THE PRESIDENT'S TRIP TO CENTRAL AMERICA: SECURITY CONDITIONS

Created: 7/3/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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LIMITED

SPECIAL NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

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THE PRESIDENTS TRIP TO CENTRAL AMERICA: SECURITY CONDITIONS

SvbnuHW by

DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

Concurrod in by t'u, UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD

litdkatad evtriaaf

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NOTE: This is tho estimate. No further dissemination will be matin.

Authenticated,

iECMT

CONTBOUED DISSEM LIMITED DISTRIBUTION

The following Intelligence organizations participated in tbe preparation of tbit estimate!

The Central Intelligence Agency and tbe intelligence organizations of the Departments of State ond Defense, the USA, tbe FBI, end the Secret Service.

Concurring:

Vine Ada. Rufus Taylor, Deputy Director, Central Intelligence

Mr. Thcuoo L. Hughes, the Director of Intelligence and

Reseorch, Deport ment of State MaJ. Gen. Robert R. Glass, for the Director, Defense

Intelligence Agency Dr. Louis w. Tardella, for tbe Director, ftationol

Security. Sao J. Paplch, for tbe Aaalutant Director, Federal

Bureau of Investigation tt. Thomas J. KeUey, Asointant Director, Protective

Intelligence, U. S. Secret Service

Abstaining:

Dr. Charles B. Relcboxdt, for the Aeslatant General Manager, Atomic Energy Ccraniesion, the subject being outside of his Jurisdiction.

WARNING

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGEHCI

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SUBJECTx THE PRESIDSNI'S TRIP TO CENTRAL

AFRICA! SECURITY COKDECIOHS

TBE PROBLEM

To estlmte tho likelihood of incidents that would endanger or eaberruBO President Johnson during hie visit to El6, and during bis stops at the Internationalu of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

CCNCLUSICW

We believe tbat the riskerious Incident or major esrbarraocoent during President Johnson's visit to El Salvador will bo somewhat greater than during bis vlslte to Mexico.

During hia stoptbe Quatens la City airport, there sayanger of rocket orattack by leftist terrcrlsts. ve believe there Is little chanceerious Incident during the other airport stops in Central America. One nay never, of course, rule out tbe possibility of an attempt at violence by anpoychopath or fanatic.

Discussion

Relations between tbe OS and BI Salvador have traditionally been cordial. President Fidel Sanchez heroandez will wolcooe President Johnson's rlolt as en opportunity to strengthen those ties and to enhance his own politicalost informed Salradorsne are favorably disposed to the US; they vlll receive President Johnson as an honored rational guest.

For the past several years. El Salvador bas experienced relative political stability, both by general Latin American standards and by tbe standards of its own previous history of dictatorship and periodic turacil. Moderate reformist govern-eenta have aade scee progress agnlnct the forntdable social and ecoootalc obstacles to the well-being and social nobility of someoercent of tbe population. The still powerful oligarchy has grudgingly accepted Halted change; Ccemunlsts and other leftist extremists have baen kept lo chock by repressive measures, including political assassinations.

V Sanchez was elected in7 snd started his five-year term la Be followed in office the nore politically dynamic and domineering President Rivera, and hse only gradually solidified his control over the government and over his own political party, vhlch was founded by Rivera.

3. Although President Sanchez's political and eeoncoic problems have increased somewhat atnce the beginning of the Tear, there ts at present no erldence of unusual popular unrest or ofserious threat to the government froa Its political opposition. Bonetheless, Sanchez's notional Conciliation Party lacks the strength of the government party In Mexico and hasalted ability to turn out Its supporters toordial end peaceful velcone for visiting dignitaries along motorcade routes and at ceremonial sites. The Christian Democrats, the principal political opposition,control the municipal government in San Salvador, the capital city. They have generally metedesponsibleand ve believe their followers will receive President Johnsonriendly manner.

*. The principal danger of an Incident directed specifically against President Johnson in El Salvador would come froo Comnunlata and other leftists. Tho Ocomunlst Party of El Salvador (PCES) le small, illegal. Intimidated, and generally Ineffective. It doen, however, control the leadership of several labor federations end of the major student organizations ot the University of El Salvador. In theg, some mombers of the PCES received guerrilla training In Cuba, but in recent years neither tbe PCES nor other extremists have used systematic violenceactic.

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PCHJ and the organizations it Influences,university groups, cay attempt minor acts oftheuring the visit. Though OS policy in Vietnam

iaeated issue in Salvador, it may be used as the theme of such protests. With the poooible exception of radical students, ve doubt that these groups will attempt major demonstrations or deliberately 9eok to endanger President Johnson, because of their fear of government reprisal. There la cone dangor that experienced leftist terrorists from Cuatecsla may cross into El Salvador and attempt an act of violence against President Johnson,rotest against the US end to advertise their cause.

Salvadoran Government will move, to tho boat ofto protect President Johnson from potentiallyembarrassing incidents, and in particular vlll cooperateUS security officials. To the extent deemed necessary,will detain known and suspected radicals and Surveillance of ouspect groups and individuals is notas in Mexico, however. The government mayhe holding) of hostages) to get the message

Security conditions in Sanity ofmrily ere fair to good. Tho Salvadoran security forcea are adequate for maintaining order under mostIn the capital city, but "ill probably be severely taxed by the visit of president Johnson end the Presidents of theCentral American republics. The national Police will as usual be the first line of defense in the city; they will be backed up by units of the army and of tho Rational Guardural Though these forces are all under tha titular command of tho Minister of Defense, overall security responsibility for the visit will be in the hands of Colonel Jose' Alberto Medrano, chief of the Salvadoran Intelligence Agency and Coanandor of the fckitlonal Guard. Heolitical confidant of President Senchoz and is staunchly pro-American, but ia somewhat lacking In political fioosao andenchant for strong era tactics.

The Salvadoran police and aroy hove for some years received training assistance from OS AID and MAAG missions, respectively. Though their training and experience In crowd and riot control are far below tho standards of their Mexicanthey will probably be able to cope effectively with routine problem and einor emergencies. The quality of their response to

lor go deaonetratlonsrlBlo Involving an attempt at violence, should any occur, le less certain.

9- The presence of other visiting Preeldoats ond their personal security guards vUlomplicating factor insecurity for President Johnson. The idea of Central American cooperation Is popular in El Salvador,t/ but President Somoza of Hlcaragua is not and he say be the object of leftist protests. Also, the Hicaraguan political enemies of Somoza, andesser extent the Guatemalan encodes of President Mental and the Honduraa enemies of President Lopez, may attempt torotest or an act of violence against them during the visit. Such attempts could endanger President Johnson directly, or indirectly through the reaction of the target President's security guards.

10. In sum, ve believe tbat the riskerious incident or major embarrassment during President Johnson's visit to El

2/Belati ona between El Salvador and neighboring Honduras have been poor, but such differences will probably be put aside for the meeting of the Presidents.

omewhat greater than during his visits to Haxlco. One any not, of course, rule out the possibility of an attempt at violence by sons individual psychopath or fanatic orsuicide squad" from Guataenia.

access. But the Rebel Armed Forces

U. following the meetings in El Salvador, President Johnson is scheduled, via Air Force One, to fly each of the visiting Central. American presidents to tbe international airport in his own country. Wo believe that, in the oeae of Guatemala, this plan nay expose President Johnson to considerable danger. Security cool Itloos within the fenced area of the Guatacela City airport (La Aurora) are good, and the Guatemalan security forces, which can be expected to cooperate fully with OS officials, will probably be able to prevent hostile groups from gaining

terrorist group, is probably able to attack the airport vlth rockets sod mortars from certain adjacent areas} they launched one successful rocket attack against another airport near

ast January, tbe FAR split away from the Communist Party of Guatemala, vhloh subsequently formed another terrorist groupimilar name.

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Sj^ ill

Guatemala City In FAR baa long engaged In violent activity, both in the towns and In the countryside, but has been relatively quiescent In recent months. The FAR leadership is now being pressed by one of its factions to increase Its aggressive activity, and may view President Johnson'e airport visit as an opportunity to advertise the revolutionary cause snd discredit the government of President Mendez.

12. We believe that there will be less risk of serious incident during Presidentisits to tbe other Central American airports. The Hlcaraguan security forces will probably cloae off the Managua airport (Las Mercedes) to all but trusted civilians and National Guardsmen. Anti-US and antigovernment forces In Nicaragua, moreover, lack the will as veil as the armament of their counterparts In Guatemala. The International airport In Honduras, at San Pedro Sula, iselatively remote area, and the Honduran security forces will probably be able to prevent the access to tbe field of potentially hostile or unfriendly groups. The Costa Rtcan Government, however, is unlikely to restrict the size of crowds at the San Jose airport (Elr to detain potentially hostile individuals. Cocraunlst and Castrolat groups, and perhaps also certain student

groups, nay attempt protest demonstrations against US policy lo Vietnam. But theao are not likely to be large or violent, and tho saall Costa Blcao oecurlty forces would in any case probably be able to keep them from getting out of control.

13. We believe It very unlikely that the Castro regime would use ita Mlg aircraft to interfere with President Johnson's flight.

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