The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Costa Rica (Johnson)
Sir: Reference is made to your dispatch no. 632 of June 15, 1945,1 with regard to the size and composition of the Military Mission to be assigned to Costa Rica. For your confidential information, the question of future military collaboration with the Other American Republics is still a subject of discussion with the War and Navy Departments. It is none the less the Department’s opinion in this instance that in view of the small size of the armed forces of Costa Rica, the Military Mission should also be limited in size, to the number of officers and men required for training purposes; and that a small Mission could effectively carry out the policy objectives of the Military Mission program: of precluding the assignment of a Mission from another country, and of effecting standardization of equipment, organization, training methods, tactics, etc.
The Department is also aware of the facts and traditions of Costa Rica’s national life, which are identified with civilian control of the machinery of Government and minimum intervention therein by the military. It consequently feels that it would be undesirable to assign United States Military officers to perform in Costa Rica functions which are normally fulfilled by civilians. There would appear to be no advantage to be gained by inaugurating in Costa Rica the practice of having military officers handle matters outside their direct field, and so perhaps build up the custom of military operation of governmental functions.
For your further confidential information, President Truman has recently approved a policy whereunder the Department of Commerce is to seek appropriations to enable it to extend assistance, when [Page 884] requested, to the other American Republics in connection with civil aviation problems. It would seem that Costa Rica’s desires for expert assistance in this field could more properly be met under this program. It must be realized in this connection that a military officer would not necessarily be qualified in the civil aviation field.
The Department also believes that the general considerations mentioned above would militate with equal force against the assignment of a veterinary officer to the Military Mission. Expert counsel in this field would be available to Costa Rica under the terms of Public 63,2 providing for the loan of experts upon the request of the governments of Other American Republics, or through the assignment of a properly qualified veterinarian to the Food Supply Program under the Institute of Inter-American Affairs, or perhaps to the agricultural school at Turrialba.
For the foregoing reasons, the Department opposes the assignment of an officer of the United States Army to assist Costa Rica in the field of civil aviation or in the field of veterinary medicine.
Very truly yours,