268. Telegram From the Embassy in Costa Rica to the Department of State and the Embassies in Panama, Nicaragua, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Columbia1

3049. From Bowdler. Subj: Visit with Carazo, Carlos Andres Perez and Torrijos Representative.

1. (S-Entire text)

2. Marv Weissman and I have just returned from a quick trip to Puntarenas where we met with President Carazo, Carlos Andres Perez, Ex-President Jose Figueres and Dr. Ascanio Villaluz, Assistant Secretary General of the PRD Party representing General Torrijos.2 The trip to Puntarenas was at Carazo’s initiative.

3. The group wished to know how my conversation with the GRN junta had gone this morning. I gave them the general flavor along the lines of San Jose 3038.3 The discussion then centered on two aspects: (a) amplification of the Junta, and (b) additional measures to strengthen an orderly transition.

4. On amplification CAP led off with a long statement as to why expansion would be desirable, but at this stage not realistic. He argued that a week or ten days ago it might have been possible to accomplish. Now the proposition had become so publicly identified with the U.S. that it was difficult for TCP to push, and for the Junta to accept, because it would appear as an open surrender to U.S. pressure. CAP views were strongly echoed by Carazo and Villaluz. Don Pepe Figueres tended to agree with the CAP analysis but spoke more about his deep-seated distrust of what Fidel Castro was up to in Nicaragua. I told them that we still regarded expansion as a valuable ingredient to buttress the position of moderates in Nicaragua, to gain greater acceptability of the GNR at home and abroad, and to assist in obtaining the necessary support for its economic recovery programs. I said that all of us who [Page 668] want to see democracy prevail in Nicaragua have a great responsibility to work toward the establishment of an equilibrium of forces in Nicaragua which would deny dominance by either extreme. Therefore, while I had not insisted on amplification in my conversation with the Junta this morning, it was made clear that we regard it as being in their interests to take this step and urged them to consider the matter further. It seemed to me that TCP, given the concerns expressed about the orientation of the new government based on the Cabinet list and transition scenario, likewise had a responsibility to use their best efforts to gain acceptance of this point.

5. Following a general discussion of differences between our scenario and the document released by the Junta last night, the group agreed that they would make a major effort to persuade the Junta to issue a new public declaration to cover the missing points. We agreed that such a declaration might include the following:

—The reaffirmation of their intention to respect human rights and in this connection to send a letter to the OAS making such a pledge and asking for the IAHRC to come to Nicaragua to observe its compliance.4

—Reiteration of their desire for an orderly transition in which they would invite Foreign Ministers of other countries to come to Managua to observe the transition process.

—Confirmation of their desire to heal the wounds of the Nicaraguan people by calling for no reprisals, stating their intention to follow the judicial process to protect the right of individuals, and making provision for sanctuaries for exit or subsequent reincorporation into Nicaraguan society.

—Statement of intention to hold free elections.

In a separate conversation with President Carazo I mentioned the lack of precision in the Junta’s description of force standstill and in the procedure for fusion of forces as points which I had raised with the junta this morning and needed to be covered in some fashion.

6. At the end of our discussion, Carazo supported the CAP and Villaluz tried to get me to agree to close a deal with the GRN Junta today on the basis of their accepting the foregoing points in exchange for Somoza’s departure. In this connection they informed me that they had summoned the GNR Junta to Puntarenas and that the group would be arriving shortly after we left. I told them that I was not in a position to strike such a deal and again referred to my belief that we all have [Page 669] a responsibility to make another try at expansion of the junta. I said I would transmit their views to Washington but I hoped very much that they would take advantage of their group meeting with the junta to try to achieve amplification as well as the additions to the transition scenario. I took the line that I was not in a position to approve what they requested not only because it lacked such authority but also as a way of keeping the pressure on them to make an effort to persuade the junta to expand its numbers. I am not sure that this will have any effect on the junta but I believe it important for TCP to make this joint appeal at this critical juncture, as a follow-up to my urging to reconsider this morning.

7. Addendum: Since completion of this report Carazo called from Puntarenas to report of their meeting with the junta. He said that CAP gave the amplification issue a good whirl but could not budge them except in a very limited way. The junta argued that they are not opposed in principle to increasing their number to seven but to do so now would look like USG imposition. Ortega said they were not closing the door to expansion but would leave it open for action at a later date. Carazo said they found full acceptance of the points mentioned [garble—in] the previous paragraph. Rather than make a new declaration, they preferred to include the ideas in a letter to the OAS which would subsequently be made public. Sergio Ramirez agreed to prepare a draft overnight and check it with Carazo in the morning before despatching the communication to the OAS.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840133–1901. Secret; Flash; Nodis. In telegram 179669 to Panama City and San José, July 12, the Department instructed Moss and Bowdler to request that Torrijos, Perez, and Carazo “immediately use all of their influence to achieve such modifications and broadening as they can with respect to respecting ceasefire and standstill, no reprisals, respect for remaining reformed units of GN, enlarged Junta.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840148–2221)
  2. In telegram 5289 from Panama City, July 12, Moss reported that he informed Torrijos of the Department’s message delivered in telegram 179669 (see footnote 1 above). (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840148–2216)
  3. See footnote 8, Document 262.
  4. In telegram 3058 from San José, July 13, Bowdler provided the text of the GRN Junta’s letter to the OAS and commented that the letter made no specific reference to sanctuaries, force standstill, fusion of forces, and failed to resolve the issue of “Junta amplification.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840133–2017)