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December 21, 2016
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June 27, 2008
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July 31, 1983
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Approved For Release 2008/06/27: CIA-RDP88-0107OR000200810005-4 NBC MEET THE PRESS 31 July 1983 }'..=.: Good day from Washington. I am Marvin Kalc, inviting you to Meet the Press wl Congressman Bob Michel of Illinois, the number one Republican in the house o_ l.eprese. tat i yes 'Meet the Press, an unrehearsed press conference, is a public affairs presentation of NBC News. Our guest today on Meet the Press is Congressman Bob Michel Of Illinois, Republican leader of the House, of Representatives. A member of the house for 26 years Hr. Michel has been serving recently as chief spokesman in the house for administration policies in Central America. Our reporters today are James Risser of The Des Moines Register; Paul -Luvsdorf of The Dallas Hornin News: Dcn "Oberdorfer of The Washington Post; and to open the ouestioning, our regular panelist Bill Monroe, with NBC )iews. MONROS: Congressman Michel, the house voted Thursday night to cut off secret aid to the rebels fighting the government of Nicaragua using bases in Honduras. Now, that vote does not now have the effect of law, but do you expect President Reagan to take note of that vote and to modify his policies? MICHEL: Well. I think it's Quite obvious that we knew we had trouble with that vote earlier on when the whole discussion began. I would suspect, however, that the resolution that we passed in the house would not, would die'of warning in the Senate. If per chance it did pass the Senate. Obviously the president would veto lt. And with the kind of vote we had in the house of Representatives, his will would be sustained. But that isn't to say the issue has gone away. 1 think when we have to authorize for the Intelligence Committee and all the rest later on, after they recess, the issue may very well have to be e n - again. ONP,GE: Some Democrats are saying when that issue is joined main. as you have sketched, and they have to put up money for the CIA and other Organizations, that if the :Ouse deletes money, deletes money for this secret war against Nicaragua, thee, the admire istration will have t0 stop covert aid to those rebels. Is that correct? UIC`E : We11, there's no question about it. The. uh, the president, you know, can cnly spend that which is authorized by the Congress. So that'll be a very key eecisicn? at that time. "?lRCE : Congressman. tree administration says that the whole purpose of its secret aid to these rebels in )\1Ca_agua was to Interdict the flow of arms Aron Nicaragua to E1. Sa!vaoC?r. The Democrats in the House are now saying. 'Fine. We will'pUt up the same amount of money to do that an open way.' What's the utter with that? ,ICPEL: Well, the p.rob1em is it's gonna cost considerably more. !=red I'm talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. The estimates are, for example, overt action simply to Leal off the borders, I guess, of El Salvador would be in the neighborhood of $300 r,. million the first year, a hundred millio. dollars For the next succeeding years. Actually what we've been doing up to this point, we're getting done for a lot fewer dollars actually being appropriated, and I think it's been fairly successful. Now, Democrats have been critical because rather than simply-interdicting, the interdiction of arms, there have been those who have been rallying to the cause to interdict those arms, who've been making statements to the effect that they have some other things in mind, possibly, with the unsettling of. things in Nicaragua. Now, admittedly. we have no control over the individual statements of those individuals, but I think it's kind of an ancilliary effect, a side effect that takes place when you've once rallied them to your cause to do your bidding. But that is a bone of co-Mention. i:4L?: Our guest on Meet the Press, the House Republican Leader Bob Michel. 2:r . /''~/1 LJErGGr fen? COAZL VUa 0 Approved For Release 2008/06/27: CIA-RDP88-0107OR000200810005-4 Approved For Release 2008/06/27: CIA-RDP88-0107OR000200810005-4 OBERDORFER: Congressman, 1 would I1ke to follow up on a couple of things you said a moment ago. As . understand you, you're sa"ing that if the house doesn't vote the money for the counterrettlutionarylactivity in Nicaragua. there's no Question but what the administration can't spend it. What 1s your estimate of the likelihood that the house. having voted to cut off the money, will reverse itself now and vote the money later on? MiCEEL: Well, I thin): that's always a possibility. When members realize that the option here is one of overt versus covert assistance and the overt assistance would be so much, more expensive at a time of budget restraints and monumental funds for defense, some members might have some second thoughts about it. And frankly, there'll be an interval of time between now and that time in which the folks out there in the country can speak to their individually elected members of Congress. And my personal feeling is that this whole issue is one that ought to be talked about more informatively by our constituencies out there, who, frankly, up to this point, have not, I don't think, recognized fully what the problem is, number one, and number two, what the administration policy is to deal with that problem. OBERDORFER: Well, of course, as I heard the debate in these last several days, in the house, the real cuestion wasn't the money or how much money was to be spent. The ouestior, was the Democratic leadership and a lot of other people felt it was wrong for the united. States to be financing an invasion of another country. And their covert money was for the purpose of not going into Nicaragua, but helping these other countries. Do you t:-,ink that they're gonna change their mind about the idea of financing an invasion of Nlcargua between now and the fall and if so, why? Y,ICHEL: Well I have a problem with calling it an invasion of Nicaragua. And you'll have to look at the geographics of that region to recognize what you're doing by way of Salvador. And Erdic n ~ arr._ going ~ from Nicaragua to El unless you're going to have the kind of force. You know, in Vietnam we spent probably upwards of S3 billion trying to seal off a particular area or sanctuary. When you get to this very com:licated business of actually sealing off a border, it :gets to be very expensive. I'n not sure whether or not our opponents In this thing would like to commit American troops to part of that effort. . certainly do not want to. And I would rather use those indigenous forces that are there to do some o: our bidding if they're inclined to do so rather than 'having the prospect of the American troops actually engaged. C__SDORrER: w e l l , l e t me . o l l l o w up. MICE L. But mat's the furthest thing we want to have happen down there. C!EE~DOR ER: Let me follow up on this question about interdicition. You and others have said Mat's the purpose, to interdict arms... M1CHEL: Yes. OB=F.DORFEF: ...going into E1 Salvador. Now. this'morning, Charlie Moore of The New Yor). Times, who many of us ).now as a very fine reporter with' a lot of experience, is down there in El Salvador, and he reports the flow of military supplies to the Salvadoran rebels from outside the countries has been only a trickle for many months, according to officials here in Washington. And he quotes a senior administration official as saying that's true and that the Salvadoran rebels have little need of such did. He is saving basically, as I understand it, that this is a phony issue, that the arms are not coming in from Nicaragua to El Salvador. Do you think this is so, or do you think you've been had about what you've been told? MIChEL: Well, I think we've been making some progress. You ):now, you just can't discount What we've been doing down there and what effect it has had up to this point, even though it's rather a limited period of Ilme. A.-1d so our, I think, there's no dues:iGn in my mind, but administration is-one of stabilizing the situation in E1 Salvador so that we can cool Approved For Release 2008/06/27: CIA-RDP88-0107OR000200810005-4 Approved For Release 2008/06/27: CIA-RDP88-0107OR000200810005-4 2. a. w.'+ole matter d0--7n, that eventually we can have another election there. I u ncers:and a_'Ce ? t won't to}-,E place now :n December, but there~s been a request made o nave it U:: --o the f rst part c next year. But that s our mo_rV goal I l ...,'l: _.a.^.l.\'. we can stabilize that situation in E1 Salvador and male absolutely Surf at ..^.OnC -as is secure, that Costa ..ica. without any armed forces whatsoever, is nCl threatened by tnE forces in 1\'iCcr2gUa. Liter. I think we VE :race some progress . seems to me VOL''ve cot kind C.7 a situation where Nicaragua is somewhat isolated from the rest of their neighboring countries. And let's not forget that the -esident, you know, on the economic with h_s Caribbean initiative and all, the in_tiative on the part of the administration to try and do something beyond what we've ever do-,e before, economically, humanitarian assistance and. aid, this can not be discounted. And it's three times the amount that we're doing militarily, but all the emphasis gets placed on the military action and, I thin)',, tends to distort what the administration is really about to do and wants to do in that area. LUVSDORr: Congressman, you said that our primary goal is to stabilize El Salvador. ".IC;:E_: For a moment. LUVSDO=FF: k lot of critics believe that a very important goal. also, is aimed at Nicaragua. The president has said several times that we don't try, wart to overthrow the government. But he's also said he doesn't think there can be peace in the region as 1cng as t9 -at government is there. is this ac,T,inistratio-' trying to overthrow the Sandi-,".ista gC\'E:'^.mEni? M I~ L: Well, no. it is not, and ;t 's one Of their -fomenting Z7','.:, eXPC-t:ng revciuticn. to thei. neighboring countries. hat's the problem. Now the Carter administration. before us, you know thought that then could with infusions of money and assistance down there in Nicaragua. after disposition of Somozca. that all %-'Culd be well. And we'd poured a hundred and twenty million dollars of our own assistance .ntc Nicaragua, the lnterdeve)opment r.mericar. ban}'., a cua:ter of a billion dollaars _.. that period of time. And what have we seen' Not the free elections or free institutions being pushed and 2d'~ ec but rasher an th r anc 2uthcr_ar government a~ runs counter to what we real',' thought this revolution was ail about ^ for and 'C- the rurpcses fo. which there was a revolution. Sc to say we want to definitely see the government over hr0'wn, that's going t o c far. We'd like to see them reform their wcvs a little and live ur to what the Sandinistas original y came to rower for. And' for that. : we can help them do that think we're making some progress now. I: you see around the edges, some of the efforts that we are talking about this thing more rea_istica! y. And of course. our policy is one of negotiation along with. military and economic assistance, and the three have all got to be taken together. One without the ether, the whale policy, in my judgment, blows. LUV'SDORRF: You also said you think there's some misunderstanding 'among the public about what the danger is from the situation down there.. But there've been some polls that have shown that the public understands that the Nicaraguans and Cubans are stirring up the trouble down there, but they just don't want to get the United States mere involved.. isn't that part of the problem with ail of this' MICHEL: Well, I think that's true. 1_n my own poll that I took in my district, you know, the idea, what kind of marks do you give the president for his overall conduct of foreign .CO.AT.CVUED Approved For Release 2008/06/27: CIA-RDP88-0107OR000200810005-4 Approved For Release 2008/06/27: CIA-RDP88-01070R000200810005-4 affairs, and thev':e oui,"e high. And then I get to the specific question. do you trthe. woulo you support the administratiOr's policy toward Central America, and it's ? tc l opposed to it And 1 ha_ r. e to thin!, ir, my own mind do they really recognize what our .problem.. is and what we ought to be doing about it. And I -ould try }; there isn't all that good a knowledge Out there that it is an educational process that 'as to unfold. VSD C~ isn't part of it. though, a fear of gettinginvolved in another bottomless pitf 1 mean, the wore Vietnam is turned around a lot. But that, It 1 started small there, and them there we were. MIC*=1.: Well, 1 think there's some danger to that. 1 thin}'. there's no question that whenever there's the possibility Of involvement Of .menican troops, even when we talk about 55 military advisers, m}' V 1?ew is to hold that number at that level. !=mod !'ve made it quite clear to the administration. Now there's some apprehension and fear out there on the part of the American public. We don't want to get too far out In front. .Ln' commander leading, whether it's a platoon, company or an army, you've got to have the troops supporting you, and I'm talking about the Americar public supporting the overall policy in addition to having a ma ' c_ ty of the Congress. 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