Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Nicaraguan Incursion Into Honduras

March 25, 1986

Within 48 hours of the House rejection of aid to Nicaraguan resistance, Sandinista military units crossed into Honduras in a large-scale effort to attack UNO [United Nicaraguan Opposition] and FDN [Nicaraguan Democratic Forces] camps, training centers, and hospital facilities. The numbers are up to 1,500 Nicaraguan military troops that are involved in the incident there.

The President of Honduras [Jose Simon Azcona Hoyo] has requested that the United States provide urgent military assistance. We're considering this request. It would include trooplift capacity as well as other types of material and services that would be furnished. The President is considering this request. If the President does make an affirmative decision, which we would anticipate that he would do later today, he would exercise his authority under section 506A of the Foreign Assistance Act that would provide Honduras with $20 million in emergency assistance. This is under consideration, and we would expect the President to make the proper notification for Congress if he decides to in favor of this.

There is no War Powers consideration in this area. Whatever trooplift that would be considered would probably be well outside of the zone which the fighting is taking place in southern Honduras. There is no plan to keep Congress into session for any reason. This is a notification and does not require approval.

Note: Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters at 9:51 a.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.