351. Telegram From the Embassy in Honduras to the Department of State1

6889. ARA for Ambassador Bowdler from Ambassador Jaramillo. Subj: Need to Implement U.S. Policy on Honduras. Ref: (A) State 215209 (Notal),2 (B) Tegucigalpa 6345 (DTG 082013Z Nov 79),3 (C) Tegucigalpa 6145 (Notal).4

1. (S-Entire text)

2. This message reflects my concern that the United States has as yet not taken the steps needed to help prevent the Castroite/Sandinista movement from eventually claiming Honduras. It is as if the fact that terror has not yet struck Honduras gives us time to address other pressing regional problems first. This is very risky inasmuch as it seems to imply that Honduras must first have terror and lurch to the left before we will respond decisively. Moreover, it ignores Honduras’ visible friendship, mild military rule and upcoming elections (April 1980).

3. [less than 1 line not declassified] I believe there can be little doubt that the Cubans, Sandinistas and Salvadoran terrorists hope to promote violence in Honduras via the provision of arms, training and millions of dollars. Honduras is also being used as a conduit for the smuggling of arms from Nicaragua to El Salvador. Ref B contains further commentary on this country’s fragile stability.

4. Over a year ago Honduras asked for training in urban warfare. The United States has not responded. I understand the MTT is still being “staffed” at the Department. This delay strikes me as folly if we wish to help Honduras defend itself. We will forward this week a Honduran request for ten S–58 helicopters, which will give this country an urgently needed capability to control its borders. I think it is essential [Page 868] that we act at once on these requests and further ones if we are to give political moderation a reasonable chance to survive in Honduras.

5. Special priority must be given to reprogramming FMS credit funds for FY 1980 after our incredible shortsightedness in eliminating FMS financing for FY 1980.

6. We also must make good on our declarations of intent to provide greater economic assistance. We recently have told the GOH that we expect to be able to provide between dols 30 and 40 million in assistance from AID in FY 1980,5 in addition to PL 480 Titles II and III and any possible HIG’s; and we have undertaken with the GOH the preparation of projects which would enable us to obligate dols 55 million in AID assistance this year if we choose to do so. Now it is important to pin down the aid level officially and if at all possible to assure a level of at least dols 40 million as was earlier mentioned during the visit of representatives from Washington. Once the AID level has been determined officially, we think it will be important to give the level and the nature of the program major publicity.

7. We also request action on Export Import Bank matters which would give a degree of favoritism to a besieged friend in a troubled area (see Tegucigalpa 6535 re financing of Boeing 737).6

8. In view of my apprehension about this country’s future and as you assume your new duties in ARA, I felt compelled to raise this issue of United States implementation of the President’s policy (ref A.)

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790562–0014. Secret; Priority. Sent for information to Commander in Chief, Southern Command.
  2. See Document 350.
  3. In telegram 6345 from Tegucigalpa, November 8, Jaramillo reported: “We are increasingly concerned that acts of violence may well be mounted before the April 1980 elections” and “there is reason to believe that the principal objective of Honduran radicals is to disrupt those elections, provoke a right-wing military reaction and thereby try to give the still quiescent masses reason to reject the government.” Jaramillo also commented that “the purpose of this message is to shake anyone who is complacent about Honduras.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790516–0106)
  4. In telegram 6145 from Tegucigalpa, October 30, Jaramillo raised the issue of Soviet and Cuban activities in Central America and urged increased military training of Hondurans to “prevent further radicalization” of the region. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790507–0316)
  5. See footnote 3, Document 350.
  6. In telegram 6535 from Tegucigalpa, November 19, the Embassy advocated ExIm Bank approve of a Honduran financing application for the purchase of an airliner. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790533–0158)