251. Telegram 1169 From the Embassy in Nicaragua to the Department of State1

1169. Subject: Security Assistance Objectives and Guidelines FY 1977–81. Ref: State 15489.

1. The Security Assistance Program for Nicaragua is justified for four reasons:

A. Under certain political contingencies, the Guardia Nacional, the country’s only armed force, would play a major and possibly the decisive role in determining the outcome. Its attitudes toward the United States are therefore important.

B. The Guardia’s ability to contain terrorism and insurgency are important in keeping this area of “America’s backyard” free of problems which might require the distraction of our attention from major problems elsewhere.

C. The Guardia’s professionalization and exposure to U.S. ideas and philosophies should be helpful in advancing respect for human rights.

D. Maintenance of close and friendly relations between the Guardia and the U.S. Armed Forces is also useful in preserving the ascendency of U.S. military doctrines within the Guardia.

2. For these reasons I am convinced that the continuance of the modest program of security assistance recommended in the CASP is in [Page 674] the interests of the U.S. At the same time I fully concur in the cutoff date of FY–1978 for grant assistance.

3. I do not consider that the large economic assistance programs, both U.S. and international agencies, have had an impact on Security Assistance requirements. Certainly, the GON has not, as a result of large economic assistance, diverted its own funds from reconstruction and development to increased military procurement.

4. Nicaragua is believed to receive minimal third country military assistance.

  1. Summary: The Embassy presented its justification for military aid to the Nicaraguan National Guard.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D750104–0592. Secret. Repeated to DOD, JCS, and CMDR US SOUTHCOM/J–5. In telegram 15489, January 22, the Department asked Chiefs of Mission to assess the need for and effectiveness of U.S. Security Assistance to their host countries. (Ibid., D750024–0986)