From testimony by Secretary of State George Shultz before the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday:

Too often in the past, the United States failed to identify with the aspirations of the people of Central America for freedom and a better life. Too often, our government seemed indifferent when democratic values were at risk.

Today a process of reciprocal steps has been set in motion that commits the Ortega regime to sweeping social and political change in Nicaragua. We do not know yet whether it is realistic to expect that it will happen. But we shall work hard to make it so. We need to end the doubt and uncertainty about the capacity and commitment of the United States that is created by the recurring cycle of off-again, on-again policy decisions punctuated by protracted and divisive debate.

It is not in our national interest to leave the Ortega regime unconstrained by credible resistance forces on the basis of a hope or a premise. We have too much at stake. It would be irresponsible to open the door of democratization in Nicaragua and then leave it to be slammed shut again. We cannot leave Nicaraguans to struggle without the resources necessary to carry out a peaceful political struggle in the face of their communist adversaries. . . .

If the Nicaraguan regime does not carry out its commitments to democratization in good faith, we must ensure that our friends are not abandoned. Our continued support for them is necessary if diplomacy is to succeed.

So let us join across party lines to call for full implementation of the Guatemala Agreement, and let us do what we must to protect our country's vital interests in this region. Let us pursue peace and freedom, and let us give those who are fighting for it in Nicaragua our continuing support until their struggle is ended.