311. Intelligence Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1

RP M 78–10376

Peru: Seeking an End to Military Rule

Key Points

—The convocation of a civilian Constituent Assembly2 is a significant step forward in President Morales Bermudez’ plan to return constitutional rule to the country by 1980. Besides drafting a new national charter, the assembly will serve as an important bridge between the present military government and civilian political leaders.

—An effective working relationship appears to be evolving in the assembly between the two largest democratic parties,3 which—along with two other minor parties—control two thirds of the assembly seats. This cooperation should ensure passage of most constitutional articles.

—Five militant far-left parties, however, seem bent on challenging the government and embarrassing the democratic majority by disrupting the assembly proceedings. Assembly President Haya de la Torre will have to keep these parties in line to avoid confrontations with the government that could pose problems for the democratization process.

—Unless confronted by extreme provocations from the far left or by an economic collapse, the military establishment will probably remain united behind Morales Bermudez’ plan for a phased return to constitutional rule.

—The country’s military leaders will probably not approve a return to constitutional rule until tangible progress has been made in solving [Page 881] Peru’s economic crisis. Since the government’s two-and-one-half-year economic program has only recently been instituted, some slippage in the democratization program appears likely. It is doubtful that there can be a full return to civilian government before the end of 1980.

[Omitted here are sections on: “The Constituent Assembly,” “The Influence of the Economy,” and “Outlook”]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of Support Services (DI), Job 80T00634A, Box 4, Folder 25. Secret; [handling restrictions not declassified]. Prepared by the Latin America Division of the Office of Regional and Political Analysis.
  2. Elections for members of the Constituent Assembly took place on June 18. In a June 21 preliminary assessment of the results, the Embassy reported that the electorate “would seem on June 18 to have divided into three quite distinct blocs: the right, center-right with about 31 percent of the votes; the social democrat center-left (APRA) with about 37 percent; and the left, far-left with about 30 percent. But doubts are raised that this reading will hold up into the future.” (Telegram 5468 from Lima, June 21; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780259-0588) The official results were announced July 15. (Telegram 6344 from Lima, July 17; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780293-06570) The Constituent Assembly convened on July 19. (Telegram 6418 from Lima, July 19; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780296-1143)
  3. A reference to the APRA party (37 seats) and the Popular Christian Party (25 seats). The Constituent Assembly was comprised of 100 seats. The Popular Action Party (AP) did not participate in the elections for the Constituent Assembly.