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December 16, 2016
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June 17, 2005
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March 2, 1981
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PDF icon CIA-RDP91-00901R000700060085-5.pdf257.68 KB
Ault= 2 'MAR CH 1981 Eagleb rger (left greeting with Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher inBonn Winnhij-He ats and Minds. U S. offlcfaI zgzcian offensive over El Salvador, 6d he in%urgencg'ut El Salvador has been tt msibrmed into a'-text- book case of indirect-armed aggression by.. Communist powers,'-With that stark as=- sertion, the Reagan Administration last week launched a -carefully orchestrated campaign to demonstrate that the Soviet Union, Cuba, Viet Nam and other Com- munist nations have been smuggling arms to the leftist guerrillas in El Salvador. The Adrninistration'smotive is to win support. for increased U.S.. military aid to, that strife-tom nation,.and;theintensity of the effort is stunning. A U.S. `delegaEtion headed by Law rence Eaglebarger, Reagan's. choice as Assistant Secretary-of State for European Affairs, visited -five -European capitals with fresh evidence: of Soviet-bloc .axis- chief. Another team of-V S.. envoys head-- ed by Lieut. General. Vernon.Walters..set' out for LatinAmerica.Secretary of-State Alexander Ha iheaded fbr-Capitol Hill to- brief congressional leaders..Tbe StateDe- partment- provided bassies;o?-hriendly.-. governments ..-in- Washington with"a... lengthy memorandum: detailing its evi- dente. This week the.Administration will cap its campaign. with-' the release of-a- 4, white paper" summarizing its case: that as one State Department official put it, "El Salvadoris an.East-West.conflict.' - % In what proved to be one of the most omp ex tote rgence' assessments con- uct sine the. i962 i ban missile cri- sis, officials at * e? fate De artment, the extra me ce Agency. and the De- ense to ence Agency worked fever- week, Eagleburger offered his European listeners a chronological summary of So- viet-bloc efforts to arm the rebels. He de- scribed how, over the past two months, So- viet-built transport planes have been flying from Cuba to Managua, Nicaragua, and unloading a variety of American- and European-made arms, which are eventu- ally smuggled into El Salvador. He backed up his assertions with a slide show that in- cluded blowups of documents allegedly written by a Communist guerrilla leader and detailing commitments made by Viet Nam, Ethiopia, the Soviet Union and East European nations to provide military hardware. Perhaps the most dramatic ev- idence was a series.of photographs of a tractor-trailer said to have been captured in Honduras. Underneath the trailer's false bottom was a cache of about 150 M- 16 assault rifles. Serial numbers on U.S. weapons. recovered from the guerrillas have been traced to the arsenal left behind by U.S. forces in Viet Nam. :"' West European officials. were some- what surprised that; as one top British dip- lomat put it, "the first business of the U.S. with its European allies should turn out to be El Salvador." Yet they seemed uni- formly impressed by the evidence and grateful to the Reagan Administration for consulting with them. "We are now in- clined to believe that'arms of a certain. `precise origin are being used with the aim of destabilizing El. Salvador," admitted a French official last week. Bonn, Paris and London all expressed concern, however, about just how far the U.S. should go in supporting the military- civilian junta now ruling El Salvador. West German Chancellor Helmut Schi iidt is in an especially uncomfortable position, since leftists in Schmidt's own Social Democratic Party support the Sal- tlement between the warring factions in El Salvador rather than risk escalating the conflict by supplying more arms. Officials in Bonn and Paris also asked the U.S. to urge the Salvadoran government to dem- onstrate greater respect for human rights -an indication that the Reagan Admin- istration's reluctance to press friendly regimes on their human rights records may not be shared by some allies. On his mission to Latin America, Walters, formally deputy chief of the CIA, visited Mexico and Venezuela, and this week he plans to stop in Brazil, Argen- tina and Chile. Though Walters conferred with Mexican, President Jose Lopez Por- tillo, neither country would confirm the meeting publicly; Mexico sympathizes with the Salvadoran guerrillas, and Wal- ters' visit could be an embarrassment- - Congressional leaders' responded fa- vorably to the briefings. Senator Charles Percy, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, vowed that "this nation will do :whatever is necessary to prevent a Communist takeover in. El Sal- vador." He added: "We are prepared to draw the line here, here and now." Nev- ertheless, Percy warned Haig that the U.S. must also insist that the junta step up its search for the murderers of three Amer- ican nuns and a lay religious worker killed in El Salvador last December. fl ndeed, there was growing concern, in Congress and in Europe, that the Ad- ministration is turning a blind eye to the Salvadoran junta's faults and is prepared to offer military assistance without qual- ification. To quell such fears, the State De- partment issued a statement last week em- phasizing its support of "basic economic and political reforms, including elections in 1982-83=" in El Salvador. Meanwhile,. TIME has learned that Washington is debating whether to send Army mobile training teams to El Sal- vador.. The teams, composed of half a dozen soldiers, are. typically sent to for- eign. countries to instruct infantry units in such subjects as weaponry and recon- naissance tactics.. Team members are not combat advisers, and' congressional ap- proval is not required to send them to El Salvador. Nevertheless, the proposal is generating controversy in both Washing- ton and San Salvador. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger told the State Depart- ment last week that he could not go along with the plan. Salvadoran government of- ficials fear that if they accept the teams they will be admitting they. need outside help to defeat the guerrillas. Still, leftist guerrillas are beginning to skirmish again with Salvadoran soldiers, scarcely a month after the defeat of'the insurgents' self-proclaimed "final offensive." -Author- ities in San Salvador are predicting a long struggle-and it is one in which U.S.. son- diers could possibly find themselves under MW 600 85m8JJama5Kely. Reported by Roberto Surer/Washington with European and t otin American bare avs is y or mare t two weeks assembling t e evt ence. Many of the details were provided by,af clearly prejudiced party -the Salvadoran armed forces-and had to be double-checked; U.S. officials then - had to tailor a prksentatian(o forei of. ficials that wo lC$~tgi r ligence sources in Central America. In the most dramatic briefings of the Approved For Release2005/07/i8.1 Z Q-RDP91-00901 R00070 INE ev2 5f 7I6iiti0IA 1R1 1h.Q4t19 f 0 capitals made it clear that they would like to see the U.S. strive for a negotiated'set-