61. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Vance in Paris1

Tosec 30231/72549. White House for Brzezinski only. Following repeat Managua 1535 sent action SecState 01 Apr 77.

Quote Managua 1535. For Secretary Vance From Ambassador. Subject: President Somoza’s Message to Secretary and President Regarding April 5 Congressional Hearing on Human Rights.

1. President Somoza called me to his office on the evening of March 31. He informed me that he was deeply disturbed over the forthcoming Special Hearing on Nicaragua scheduled by the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee for April 5. President declared that he feared that his government would not receive a fair and balanced hearing. He added that Congressman Koch was spreading false and defamatory statements about him and his government, including erroneous accusations about misuse of U.S. aid funds which the Department had refuted.

2. The President asked me specifically to convey to you in the strongest terms his desire that the Department present a full balanced picture of the human rights situation in Nicaragua. He said that he was dismayed at Undersecretary Benson’s testimony on Nicaragua before the Long Subcommittee which had been forwarded to him from Washington.2 Somoza hoped the Department would not accept at face [Page 175] value the unproven allegations of Congressman Koch. He said that he admired President Carter’s stand on human rights but expected understanding of the difficult terrorist problem facing his government.

3. The President said that he was the target of a vicious campaign to harm his government and weaken ties with the United States because he has been a loyal friend and ally. Not only had he suffered calumny in the past because of his friendship and support for the United States, but now he was being unjustly attacked by Congressman Koch in the U.S. Congress who wanted to cut off all military and economic assistance to Nicaragua.

4. Somoza ended by again urging the Department to present a well balanced picture of the pro-Castro insurgency faced by his government, the killing of government officials by terrorists, and the problems of re-establishing order in the rural areas. He said that the Department should not allow false or unproven allegations to stand as facts, explain the scrupulous care with which the GON has used U.S. funds entrusted to it under the aid program, and convey this to all the members of Foreign Operations Committee. He asserted that the consequences would be extremely serious if the Congressmen on the committee followed Congressman Koch’s lead out of ignorance or misrepresentation of the facts.

5. He asked me to please convey this message to President Carter as well.

6. I believe it is a matter of sufficient importance and sensitivity to bring to the President’s attention.



  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Files, Country Files, Box 33, Nicaragua: 2–12/77. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Also sent Priority to the White House. Printed from a copy that was received in the White House Situation Room. Drafted and approved by Allan W. Otto (S/S–O). (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, N770002–0388)
  2. The Department forwarded the transcript of Benson’s testimony to the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee (known as the Long Subcommittee after Chairman Clarence Long) in telegram 69015 to Managua, March 29. In her testimony, Benson noted that the state of human rights in Nicaragua “is not good,” and added that the U.S. decision to provide aid to Nicaragua was “based on our perception that it is in our national interest to maintain peace and friendly relations with the nations to the south of us.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770106–0671)