Press Release

Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
United States Department of State
June 7, 2017

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume XV, Central America. This volume is part of a Foreign Relations subseries that documents the most important foreign policy issues of the Jimmy Carter administration.

The Carter administration’s policy toward Central America stressed human rights and non-interventionism with an aim to expand democracy in the region. Carter’s diplomats worked with Guatemala and Belize to secure a basis for Belize’s future independence from the United Kingdom. In Nicaragua, the Carter administration sought to advance political moderation as the Sandinista National Liberation Front rose against President Anastasio Somoza. After July 1979, Carter offered aid and counsel to the Government of National Reconstruction. Bilateral relations with Costa Rica were dominated by the events in Nicaragua due to Costa Rica’s territorial proximity, and then by the political situation in El Salvador. In Honduras, the United States advised the military Junta government to hold elections and broaden the representation within the government. In El Salvador, a military government faced growing popular opposition from the political left and right. Carter opted to offer military and economic aid in exchange for improvements in human rights practices and progress toward open elections.

This volume was compiled and edited by Nathaniel L. Smith. The volume and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website at Copies of the volume will be available for purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office online at (GPO S/N 044-000-02688-1; ISBN 978-0-16-093948-8), or by calling toll-free 1-866-512-1800 (D.C. area 202-512-1800). For further information, contact