357. Letter From President Carter to Honduran President Paz1

Dear General Paz:

It was a great pleasure to meet with you recently and to have the opportunity of exchanging views with you on developments in Central America and on other matters of common concern to Honduras and the United States.2

I am heartened by your commitment to the restoration of constitutional government, to the observance of the fundamental human rights of your people, and to the equitable economic and social development of Honduras.

I am pleased that we have been able to provide Honduras with significantly increased assistance in 1980. The use of this assistance, totaling some 54 million dollars, was mutually agreed upon by officials of your Government and mine and places heavy emphasis on high impact projects in the agricultural sector and in the areas of municipal development, health and housing. Two of these project authorizations—totaling 18.7 million dollars for the construction and improvement of rural access roads and trails and for the construction of rural water and sanitation facilities—were signed in Tegucigalpa on March 31. We are doing everything possible to ensure that the other projects planned for this year will be expeditiously authorized and implemented.

During our conversation we touched only briefly on the electoral process that Honduras has embarked upon. I understand that the first stage is proceeding smoothly and that the prospects for the free and peaceful election of a constituent assembly on April 20 are good.3 We hope this will lead to the emergence of a popularly elected government [Page 885] based on the participation of the broadest possible spectrum of political groups. The successful completion of this process would bring great credit to your government.

We trust that both the transitional and successor governments will be genuinely reformist. I stress the word reformist because honest and effective government is the most potent weapon at the disposal of a democracy in meeting the challenges of the extreme left. Your Government’s efforts in the area of agrarian reform and your increased attention to the needs of the rural poor are particularly praiseworthy. We hope that you will undertake similarly commendable reforms in the civil and military administration of the government. The U.S. is prepared to continue to give significant support to such essential reform programs.

I trust that you will consider my thoughts on these matters in the spirit of cooperation and friendship in which they are offered. Ambassador Jaramillo, in whom I have the fullest confidence, will be discussing these subjects with you in greater detail. I would very much appreciate receiving your views.4


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 8, Honduras, President Policarpo Paz Garcia, 3–8/80. No classification marking. Brzezinski sent the letter to Carter for his signature under cover of an April 16 memorandum, commenting that Jaramillo believed “that such a letter will reinforce the more positive currents in Paz’s government.” (Ibid.) Telegram 8450 from Tegucigalpa, April 22, reported that Jaramillo delivered the text of the letter to Paz on April 21, which was one day after the election of a constituent assembly. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Files, Country Files, Box 25, Honduras: 1–4/80)
  2. See Document 353.
  3. Telegram 3126 from Tegucigalpa, May 21, reported the official election results, announced on May 20, noting an 82 percent participation rate and a constituent assembly comprised of 35 Liberal Party Deputies, 33 National Party Deputies, and 3 Innovation and Unity Party Deputies. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800256–1118)
  4. Telegram 3039 from Tegucigalpa, May 16, included the Spanish-language text of Paz’s May 12 reply to Carter. Carter initialed a copy of the telegram. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 16, Honduras) Under a May 23 memorandum, Brzezinski transmitted the Department of State’s May 16 translation of Paz’s letter to Carter and commented that Paz “pledges a continuation of reforms, stating he is completely in agreement that an honest and effective government is the most potent force against the extreme left.” (Ibid.)