650. Telegram 122377 From the Department of State to the Embassy in El Salvador1 2

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  • a) Embtel 1652;
  • b) Embtel 1625

1. We note reftels contain statements which might be interpreted to mean that GOES may half hope to be faced with an “international force” (IAPF) in order to justify to its public opinion inevitable withdrawal from Honduran territory. Fully recognizing these statements may be casual or susceptible other interpretation, we would like Embassy judgment whether these and possibly other statements or indications give any reason whatever to believe that faced with an IAPF the GOES would retire behind its boundaries without further bloodshed.

Statements in reftels are repeated below:

Reftel (a): “Diario de Hoy editorial calls for troops to advance, or stay where they are until Inter-American forces relieve them, unless El Salvador receives absolute guarantee for Salvadorans resident Honduras.” (Underlining added).

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Reftel (b): In press conference President Sanchez was asked whether Salvadorans would be disposed to confront the danger of an international force. His answer while claiming that the circumstances of the moment would govern, contained the following statement “SI NOS PONEN LAS FUERZAS INTERNACIONALES YO CREO QUE CONTRA FUERZAS INTERNACIONALES SERIA UN SUICIDIO LUCHAR PERO ESPERAMOS QUE ESO NO OCURRA.”

2. This query should not repeat not be interpreted as reflecting any USG position on formation or use IAPF.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL EL SAL–HOND. Confidential; Limdis; Immediate. No record of a reply from Tegucigalpa was found. In telegram 1305 from Managua, July 25, Bowdler reported that Somoza told him a reliable Salvadoran contact had confirmed that “GOES strategy in OAS will be to promote the interposition of an Interamerican Peace Force,” allowing El Salvador to withdraw its troops without losing face. (Ibid.)
  2. The Department of State requested that the Embassy comment on statements implying that the Salvadoran Government might hope for the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in order to publicly justify its withdrawal from Honduran territory.