264. Telegram 3118 From the Embassy in Nicaragua to the Department of State1

3118. Attn: Weissman (ARA/CEN). Subject: Draft Report on Human Rights Situation in Nicaragua.

1. A copy of the draft report on human rights situation in Nicaragua prepared by the Department for future transmittal to Congress was delivered to us by George Gowen during his recent visit to Managua.

2. The draft report has been reviewed by the Mission. In the interest of greater accuracy and precision, it is strongly urged that the following modifications be incorporated into the report prior to transmittal:

3. Page 1: (Begin underline) An extreme leftist guerrilla and terrorist (end underline) organization known as the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), (begin underline) whose members have obtained refuge, training and limited support from Cuba, (end underline) seeks. . . . (insert underlined words).

4. This group carried out a successful terrorist attack in Managua in December 1974, (begin underline) killing four people, taking. . . . (insert “killing four people” so that the violent nature of the FSLN is clear to the reader).

5. Since then, while the Sandinistas appear to have suffered substantial reverses as a result of official security measures and factional disputes, (begin underline) the FSLN continues to maintain a rural guerrilla organization which would threaten civil authority in certain isolated regions if left unchallenged, and there has been an increased number of clashes between guerrillas and GON forces as the latter attempts to reestablish its authority. (End underline, insert underlined words).

6. Page 5: Political exiles have been permitted to return and live normally so long as they abstain from (begin underline) violent (end underline) political activity . . . (insert violent in place of covert, since it is violent activity that the GON resists).

[Page 707]

7. (Begin underline) there is (end underline) an active trade union movement not controlled by the government (begin underline and it has (end underline) been. . . . (insert underlined words).

8. Page 6: These commentaries included (begin underline) false (end underline) charges of involvement by U.S. Army Rangers and: “Green Berets” in counter-guerrilla activities and (begin underline) unsubstantiated accusations (end underline) of the operation. . . . such charges are not given credence by spokesmen of (begin underline) opposition political forces (end underline) of UDEL or the Conservative Party. (Insert underlined words)

9. Comment: The opportunity to review and comment on the draft report prior to making public is appreciated and helps us to avoid unnecessary distortions and inaccuracies.

10. The FSLN has not been dormant since December, 1974, as implied in the draft report. On the contrary, despite the internal disarray in its urban forces, the FSLN has been able to expand its rural guerrilla organization and GON efforts to eliminate the guerrillas produced a significant increase in armed contacts in May and June. This trend will probably continue for some months.

11. The FSLN is not, it should also be stressed, simply an anti-Somoza guerrilla group seeking power by violent means. It is a pro-Castro, anti-U.S. organization which aims at expelling all U.S. influence in Nicaragua.

12. These facts should be stated clearly, if briefly, in the report, as indicated above.

  1. Summary: Commenting on a draft report on human rights in Nicaragua, the Embassy recommended revisions that would emphasize the violent, pro-Castro, and anti-U.S. nature of the FSLN.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D760258–0076. Confidential. The draft report on human rights brought to Managua by Gowen and the draft report to Congress has not been found.