121. Telegram 1313 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State1

1313. Subject: Extradition Law. Ref: San Jose 1300.

1. During interview reported reftel, FonMin Facio volunteered following comments on new extradition law:

A) Law was not intended to protect Vesco. It could not obstruct any future U.S. effort to extradite him from Costa Rica since bilateral treaty takes clear precedence.

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B) Facio qualified this general statement by admitting that one provision of new law could technically benefit Vesco, namely Article 6 which reserves decision on extradition for executive branch when executive of requesting State has final word on extradition matters (San Jose 1006). Facio assured me, however, that this provision would not be invoked to protect Vesco as long as he is FonMin and Oduber is President.

2. I thanked Facio for his comments and observed that we have been concerned about the possibility that the tribunal in some future case might by interpretation introduce portions of the law where the treaty is silent or not explicit. Facio did not deny that this is possible.

3. I also took occasion to tell FonMin that after Department has completed its analysis of law we may formally request explanations and clarifications of its impact (State 58359). At that time, it would seem to me appropriate also to return to subject of whether it would be any longer useful to attempt negotiation of a new extradition treaty.

4. Comment: Whether or not Facio himself had a hand in drafting the new law, as some sources speculate but we have not confirmed, it is hard to swallow para 1(A) above from any source.

  1. Summary: The Embassy reported that Facio told Lane that the new extradition law “was not intended to protect Vesco,” an assertion which the Embassy found “hard to swallow.”

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Country Files, Box 779, Latin America, Costa Rica. Confidential; Exdis. In telegram 1285 from San José, April 2, the Embassy noted student protests against the new extradition law and reported on allegations in the Costa Rican legislature that the United States had been involved in fomenting the demonstrations. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D740073–0859) In telegram 1300 from San José, April 3, Lane reported he had assured Facio the Embassy had played no role in supporting protests and that Facio had stated his intention to downplay the matter. (Ibid., D740074–1059) In telegram 1006 from San José, March 13, the Embassy transmitted the Legal Advisor’s views on the proposed bill. (Ibid., P740145–1003) For telegram 58359 to San José, see footnote 1 to Document 120.