168. Telegram 194 to Tegucigalpa, November 181

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Subject: Lopez regime in Honduras. Reference: TEGUCIGALPA 295, 296, 297 and 298.

You should inform Lopez that Dept takes position that while mode of return to constitutionality described to you in recent conversation unobjectionable, timing appears to be all out of proportion to requirements of situation and views which Lopez and Zuniga had expressed previously, and unless abbreviated considerably would pose serious difficulties for early normalization US relations. (As one example of way to compress schedule Constituent Assembly should be able to meet within a few days of its election. At your discretion, you may remind Lopez that on several occasions he spoke favorably to Amb Burrows of “highly successful” 1956–1957 Junta, attributing its success directly to fact it lasted only one year. He said it would not have [Facsimile Page 2] been so useful had it tried to extend its life beyond one year.)

You should say that Dept’s consideration will be helped by including in decree definite date for holding of elections to National Constituent Assembly; and that final decision of US will be affected by timing called for by the terms of the decree, and by taking of initial measures set forth in decree to set up electoral commission composed of representative Honduran parties and other elements private sector showing effective intent to carry out objectives described.

You should inform Lopez that upon publication his regime’s plans for return to constitutionality, USG will as customary consult with OARs. Nature of our consultation will depend on actual terms of announcement. We hope there will be a satisfactory solution soonest in order avoid unnecessary complications at planned MFM.

You should impress on Lopez extreme seriousness with which USG views the OAS recommendations to its members to submit to COAS on a continuing basis evidence of subversive Castro communist activity in their respective countries. This recommendation reaffirmed by Central American countries and Panama in Resolution 8 of Managua Security Conference April 3–4, 1963. It would be highly desirable [Facsimile Page 3] for him to submit captured documents and correspondence at forthcoming Salvador meeting.

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As member of OAS we are most anxious that COAS have prompt access to documentary proofs of grave Castro communist penetration of Honduras described by Lopez.

  1. Return to civilian constitutional government. Confidential. 3 pp. DOS, CF, POL 15 HOND.