REPRODUCED AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES DECLASSIFIED Authority State Letter Whe By ME, NARA Date 2498 Observers whose views run somewhat along the lines sketched above, admit that there is now no constitutional way whereby the President can prolong his term.
They maintain, however, that he may, when the day of the elections arrives, call them off by using one pretext or another (especially the suspension of guarantees due to the war. Since the Government has a certain amount of military equipment in its hands it would be difficult for any serious civil opposition to develop.
Such a procedure, however, would be so contrary to Costa Rican tradition and the antagonism toward the Administration so widespread that observers do not believe the experiment could be successful for a very long period of time (cf. the Tinoco régime. The foregoing speculations may ascribe an excessive degree of Machiavellianism to the political thinking of the President and his advisers. As a matter of fact in my last conversation with the President he told me that he was not only physically tired but that he was also bored with politics and that he looked forward to becoming a private citizen again and living a more peaceful life.
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He went on to speak at length about his violent dislike of the Ubico and Carías Governments which he described as odious little dictatorships. He seems to ha ve the convictiom that once the war is over the se mon will be driven rapidly from power. Throughout his remarks there was an under current that Costa Rica was far better off with its freedom of expression and democratic way of life, even allowing for the excesses to which expression is carried here, than countries like Guatemala and Honduras which are brutally dominated by rapacious and unscrupulous dictators. He mentioned his admiration for General Somoza, of Nicaragua, and stated that he could not understand why Somoza was interested in perpetuating himself in power. Dr.
Calderón Guardia reminisced concerning the desire of the Costa Rican Congress, earlier in his Administration, to extend his term from four to six years, an effort which he said he had resolutely opposed. He spoke feelingly of Costa Rica tradition of order, liberty and respect for the Constitution and implied that he would not in any way sully this splendid record which was a matter of pride to the entire Continent.
allyo PS DAB The foregoing observations may well furnish a reliable clue to the President views at the moment.
By the manoeuvres described in the opening part of this despatch he has apparently assured a victory for his candidate in the February election, hence there would seem to be no specially cogent reason for him to break violently with Costa Rica traditions which he professes to respect, and at the same time expose himself to the risks of an unconstitutional régime, which would be almost certain to end in violence.
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