192. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Plans, Central
Intelligence Agency (Karamessines) to Richard T.
Kennedy of the National Security Staff1
Washington, January 7, 1972
I attach a self-explanatory memorandum relating to Costa Rica, for your
information only. No action is required on your part. I am sending it so
that you can answer any questions that might arise down there on recent
developments in Costa Rica. If you have any questions, please feel free
to call me.
Thomas H. Karamessines
- Plot to Oust President Figueres of Costa Rica
1. Perennial plotting against Costa Rica’s President Jose Figueres Ferrer took on a
slightly different complexion during the latter months of 1971 when
representatives of the Free Costa Rica Movement (MCRL), a group of
ever-conspiring Costa Rican rightists, sought and secured a promise
of assistance from Guatemalan government officials. [text not declassified] As time went on, and
as the flow of intelligence increased, it became evident that the
plot to overthrow Figueres was poorly planned and that chances for
success were almost nil. It also could be anticipated that an
abortive coup would enhance Figueres’ position and be used by him to
try to quiet the local opposition, particularly on the question of
the Soviet presence in Costa Rica.
2. In late December, the Guatemalan activists began associating
support of this Agency and the U.S. Government with their coup plans
in discussions with their Costa Rican colleagues for, we presume,
encouragement purposes. In the meantime, the number of conspirators,
many of questionable reliability and discretion, had increased to
the point where a leak to the Costa Rican Government seemed
inevitable. (The existence of the plot was surfaced at a meeting of
Costa Rican officials attended by Figueres on 3 January as described
in the attached intelligence information cable.)
3. At this point, the Agency discussed with the Department of State
and with the United States Ambassadors to Costa Rica and Guatemala
steps which might be taken in view of the allegations of U.S.
involvement and our past difficulties with Figueres. It was decided
that Ambassador Ploeser would
see Figueres and would, as part of a normal [Page 3] exchange, advise him that information
regarding plotting against him had come to the Ambassador’s
attention. The Ambassador would do this in very general terms, avoid
any reference to Guatemalan support, and would emphasize that the
United States Government had not been a part to any such plotting.
[text not declassified] We assume this
situation will settle down somewhat now.