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Mr. HANSEN. However, then we have the countries to the south, Costa Rica and Panama. Is Costa Rica directly involved by its own government sanction in one way or another, to your knowledge, in support of the Sandinista efforts in Nicaragua?
Colonel THOMAS. My personal belief is that it is or at least has been, and once again I would recommend that the Congress attempt to corroborate that with the administration sources.
Mr. HUBBARD. Do you have one more question?
Mr. HANSEN. I would like to follow up with one more question, if I might, with the indulgence of the Chair.
This then is beyond what we have been given to believe in the press and the public, that Costa Rica is an unwitting victim of infiltrators, and various activities that the government actually is a willing accomplice in this against Nicaragua?
Colonel THOMAS. I find that one a little hard to answer. I believe first that in many respects, Costa Rica has been an unwitting victim of the whole situation.
I do believe, however, that also they have officially sanctioned some source of support of the Sandinista.
Mr. HANSEN. Which may have come under pressure from
Colonel THOMAS. Or from the Sandinista themselves.
Mr. CARNEY. In your statement you say that the administration appears to be incapable of raising a strong voice of protest against terrorism which emanates from the left.
Could you elaborate on that?
Colonel THOMAS. Yes, sir. The administration has been extremely outspoken in its criticism of various military governments in the hemisphere, on the basis of violations of human rights. Throughout all of this, I have not seen or heard any outcry from the administration regarding the terrorism being committed by such leftist organizations as the Montoneros, the ERP, or others, over the period of the last-slightly over 2 years.
Mr. CARNEY. Would you say it would be fair to say that this is a demonstration of the State Department's selective morality in the Americas?
Colonel THOMAS. I believe I referred to that in my statement, sir, that I think there has been a selective morality practice. I believe it is continuing, and I think it is working to the great discredit and disadvantage of our country.
Mr. CARNEY. Colonel, I appreciate your frankness before this committee, and I am sure you have added an awful lot to it.
I will yield to Congressman Dornan.
Mr. DORNAN. Colonel, in the prior witness' period, one of our distinguished colleagues brought up the names of four righteous governments that we were supplying arms to, Saudi Arabia, Iranof course, history is taking care of that one, and Mr. Studds and I were joined to block the sale of Arab aircraft to Iran, for my reason I thought it would fall into the wrong hands, and obviously the F14 Tomcats there did. So I do not have to apologize for that decision.
But he also mentioned Argentina and Uruguay.
Colonel THOMAS. I believe I can give you a complete answer on that, sir. Under the Humphrey amendment that went into effect October 1 last year, a total embargo on all forms of security assistance to Argentina went into effect, that includes all grant assistance, all sales of military equipment, anything on the munitions control list, either for cash or credit, and also it includes the provision of any form of training, either on a grant basis or for cash.
The only thing that would be going to Argentina at this time would be those things which were already on contract, before the law went into effect, and which I understand the administration and the Congress have consented to go ahead and deliver.
Mr. DORNAN. And that Uruguay was one of the highest standard of living nations in South America, well developed, middle class, and ironically it was young children of rich background that involved themselves basically in the Tupamaros period, since they went through that agony, and it is subsidized, have we had any arms transfers to the government there, that could be described as right of center?
Colonel THOMAS. Very limited, sir, as you will recall, there was a piece of legislation which prohibited any former military sales credits to Uruguay for fiscal year 1967. That was known as the Koch amendment.
Mr. DORNAN. Although the history shows there was some arms limitation around the world, it started out as a Marshall plan, and then NATO, if right wing means center of elections, I think we have to reexamine the whole continent, to see where we are under the approach to transferring arms to righteous governments.
Mr. HUBBARD. Thank you, sir.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Colonel, I think I agree completely with what you say about our arms transfer policy, particularly in South America and Latin America.
As I recall, we are now the seventh or eighth supplier of arms to that region, whereas we used to be the No. 1, and while No. 1 in this area is not something necessarily to be proud of, I think if we look at the results of that policy, we find that not only have we slipped, but that the amount of arms being sold to that region has actually increased so if the purpose of that was to promote arms stability, and to cut down on the flow of arms into the area, it has not succeeded at all.
One specific example comes to mind, and that is the case of Ecuador, where the Ecuadorians, being, in my opinion, at least rightly worried about the sale of modern fighter bombers from Russia to Peru, asked our Government to sell them fighter aircraft as a protection against those fighter bombers, and remembering also that Peru, not so many years ago, had taken some half of
Ecuador's territory, I think they had a little reason to be concerned.
Our Government turned them down, they then asked us if we would consent to a sale by Israel of Kaffir aircraft, and we had to consent to that sale because of the fact that American engines are using that fighter, and we again turned them down.
The result, however, was not to prevent the introduction of super modern aircraft into that area, because they then went, and I cannot say I blame them, to France, and Mirage fighters. That is just one example of where, at least I think, our policy has been wrong headed with regard to armed sales to South America.
I hope the administration is going to reevaluate its position, because while I would agree with you and the others on the committee, who have said that no doubt the reason being was, or thewhat they were trying to do was right, their heads were in the-at least their hearts were in the right place, that is it has not worked, and I think we should recognize that.
The same thing is true with training of military officers in that region. Just this year the Defense Department proposed a brandnew military training program, limited to peacekeeping, and arms control, and excluded from that training program, by operation of the laws that you just mentioned a while ago, were such countries as Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. The very countries where there is the most likelihood of armed conflict, particularly between Chile and Argentina, perhaps between Chile and Peru. It just does not make any sense.
Some of us offered an amendment to allow the President-would not require him to do it, to allow the President to permit that kind of training, and then only on a reimbursable basis, no cost to the taxpayers whatsoever. The Latin American desk of the State Department supported it; the State Department human rights people came in and raised so much hell about it, that it was killed.
We got no place, and have set the whole thing back that many more years.
I think we should be reexamining our entire policy, aside from the Panama Canal Treaty.
Colonel THOMAS. It is difficult to understand, Mr. Congressman, why the administration would not like to have more discretionary authority in the conduct of the affairs of any country, and that appears, to me, precisely what the administration was turning down.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Thank you.
Mr. HUBBARD. Thank you very much, Congressman Lagomarsino and special thanks to Col. James C. Thomas, who retired 38 days ago from active duty in the U.S. Air Force. We appreciate your helpful testimony, and your willingness and cooperation as to the questions posed you.
We next call Lt. Gen. Dennis P. McAuliffe, Commander in Chief, U.S. Southern Command, and the Honorable Brandon Grove, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs, Department of State.
I realize there is a rollcall, but if you would, Lt. Gen. Dennis P. McAuliffe and Hon. Brandon Grove, of the State Department, would you please take your seats at the table, and understand that
at this point we need to take a break, and that would include you all.
I would suggest that we break for 30 minutes, to give each person a reasonable chance to at least get a sandwich, or a coke, and we will come back with Mr. Grove and General McAuliffe testifying, beginning at approximately 1:30, but hopefully you can all get a sandwich also.
[Whereupon, at 1:03 p.m., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 1:30 p.m., the same day.]
Mr. HUBBARD. We are under the committee rules, and we are required to have a member of the minority on our subcommittee present. Congressman Hansen is not a member of our subcommittee, and we are very appreciative of his help to our committee. But we will have to wait for Congressman Bauman or Dornan, or Carney of New York.
I would ask the staff, if they would, to please contact the offices of Mr. Bauman, Mr. Carney, or any other minority member.
Hopefully, you had time to eat lunch. We will now call on Lt. Gen. Dennis McAuliffe, Commander in Chief, U.S. Southern Command; and the Honorable Brandon Grove, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs, Department of State.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. DENNIS P. MCAULIFFE, COMMANDER
IN CHIEF, U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND; AND HON. BRANDON GROVE JR., DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR INTERAMERICAN AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, AND MICHAEL KOZACK
General MCAULIFFE. I am Lt. Gen. Dennis P. McAuliffe, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Southern Command, with headquarters in the Canal Zone-the unified command responsible for U.S. security interests in Central and South America and the defense of the Panama Canal.
In response to your request, I would like to outline the nature of the support provided by Panama to the Sandinista Liberation Front, FSLN, in conjunction with the unstable situation occurring in Nicaragua.
The outbreak of violence in Nicaragua last September, especially the seizure of the Legislative Palace in Managua by the FSLN, constituted the spark that started Panama's involvement.
This FSLN element requested and was granted political asylum in Panama after the palace raid and was brought to Panama aboard a Venezuelan military aircraft and a Panamanian civil airliner. General Torrijos, then head of government, personally met with their leader, Eden Pastora.
Fighting then broke out between the Nicaraguan National Guard and the FSLN along the Costa Rican-Nicaraguan border, persisting through the end of October 1978.
Costa Rica expressed concern over Nicaraguan violations of its sovereignty. This brought an immediate and positive response from leaders of both Panama and Venezuela. Both General Torrijos and
former Venezuelan President Perez made public statements concerning the violation of Costa Rican territory.
Both countries moved military aircraft to Costa Rica at the request of its president. Venezuela went so far as to sign a defense pact with Costa Rica at that time and joined with Panama in issuing public statements that any violations of Costa Rican territory would be met with support by their mutual defense forces, noting that Costa Rica has no standing military force.
Since then, public sympathy in Panama for the anti-Somoza forces has grown and has been duly noted. Concerned citizens, mostly university students and professors, formed the committee of solidarity with the Nicaraguan people, CSPN.
The CSPN offered moral support by issuing public statements that attacked President Somoza's administration while registering concern for the people living under the Somoza government.
In addition, that committee began fundraising activities in Panama and other countries in Latin America, including Colombia and Mexico and used these moneys to assist refugees arriving in Panama.
Beginning in mid-September, three separate attempts were made by individual student organizations to form "volunteer" brigades in Panama to join forces with the opposition forces in Nicaragua. Only one such unit, known as the Victoriano Lorenzo brigade, or the International Brigade, BIP, composed of some 75 to 100 volunteers, actually came into existence.
This brigade was headed by Hugo Spadafora, the Panamanian Vice Minister of Health, who resigned his position to organize the unit. In public communiques, the leaders of this "brigade" stated that they did not take orders from any government, nor did they expect to receive any economic compensation from any government.
Volunteers from diverse backgrounds were reportedly united basically in a desire to remove the government of President Somoza. Many of the young people were attracted by a sense of adventurism.
While various communiques and news releases by the International brigade have praised the spirit and fighting ability of its members, we believe the brigade is more a propaganda tool than an effective military fighting force.
Despite the media play on the battles in which the brigade has become involved, by their own accounts only four Panamanians have been killed in the fighting in Nicaragua. It is unknown if the brigade was ever committed as a unit in support of the FSLN and the limited training of its members would make it doubtful that it could achieve significant military impact.
Over the past month, the International Brigade has placed notices in the newspapers and over the radio asking for volunteers who are ready to fight immediately, which may indicate that they continue to register sympathy for the causes of the Nicaraguan people as they perceive them.
The involvement of the Government of Panama in the Nicaraguan affair can be summarized as follows: