Letter to President Jose Napoleon Duarte of El Salvador on the Investigation of the Murder of United States Citizens in San Salvador

August 29, 1985

Dear Mr. President:

I was gratified to hear from you of the important accomplishments of your government's ongoing investigation of the murder of thirteen persons, including American and Salvadoran citizens, in a brutal raid in San Salvador on June 19, 1985. I congratulate you on the speed and professionalism of the arrest of William Celio Rivas Bolanos, Juan Miguel Garcia Melendez, and Jose Abraham Dimas Aguilar. On behalf of the victims' families and the United States, I personally thank all involved.

Terrorism is the antithesis of democracy. By brutal acts against innocent persons, terrorists seek to exaggerate their strength and undermine confidence in responsible government, publicize their cause, intimidate the populace, and pressure national leaders to accede to demands conceived in violence. Where democracy seeks to consult the common man on the governance of his nation, terrorism makes war on the common man, repudiating in bloody terms the concept of government by the people.

I am proud that the Special Investigative Unit, which we in the U.S. worked with you to develop, is playing an active role in the investigation. I shortly will be consulting with Congress to find new ways to assist Central American nations in their laudable efforts to overcome the scourge of terrorism. I hope that, with the support of the Congress, we can help police and military units to respond consistently with the maturity, professionalism, and respect for the law shown by your police in this case. We must not compromise with criminals. Appeasement only invites renewed attack. Terrorists merit only swift, certain justice under the rule of law.

The people of El Salvador and the people of the United States stand together against terrorism. Each defeat for the terrorist makes the world safer and more just for everyone.


/s/Ronald Reagan

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