hurt by this and are sometimes very resentful that we do this. You had asked me in passing, though, and I just don’t want to leave it, about the Contadora group, and I didn’t elaborate much on that. The whole Cantadora process, to me, is one that I think best answers the problem that we have as a nation in dealing with Central America. The Contadora process is one by which the very nations in Central America are coming to grips with the economy, with political repression, with independence, and with a number of areas that they deem are important for their part of the world to live in peace. The Contadora procedure the ten points that they’ve developed very much deals with how the question can be resolved among their governments. And basically, they have agreed that the area must be cleared of any militarization that the Central American region and the countries affected must ask all foreign troops to leave: American, Cuban, Argentinean, PLO, Soviets, whoever is there. They have to leave the region and the area. Their position is that “we don’t need foreign troop intervention or militarization by foreign governments of the area. Given that as a method, they are sitting down and discussing among themselves how they began to resolve some of the major century-long problems that they have had as countries, how they deal with some of their border issues, and how they deal with their economies and, as a matter of fact, how they would deal with Cuba. And even Cuba, even Castro, has conceded to the notion and has said that he is willing to discuss with them, if they will talk to him. of course, and bring him into the conversation which I think is a necessity if they are going to deal in security [for the region]. Taking that generally, for a second, and if it is the case that you support the idea of a regional group coming together to find solutions for the area, how does that relate to your opposition to the invasion of Grenada by the U.S., which was an invasion, at least according to the Administration officials, that was requested by countries in the region that got together and tried to look for a solution to a perceived threat and requested that the solution be a U.S. invasion? Again, it has been argued it was a regional group, getting together, and coming up with that type of solution. Well, but I don’t believe that the Contadora group as a regional body should come to the United States and, in a collective group, say, “We think that Cuba is a thorn in our side and therefore we are asking you to invade it. Or we don’t think that Mexico is being just with .. . You mean, invade another unrelated country .. . Yes, that’s right. That is an intrusion into another sovereign state. And simply to use that as .. . Back to your comments and the recommendation made by the Contadora group for a total withdrawal of all troops foreign to the area, the question that should follow should be what U.S. Administration can you think of that would be strong enough to actually say, okay, we’re going to pull out everyone, as long as all other foreign nations do the same or we are going to stop giving military assistance to El Salvador, for instance? The whole idea, to me, of the United States actually withdrawing its advisors and everybody else from El Salvador and letting it, as it would be interpreted as “letting it fall to the Communists” is kind of unlikely, is it not? I don’t know. I was in Central America, in Venezuela, and Colombia this year . . . the Contadora group nations talking to their presidents and foreign ministers. And there are indications that, if they could come to grips with this whole question by themselves, they feel’ reasonably sure that they could prevail on the United States government to withdraw its people. But see, again the critical factor is getting an agreement from Cuba to do the same. And it seems to me already I think that there are signals that are being sent that Castro is interested in this whole notion and is willing to discuss this. Yes, but are we going to listen to Castro any more than we have listened to, for instance, Nicaragua, which has been making concessions, at least, more recently? Well, see, I don’t think . . . I think that Nicaragua is a pawn in what I think is this whole U.S.-Cuban-Soviet confrontation issue. And I think that at some point . . . and as I said, I know that the Reagan Administration has already had envoys talk to Fidel Castro about these issues. And you asked me earlier, when did I feel that there was going to be an administration that I feel would be tough enough. to .. Well, sure . . . it is the whole idea of the “Vietnam syndrome,” or whatever, in which everybody says, okay, which Administration is going to let that nation [El Salvador] fall to the Communists. It takes a lot of nerve for a president to say, “I’m going ahead and withdrawing everyone.” It’s a big move. Well. I hate to . . . and I never thought that it would happen in Nixon’s time where we would recognize Red China. I didn’t think that we would see a period when a President who was so anti-communist would discuss that. But I am seeing here a situation where I think that Reagan, before he is out of office, will have discussed this kind of issue with the Cubans. Simply to make a political point, and perhaps to perpetuate his presidency. He won’t do it before now, before this election, but I think he will do it once he is elected. Because I know that he has already had people talk to Castro. There is already discussion. Then, one last question. Suppose we would tell the Cubans that, and any other nations involved in the Central American region, that we would pull out all of our people from Central America if they would do the same. We have for years now been involved in Central America. The CIA has been involved in Central America for a while. Added to that, we’ve tried dozens of times to kill Castro. And we’ve already, at least, according to the Kissinger Commission that studied the problems in the region, we have already started to define it as an area of “world-class” east-west struggle, as Kissinger has stated. Why should, then, the Cubans trust us when we say we’re getting everyone out? Well, I think trust is a two-way street. And we would have to trust them as well as they trust us. Each of us has at least as much to gain or lose from this whole question. But I think if there were serious negotiations that would take place, that would bring in all of the key factors, including discussions with Cuba on this issue, and mind you, a very serious discussion at a high level with the Soviet Union as well, that we could in fact reach such agreements that would precipitate the removal of military advisors and begin to minimize the sale and deployment of weapons in the hemisphere. But it has to be done, one has to move in that direction to precipitate action. That is not happening today, with a large concentration of American troops in Honduras, in the Caribbean, off the Nicaraguan waters, or for that .matter, the presence of Soviet and East German and other troops in our hemisphere. But I guess that the other complication seems to be that while Reagan has apparently sent an envoy to Cuba, at the same time, we are still arguing in Congress for more funding for covert operations in Central America. And to THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17
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