136. Telegram 4728 From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State1

4728. For EB and ARA—Asst. Secretary Rogers. Subject: Meat Shipment from Costa Rica.

1. Foreign Minister Facio called me in November 6 to make special plea for anything that U.S. can do to permit Costa Rica to continue exporting some meat for the balance of this year. Facio said Costa Rica has been informed that Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador most unlikely to meet quotas and wondered if part of shortfall could not be given to Costa Rica. Whether or not that possible, he wondered whether Costa Rica could not be allowed on an exceptional basis to ship now part of its allocation for next year. He explained that because of recent drought conditions pastures are not capable of maintaining present cattle population and problem will be further aggravated with dry season about to begin, and Costa Rica does not have enough storage facilities here to hold any sizeable quantities of meat. Facio stressed that this is absolutely most serious problem that has faced Costa Rica for some time, that the President, the entire government, and the people are very greatly concerned and that he hopes the U.S. will be able to find some way to be of assistance.

2. I promised to pass on his request immediately to the Department and inform him of the reply.

3. Situation that Costa Rica faces is indeed extremely serious. In view of great assistance that Costa Rica has been to USG so many important international questions, believe some special effort should be made to help out in this case.

4. Would appreciate priority reply.

  1. Summary: Facio requested a reassignment of unused meat quotas to Costa Rica or permission for Costa Rica to ship part of its U.S. meat import allocation for 1976 ahead of schedule.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D750386–0621. Limited Official Use; Priority. In telegram 272783, November 18, the Department replied that it was not possible to grant either Costa Rican request. (Ibid., D750401–0764) In telegram 282526 to all American Republic diplomatic posts, December 1, Rogers specifically cited the Costa Ricans’ “anxiety for a miniscule increase in their meat quota” as example of the kind of issue on which Kissinger was interested in taking action in order to improve bilateral relations with Latin American countries. (Ibid., D750416–0746) In telegram 5069 from San José, December 2, the Embassy replied that the meat question remained urgent and that “whether ‘miniscule’ or not, the meat restraint level is of great importance to Costa Rica and they have specifically requested our help.” (Ibid., D750418–0901)