador Ploeser informed Figueres of the plot.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica. Secret/Sensitive. Attached to the covering memorandum but not published is Intelligence Information Cable, TCDSDB–315/00090–72, dated January 5, 1972.


193. Telegram 376 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State, February 8, 1972, 2125Z.

The Embassy reported that President Figueres informed Ambassador Ploeser that he was aware of a Guatemalan sponsored plot to “overthrow him” in late February. Ploeser agreed to inform Figueres if the Embassy found any confirmation.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica. Secret; Exdis. It was repeated to Guatemala and Managua.


194. Memorandum From William J. Jorden of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, August 9, 1972.

National Security Council staff member Jordan informed President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger of intelligence indicating that the Soviets and Costa Rican communists had become irritated with President Figueres.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Box 720, Country Files, Europe, USSR Vol. XXIV August 1972. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Attached but not published at Tab A is the CIA Intelligence memorandum.