184. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

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  • Miami Herald Article on Costa Rica

A February 7 article in the Miami Herald alleges that Costa Rican President Jose Figueres has demanded the recall of “the reputed CIA chief in Costa Rica” and requested the removal of U.S. Ambassador Walter C. Ploeser. The article also implies U.S. Government involvement in an attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected Figueres regime.

The Herald also editorially endorses the removal of Ambassador Ploeser and calls for an investigation by Congressman Dante Fascell’s subcommittee on Latin American Affairs of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Fascell has publicly announced his intention to hold hearings. Senator Church has also indicated that he may call for hearings on this subject.

The U.S. has not been involved in any “plotting” against the Costa Rican Government. Figueres, however, has been overly sensitive to the Embassy’s private suggestions of concern over his policy of expanded trade and diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. The result has been a deterioration in relations between the President and the Ambassador. [text not declassified] Although Figueres has expressed displeasure to several individuals with Ambassador Ploeser, he had not requested his ouster.

Publicly both the President and the Foreign Minister have denied that anyone in the Embassy had been asked to leave. They have also publicly affirmed that relations between the Embassy and the Government continue to be cordial.

Theodore L. Eliot Jr.
Executive Secretary
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 779, Country Files, Latin America, Costa Rica. Secret. Michael Hornblow signed for Eliot above his typed signature.
  2. 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,” Eliot noted that Figueres had not requested the Ambassador’s removal.