645. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

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  • Status Report—El Salvador-Honduras Conflict

The situation appears to be deteriorating. The Hondurans are low in ammunition and are sustaining heavy losses. They are demoralized and desperately want a cease-fire. The Salvadorans, heady with their successes, apparently have been stalling on meeting with the OAS Special Committee to arrange a cease-fire. A meeting was scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m., but State feels, and I agree, that direct pressure from the US may be necessary to get El Salvador to implement the cease-fire. Ambassador Bowdler has been instructed to make a strong representation. The Hondurans have rounded up Salvadoran residents and atrocities could occur if the fighting does not stop soon.

If El Salvador does not agree to a cease-fire, the Council of the OAS will probably condemn them as aggressors under the Rio Treaty and may impose sanctions. This may involve establishment of an Inter-American Peace Force, to which we would be obligated to contribute in some form.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 786, Country Files, Latin America, Honduras–El Salvador Dispute. Secret. Sent for action. A note on the memorandum reads: “OBE 7–18–69 Return to Vaky.” Attached but not published is the proposed memorandum from Kissinger to President Nixon. In telegram 117566 to San Salvador, July 16, the Department of State instructed the Embassy to call upon the Salvadoran Government “to issue immediate orders for a cease-fire on all fronts.” (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL EL SALV–HOND) In a July 17 memorandum to Nixon, Kissinger reported that both countries had, in principle, accepted the OAS ceasefire proposal. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 786, Country Files, Latin America, Honduras–Salvador Dispute)
  2. Vaky informed Kissinger that the situation appeared to be deteriorating and observed that if El Salvador refused to agree to a ceasefire then the OAS would likely condemn it as an aggressor under the Rio Treaty.