Haig's view of major world issues
Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. has disclosed that the United States intends to increase its military and economic aid to El Salvador. But the secretary of state also asserts that the US will "have to go beyond that to deal with the source of the external support" for the Salvadoran guerrillas -- namely, Cuba.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Haig did not go into specifics as to what action was being considered against Cuba. But he declared that, despite US warnings, "it is clear that Cuba has not terminated or modified substantially its level of support for the insurgency in El Salvador."
Another senior administration official said recently that a number of recommendations relating to Cuba, the Caribbean, and Central America had been completed and were to be taken by Secretary Haig to President Reagan in California about a week ago.
In an interview conducted in his seventh- floor office in the State Department, the secretary of state also:
* Revealed that the US thinks China might be interested in obtaining American radar equipment and antitank and antiaircraft weapons.
* Indicated that the US is satisfied with the worldwide reaction to the US-Libyan aerial shoot-out in the Gulf of Sidra.
* Asserted that while the current ceasefire in Lebanon remains "extremely fragile," the US and other nations are making progress toward resolving that crisis.
* Said that the Soviet Union has yet to show any sign of the kind of restraint that the Reagan administration has been calling on it to demonstrate in world affairs.
Soviet restraint, Haig said, has thus far been "confined to rhetoric" and what he described as a "peace offensive" designed to project an image of the Soviets as peacemakers, particularly in the area of nuclear arms control.
When it came to El Salvador, which Haig had once said was on a Soviet "hit list," the secretary of state declared that guerrilla activity in that small Central American country had recently increased. This, he said, was a result of a continued provision from the outside of arms, advisers, and "command and control" -- primarily, according to him, from Cuba. He said that the Cuban support went into El Salvador through a "host of entry routes," including Nicaragua.
Haig said that US military assistance to El Salvador had been "rather modest in relative terms," and that he thinks it will remain that way. But he added that the Salvadoran armed forces needed "additional mobility." This would mean more helicopters.
In a report to the State Department in June, the Us ambassador to El Salvador , Deane Hinton, concluded that the government and insurgent forces had fought to a draw. Without greater strength and mobility, the government forces would not be able to go on the offensive. The guerrillas could attack when and where they wanted.
The US had previously supplied El Salvador with UH-1H troop- carrying helicopters. It was learned last month that the Salvadoran government would like to get 14 more. Ambassador Hinton told the Washington Post last week that of the 10 helicopters now in El Salvador, only three were able to fly on a given day of that same week because of damage from groundfire, constant use, and delays in the delivery of spare parts.
It also was learned that the Salvadoran military would like to obtain American-made F-5E and A-37 fighter-bombers to replace its aging French-made Fouga and Ouragan fighter-bombers. But Secretary Haig said that he saw no need for supplying fighter-bombers, at least not for now.