Letter to the Senate on Military Aid in El Salvador, July 12, 1991
July 12, 1991
It is my understanding that the Senate will shortly have an opportunity to express its views on the peace process in El Salvador, when Senator Dodd offers the revised Dodd-Leahy language (S.1352) as an amendment to S.1435, the foreign aid authorization bill. I urge you to support the Dodd amendment.
The decision by both Houses last year to withhold a portion of the military aid to El Salvador, contingent upon behavior of both the Salvadoran government and the FMLN, was, in my view, a wise one and was welcomed by the bishops of both countries. The President's determination last January to release the funds because of FMLN failure fully to comply with the terms set by the Congress was deeply disappointing, in part because of its implicit suggestion of U.S. satisfaction with the Salvadoran government’s compliance, which in the important matter of the Jesuit killings is certainly not the case.
We had been encouraged, nevertheless, by the fact that the funds had still not been obligated; but now the President has again announced his intention to release up to half of the withheld funds.
I believe the Congress should act to continue to limit and tie any U.S. military aid to the satisfactory progress by both sides in arriving at a negotiated settlement of the war and securing protection of life and respect for human rights. El Salvador does not need more and more arms, but support for a negotiated and just peace.
I hope you will find it possible to join your colleagues in setting clear limits and conditions to the military aid being requested for El Salvador.
Most Reverend John R. Roach
Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Chairman, USCC Committee on International Policy