The government of Nicaragua said yesterday it had lodged an official protest with the United States over the "unfounded declarations" made by a U.S. official that "tend to implicate our government in the war in El Salvador."
Robert White, U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, said Wednesday in that country's capital that "compelling and convincing" evidence existed of Nicaragua's material support for guerrillas seeking to overthrow the U.S.-backed Salvadoran government.
A statement issued by the Nicaraguan Embassy in Washington called White's statements "a flagrant contradiction of the climate of understanding and mutual respect that until now has characterized relations" between Washington and Managua.
"It worries us deeply that spokesmen for the U.S. government are making these affirmations," the statement said, "at the same time [the United States] has decided to renew military aid to the government of El Salvador, where a war of internal character is going on." The statement noted that White's charges made it appear "as if the government of El Salvador could not speak for itself."
A State Department spokesman said yesterday that White's charges were "a serious matter which we are continuing to assess." In the meantime, the Nicaraguan statement said, they serve to "confuse both American and international public opinion as to the respectful attitude that our government has observed concerning the internal affairs of El Salvador."
"We are convinced that the Salvadoran people must resolve their own problems without any type of interference from foreign countries," it said. "The Nicaraguan government is vigorously interested in a solution to the present conflict in El Salvador that avoids more bloodshed."