652. Telegram 127303 From the Department of State to the Embassies in Honduras and El Salvador1 2

[Page 1]


  • Aftermath of Honduran-Salvadoran Conflict

1. The purpose of this telegram is to suggest to Embassies Tegucigalpa and San Salvador ways in which we can help bring about in immediate aftermath MFM actions, a climate in each country favorable to or at least acquiescent in MFM resolutions, while venting either undue exultation or depression that could impede progress toward a normalization of relations and settlement of differences.

2. The manner in which the conflict has been resolved may create psychological problems in each country with respect to how each views what it has won and lost. Conciliatory “political” settlement acceptable to both disputants means that each will be denied a clear victory or complete vindication of its positions. Both governments will need to mount propaganda campaign to sell accord to public. Failure to do so, might result in resentment directed not only against local government but also OAS and, by extension, [Page 2] the U.S. A deterioration in our relations with Honduras and El Salvador (beyond that which was an inevitable consequence of our posture during active phase of conflict) will have negative effect on our ability to influence developments in integration movement, the keystone of our policy in Central America.

3. FOR TEGUCIGALPA: While we can expect the Honduran Government and press to play up the Salvadoran withdrawal as a victory for Honduras, GOH should not fail give adequate treatment to some of the broader aspects that touch on U.S. attitudes and efficacy of OAS. Concerning the U.S. press, you should make point to key officials and media that influential U.S. newspapers (Washington Post, New York Times) have been quite sympathetic to Honduras in the face of Salvadoran invasion. As for OAS aspects, you [Page 3] should point out that Honduras invoked Organ of Consultation and looked to OAS for resolution of problem. Not only did inter-American system not fail Honduras, but consensus at MFM bore out Honduran contention it was the aggrieved party. We are particularly concerned that GOH try to get across to its public opinion that Honduras, having looked to the OAS, should abide by MFM resolutions relating to question of Salvadorans in Honduras. In order to assist your effort to put matter into proper perspective, USIA will transmit by wireless, in addition to editorials, stories from key newspapers for distribution to Honduran press and radio.

4. FOR SAN SALVADOR: Ambassador is urged to continue efforts to have government and press take moderate tone and increase time and space devoted to OAS activities on behalf [Page 4] of Salvadorans in Honduras. USIA will transmit by wireless stories and articles laudatory of Salvadoran decision to withdraw.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL EL SAL–HOND. Confidential; Priority. Drafted on July 30 by Killoran; cleared by Breen and Donald G. Gould (USIA); approved by Crimmins. In telegram 138553, August 10, the Department of State instructed all ARA diplomatic posts to urge OAS members to continue pressing El Salvador and Honduras to “adopt attitudes conducive to negotiated resolution” of the conflict. (Ibid.)
  2. The Department of State provided guidance on implementing the resolutions approved at the July 29–30 OAS Foreign Ministers meetings.