238. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Panama1

202619. Joint State–DOD Message. Subject: Military Assistance to Nicaragua.

1. S–Entire text

2. Ambassador should seek early appointment with Torrijos to make following points: A) Congratulate Panamanians for constructive involvement with GON on military side, including Lt. Col. Paredes’s perceptive work, B) The GON has requested U.S. military assistance informally and in general terms, C) U.S. and Panama might coordinate game plan and each provide GON with military advice/training, D) As early step, Torrijos might wish to invite FSLN directorate to visit Panama for a general discussion of the present situation in Nicaragua from a military viewpoint with specific reference to military needs, E) We know Govt of Panama is in good position to assist coordination [Page 577] of our combined efforts and to help provide training to new Nicaraguan Army.2

3. Ambassador may also tell Torrijos General McAuliffe and staff are prepared to meet with FLSN directorate to discuss kinds of training available at facilities in Panama and the U.S. We understand that some IMET funds could be made available very quickly and that there are training slots open beginning as early as August and September.

4. You may also tell Torrijos that we are aware that the FSLN directorate is also interested in military equipment. We are prepared to explore these needs with them right away and to follow such discussions with a survey team to help match specific needs to our availabilities.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790352–0996. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Sent Immediate for information to Managua; sent Priority for information to Caracas; sent for information to Tegucigalpa, San José, Santo Domingo, and Guatemala. Drafted by Dan Figgins (ARA/CEN); cleared by Grove, Bushnell, Hemenway, Haahr, and in ISA, JCS, S/S-0; and approved by Vaky.
  2. In telegram 6320 from Panama City, August 13, Moss reported that when he and Pezzullo met with Torrijos on August 11 and 12, Torrijos appeared amenable to working with the United States on Nicaragua. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790367–0894)