April 17, 1985
Dear Member of Congress:
The U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC) has consistently supported dialogue, both within and between nations, as the essential means for ending the conflicts in Central America. Convinced that an expanded regional war remains a danger, we have opposed the increasing militarization of the region and such U.S. policies as may tend to seek military solutions there.
In testimony today before the House Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, Archbishop John OConnor, Archbishop of New York and Chairman of the United States Catholic Conferences Committee on Social Development and World Peace, reiterated the Conferences call for our government to play the creative diplomatic role that uniquely belongs to it, namely to effect the goals of a regional settlement: dialogue leading to cessation of hostilities resulting in an end to conflicts and an internationally guaranteed process of political and social reform and economic development.
On the specific question of U.S. aid to forces engaged in combat in the region, the Conference:
- considers that military aid to Guatemala should not be provided in any form;
- views with great concern the continued build-up of U.S. military aid to Honduras;
- opposes increases of U.S. military aid to El Salvador substantially greater than the 1983 levels and the introduction of weapons that intensify the destructive nature of the war and recommends that all U.S. military aid be conditioned by human rights criteria and evident pursuit of a political solution;
- opposes military aid to forces seeking to overthrow the Government of Nicaragua. We are convinced that such military aid undercuts the possibility of a political solution within Nicaragua ... jeopardizes the political process elsewhere in the region ...violates existing treaty obligations ...(and) undermines the moral standing of the United States within the international community. Our central moral concern is for a just and peaceful resolution of the conflict and therefore for an end to all military assistance from any outside party to any party to the conflict in Nicaragua.
Reverend Msgr. Daniel F. Hoye