169. Telegram 1011 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State1 2

[Page 1]


  • Embassy Comments [text not declassified]

1. Subject [text not declassified] report from source whose reliability not yet established) states PLN candidate Figueres pledged his support for legalization new Communist Party (BOCI) to PVP SYG Mora and noted Embassy had exerted no pressure on him oppose BOCI during current communist campaign acquire legal status in marked contrast Embassy posture past elections. Report further states Mora confirmed Embassy attitudes through political and business contacts and recommended situation be exploited at every opportunity since in past Embassy has been major stumbling block legalization Communist Party.

2. Embassy has reported impressive communist campaign repeal constitutional provision which has resulted outlawing Communist Party and fronts past twenty years as well as more recent campaign register BOCI for 1970 elections. We believe communists have made headway in convincing some it anachronistic in context Costa Rican democracy continue deny ballot to segment electorate. Nevertheless remains our assessment that political considerations during present electoral period will make it difficult support legalization of BOCI. Legislature may attempt avoid debate if matter reaches floor during regular session starting May 1 and procedural means may be sought to have supreme electoral tribunal keep party off ballot.

3. In light this assessment, Embassy decision not conduct vigorous campaign against legalization BOCI taken advisedly because increasing pro-BOCI sentiment we believe Embassy [Page 2] campaign against its legalization would have quickly become known to PVP and fully exploited as example “flagrant” U.S. intervention in domestic political affairs. Mora would probably like nothing better.

4. With respect Figueres statement, he knows exactly where I stand for we have discussed matter at least three times during past six months. I have emphasized danger communist deputies would wield disproportionate power, in fragmented Assembly where no party clearly in majority. Since question BOCI registration major political development, matter also subject conversation with other Embassy political contracts where we have pursued line similar to that used with Figueres.

5. PVP making major effort organize May Day parade in favor registration BOCI and we anticipate increased tempo BOCI campaign from now until August 1 deadline for filing participation 1970 elections. Embassy has no intention be used by communists as argument in favor legalization whether due to our “passive” attitude or because we interfering. We plan pursue discreet campaign with key political leaders and assembly deputies pointing to potential adverse consequences if BOCI legalized. Wish emphasize importance doing this in such way not expose us to charges which in long run could be more damaging to USG and Embassy.

6. [text not declassified]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 12 COSTA RICA. Secret; Noforn; Limdis.
  2. 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.