Letter to the Congressional Leadership on Aid to the Nicaraguan Democratic Resistance

 

February 3, 1988

 

Dear XXXXX:

 

On January 27, I transmitted to the Congress a request for $36.25 million in further assistance for the Nicaraguan democratic resistance. Our goal in Nicaragua is simple -- peace and democracy. Our policy has consistently supported the efforts of those who seek democracy throughout Central America and who recognize that the freedom fighters are essential to that process.

 

Ninety percent of my request is for non-lethal aid, including food, clothing, medicine and transportation. The other ten percent is for ammunition and air defense missiles that would not be available for delivery until after March 31, 1988 pending my certification that:

 

 -- at the time of certification, no ceasefire is in place that was agreed to by the Government of Nicaragua and the Nicaraguan democratic resistance;

 

 -- the failure to achieve such a ceasefire results from the lack of good faith efforts by the Government of Nicaragua to comply with the requirements of the Declaration of the Presidents of the Central American Nations at San Jose, Costa Rica on January 16, 1988; and

 

 -- the Nicaraguan democratic resistance has engaged in good faith efforts to achieve such a ceasefire.

 

As I have already stated, I would make that certification only after consulting personally with the Congress and the Presidents of the four Central American democracies, and I would give considerable weight to their views on the question of whether Nicaragua has complied with the San Jose Declaration.

 

Furthermore, in the event that I find it necessary to make such a certification, I will notify the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate of my intention to do so ten days in advance. If the Congress adopts during that ten-day period a concurrent resolution stating that the Government of Nicaragua is in compliance with the San Jose Declaration, then I will refrain voluntarily from making the certification, and the suspension of lethal aid deliveries will continue.

 

I believe that this arrangement will afford Congress and the Executive branch the opportunity to address jointly the central question of Sandinista compliance with the commitments made at the San Jose Summit. Accordingly, I strongly urge that the Congress give its approval to my request of January 27, which in my judgment will serve to enhance the national security interests of the United States by strengthening the prospects for democracy in Central America.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ronald Reagan

 

Note: Identical letters were sent to Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd, Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole, House Majority Leader Thomas S. Foley, House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel, and other Members of Congress.