El Salvador President Jose Napoleon Duarte has ordered the arrest of Maj. Roberto D'Aubisson, a right-wing former Army officer, on charges of inciting insurrection and plotting a coup. In a clandestine press conference earlier this week, D'Aubisson told reporters the United States "would not look unfavorably on a military junta which would replace this one."
As security forces began combing the country for the major late Wednesday, US Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. denied that the US would welcome a coup , and reaffirmed its support for President Duarte and Salvador's military-civilian junta. Secretary Haig said a rightist coup would have "serious consequences" for the continuation of US aid to El Salvador.
President Duarte announced Thursday that the junta planned to deliver on its promise of holding national elections. Members of the electoral college will be announced soon and other preperations for "truly clean" elections are going forward, he said.
The Salvadoran President canceled plans for a weekend visit to West Germany after the threat of a coup emerged. Major D'Aubisson, who has been in hiding for months, is considered to be the leader of El Salvador's ultraright extremists.
Meanwhile in Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser Thursday announced "strong backing" for US moves to halt Cuban arms shipments to leftist insurgents