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December 9, 2016
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November 14, 2000
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June 1, 1972
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I H I IN I L Approved For Release 20R110/246N9LAARFN-016 JUNE 1972 COSTA RICA legalise US control over the Caribbean area and Central America. Its sponsors make no secret CIA Diplomacy in Action that it could be used for preparing aggression against Cuba by its members, and to put pres- sure on Panama, which has been seeking to The US Ambassador to Costa Rica, Walter pursue an independent foreign policy and wants Ploeser, suddenly put in his resignation last a review of its canal treaty with the United March. A rich businessman from Missouri, he States. held the post of Ambassador in that country Costa Rica opposes bloc policy in Central for almost two years. It cannot be said that his America. Its President has stressed that he activity ran a smooth course. In December 1970 favours peaceful coexistence of countries with he was publicly accused of being involved, differing political and economic systems. together with E. Williamson, CIA chief in Costa He urged the elimination of the cold war policy Rica, in plotting against the Jose Figueres which, he said, was doing harm to the small Government. Williamson was made the countries. Costa Rica has taken a number of scapegoat and had to leave the country while measures to normalise political relations with Ploeser managed to extricate himself and the Soviet Union, and this has resulted in an continued in his post. extension of economic relations between the two However, very soon another plot of the CIA countries. The country's public has met with and its agents against Costa Rica came to the great satisfaction the establishment of normal surface and, according to some reports, the US diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, and Ambassador was once again involved. He had has stressed that Costa Rica is the first to to request permission to return to private life benefit from them. and commercial activity. The Central American reactionaries and the In its fight against progressive tendencies US imperialists have also been incensed over in the policy of some Latin American countries, Costa Rica's domestic policy. The country's US imperialism relies on local reactionaries, democratic forces demand radical economic President Figueres of Costa Rica told, a press measures to ensure the national interests and conference that subversive elements from the to ease the hard material condition of the work- Free Costa Rica outfit and high-ranking lug people. Patriotic circles in Costa Rica are Guatemalan officials connected with the anti- working for the establishment and extension of communist terroristic Mano Blanca organisation ties with all countries, including the Soviet were weaving a web of conspiracy against the Union and other socialist countries. Costa Rican government. In one speech the In the last few months, the government of President said that reactionaries connected with Costa Rica has taken some important economic Mario Sandoval Alarcon, Chairman of the Na- steps. It has put before the country's legislative tional Congress of Guatemala, Colonel Raul assembly bills to lay taxes on the profits of the Guevara, chief of the army intelligence service, big and middle bourgeoisie. Simultaneously, and Colonel Carlos Lemosa, Director of the consideration is being given to a lifting of taxes Immigration Seivice, were planning an invasion on the incomes of tens of thousands of small of Costa Rica. Their plan provided for the producers. Early this year, the President signed landing of units at various points of the Pacific a Decree nationalising a British railway coast. A statement issued by the People's Vanguard company which had been operating in the country for 82 years. of Costa Rica Party said: "The purpose is to Amer- set up a military-type government in Costa Rica The orientation of this small Central Amer- capable of taking the country 'into a Central ican republic upon an independent domestic American political alliance which has long been and foreign policy was seen in the United States in the hatChing. Because the Costa Rican as a challenge to its political and economic government respects the feelings and mood of interests, and as a potentially dangerous development for the existence of US-controlled the people, and refuses to support this move, military-oligarchic dictatorships in other the military have decided to overthrow it. Central American countries. That is why the The statement stresses that, as thc. ministers reactionary forces at home and abroad were of foreign affairs and state security declared, mobilised against Costa Rica. The CIA assumed the plot is being directed by "military circles direction of these forces. of Central American countries with the backing There was an outburst of indignation in of the CIA". Latin America over the aggressive designs of The plan to set up a Central American al- the reactionaries and the plans of invading liance is another political combination planned Costa Rica. Public opinion on the continent by Washington and the reactionary militarists has justly seen them as a blow aimed against of Central America. This plan has long been the whole liberation, patriotic movement of the advocated by the military leaders of Guatemala Latin American peoples. and Salvador, supported by Honduras and v. LUPINOVICH Nicaragua. Its purpose is to set up an aggres- sive military bloc which would in practice Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601R000500020001-7 Zi071)7 _. ? . - - Approved For.Release2AGW103 Rocking the Boat Costa Rica's Figueres _Woos Russia, Causing. .U.S., Latin Concern Don Pepe Says He Let 'Soviet Open Embassy to Promote Trade 'and Ease 'Cold War' Can a Fox Outsmart a Bear? ? By JAMES C. TANNER Staff Reporter of TIIE WALL STREET JOURNAL SAN JOSE, Costa Rica?This small republic has been something of an American dream?at least from the U.S. State Department's point of view. It is a true democracy and a nation of peace that spends its money on schools, not soldiers. The government of this tropical paradise has sided with the U.S. on practically every major Issue. Its twice-elected president is a U.S.-edu- cated popular hero who led a revolution that ousted Communists from the country years ago- ? Nowadays, however, while this American dream hasn't exactly turned into a nightmare, It is at least causing some restless nights for U.S. diplomats. The reason for both the dream and the restless- ness is one and the same: President Jose Figueres, 65, who is the most influential friend the U.S. has in Latin America?or at least he used to be. Currently, Don Pepe, as he is called, sees himself in a new role-Las a Latin de Gaulle, the leader of a third world force. Mid- way in his four-year term, he has set out to (1) settle, single-hand- edly if necessary, what he considers the cold war between the U.S. and Russia and (2) solve the pressing social and economic problems of Costa Rica and perhaps all Latin America. Such goals can hardly be criticized. But to ex- pedite them, he has permitted the Russians to open an embassy here in San Jose?their first In Central America. This move has brought concern on two counts. First, the U.S. is worried about this So- : CIA-RDP80-016 Would seem to be a tempest in a teapot?or, rather, a coffee pot, since coffee is a part of the controversy. "I'm fed up with the lold war, which has deprived us of half the world's market," ex- plains Don Pepe (pronounced "peppy"). "I hope I can give a minor contribution to world peace by showing that, in Central America at least, the Russians have no tails." * But a lot of people, including some Ameri- cans, believe that Don Pepe isn't dealing with a tail-less Russian bear; instead, they fear, he has a tiger by the tail and may end up endan- gering not only Central America but also the U.S. ? ? Of Coffee & Chicken Some Russians have already arrived in this West Virginia-size nation, which lies between Nicaragua and Panama. They have taken up residence on the main street of San Jose, just a ...oss Central Avenue from the local Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. But the Russians are here not because of chicken but because of cof- fee, Don Pepe Says. Coffee growers in Costa Rica have piled up 75 million pounds more than they can sell under international marketing quotas. While the Russians don't drink much coffee, they have nonetheless promised to siphon off the surplus. But President Figueres says they drive a hard bargain, refusing to trade with any nation that doesn't give them diplomatic recognition. Thus, he continues, he permitted the Russians their first diplomatic foothald in Central America?and, cynics suggest, their first subversive one. A Soviet subversive foothold? Nonsense, says Don Pepe as he sips some of that surplus coffee in his white house on Jose Figueres Ave- nue in the village of Curridabad. There isn't much to spy on in Costa Rica, he declares. And he adds: "I see no possibility of espionage un- less the Russians buy postcards of the Panama Canal?we are near the canal and the cards sell for 10 cents?and mail them to Moscow." More seriously he says, "I've made it very plain to the Russians that they are dealing with a loyal U.S. ally and that there will be no mon- key business against the U.S." A Question of Quotas As one precaution, Don Pepe says he set a limit on the number of Soviet diplomats to be allowed in Costa Rica; he tells a reporter the quota is 10. Gonzalo Facio, minister of for- eign relations, says it is eight. But some politi- cal opponents of Don Pepe say they already have counted 40 Russians living in the rented mansion on Central Avenue. Whatever the precise number, many Costa Ricans figure they have a surplus of both cof- fee and Russians. "This is too nice a country to be fouled up," a San Jose banker snaps. Feel- ings are also being aroused in neighboring Nic- aragua, in El Salvador, in Guatemala and?it is said -in the U.S. Central Intelligence, Agency. V viet presence in the Caribbean area. And it , Costa Rica has a sprinkling of Marxists, but frets about the internal dissension that the So- I many of its people appear to be politically to viet controversy has brought to a once-peaceful I the right of the John Birch Society. Most of the Costa Rica; some observers fear that this I country's 1.8 million residents-are highly liter- could lead to a revolution, ate and are of white European stock?Spanish, With President Nixon scheduled to go to Dutch and German. Largely landowners, they Moscow next month and with both U.S. and !produce bananas and beef as well as coffee. Latin businessmen being urged to step up trade ! And many of these are clearly upset at Don with their Communist counterpart-1A- a contra- !Pepe's advances toward the Russians. Mem- Versy over one Soviet embassy more or? less! 1 bers of the Women's Civic League march in Approved For ReledtektMot ir. brilifilsWiliti- 1.1 4 'racy. Movimiento Costa Rica Libre (the Fre ? Costa Rica Movement) runs full-page ads i newspapers charging that newly arrived Sovi( Ambassador Vladimir Xazimirov was "an a: tassin in Hungary." "No one seems to b 'checking on (the Russians)," says Bernal Ui bina Pinto, secretary-general of the movemen or MCRL. "But we intend to know every mov they make," he vows. The Figueres administration, in turn, at cuses the MCRL of trying to initiate a revolt tion, or golpe. And ever since the spearhead c the Soviet diplomatic delegation arrived las December, there has been a lot of talk of golp going around. Recently Bon Pepe called news conference to announce that he had re ceived fresh assurance from the rightwim government of Guatemala that it wasn't plan ning to underwrite a Costa Rican revolution, a had been rumored. Even the U.S. has beei mentioned as a power behind clandestine plan fling to overthrow President Figueres?a breal in the tradition of good U.S.-Costa Rican rela tions. In Washington; however, State Departmen officials still publicly label Don Pepe as th, best friend the U.S. has in Latin America. "W( are traditionally very high on Figueres," ont says. And U.S. diplomats here just as stoutlj Insist that Russians in Costa Rica pose no mort of a threat to the U.S. than a competitive tract( challenge. One U.S. embassy spokesman say: cautiously: "Our position is that we don't pub liely or privately intervene in a dornesti( Issue." But the domestic controversy goes on. Dor Pepe's left-of-center National Liberation Parts officially supports all his moves. Nonetheless many within the party?called PLN?hav( been frightened by his deals with Russia. Th( president has handled this internal oppositior much as he handled the Catholic Church, w?:iic vociferously opposed the Soviet embassj "Stick to saving souls," Don Pepe told th Catholic archbishop. But whether the people will stick with th PLN in the 1974 elections is another question Don Pepe is forbidden by law to succeed him self, and the Soviet issue certainly hasn' helped the party. In 1970 he won with the vat of the small farmers and farm workers, am even some of the country's many rightists sup ported him. "Figueres has always been a lib oral," one of these explains, "but he was will ing to compromise." Now, besides the Soviet-embassy issue, a la of conservatives are also worried by the recerc successes of Communist unions in organizing banana workers on both coasts of Costa Rica (The Communists are officially bahined from political activity in the country but nonetheless operate through "front" parties and unions.) The unions that organized the banana svoskers had the support?at least implied?of Don Pepe and his labor minister, who is also his son-in- law. Not everyone, however, thinks that Don Pepe is being taken in by the Communists. One U.S. businessman here, a friend of the presi- dent, portrays Mr. Figueres as a sly old fox whose strategy is to make the U.S. perk up and pay attention. "Don Pepe," he explains, "is just plain peeved because you can't get atten- tion from the U.S. unless you become a thorn in its side." Some supporters say the president is toying with both Russia and the U.S. Other Costa Ricans, however, fear that he isn't play- ing any such game; they are convinced that he 01 R00050002000ilagea Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01g4IA-600020001-7 ugmon HERALD 9 MARCH 1972 U.S. Envoy' Resigns in Costa Rica Move Unexpected, Linked to Furor SP*Cial 10 The Herald SAN JOSE, Costa Rica U.S. Ambassador Walter C. Ploeser has submitted his resignation to Washington. Ploeser, 65, said "personal reasons" forced'him to "make such a "regrettable decision" at this time. Ploeser's announcement came little more than a year after the St. Louis insurance executive was embroiled in a major controversy with the government of President Jose Figueres. THE CONTROVERSY in- volved reports that the U.S. Embassy's reputed CIA sta- tion chief, Earl Williamson, had become "involved in Costa Rica's internal af- fairs." These reports came amidst rumors that an at- tempt to overthrow the Fi- gueres government would soon take place. Williamson, who reported- ly had made "indiscreet" re- marks about the alleged coup attempt, was quickly relieved from his post and reassigned. Rumors in San Jose sug- gest that Ploeser's unexpect- ed decision to resign may be linked to that incident. RUMORS IN Washington, however, have it that the am- bassador resigned to join President Nixon's forces in the political campaign. Ploes- er "denies this. ? A 1970 Nixon appointee, Ploeser has participated in Republican campaigns in the past and has been a steadfast Nixon supporter. r Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601R000500020001-7 4.4 Approved For Releasech 19Ti/04 : CIA-RDP80 Mar A Short His ory of CIA Intervention Sixteen Foreign Countries In July, 1947, Congress passed one of the most significant pieces of legislation in the history of America in peacetime. The National Security Act of 1947 created The National Security alma!, the Department of Defenc,_tbe Joint Chiefs of Staff, the United States Air Force and, not least of all, the CIA. This act provided the Agency with five principal duties: I. To advise the National Security Council on matters concern- ing intelligence. 2; To make recommendations for the coordination of such intel- ligence matters. 3. To correlate and evaluate intelligence relating to national security and disseminate it to other government departments. 4: To perform "such additional services of common concern as the National Security Council determines can be more efficiently accomplished centrally." 5. To perform "such other Junctions and duties as the NSC would direct." In 1949 Congress passed the Central Intelligence Agency Act, allowing the agency lodisregard laws that required disclosure of information concerning the organization, to expend funds ? without regard to laws and regulations governing expenditures with .no other accounting than the Director's vouchers, and to make contracts and purchases without advertising. With such unprecedented au- thority, with unlimited access to money,.-with liberty to act with- out regard to scrutiny or review by either civilian or governmental organizations, the CIA 'has become a self- contained state. One observer ranks the CIA as the fourth world power, after the U.S., Russia, and China. Partly because of the CIA's special "secret" status and partly because of the laziness of the press, the total history of CIA intervention in foreign coun- tries has never been reported. What you read instead are fragments?an attempted bribe in Mexico last July, an assassination in Africa last November. What emerges here is an atlas of intrigue but not a grand design; on the contrary, the CIA's record is as erratic and contradictory as that of any bureaucracy in the Federal stable. But you -do begin to comprehend the enormous size of the CIA and its ruthless behavior. The rules permit murder, defollatioiz and drug addiction for Political ends. Look at the record: t """".-------App-reved-Fer-Relesee-200110S/04 : CIA:RI7P8041501R000500020001-7 Approved For ReleasR921?awavDp::,-Entum000 .NI night in January last year the . Costa Rican fishing boat Nayuribe ? elkineed upon a ship the fishermen were unable to identity unloading a suspicious cargo of crates at an out-of-the-way spot on the Costa Rican coast under cover 01 darkness. The nest day the Costa Rican press shed some light on the nocturnal mystery. The ships Atlantic Guayaquil , and. Waltham operated by CIA gunrun- ners had been caught smuggling into country a large guanlity of weapons :signed to the pro-fascist Free Costa Rica organization known to be plotting the forcible overtlirc.w., of the Jose Figueres government. An investigation carried out at the time by the Costa Rican authorities revealed that the threads of the con- spiracy led to the U.S. Embassy in San Jose. The contact man between the CIA and the Free Costa Rica organization, La Nacion wrote, was none other than Edward Williams, U.S. resident agent in San Jose. who was officially listed as the First Secretary at the U.S. Embassy. It also transpired. according to La Nacion, that Williams WaS the chief organizer of the anti-Soviet campaign unleashed at that time by the Costa Rican reactionary press to prevent the normalization of diplomatic relations between Costa Rica and the Soviet / Union. Williams and a fellow-agent, Lawrence Harrison, who operated under the cover of the local branch of the Agency for International Development, bad to leave Costa Rica in great haste. A little over a year has passed since then. Speaking at a press conference on February 25, the Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Affairs Gonzalo Facio said the government had irrefutable proof that "preparations were under way for an invasion of Costa Rica by mercenary armies . of the Central American countries" aimed at overthrowing President Jose Figueres and setting up a military dictatorship. A special role irk .the operation, scheduled for March, was assigned to the Free Costa Rica orga- nization, yhose fascist-type thugs are preparing for terrorist acts against members of the Costa Rican government and the country's progressives. Why are the U.S. special services and their local agents plotting against the ankstitutionally elected government of Figueres? Why the heightened interest of the cloak-and-dagger men in small and peaceful Costa Rica? The wind of change sweeping Latin America is increasingly making itself felt in Central America. which Plot CURRENT SCENE Against Costa Rica V. CHIMEIR ernment is strongly opposed to any particularly reliable sphere of influence. Washington has long regarded as a T such supra-national army, which could The U.S. is seriously worried by the be used at U.S. bidding to interfere in prospect of losing control over this area. the internal affairs of Central American situated so close to its borders, and-up t countries. The Costa Rican people justly o now. a veritable private preserve of regard the project as a threat to their the American monopolies and the reactionary regimes subservient to them. country's sovereignty. It is particularly alarmed by the These are troubled days for San Jose. The local La developments in Costa Rica, which, for Flora, quoting official sourc- a number of historical reasons, has es, reports that the governments of two Central American countries have always been more democratic than its neighbours. already armed and equipped mercena- ries in addition to allowing some of their Costa Rica own officers and men. to join in the planned invasion of Costa Rica. In view of this the Figueres government has called on volunteers to start military Figueres, following his election in 197I to the presidency for a third term, training in order to repel a possible announced the intention of his govern- foreign intervention. The -.Costa Rican ment to implement a programme of people are fully determined to sweeping socio-economic reforms and their soriArr'Nerreignty : entry of the economic domina- 1. 1,.)reivi monopolies. In the sphere -.;-icn policy. Figiteres declared tor normal relations with all es. including the socialist. Late in 1970 the Costa Rican government r-stnred diplomatic relations with the 17,ti.s.12. Democratic opinion in Costa Rica and progressives in Latin America generally welcomed these steps. Not so the U.S. imperialists, who saw In these actions, taken by a sovereign state in the national interest. a "dangerous" example to other Central American countries. And so the CIA set to work to topple' the Figueres govern- ment. Washington pressure to bear devious means, using the reactionary brass hats of some Central American countries whom the Pentagon has under its thumb through the agency of the Central American Defence Council. Some time ago Costa Rica, which has no army of her own, withdrew from that organization, arousing the displeasure of the United States. The ministers for state security, foreign affairs and economics of the Central American countries are to meet in Guatemala early next month, according to the Costa Rican weekly Libertad, and Washington is counting on putting through a decision to create "joint armed forces" of the Central American countries. The Figueres gov- has long had a strong patriotic movement, which has influenc- ed government policy in many respects. It was due to this influence that Jose is now trying to bring on Costa Rica by defend Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601R000500020001-7 Approved For Re 11111' 5-1! 1 V 1 in 1 II'I 1 L When Britain pulled out of Rhodesia after the 1965 Unila the CIA worked td ferret out details of the sanction-busi In the popular. traditions of spying, secret documents disa were used to convey messages in invisible ink. It was a shock one of the informers was a prominent lawyer. But it was not , the CIA had expanded, nto an a're'a where the British were una -active in Egypt, Iran and Syria. E. H. COOKRIDGE ends his ( and looks at the Director, Richard Helms ANY of the bright young / men Allen Dulles had v recruited to CIA from British sanction policy became, British Other CL 1.......-eLs..1`).--?,.--. law offices and univer- sities ---s sities had gained their were Cal consular offices and SIS men were ? spurs in London, where they were consular A supposed to watch the steady flow of to glean some of the methods of the Francis I, Rhodesian pig-irm, tobacco, and other British Secret Intelligence Service.who had products through the Portuguese ports ' Dulles enjoyed making wisecracks cloak-anc of Lorene() Marques and Beira in East about the Victorian and Indian Army Africa to Europe and the Far East Cuba one traditions still surviving in the British Wigant, Merchants and shippers there had secret service, but he had a healthy made fortunes out of the traffic which Congo dt respect for its unrivalled experience and sevez the Portuguese were bound, by United and great professionalism. He knew the most Nations resolutions and agreements that CIA could learn a lot from the with Britain, to regard as illegal. Edward ' British about operations in the Middle Salisbury?.......____ _ After the closure of British missions 'East and Africa, where its stations in Salisbury all .information about 1957 from the State Department; were rapidly expanding. from 1959 he headed the East and Rhodesian exports dried up at source. After Archibald Roosevelt, one of South African section and, at the time At this juncture CIA stepped in to CIA's foremost "Arabists", had re- of his new appointment, was Station assist the British. It was not merely a Stored cordial relations with SIS when labour of love. American tobacco Itead in Pretoria. Among his various station head in London, a plan of co- exploits he was reputed to have syndicates in Virginia, Georgia, pperation was devised for Africa, where initiated the first contacts between th North and South Carolina, Ten- most of the former British colonies had South African government and D nessee and Kentucky greatly in- gained independence, and were be- Banda of Malawi. creased their production and sales to STAT INTL coming subject to strong Soviet and The CIA agent's were perpetually Europe when Rhodesian tobacco Chinese pressure. Roosevelt was still .journeying between Salisbury and the growers lost most of their trade in London when, in 1965, Rhodesia . , Mozambique ports, and Murray was through sanctions. Traditionally, made her momentous "Unilateral tt i d temporarily posted to Lusaka to main- Rhodesian tobacco was used for cigar Declaration of Independence" (UDI), lain personal contact with British an cigarette manufacture in Belgium, which led to the conflict with the o Holland, Germany and Switzerland. officials resident in Zambia. Mr Ian British Government. Smith and his cabinet colleague, Mr When these supplies dried up, Euro- There is no better instance Of the J. H. Howman, who looks after foreign pe,an manufacturers turned to Amen- strengthening of CIA-SIS collabora- affairs as well as security and the b can growers. But by 4nd by Rhodesian tion than the hitherto undisclosed secret service of the Rhodesian regime, exports began to flow again, y the story of the services CIA rendered were not unaware of the unwelcome use of false certificates of origin and the British authorities in Rhodesia, operations of the Americans. They smuggling through the Portuguese particularly since about 1968. suffered them for the sake of avoiding rts and through Durban in South Indeed, in assisting the British SIS P?-an open clash With Washington. Their Africa, much- to the displeasure of the in its thankless task of implementing the policy of economic sanctions Americans. patience, however, became frayed when it was discovered that secret against the Smith regime, CIA put its Thus, obliging the British and help- documents had disappeared from the relations with the Portuguese in ing American business, CIA ordered 'jeopardy. It has an enduring under- its agents to ferret out the secrets of the headquarters of the ruling Rhodesian National Front_ Party. Subsequently, standing with the Portuguese Govern- sanction-busting schemes devised by Mr Ian Smith's regime. Soon the CIA ment and its P1DE secret service on M many aspects: NATO security, anti- station in Salisbury was bustling with communist operations, the use of radio activity. Since 1962 it had been headed stations in Portugal and her colonies, by Richard La Macchia, a senior CIA and of bases for the U-2 spy planes official, who had joined it in 1952 from and Special Forces in Angola, Mozam- U.S. Naval Intelligence and had come bique and Macao. Approveid foto nAkicAila therspe an official of ihMiii.Y.agge0 PAW4geGfA-RDP80-01601R0005000200010sPunuea 1, Approved For Releasti200,1103/04 : CIA- 25 11P1111, 1911 ? Vtri'ic? By WILLIAM MONTALDANO period .Latiri America Correspondent SAN JOSE. Costa . Rica ? -President Jose Figueres says he-irk willing to '.let bygones be bygones" in a spat with the United States over an. in- discreet CIA station chief. ? A private visit from Secre- tary or State William P. no. %cr.; last week apparently. helped smooth the ruffled f..7.-:thers or the velatilc Costa .?1.,:-can leader. '.. Niter-es said in an inter- view that he interpr,-.ted the IZogcrs visit during ing of the Organization of American States here as the U.S. way of apoloizing for , the indiscretions of formr.r tEnbassy. official Earl J. Wil- liamson.. THE FIGT_IEr"S Adminis- tration asked for the recall or Williamson, nominally a first secretary at the embassy, after the CIA chief criticized Figueres at private gather- ings and was quoted as hav- itig'prcdictcd his overthrow. Williamson left Costa Rica in February.' ?? , Figueres said he and Ro- gers did not discuss U.S.- Costa Rican. relatlons direct- ly: but he noted that Rogers was the -"only onc? of the 20 foreign 'ministers here who visited me." ? "It was one or these visits in which it doesn't matter what you say. The fact of the visit is what is important," Figueres said. ? A spokesman for Rogers said that the secretary's visit was a courtesy call with no deeperintent. COSTA RICA, the most. _democratic and peaceful of all Latin American nations, was shaken earlier this year by rumors that an uprising was being planned against Figueres. nity. -Approved For Release 2001/03NuFUNsftlbitegt11601R000500020001-7 IT STATINTL iv. 17'1 Some versions had the United. States involved in the plotting, which was said have been triggered by con- servative opponents of Fi- gueres' after he decided to open diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union. The United States emphat- ically. denied any involve- ment after friends of Fi- gueres- leaked the rumors to - .The Miami Herald and; later to other U.S. publications. The bantani 64-year-old Pi- -acres, one of the hemi- sphere's leading democrats,. may be the staunchest friend the United States has in .Latin America. ' It is still not clear whether Figueres believed that an up- rising was afoot or whether he merely wanted people to think he eblieved it. IN ANY EVENT, the ru- mors gave Figueres an oppor- tunity to vent his displeasure at the operation of the U.S. Embassy here in general and of Williamson's activities in particular. From the beginning, high- raM:ing Costa Rican officials, seeking the support of a sym- pathetic American press, had told visiting reporters mere privately than they had been willing to admit publicly. Today, it is an open secret here that the Costa Rican government expects an early replacement for political ap- pointee Walter C. Ploeser as U.S. ambassador. ? ' Publicly, Figueres says, "I have no complaint with the ambassador. My relations with the ambassador are all right." - Privately, Costa Rican offi- ?cials close to Figueres -say they expect Pleezer to be re- :placed as soon as it can be done with a modicum of dig- (7) , 1;fi 4--N-7f) PLOESER, A conservative St. Louis insurance executive Who has been in Costa Rica for a Year without learning any Spanish, has made an unfavorable impression here. . Costa Ricans say Ploeser has appeared aloof, formal and politically out of touch with a liberal society in which the American ambas- sador has traditionally been more of a family friend than a foreign envoy. ? ? Ploeser is held responsible by some influential Costa Ri- cans for the unexpected transfer of Larry Harrison, the highly popular and effec- tive director of the embassy aid program. ?Efarrison, who left Costa Rica in January on a Sched- uled trip to Washington and did not return, is said to have' beer. "fired" by Placser. COSTA RicANs familiar with Harrison's aid programs say they were both dynamic and pragmatic. Harrison is said to have quarreled with both Ploeser and Williamson as part of an ideological dis- pute within the embassy.. . Pipet-es' decision to re- open-ties with the Soviets is ? a major political issue in Costa Rica, where a Cuban exile colony adds fuel to tra- ditional anti-Communist fires. Figueres himself is one of .the hemisphere's most vocal -anti-Communists. His deci- sion to deal with the Soviets was based on a Costa Rican desire to sell 'surplus produc- tion of coffee, its principal export, at favorable prices. As part of the deal, Costa Rica was to have purchased Soviet .machinery equal in value to the coffee it export- ed: The deal :round to a: standetill after the Soviet. failure to comply with bid-. ding requirements for the machinery. terview, however, he was de- termined to press ahead to- ward greater ties with the Communist world. "We have to find some- thing to buy from them," he said. "Perhaps they will sell us bridges, which we need badly. But they have much to learn about competitive bid- ding." Figueres says that rela- tions between .Costa Rica end the Communist world pose no threat. ? "Let the Soviets come with a' 100,man embassy for all I care," he said. "After all these years, Costa Rican Communists have managed to win only two scats in eon- press. 1./hat can the Soviets do that Cosh Ricans them- selves cannot?" Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDPWILWril R000500020001-7 GRAND RAPIDS, MICH, PRESS MAR 23 197f E - 133,419 S - 133,539 Coffee Break . "It is a stroke of good fortune for the United States," the Kansas City 'Star has observed editorially, "that Costa Ricans a ,sense of humor." What provoked that observation wa. President Jose Figueres' com- ment in requesting the United States to recall from Costa Rica the State Department's chief politi- cal officer there, Missourian Earl Williamson. "It so happens," said Figueres, "that the Russians drink a lot of tea, but that Costa Rica would rather have them drink a lot of coffee." Williamson, it is charged, in addition to his State Department duties in Costa Rica, may also have been moonlighting as the CIA's representative there. In any case, the envoy has succeeded in thor- oughly disgusting the Figueres regime which, if not following the path of right-wing dictators long tolerated by the US., at least in. Costa Rica presents uS with -a gj..rm and demo- cratic ally in Latin America.. Mr. Williamson, who is related by marriage to wealthy ex-Cubans, apparently has his own ideas on what constitutes 1.:Etn democracy, and without further guidance from Washington, he ban to create static over Costa Rican coffee trade with Russia. inch trade is vi- tal to the Costa Meat economY, but President Figuerei; claims that Williamson tried to stir up a military coup over the issue. No time should belost in clearing up the Williamson lase and in put- ting at rest any Mhunderstanding that exists betwm Washington and San Jose. g, as President Figueres charges, there has been heavy-handed bluidering by an American official, it is intolerable to let the situatidn drift. If, on the other hand, it is.not much more than a silly mistaterstanding, the need to clear the air is equally imperative. Approved For Releate 2001/03/04.: CIA-RDP80-01601R000500020001-7 --STATINTL Approved For Releaie4C101140Y04 : CIA-RDP80- 13 LiAl.toil 1971 ? ?:?-% r (?,'-:)) (--1 Vt,..1 ? . _ The events in Costa Rica 'described here lift the cu.:- tetn a fiactien en the. way the CIA continucs its eperationS in 1,atin Anieri::e (as well cis everyWhaie else in the belya the ino Grande, cl.:2n::;er flashooints tke pub!ic at CtA pIattir,u3 c:st Cuba, '.vthere, Jack Andersan rei?crts in his syn? ? the con:,...oiracl-ls ed efferts to assas::inete Prima ?ni5.- ter -J Ctrs-4o; i Chile,.w!lere the nevi severninunt hes 'roused the ire. cf the t?-ligen A4nlinistratien and the big LJS.soi:per comeratians; ? in. r:cuaeor cid other cau.ntries ? .avhere sovere!on disr,ity as vie% as fishing rhts are in roe ' bc:lar.ce. So it cjc:.--,s uzy a ncrclos.-:n the hcinisphc re. ? Ay 1????11iEELER WASIIINGTON bsta Rican newspapers and the Miami .?( Florida Iferald have reported a- possible plat 1-)y the CIA .to overthrow the governinent of Costa Rica. The pho is said to have involved the dropping cf a sLipload Of arms on a lonely Pacific beach of Costa Rica from a ship idcn- tified as the "Waltham." Implicated in the charges is Earl (Ted) Williamson, a shadowy figure attached to the U.S. Embassy in-San Jese, Costa Rica, but commonly known there as "CIA. chief of station," the Miami Herald declared in a report, 7" Feb. written bv.Don Bohning, the Herald's Latin Amer- ica editor. . Williamson is said to have predicted the. early de- mise of the regime of President Jose Fisueres Ferrer, because it is asserting independence from the U.S. by .opening trade relations with the Soviet Union. Czecho- ' slovakia, Poland and other socialist nations. Legislators, newspaper editors and othersupporters ef-Figueres are so outraged at revelation of the plot and 7-Williamson's involvement that State Department brief- ing officer Robert McCloskey?quietly announced last week Williamzon's impending withdrawal from Costa o:olda lelepOone call to the CIA here we asked Joseph Goadwin, Assistant" to CIA Director Richard Helms, if, indeed. Williamson is on the CIA payroll. Goodwin re- plied, "We don't rrosl;e public statements." ? - - McCloskey was bombarded with questions about the. plot two days running last week: Minutes of the briefing feb. 9 declare: ? ? ? C:uestion: Bob, -have any of our diplamats boom re- called 'from Costa Rica in connection with these charges of CIA activity down there? ? MeClos'key: Well, let me say first that no agency of the United States Government has been involved in ac- tivityaglinst APPrenetildi? PeteIge 001103/04 : CIA-RDP80-01601R000500020001,7 ? aware of allegations to the effect and they are not true... The gove ?nmont ill Costa. Rica has denied that it has de- - claret] any American official PNG --persona non grata. I have nothing to add to those statements which have been - - ? Again on Feb. 11, McCloskey was closely questioned by reporters: _ Questioa: Bob, could you confirm a report that the American political officer in Costa 'Rica is being with- drawn? McCloakey:."Earl Williamson, who has been -as- signed to the American Embassy down there for, I be- ? lieve, the last two and a half years will be returning from there sonietime, I believe, next month. Question: Does Mr. Williamson work for the CIA? , McCloskey: Mr. Williamson .has leen assigned to the American Embassy in. Costa Rica. I'm not in .the practice of identifying persons %oho. work for the CIA." (emphasis mine.- T.W.) . Ilis Exc.ePon4 Raphael Alberto Zuniga, Costa Ri- ca's .Ambassador to the U.S., told World Magaziae his governmcnt has denied "what the Miami Iterald re- ? Feria" "We emphasize that we have and want to main- tain very cordial relations with the Unite.d States," Zuno iga added. The reports of an attempted coup, he added, are "probably rumors in San Jose." ? he defended Costa Rica'S.expandiag i...iiplornatic ties L with the socialist nations of Eastern Europe. "These re-' lations are going to be established," he. said, -."jost as Colombia and, Mexico have done. They will be mainly . ? commercial and trade 'relations. We have to sell our coffae to the European countries. That is where the mar- ? ket ? But sohile the "Figneres -govern:a-sent, for Its own reasons, is denying the attempted colon press and radio conosonatary in San Jose continues to categorically da- cbi-c that an acmed attack on the government was plotted, and that Williamson was directly involved. A broadcast by San Jose Radio Reloj, Feb. 10, monitored by the U.S. State Department and transcribed in jour- nal titled "Foreign Beoadcast Intormation Servo-e" declared, "The case of the Central Intelligence Ag.,-tInv (CIA) and Figueres isa case which has been handled hest by the State Department. It is evident that. there was in- - tervention and it is evident that evers thing was patched up at home. ? ? ' ? . . ? "Nothing remains for exportation except a -clood of smoke which no one will hb able to figure out. . ? "There is evidenet Which cannot be obliterated ' the. affirmation bo several Liberation deputies (mem- bers of Fiouere.s National Liberation Party (PlaN), that Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CrAPRDP80-01601 - 8 MAR 1971 COSTA RICA Freelance Diplomacy In Costa Rica's admirable if not en- tirely unblemished history of democratic government, no figure stands taller than diminutive (5 ft. 3 in.), scrappy Jos? Eigyeres Ferrer, 64. At the head of a rag; tag band of rebels in 1943, "Don Pepe" routed a Communist military coalition that had tried to seize power illegally. He banned the Communist party, abol- ished the army (Costa Rica has not had one since), instituted many social re- forms and, after 18 months, restored power to the elected President. Figueres was elected to the presidency in his own right in 1953 and again last year. Educated at M.I.T. and married to an American, he became an outspoken sup- porter of the U.S. Opponents frequently charged, in fact, that he was too pro- Yankee. . With that sort of record, Pepe Figueres seems a most unlikely target \i for a Guatemala-style plot engineered by CIA agents and aimed at his over- throw. Yet that is precisely what Costa Rican officials claim has happened in the tiny (pop. 1,700,000) Central Amer- ican republic. They do not accuse Wash- ington of sponsoring the scheme, but they make no secret of their suspicions about some officials who happened to be working for the U.S. Astonishing Question. The plot began to take shape in 1968, when one Earl J. Wil- liamson was assigned to the American embassy in San Jose as a political officer. William- son, 55, also served as CIA sta- tion chief. While he was at- tached to the U.S. embassy in Havana during the Batista era, he had married the vivacious niece of a wealthy Cuban sug- ar baron. The Williamsons moved in wealthy San Jos?ir- cles, where Pepe Figueres was considered a "Communist" by some because of his social re- forms. Williamson and his wife made no effort to hide their dis- like for the President?particularly after Don Pepe, having already established re- lations with Rumania, Bulgaria and Hun- gary, moved to exchange ambassadors with the Soviet Union as well. (Costa Rica has been selling its surplus coffee to the Russians for U.S. dollars for two years.) Last October the Costa Rican gov- ernment ' received intelligence reports that Williamson was actively abetting a right-wing antigovernment plot. The State DepartMent was asked to quietly arrange his transfer. Nothing was done. Shortly after New Year's, Costa Ri- can Ambassador to Washington Rafael A. Zuliiga visited Assistant Secretary of State Charles Meyer and bluntly asked: "Is the U.S. plotting the over- throw of Don Pepe?" Meyer expressed astonishment, and a few days later, State Department Troubleshooter C. Allan Stewart was dispatched to San Jos? Still Williamson Was not redalled. Fully expecting a coup in early Jan- uary, Figueres' governthent put the 3,000-man civil guard on full alert. Con- tingency plans called for Figueres to be whisked to the hills to. protect him from assassination. .The coup did not come off, but the following week San Jose once again requested Williamson's recall. Last week the CIA man and his wife finally departed. At the same time, V Ambassador Walter C. Ploeser, a con- servative former insurance executive, began cutting the AID program's per- sonnel and trimming the Peace Corps (though Costa Rican's wanted it expand- ed). He also says he plans to boost se- curity personnel to maintain surveillance of the Russians when they come. Overzealous Actions. Washington sources suggest that Figueres engineered the whole plot story to get rid of Wil- liamson and Ploeser, a Nixon appointee. Don Pepe is, after all, an emotional man; only two weeks ago, he slapped a student for razzing him. In Washington, Williamson was or- dered to make no comment on the sit- uation. Ploeser may indeed be recalled before long?but at Foggy Bottom's BERNARD DIEDERICH FIGUERES AFTER 1970 VICTORY A most unlikely target. pleasure, not Don Pepe's. And a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, after a closed hearing, found 110 evidence that the U.S. Government had "attempted to overthrow" th Figueres government, although it did cite "overzealous ac- tions" by unnamed officials. One U.S. embassy official in San Jos?lamed the Administration's ex- ceptionally low profile in Latin America for the diplomatic debacle. "We are float- ing In the policy of no policy," he said, "and a la of guys start to freelance." To raise the profile a bit, Secretary of State William Rogers will be going to San Jose next month to attend the Latin American Foreign Ministers con-. ference. For his part, Don Pepe has asked the Russians, who were scheduled to open their embassy this week, to put it off for a while. STATI NTL Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601R000500020001-7 ? ANS7.73 TI=S Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01 2 MAR NI Loose. Talk ' , ruates TightaSpot STATINTL When it was disclose'cl that the CIA's man in Costa Rica was being accused of complicity . in a plo,t overthrow .the - 'government of that country, most of us fi- gured the man was . the victim of a frameup.. ? , , ? :After all, Costa Rica is one of the West- 6rn Hemisphere's. most democratic coun- tries. Its president, 'Jose Figueres, a long- time friend of the United Statest is so anti- .? Communist that his foreign minister called last June for. collective 'action "to promote? an internal uprising". in Cuba. ? ...Incredibly, though, it seems that Earl aed) Williamson?an American embassy official reputed to ? be the CIA chief in Costa Rica?left himself and the United ,States open to the accusation'. . ? As Times correspondent Francis B. Kent reported in a Weekend dispatch, William.: son had been critical of Costa Rica's dee,- ' sion?to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. Just before Christmas, he was heard predicting that the Figueres' ? government would not last another two weeks. When rumors of a plot to overthrow Fl- gueres thereupon grew, the Costa Rican ? government remembered the diplomat's prediction?and, understandably, was not 'amused. ? ? ? . ? Only after repeated requests; however, - did Washington finally get around to. or- dering Williamson out of Costa- Rica a few days ago. We do not believe for :a minute that the.. United States (or Williamson, ? for tbat 'matter) was actually engaged in a plot to overthrow Figueres. ? ? It is astounding, .however, that a U.S. re- presentative abroad?whether wearing his diplomatic or CIA hat?would indulge in loose talk- imperiling relations with a friendlY government. It is even 'more as- tounding that, once the flap arose, Wash- . ington was so lackadaisical about setting things right. ? Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDF'80-01601R000500020001-7 STATINTL Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP riousroN, ?posT 2g9,85 ? 322,763 ; rT-17 I? ,?.,,,, ?0-- -,,,,7- --,-, ..1-,,, rt S 111.1"3 -- / 62:i iLA,II,D ..11 11* it, .11 11 .11 p 11 ?/-1 Ur, v.v.L, ? By W.. D. LNDELL Aside from the chronic bad weather to the south, the United States has run into a series of regional squalls. Costa Rica, They involve Panama, , and Ecuador. ' ? Tht Costa Rica squall is - n ow officially over, but it r:e4,2re?, threw a cloud ? over the presi- dency of Jose / Eigueres. h ? Eigueues, tra- ? ;/1 ditionally - known as a friend of the U.S., ' came into office last May as the result of an over- !NI:Chiang- election victory. Ile went to work quickly to find markets for Costa Rican products. One of his big tar- - gels was Russia. Trade has already begun. Exchange of . ambassadors is near. As a result Figueres, who . was a hero of the Costa Rican War of Liberation in the 40s and a celebeated president in the Rs, has become con- troversial. There is fear in Costa Rica and elsewhere ? that recognition of Russia will lead to recognition of Cuba and 'Communist China. EIGtall?..ES backers say it , isn't 'so. They cite the long- standing feud. between Fig- , ueres and Fidel Castro. Cas- ? tro openly accuses Costa Rica or harboring so c re t bases ?`, from which an invasion of ? Cuba is planned. e Eigueres had apparently.' ridden out the Cuba scare, however, and only a little tur- bulence remained. Then the U. S. Embassy in San JO:i7, the capital of Costa Rica, made some news. Possibly it was pure coincidence. The Embassy's political of- . ficer, Earl Williamson, was it Ii d r a win . There were charges that he had been the Central Intelligence Agency Loss in Costa Rica. There were reports that the U. S. was trying to discredit or overthrow the Figures gov- ernment. State Department front / man Robert J. McCloskey de- v. nied the, overthrow story.. Asked about Williamson, he said, "I am not in the prac- tice of identifying persons who work for the .Cili*"." Charles A. MeyelYa;sistant .ecretary of state for Latin American affairs, went before a congressional ? subcom- mittee. The subcommittee lat- er reported that it found "no foundation for the charge that the United States has been in- volved in any attempt to overthrow the government of . President Jose Fig,ueres." RUT VIE- CLKD had al- ready settled over Fi,gueres. The other day, when a stu- dent booed him, Figures slapped the. student. Figueres is 64 now and he has changed ' since the earlier years when : he would have handled the in- : cident another, way. Latin ? America has changed too, hut ! *not to the point* that a pblicr slap can be forgotten. ? Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601R000500020001-7 ? F,A 1 OUT? Approved For Relp.???_2QQ.1/04/04 : "NI `e 8 FES 971 1 C- s'a ri."*.et, - . ? 1 ? . rrl ri? rs7i .6- e 1 6 ,11.1F714"!r?t'i I i in? iti U. ? BY FRANCIS B. KENT ? . . Times Sten WiltEr SAN JOSE, Costa Rica-- Foreign agents, snuggled .. guns and the lightning . coup are as commonplace as bananas in this part of the world. But not in Costa Riee, pea.ceful little ? reputaie has long been known as the Switz- erland of CLLaLtral Aeric;. Yet. all these elements-- and more--have surfaced here in the last few weeks, to the acute embarrass- ment ofboth the Costa Bi- cp.and U.S. governments. The'. fallont to date in- cludes. the recall of 'a U.S. Embassy official generally identified as station chief . for the central Intek? lioence Agency here and th.'e. ? dismissal of the U.S.', aid mission director. . ( - ? - Plot Charged ? ? Earl (Ted) Williamson, -No. 2 Man in the embas- sy's political section and, reputedly, the CIA's top official here, left San Jose last Sunday for Washing- ton amid widespreadshar- ges of complicity in a plot to overthrow the govern- ment of President Jose Fi- gueres. His N'Athdrawal ? had been sought repeated- ly by the Costa Rican government. AlthoUgh U.S. Ambassa- dor Walter C. Pleesee and State Department offiCials in Washington vigorously deny the charges of -U.S. involvement, there. is Much evidence to the con- trary. Moreover, sources ? well up in the Figueres government expect to See Ploeser..himaelf depart soon for another . assigns. ment. . ? . To Preserve Ties ? Figtieres, too, in an ef- fort to preserve his long- standing _friendship witla . the - United States, .has gene out of his wayAtsgst nionstrate publicly thgt741 is well ;between the- two It-la krat)Wit,ers6rietbeleas, criticism was echoed by ?I?vi.). r .et? ? ?11 --ILI, Or:, -4- that:. ? . , his wife ,._ ? ? gueres 'zi waY . 'front : .the ILI social circles. s ? ,- 'scene of *expected trouljle, 7 .---The .Figtteres govern- : Figuerea, for , his part, and. Fig u e r e s, asked a wilt seriously 'feared an said he was only followina. -friend in-the State I)epart- uprising tri- early Januarses ?the lead of 15resident Nix- ment to pull Williamson . --_-The_G?tardia..civil, Co- on, who had said it. was out of the ccinntry,'a move s t a Rica's only a rine d . time to end the era of eon-- .;rthiat reportedly infuriated force, as alerted at that oeeei. time and plans were Made- rrontation and begin an: - Meanwhile, Lawrence E.. to remove Figueres from era of negotiation. . . ;Harrison, chief of the aid . No Effort to Curb . mission here and architect Ploeser, a pt. Louis. ban-. tot' a $22 million program timed primarily at hn- ktr and insurance mail,is ?proving Costa Rican agri- Republica ns ; -ttongre,.4ettaan culture, had gone to Wash- f roras19,11 : toalM sa mi aa a ington for what were de- acribed assi outine consul% Jations. Harrison had not g-ptten along with the am- ? llaassador, who is deecribed- ? bY embassy sources as feeling that Harrison was - ? ? the capital tp a hiding place in the rnounlains. . Fall Predicted --Williamson, a f r e- euent critic ? of Figueres, had publicly forecast not long before that the II 1- effe6..fis-e. GO.c3:1U.rid-raibi; .. . gueres government would arrived here in April. He not survive another two js said to have Ina& no de weeks. r fort to curb Williamson's ? U.S. and Costa Rican of- ., public - outbursts against , - . iguel es. pressed astonishment, at : The situation came. to a too -closesto an edministra- the very idea of a U.S: in- bead just before Christ- - ;Lion that was drifting clan- telligence agent conspire anas, when Williamson ob- - 'gerously to the left. . . ? ? 1 1 . ? ? - " lug to overthrow the served ata cocktail party Harrison has ribt res - government of a Man who, that Figueres' g e r n- turned and will not res over the years, has been ment would not last be- Ploeser has assumed among the Warmest of . yond two more weeks. In WI it. h . -aansibilities as Latin America. Even So, in have been over - looked, . chief of the aid-mission. 'Washington's friends . in itaelf, the remark might s. rest the livht of circumstances, - but there was more. - ' 'Against this back- ? ground, former .Ambassa- ? Arms Movemeut' have suggested that such a ?. ? ? doe Allen Stewart, an old Simultaneously, a rinnore development is not al- friend of Figueres, was swept through. San Jose together unlikely. . sent here to investigate. . . - that arms had been landed Start of Trouble Ile is reported on the best ? . Clandestinely. on the n- of authority to have told Difficulties between the- mote Peninsula de. Osa ih It'igueres that official cab- embassy here and the Ft- ? the southwest. Other W.12 a - - les- reaching Washington gueres government date ' pons were reported. to be had described the -situa- back to the president's in- - moving across the border tion as dangerous. Fi- aug 'ration last spring, fol- . with-Nicaraabna. - - gums ? was accused . of lowing an overwhelming -- ploeaer told - reporters abandoning the West and electoral victory over op- 014 there were "certainly . facing Eat, .of having acs position on the far left and110. -ships Owned ? ?ansv cepted financial assfstance far right. ''ie-rine--se of t fib u:p it ed - *from the Communists for .. A charter member of s;:,afe.s.' in th'e Teninattla his caMpaign, of permit- Latin America's damecra- . tie Qsa area:fie s.,ti."1.hd.Itir..- . ._ . ting Communists to infil- highly reliable sources , . _ ._ ..,.. .. seasnatel ? y oftered to isso- trate his government. . Vide ? surface.. -vessels an , Figueres who has 'been -a.lretatft from U.S. bases in , callgi "disgustingly pro- ' Panama to investigate the United States.," told Stew- ' reports. It ? has been sug-, art-that he remained solid- egested, officially that what ly anti-Communist.. Stew.- . was landed there -might 'i art reportedly left Costa It a v e b e e n contraband i' Rica convinced that the 3vhisky. ''. . ' charges were w it h o u t No QUE.'S tion : - i foundation. - . ? . s ;? - tic left 't'irmerea hat' led ? . an anti-Communist rebels - lion here in 19.4S, served as president .fiont 1954 to 193S and had lived ?and taught in the elf 'tiled States.; He is krioVvn as ad ?ASP oketi critic of narnist Cuba's'Ficlei ,?7 Cas- tro. ? e - . I - Still, there was friction from the start with the embassy: Williamson, who had served in pre-Castro Havana and married the niece i-Of a wealthy sugar baron, openly criticized Fi- otitedsFetviftlegiv;e40 diplomatic relations. with Shortly afterward, There is no question, fol- however,- that arms did in; lowing another Figueres ? fact cross: the border' :request for the recall of from Nicarag WI. These aee Williamson, this time sub- deacribed'by sources cloae . milled formally by Costa eto Figueres as .104 ?R c a' s . ambassa.dor in automatic weaponss? dame-Washington, Williameon - creel at Figueres' request was withdrawn.. by t he goyerninent, or Ploe.ser contends that -Dria. Gen. Gmar Torrijos Wit liamson'a deuarture .0140.31114.:,C1A-RDFOGvalSailali00500020001-7 The Guaiiiia- Civil -.-Was any plot ekisted, he has 1r tPu1 --1-1 n fl e? 4:01 it e.n)\ tics, nttrithtn,i STATINTL AI Approved For RpiteAso ggo ving4 : CIA-RDP80- 24 Feb 1971 Diplomat Plotters ? ? :A.big.scandal has broken out in Costa Rica. What is more, a diplomatic scandal, inasmuch as three of the four persons involved are members- of the . :fait of the U.S. Embassy in San Jose. It toutd also with equal justification be called -in espionage scandal because the ?diplomats in question combine their ?Waal (unctions with the clandestine activities of CIA agents.. And these activ- ities Were directed towards overthrow- . ong.the Costa Rican government; These diplomat plotters are not small fry..Edward Williamson, for instance, is First ecretesry of the Embassy. John W. Bligh- is .!ts economic counsellor. James E. .Keri is a consul. And the only member of this cqmpany of plotters who operat- ed under a different guise is Lawrence ?. Harrison. ' He heads the local branch . of 'the Agency for International De- iyeldpment. . .... .The Mastermind of : the' plot .,was Edwof.d Williernsor.t. the CIA boss In StM. Jose:: , ? ? ? '. ' '`... .. -I: .: ,';'', ? ;._ Reports in La Libertad and other 1 Costa Rican newspapers reveal some in- teresting details of the planned coup d'efat. The role of the striking force was ? assigned to a local fascist group known as the Free Costa Rica Organization. Its members were supplied with arms by . the Central Intelligence Agency and were taught to handle them at a secret camp. The activity of this fifth column of Washington's was directed by the CIA agents entrenched in the U.S. Embassy. 41 When the plot was uncovered, the first name to crop up was that of Edward Williamson. Subsequent Investigations: showed that Bligh, Kerr and Harrison .were also Implicated. ? ' ? 1 . The.Costa .' Rican government 'thereupon: eskid?Washittpton IQ .retell Why was the plot hatched/ President Jose Figueres Ferrer, whom the plotters were planning to?overthrow, has been steering a course aimed at strengthening the country's economic ' and political?independence. If is to this end that he set out to develop the country's diplomatic and trade ties with foreign countries. Since his election, Costa Rica has established or extended trade and diplomatic relations with a number of socialist countries. Last sum- mer she signed a trade agreement with the Soviet Union, and diplomatic rela- tions between these two countries were fully normalized of the beginning of this year, The policy, pursued by the Costa Rican President . aroused the displeasure of Washingt?n,'where it was felt that Costa Rica was slipping from its grip. Hence the:CIA's:collusion' with tie Costa. Rican reaction: Yr?-":..::,!.? ? ' . . . . :it V. Ryaranfsev STATI NTL Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601R000500020001-7 ? ? STATINTL Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP KANSAS CITY, MO. STAR E - 325,351 $_ - 396 682 2 197V day to Won Friends in Lin America ? ? . Among all the nations of Latin America, the United States has. no better friend than Costa Rica.. For various reasons the U. S. has been popular there. Costa Rica is highly regarded by its neighbors. in the. hemisphere because it is 'prosperous and has a long, democratic tradition. When an Jose has gone along with U. S. policy on ccrt ain occasions, other nations have. followed. Thus the recent fus.s over a State department political officer, Earl Williamson, is most unfor- tunate. Williamson is leaving Costa Rica at the request?of President Jose Figueroa. It has been said that Williamson is the chief Central Intelli- gence Agency officer there arid that he has been working against the president. Figueres wants to. recolsn; ize the Soviet Union which has bought a. lot of coffee lately. . -There is considerable reason to believe that Williamson is innocent in this case regardless of whether he is a C. I. A. representative. As a political officer it is his duty to know politicians of all persuasions. Many Costa Ricans are upset over the move toward Russian recognition, and Williamson .uncloobtecily knows some of those people. But Figueres himself said the other day that the charges against Williamson were made by peaple who couldn't prove them.; - ? In the.rnidst?of all this stands Walter .C. Pines - of,. the .American ambassador:. He is a Si. Louis _ . insurance executive;. a former member of Con- gress from St. Louis; ambassador to Paraguay two years in the Eisenhower administration, and a former Republican national committeeman from Missouri. He is known as an outstanding fund raiser for the party. President Figueres insists that he gets along fine with Ploeser and has sent out a telegram_ saying so. The ambassador reciprocated with a dinner for the president. But there are Costa Ri- cans who believe the ambassador doesn't spend enough time at Ms job and others who say he is too codaervative. Of course any ambassador is certain to have detractors. The fact remains that one of the . friendliest nations to the United States has had to ask for ? ? the recall of an important embassy official. The president,of the country has felt onged to re- state the basis of that friendship and point out politely that the Russians drink a lot of tea and that he would rather have them drill% eo.'_fee. The United States has plenty of. enemies. Enough nations already are suspicious of our motives. International difficulties erupt without any bidding from this country. It is intolerable if heavy-handed blundering leads to unnecessary Strain with one' of our true friends. This has been a silly encounter. Fortunately, the Costa Ricans have a sense of humor. Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601R000500020001-7 Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01 NATIONAL JOURNAL 20 Feb 1971 Central Intelligence Agency Notes Costa Rica controversy: Earl Wil- liamson, the agency's station chief in Costa Rica, is returning "to the United States for another assignment, the State Department confirmed Feb. 17. A subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Feb. 10 there is "no foundation for the charge," which appeared in press accounts in Miami and Latin America, "that the United States government had been involved in any attempt to overthrow the government of (Costa Rica's) President (Jose) Figueres." STATI NTL Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601R000500020001-7 NATI (?-_-_?.:3 Approved For Releate 2001/U3/04 : QIA-IkDP80- 0 FED 197? (F