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John Negroponte speaks at his swearing in ceremony as new U.S. Ambassador to Iraq on June 23, 2004. (Source: U.S. State Department)

Additional Papers Posted on "Special Project"

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 151 - Part 2

Edited by Peter Kornbluh

Updated - April 12, 2005

[Go to Part 1]

Related Posting

The Negroponte File: Part 1


Washington D.C., April 12, 2005 - As John Negroponte faced questioning today about his activities in Honduras during the contra war, the National Security Archive posted additional documents from his chron file as ambassador. The documents, part of a large file of 470 cables obtained by the Washington Post through the FOIA, provide a virtual day-to-day record of Negroponte's unique tenure as ambassador, as he secured Honduran military, logistical and political support for the controversial CIA paramilitary campaign to overthrow the Sandinista government.


Click here to read Part 1 of the Negroponte File


President George W. Bush nominated John Negroponte as the first Director of National Intelligence on February 17, 2005. (Source: White House)

More documents on Negroponte and the Contra War
Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
You will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

1) April 5, 1983, "Support for Anti-Sandinistas"

In the wake of a major New York Times expose on U.S.-directed contra operations being run out of Honduras, Negroponte confers by phone with State Department official L. Craig Johnstone, and follows up with a written cable. The ambassador lays out a military-political strategy for advancing the contra war which includes escalating activities on Nicaragua's southern front, and "raising profile of our contacts with anti-Sandinistas." The cable is cleared by CIA station chief, Donald Winters, who is posing as a political officer at the Embassy.

2) August 8, 1984, "Ambassador's August 7 Meeting with Honduran President Suazo and Presidency Minister Carlos Flores"

As the U.S. Congress moves to cut off all funding for the contra war, Honduran officials begin to suggest they will clamp down on the rebels' use of Honduran territory as a base of operations. In this cable, Negroponte reports that he is lobbying President Suazo "not rpt not do anything to deprive FDN of their Honduran support base…." Negroponte tells Suazo that the contras are having "success…in obtaining additional funding through private sources." In truth there are no private sources, only other governments such as Saudi Arabia that the Reagan administration has requested to provide secret funding for the contra war.

3) January 25, 1985, "Sandinista Forces Threaten FDN Forward Base"

Negroponte issues a detailed report on Sandinista military movements along the Nicaraguan-Honduran border which threaten a large contra camp in Las Vegas, inside Honduras. Although previous public statements and cables have denied the presence of contra camps on Honduran territory, this one provides hard data on the amount of contra troops in various camps that are in Honduras. Negroponte also requests U.S. intelligence on Sandinista forces which will presumably assist the contras if any fighting breaks out.

4) February 6, 1985, cable, "Honduran Military Views on the Anti-Sandinistas"

Negroponte reports in this cable on the views of senior Honduran officials toward the contra forces. While expelling the contras from Honduran territory does not seem to be imminent, he warns, "if present levels of effort and success were not improved, GOH at some not too distant point would reconsider its entire approach." Of concern to the Ambassador is the pending vote in Congress on renewing CIA assistance to the contras, which was terminated in October 1984. "A definitive defeat in our Congress on this issue could well bring the end of continued GOH cooperation with or even toleration of armed anti-Sandinista elements in any form." These warnings become the basis for the Reagan administration's decision, taken the very next day at a Crisis Pre-Planning Group meeting at the NSC, to secretly provide "enticements to the Hondurans"-enhanced military and economic aid, and CIA payments-to continue to support the contras despite the Congressional cutoff. President Reagan approves the quid pro quo on February 19; John Negroponte is selected to deliver a letter to the Honduran military that contains the quid; another secret emissary will then meet with them to discuss the pro quo.

5) February 8, 1985, "Meeting with General Lopez Afternoon of Feb. 6: Alleged Anti-Sandinista Human Rights Violations"

Of more than 400 cables released from the Negroponte chron file, this is the only one that deals at length with allegations of human rights atrocities committed by the Honduran military and contra forces. The catalyst for the discussion with Honduran military chief Walter Lopez (who has replaced the ousted General Gustavo Alvarez) is an article in Newsweek magazine reporting that 200 people have disappeared in Honduras, some of them at the hands of the contra forces. "The impression has been conveyed that Honduras today has a serious problem with death squads," Negroponte complains, when Honduras should be "getting credit for an improving human rights situation." Although the CIA station has gathered intelligence on Honduran atrocities during Negroponte's tenure, he asks Lopez for "the real truth of the matter." On the allegations of atrocities committed by the contras, he writes, "thus far the GOH has provided us nothing which would substantiate claims in some newspaper articles to the effect that the anti-Sandinistas are engaged in gross and consistent human rights violations." He concludes by stating that "on top of all of this, we can only assume that the propagandists and disinformation specialists in Havana and Managua are having a field day [with] these alleged human rights problems."

Posted below is the second set of documents released by the State Department on April 11, 2005. [The first set is available here.]


December 18, 1981: Central American Regional Grouping

December 19, 1981: Military Assistance to Honduras


January 7, 1982: DAO Staffing at Tegucigalpa

January 12, 1982: Central American Regional Grouping

March 22, 1982: Nicaraguan Air Force Defectors

April 2, 1982: Conversation with Dr. Suazo, April 2

April 13, 1982: General Nutting's Visit to Honduras March 21 -23, 1982

April 27, 1982: Visit of Honduran Minister of the Presidency, Carlos Flores

April 29, 1982: Hijacking

April 29, 1982: Hijacking

June 9, 1982: Will Honduras Change Its Foreign Policy?

June 11, 1982: Soviet View of Nicaraguan Situation

July 6, 1982: Conversation with General Alvarez July 6

July 26, 1982: Additional Military Assistance for Honduras

July 28, 1982: Honduras / Nicaragua Border Situation

August 10, 1982: Honduras Military Strategy Assistance Team

August 30, 1982: Security Assistance Policies and Priorities

September 28, 1982: San Pedro Sula Hostage / Barricade Incident: After-Action Report

October 25, 1982: Meeting with General Alvarez

November 8, 1982: November 6 Meeting with Minister of Presidency: Newsweek Story and Aftermath

November 8, 1982: President Suazo's Comments on Anti-Sandinista Activity

November 15, 1982: Honduran Request for Helicopter Support

November 26, 1982: Ordway Grove


February 14, 1983: Exercise Ahuas Tara

March 10, 1983: Ordway Grove Deployment

March 11, 1983: Meeting with President Suazo

March 14, 1983: General Alvarez on Salvadoran Military

March 21, 1983: Honduran Confidence Building Activities

March 28, 1983: Training in Honduras for Salvadoran Forces

April 5, 1983: Support for Anti-Sandinistas

April 8, 1983: Training in Honduras for Salvadoran Forces

April 18, 1983: Participation in Planned CPX Exercises

April 19, 1983: Training in Honduras for Salvadoran Forces

May 21, 1983: Continued Honduran Interest in Location of School of Americas in Honduras

May 23, 1983: Adolfo Calero

May 27, 1983: Adolfo Calero

November 29, 1983: Contadora at the OAS

December 21, 1983: December 19 Meeting with Doctor Suazo


July 6, 1984: GOH Plans to Re-Examine USG / GOH Relationship ! ?

July 9, 1984: General Lopez and Paz Barnica on Continued Support for the Anti-Sandinistas: Need for FDN Discretion

August 8, 1984: Ambassador's August 7 Meeting with Honduran President Suazo and Presidency Minister Carlos Flores

August 13, 1984: Possible Threat on Life of Honduran President Suazo

August 14, 1984: President Suazo

September 26, 1984: Honduran Terms of Reference for Negotiations on Bilateral Cooperation: Ambassador's Sept. 25 Conversation with Fonmin Paz

September 27, 1984: [ Excised - Discusses How to Continue Mutual Military Cooperation despite refusal of Hondurans to train next Salvadoran Battalion ]


January 4, 1985: Visit by USCINCSO

January 10, 1985: [Excised - Informal translation of complimentary letter by President Suazo to President Reagan about the departure of Ambassador Negroponte]

January 18, 1985: [ Excised - Text of President Reagan's letter replying to President Suazo letter to Reagan about departure of Ambassador Negroponte ]

January 25, 1985: Sindinista [sic] Forces Threaten FDN Forward Base

January 25, 1985: Acceptance of Honduran Decoration by Ambassador

January 29, 1985: Invitation to President Suazo for Official Working Visit

February 1, 1985: Target Transfer Dates

February 1, 1985: [Excised - Ambassador's Acceptance of Honduras' Order of Morazan

February 4, 1985: Target Transfer Date

February 7, 1985: Prospects for US / Honduran Bilateral Talks

February 8, 1985: Elections 1985: Impact on Carlos Flores of New Presidential Candidacy of Oscar Mejia

February 8, 1985: Meeting with General Lopez Afternoon of Feb. 6: Alleged Anti-Sandinista Human Rights Violations

February 11, 1985: Investment Climate Statement for Honduras

February 16, 1985: Winds of Change: GOH - USG Dialogue may be Improving GOH Confidence in Relationship with United States

February 15, 1985: [Letter to Gwendolyn Symon in England ]

February 16, 1985: [ Letter from Foreign Minister of Panama to the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica transmitting the communiqué from Contadora Countries ]

February 21, 1985: Vice President's Visit for Brazilian Inauguration

February 6, 1985: Honduran Military Views on the Anti-Sandinistas

March 4, 1985: [ illegible ] …. View on Talks [ between new Salvadoran Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, Ernesto Arrieta Peralta, with Ambassador March ]

March 12, 1985: Vice President Bush's Visit: Update for [illegible] ing Papers

March 15, 1985: [illegible - Meeting Vice President at Palmerola Air Field ]

March 19, 1985: Transfer to OES

April 2, 1985: Betancur Visit to Honduras

April 4, 1985: U.S. Central American Peace Initiative: Letter from President Reagan

April 8, 1985: Duarte, Travel and Honduran Relations

April 30, 1985: Systematic Debriefing of Nicaraguan Refugees

May 4, 1985: Suazo Visit to Washington

May 10, 1985: President Suazo's Official Working Visit to Washington

May 11, 1985: President Suazo's Trip to Washington / Exceptions to Proposed Schedule

May 15, 1985: CODEL [Congressional Delegation] Boren

May 15, 1985: Security Assurances to Honduras

May 20, 1985: [Letter from Senator Murkowski to Ambassador Negroponte]

May 28, 1985: Letter from Senator Murkowski

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