oversight

El Salvador: Extent of U.S. Military Personnel in Country

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-07-09.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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                                                                                                           EL SALVADOR
                                                                                                           Extent of U.S. Military
                                                                                                           Personnel in Country




                                                                                                            RESTIWXED---Not       to be released outside the
                                                                                                            General Accounting OfTice unless speciiically
                                                                                                            approved by the Office of Congressional
                                                                                                            RykUions. -
                                                                                                                                         'RELEASED
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   (;A(),, NSIAIb!W227I”S
                             United States
GAO                          General Accounting Office
                             Washington, D.C. 20648

                             National Security and
                             International Affairs Division

                             B-240039

                             July 9, 1990

                             The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy
                             United States Senate

                             Dear Senator Kennedy:

                             In response to your request, this fact sheet provides information on the
                             practice of limiting U.S. military trainers in El Salvador to 55, the
                             number and roles of U.S. military personnel in the country, and the
                             requirements for reporting human rights abuses. In February 1990, we
                             provided you with a report on unexpended aid to El Salvador.’ As
                             agreed with your office, information on the effectiveness of the military
                             aid program will be provided in a subsequent report.


                             In summary, we found the following:
Results in Brief
                         . The U.S. Military Group (MILGROUP) ensures that the number of military
                           trainers, excluding medical and short-term trainers, does not exceed 55.
                         l An average of 48 military trainers were in El Salvador between January
                           and March 1990.
                         l An average of 86 other U.S. military personnel in El Salvador, who are
                           not counted against the limit of 55, work as medical and temporary
                           trainers or as members of the MILGROUP and sections supporting the
                           security assistance program, the Defense Attache Office and other
                           Embassy offices, and the U.S. Embassy Marine guard detachment.
                         l U.S. military personnel are not legally required to report human rights
                           abuses, according to MILGROUP and State Department officials; however,
                           MIM~ROUPoperating procedures instruct security assistance personnel to
                           inform their commanding officers of such violations.


                             Although not legislatively mandated, the Department of Defense limits
Limit on U.S. Military       the number of its personnel working with Salvadoran forces. The
Presence                     Salvadoran Armed Forces have increased from about 12,000 in 1980 to
                             approximately 67,000 in 1989. Between 1981 and 1983, several congres-
                             sional committees proposed legislation to limit the number of military
                             trainers in El Salvador to 55, the approximate number of U.S. military
                             personnel working with Salvadoran forces at that time. However, none
                             of the proposals were enacted.

                              ‘El Salvador:Pipelineof U.S.Military and EconomicAid (GAO/NSIAD-SO-121FS,
                                                                                                     Feb.23, 1990).



                             _Page 1                                   GAO/NSIAD.90-227FSU.S.Military ln El Salvador
                 8249939




                 On the basis of a September 1983 State Department message that said
                 the U.S. military personnel carrying out training responsibilities were
                 limited to 55, the MILGROUP continues to ensure that the number of
                 trainers does not exceed this limit. Excluded from the limit were medical
                 trainers; military personnel in El Salvador temporarily for non-training
                 functions; and members of the MIU;ROUP, the Defense Attache Office,
                 and the Embassy’s Marine guard detachment. According to the message,
                 administration officials discussed who would be excluded from the limit
                 with the staffs of key congressional leaders, who raised no significant
                 objections.


                 In the first 3 months of 1990, an average of 134 U.S. military personnel
U.S. Military    were in El Salvador. Of these, 48 were security assistance personnel who
Personnel        were serving in a training capacity and were counted against the limit of
in El Salvador   55. These trainers worked at the Salvadoran military headquarters and
                 at Salvadoran Army, Navy, and Air Force locations throughout .the
Average 134      country. The other 86 military personnel were not counted against the
                 limit. These included 49 associated with the security assistance pro-
                 gram: an average of 12 MILGROUPmembers, 4 related administrative
                 staff, 14 in a helicopter support detachment, 5 in a communication sup-
                 port unit, 10 humanitarian medical trainers, and an average of 4 tempo-
                 rary duty personnel. In addition, an average of 22 Marine guards
                 assigned to protect the U.S. Embassy, 9 military personnel permanently
                 assigned to the Defense Attache Office, and 6 temporary duty personnel
                 cleared by the Defense Attache to enter the country were in El Salvador.

                 According ‘to U.S. military officials, the current military presence is con-
                 sistent with the levels present over the past few years. Available
                 records indicate that the number of U.S. security assistance personnel in
                 El Salvador remained relatively stable between January 1988 and
                 March 1990. The number fluctuated depending on how many personnel
                 were visiting the country for temporary duty or were out of country for
                 official or personal reasons. For example, on November 17, 1989, 16 mil-
                 itary personnel were on temporary duty in El Salvador, raising the total
                 number of military personnel associated with the security assistance
                 program to 127. However, during the December holidays in 1988 and
                 1989, respectively, about 62 and 66 military personnel were in El
                 Salvador.




                 Page 2                              GAO/NSIAD-QO-227FS
                                                                      U.S.Military in El Salvador
   .



                      B-240039




                      The MILGROUP is responsible for administering the U.S. security assis-
Procedures for        tame program and managing the activities of all trainers and support
Limiting the Number   personnel associated with the program. As part of this responsibility,
of Trainers to 55     the MILGROUP closely monitors the number and role of U.S. military in the
                      country to ensure that the limit of 55 trainers is not exceeded. The oper-
                      ations officer prepares a daily report showing the number and names of
                      military in El Salvador on a permanent or temporary basis and whether
                      they are counted against the limit. Using expected arrival, departure,
                      and leave dates, he also projects the number of personnel subject to the
                      limit up to 1 year in advance. For example, in August 1989, from the
                      trainers’ leave plans and the scheduled arrival of trainers, the opera-
                      tions officer projected that 58 trainers would be present in mid-
                      November 1989. To stay within the limit, the MILGROUP was prepared to
                      delay the arrival of two trainers and direct other trainers to take leave.
                      However, these actions were not necessary because several personnel
                      did not come to El Salvador as originally scheduled.

                      The MILGROUP considers the role of military personnel and their length of
                      stay in El Salvador to determine if they count against the limit of
                      55 trainers. If a person is in El Salvador more than 14 days to train
                      Salvadoran forces, then the person is counted. However, the MILGROUP
                      has not customarily counted personnel in El Salvador 14 days or less,
                      regardless of their roles. As a result, some personnel providing training
                      on a short-term basis are not counted against the limit. MILGROUP offi-
                      cials also acknowledged that in some instances trainers who are counted
                      against the limit and training support personnel who are not counted
                      against the limit have similar roles.

                      Our analysis of MILGROUP listings of short-term temporary duty per-
                      sonnel showed that on 15 of 36 judgmentally selected days between
                      October 1988 and March 1990,” short-term personnel were engaged in
                      training activities but were not counted because they were in country
                      less than 14 days or were serving in training support roles. For example,
                      in mid-February 1990, one U.S. military person was assigned to design
                      military instruction courses at a Salvadoran training camp. According to
                      the MILGROUPoperations officer, this person was not counted because he
                      served in a training support position, even though a permanent trainer
                      assigned to the same location and performing similar tasks was counted
                      against the limit. In another instance, two instructors in El Salvador
                      from mid-June to mid-July 1989 to conduct a psychological operations

                      “Two days in eachmonth,at mid-monthand at the end of the month,were usedto samplethis
                      18-monthperiod.



                      Page 3                                     GAO/NSIALWO-227FsU.S.Military in El Salvador
B-240039




course were counted against the limit, but eight additional military per-
sonnel serving as facilitators during an 1l-day segment of the course
were not counted. According to the MILGROIJPoperations officer, the
eight personnel were not counted because they were only indirectly
involved in the training process and were in country less than 14 days.

Even if the definition of those counted against the limit were broadened
to include temporary duty personnel engaged in training-related activi-
ties, there would have been more than 55 trainers in El Salvador on only
4 of the 15 days. These four instances are described below.

On November 30, 1988, a military instructor and his assistant were in El
Salvador for 29 days to conduct research in preparation for a psycholog-
ical operations course planned for early 1989. According to the MILGROUP
operations officer, they were not counted against the limit because they
were not conducting training during this time period. Another four U.S.
military personnel conducting a course in free-fall parachuting were not
counted because they were in country for only 14 days. Using the
broader definition, if these 6 personnel had been counted, the number of
training personnel in country would have been 56.

On January 31, 1989, nine U.S. military were in El Salvador to train
Salvadoran military instructors. These personnel were in country less
than 14 days and were therefore not counted against the limit, Using the
broader definition, if these nine personnel had been counted, the total
number of training personnel would have been 57 during the period they
were in country.

Between October 30 and November 22, 1989, U.S. Army Special Forces
personnel were deployed for training in El Salvador to be evaluated on
their ability to train foreign defense forces. The exercises, planned in
June 1989, originally scheduled three U.S. Army Special Forces “A”
teams of 12 soldiers and an exercise evaluator each to be in El Salvador
for a 12-day period. Between October 30 and November 10, 1989, the
first team trained a Salvadoran company of 160 soldiers in patrolling
techniques, weapons use, and other exercises to meet their annual
Special Forces training requirement. The second team began its exercise
on November 10 but was interrupted when the Salvadoran unit partici-
pating in the training exercise was deployed to engage in a conflict with
antigovernment forces. According to the MILGROUP'S training officer, the
Special Forces team was unable to return to San Salvador until
November 20 due to the conflict and, by coincidence, was in the



Page 4                             GAO/NSIAD-90-227FSU.S.Military in El Salvador
                    B-240939




                    Sheraton Hotel during a guerrilla attack. The third team’s visit was
                    canceled.

                    According to the MILGROUPCommander, these teams were not counted
                    against the limit of 55 trainers for two reasons: (1) the primary purpose
                    of the mission was to exercise and evaluate the Special Forces teams,
                    not to train Salvadoran soldiers, and (2) each team was in country less
                    than 14 days. Using the broader definition, if these personnel had been
                    counted as trainers during their mission in El Salvador, the total number
                    of training personnel would have been 63 during the first exercise and
                    66 during the second.


                    According to MILGROUP and State Department officials, U.S. military per-
Reporting Human     sonnel are not legally required to report human rights abuses in El
Rights Violations   Salvador, but operating procedures require MILGROUPpersonnel to notify
                    their commanding officers of violations by Salvadoran forces. The
                    MILGROUP Commander said that he had received a few oral reports of
                    alleged abuses, which were investigated to determine their validity.
                    However, he added that U.S. military may be unaware of violations
                    because their movements are restricted and it is unlikely that violations
                    would be committed in their presence. The U.S. Ambassador and the
                    MLGHOUP Commander have recently issued directives emphasizing the
                    responsibility of U.S. personnel to report human rights violations.


                    We performed our field work and interviewed officials at the
Scopeand            Departments of Defense and State in Washington, D.C., and at the U.S.
Methodology         Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador. We researched the legislative his-
                    tory and records at the Departments of Defense and State to establish
                    the origin of the limit on the number of military trainers. (See app. I.)
                    We did not evaluate the appropriateness of the criteria used to deter-
                    mine which military personnel are excluded from the limit. To determine
                    the number and roles of military personnel in El Salvador, we analyzed
                    documents and records prepared by the MILGROIJPand the Defense
                    Attache Office, including daily listings of personnel in country. (See
                    app. II and III.) We also reviewed legislation and U.S. Embassy direc-
                    tives concerning requirements for reporting human rights abuses. (See
                    app. IV.)

                    We conducted our review between February and May 1990 in accor-
                    dance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We did
                    not obtain written agency comments. However, we discussed a draft of


                    Page 6                             GAO/NSIAD-90-227FSUS. Military in El Salvador
Il.240039




this report with Defense Department officials and incorporated their
comments as appropriate.


Unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, no further distribu-
tion of this fact sheet will be made until 10 days after its issue date. At
that time we will provide copies to interested congressional committees
and the Secretaries of Defense and State. Copies will be made available
to other interested parties upon request.

Major contributors to this fact sheet are listed in appendix V. If you
have questions on this report, please call me on (202) 275-4128.

Sincerely,




Joseph E. Kelley
Director, Security and International
  Relations Issues




Page 6                                 GAO/NSIAD-90-227F’S
                                                         U.S.Milltmy in El Salvador
Page 7   GAO/NSIAD-90-227FSU.S.Military in El Salvador
Contents


Letter                                                                                                I
Appendix I                                                                                           10
Origin of the Limit on
U.S. Military Trainers
Appendix II                                                                                          12
U.S. Military Presence
in El Salvador
Appendix III                                                                                         14
Rolesof U.S. Military    Trainers Counted Against Limit
                         Personnel Not Counted Against Limit
                                                                                                     14
                                                                                                     14
Personnel in El
Salvador
Appendix IV                                                                                          17
Requirements for         U.S. Personnel May Not Be Aware of Violations
                         Recent Emphasis on Reporting Abuses
                                                                                                     17
                                                                                                     17
Reporting Human
Rights Abuses
Appendix V                                                                                           19
Major Contributors to
This Report                              4
Figures                  Figure 11.1:Distribution of 134 U.S. Military Personnel in                  12
                              El Salvador (Jan.-Mar. 1990)
                         Figure 11.2:U.S. Military Security Assistance Personnel in                  13
                              El Salvador




             w           Abbreviations

                         MILGROUP US. Military   Group


                         Page8                              GAO/NSIAD-W-227FSU.S.Military in El Salvador
Page 9   GAO/NSLAD4JO-227F’S
                         U.S.Military in El Salvador
Appendix I

Origin of the Limit on U.S.Military Trainers


                    Various congressional committee reports as well as Defense and State
                    Department documents contain information on the limit on U.S. military
                    trainers in El Salvador. The following chronology describes events
                    related to the origin of the limit.


March-April 198 1   During hearings before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on
                    March 18, the Under Secretary of State said that 3 1 additional military
                    personnel had been sent to El Salvador since January 1981, bringing the
                    total number of U.S. military working with Salvadoran forces to 54.
                    According to the Under Secretary, that number met El Salvador’s
                    requirements at the time. However, he said that 54 was not a limit, as
                    reductions or increases could occur as warranted by the situation in El
                    Salvador. In a letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign
                    Affairs, dated April 6, 1981, the Assistant Secretary of State for
                    Congressional Relations listed a total of 56 U.S. military security assis-
                    tance personnel in El Salvador.


March 1983          On March 23, the Senate Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Foreign
                    Operations approved the administration’s request to reprogram $60 mil-
                    lion in military aid to El Salvador on the condition, among other things,
                    that the number of advisers’ be limited to 55.

                    On March 24, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the
                    reprogramming of only $30 million and advised the State Department of
                    the Committee’s desire to limit advisers in El Salvador to 55.


April 1983          On April 26, the House Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Foreign
                    Operations also approved the $30 million reprogramming; however, a
                    limit on the number of U.S. advisers was not a condition of its approval.


May 1983            On May 17, the House Foreign Affairs Committee limited the number of
                    1J.S.advisers in El Salvador to 55 in its version of the 1984 foreign aid
                    authorization bill (H.R. 2992).




                    ‘State Department testimony in 1981 said that the term “trainer” more accurately described the role
                    of 1J.S.personnel working with the Salvadoran forces.
               .

                    Page 10                                        GAO/NSIAD-90-227FSU.S.Military in El Salvador
                 Appendix I
                 Origin of the Lit   on U.S. Military   Trainers




                 On May 23, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted language
                 similar to the House language and limited the number of advisers to 55
                 in its version of the authorization bill (S-1347).

                 These proposals to limit the number of advisers were not enacted.


August 1983      President Reagan announced that he would not increase the number of
                 IJ.S. military trainers in El Salvador beyond 55, according to a 1984
                 House Committee on Foreign Affairs report.


September 1983   A September 22,1983, State Department message said that the limit
                 applied only to U.S. military personnel with training responsibilities.
                 This definition was prompted by an anticipated increase from 6 to
                 11 MILGROUP personnel to administer the security assistance program.
                 The MILGROUP personnel had previously been counted against the limit.
                 To remain below the limit with this increase would have required
                 reducing the number of trainers to 44, which would have impaired the
                 training mission, according to the State Department. The definition
                 excluded the MILGROUP, medical trainers, and military personnel tempo-
                 rarily in El Salvador for non-training functions. The Marine security
                 guards and military staff with the Defense Attache Office continued to
                 be treated as separate and distinct from the limit. The message states
                 that administration officials discussed the definition with the staffs of
                 key congressional leaders, who raised no significant objections.


February 1985    Three congressional members of the Arms Control and Foreign Policy
                 Caucus reported that the administration had agreed to a cap of 55 mili-
                 tary security assistance personnel in country but that more than 100
                 were actually in El Salvador. The report recommended that only the
                 Marine guard detachment and the Defense Attache Office be exempt
                 from the limit. No action was taken on this recommendation,




                 Page 11                                           GAO/NSIAD-90-227FS   U.S. Military   in El Salvador
Appendix II

U.S.lbfilitw Presencein El Sahmdor


                                           The figures below provide data on the U.S. military presence in El
                                           Salvador. Figure 11.1shows the distribution of 134 U.S. military per-
                                           sonnel and their function. Figure II.2 shows the levels of U.S. military
                                           security assistance personnel and the portion that is counted against the
                                           limit of 56 trainers.


Flgure 11.1:Dhtribution of 134 U.S.
Military Perronnel in El Salvador (Jan.-
Mar. 1990)
                                                               7                                   EEd       Trainers IO



                                                                                                   3%
                                                                                                   Security Assistance Admin./Other 4




                                                                                                   Security Assistance Temporary Duty 4




                                                                                                   Helicopter and Communications Support


                                                                     / I
                                                                                                   19
                                                                                                   Defense Attache Office 15
                                                     1               -                             _Malinez7k22




                                           1. The figure shows the average number of military personnel for each function, calculated from data
                                           contained in one daily personnel report for each of the 13 weeks from Jan. 1 to Mar. 30, 1990.
                                           2. Average number of personnel with the Defense Attache Office includes nine personnel permanently
                                           assigned to the Office and six temporary duty personnel cleared by the Defense Attache to enter El
                                           Salvador for official business with that Office or other Embassy sections or for unofficial business.




                                           Page 12                                          GAO/NSiAD-90.227FS       U.S. Military   in El Salvador
                                      Appendix II
                                      U.S. Military Presence in El Salvador




Figure 11.2:U.S. Military Security
Assistance Personnel in El Salvador
                                      Mllftrry lncountty
                                      130
                                      120.
                                      110
                                      100
                                       So
                                       80
                                       70
                                       60
                                       50
                                       40                                                ......... ...y__y
                                             - ._._.____.




                                                                                                                                          L
                                               Jan-88    AP-         JUl.68    013-88      Jan-89            Apt.89   Jul-89    ool-89         Jan-90
                                               Soleoted Dater


                                              I         Other Military
                                                        Trainers counted against the limit of 55

                                      Note: Figures represent the number of personnel in country at mid-month




                                      Page 13                                                  GAO/NSIAD-90-227FS              U.S. Military     in El Salvador
Appendix   III

Rolesof U.S.Military Personnelin El Sahmdor -


                        U.S. military personnel counted against the limit of 55 are in El Salvador
Trainers Counted        to train the Salvadoran Armed Forces. Trainers work with the
Against Limit           Salvadoran Joint Staff (the equivalent of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff)
                        and at Salvadoran Army, Navy, and Air Force locations throughout the
                        country. The US. trainers at the Joint Staff assist the Salvadoran mili-
                        tary in implementing personnel, intelligence, and logistics systems and in
                        developing military academy curricula and psychological operations
                        campaigns. The U.S. trainers assigned to the field locations assist the
                        Salvadoran military in improving small unit combat abilities and brigade
                        effectiveness and in developing local civil defense units. These trainers
                        serve l- or 2-year tours of duty.

                        Other trainers are in El Salvador as members of mobile training teams.
                        These teams provide specialized training lasting from 1 week to
                        6 months in areas such as logistics, civil defense, interrogation, and
                        counterintelligence. These teams are counted against the limit only if
                        they are in country more than 14 days. Since November 1988, the long-
                        term trainers have begun to conduct more of the specialized training,
                        and fewer mobile training teams have been used.


                        U.S. military personnel who do not count against the limit on trainers
Personnel Not Counted   include personnel who administer and support the security assistance
Against Limit           program, medical trainers, short-term temporary duty persons, and mili-
                        tary working with the Marine guard detachment or the Defense Attache
                        Office.

                        The MILGROIJP and Related Administrative Staff. The MILGROUP adminis-
                        ters the 1J.S.security assistance program and supports U.S. military per-
                        sonnel assigned to El Salvador. About 12 MIWROUP members’ are in El
                        Salvador on any day, including the Commander, Deputy Commander,
                        and administrative and operations personnel. Four additional military
                        staff assist the MKGROIJP with logistics and budget work, manage U.S.
                        Corps of Engineers projects, and provide coordination with Agency for
                        International Development projects. MILGROIJP members and related
                        administrative staff are not counted against the limit.

                        Helicopter and Communications Support Personnel. About 14 flight
                        crew and maintenance personnel support three helicopters, and about

                        ‘The M&GROUP in El Salvador is authorized 13 military positions, which are justified each year in
                        budget requests submitted by the Defense Security Assistance Agency, making it the largest U.S.
                        security assistance organization in Latin America.



                        Page 14                                        GAO/NSIAD-90-227lW      U.S. Military   in El Salvador
Appendix III
Roles of U.S.   Mllltary Personnel in
El Salvador




5 personnel operate a radio communication network for the use of
security assistance personnel. According to the MILGROUPOperations
Officer, the transportation and communication support personnel do not
provide services or training to Salvadoran forces and are not counted
against the limit.

Medical Trainers. An average of 10 trainers assist the Salvadoran
Armed Forces in improving their health care system and equipping
Salvadoran medical soldiers and units. During 1990, the trainers are
scheduled to assist the Salvadoran military medical staff in developing
and implementing a medical supply system and establishing infection
control and intensive care nursing programs. Although the U.S. medical
personnel are trainers, their role is viewed as humanitarian, not mili-
tary, and as such, they are not counted against the limit.

Temporary Duty Security Assistance Personnel. The number of tempo-
rary duty security assistance personnel in country varies, but on
average, about four are in El Salvador daily. None of these personnel are
counted against the limit on trainers. Temporary duty personnel include
trainers in country less than 14 days, official visitors such as the
Inspector General from the U.S. Southern Command, and technicians.
For example, U.S. military personnel have come to El Salvador for
3-4 weeks to repair medical equipment, assist Salvadoran forces to con-
duct warehouse inventories, and inspect Salvadoran aircraft for corro-
sion In addition, two medics from a U.S. Special Forces Group are
deployed periodically to El Salvador on 45-day rotations. The medics
work in a Salvadoran field hospital to gain experience in treating war-
related injuries, which helps them meet their qualification as Special
Forces medics. Permanent trainers are also included as temporary per-
sonnel during pre-deployment visits and during their first 2 weeks in
country, when they overlap their incumbents’ term for orientation.

US. Embassy Marine Guards. About 22 Marine guards are assigned to El
Salvador to provide security protection for U.S. Embassy personnel and
buildings. The guards do not perform training functions and are not
counted against the limit on trainers.

Defense Attache Office. This Office, located at the U.S. Embassy, is
staffed by nine U.S. military representatives from all of the services.
Their missions include reporting military and political/military intelli-
gence information, advising the U.S. Ambassador on military matters,
and representing the Defense Department and the military services to



Page 16                                 GAO/NSIAD-PO-227FS   U.S. Military   in El Salvador
Appendix III
Roles of U.S. Military   Pereonnel   in
El Salvador




the Salvadoran military. The Defense Attache Office also provides clear-
ances to Defense Department personnel, aircraft and vessels for entry
into the country on a temporary basis for business with the Defense
Attache Office or other Embassy offices, and for unofficial business,
such as personal leave. There is an average of 6 of these temporary duty
personnel in El Salvador. Members of the Defense Attache Office and
temporary personnel cleared by that office are not trainers and are
therefore not counted against the limit.




Page 16                                   GAO/NSIAD-90-227FS   U.S. Military   in El Salvador
Appendix IV

Requirementsfor Reporting Human
Rights Abuses

                     According to the legal and human rights officers at the U.S. Embassy in
                     El Salvador and the MILGROUPCommander, military personnel are not
                     legally required to report any human rights abuses by Salvadoran
                     forces. However, the MILGROUPStandard Operating Procedure dated
                     June 30, 1989, instructs U.S. military personnel “to try to stop” any vio-
                     lation of human rights they observe and, if unsuccessful, to report the
                     violation to the MILGROUPCommander or Deputy Commander. Newly
                     assigned MILGROUPmembers, trainers, and other security assistance per-
                     sonnel receive briefings on these procedures. This requirement has been
                     part of the military’s operating procedures for several years; similar gui-
                     dance is contained in 1984 MILGROUPinstructions.


                     The MILGROIJP Commander said that since November 1988, when he
U.S. Personnel May   assumed his position, he has received a few oral reports of alleged
Not Be Aware of      human rights abuses from MILGROUPpersonnel. He stated that, although
Violations           the reports were not formally submitted in writing, each allegation was
                     investigated to determine its validity. He stressed that U.S. trainers may
                     not be aware of violations because the Rules of Engagement governing
                     the military restrict US. military trainers to conducting routine activi-
                     ties within 5 kilometers of their assigned locations unless accompanied
                     by a Salvadoran Armed Forces commander. The US. military trainers
                     are also prohibited from accompanying Salvadoran forces into battle.
                     According to the MILGROUPCommander and the military trainers we
                     interviewed, the Salvadoran forces receive extensive training pertaining
                     to human rights, and they understand that the United States does not
                     condone human rights abuses. Because of this, the trainers said that it
                     was unlikely that any human rights violations would be committed in
                     their presence by Salvadoran forces.


                     In a February 1990 memorandum to U.S. personnel in El Salvador, the
Recent Emphasis on   U.S. Ambassador reiterated the long-standing policy that all Embassy
Reporting Abuses     employees were obligated to report any alleged human rights abuses
                     through appropriate channels to his office.

                     On May 2,1990, the MILGROUPCommander issued a memorandum to all
                     security assistance personnel that emphasized their responsibilities in
                     reporting human rights violations. The memorandum instructs all per-
                     sonnel “to be alert for and demonstrate professional concern for human
                     rights issues in your routine dealings with all Salvadorans.” In this
                     memorandum, the Commander instructs MILGROUPpersonnel to report all
                     suspected human rights violations immediately and to follow up verbal


                     Page 17                            GAO/NSIADgO-227FS   U.S. Miliw   in El Salvador
                                                                                      ,

Appendix IV
Requlrementa for l&porting   Human
Rl&ta Abuses




reports with written reports. Personnel are also instructed to exercise
appropriate professional judgment in separating rumor from informa-
tion worthy of further inquiry. The Commander said that he urges his
staff to substantiate, to the extent possible, allegations of human rights
abuses to ensure that accurate information is reported and the credi-
bility of the United States will not be damaged. According to the
Commander, this is important because he and the Ambassador will
report allegations involving the Salvadoran Armed Forces to the Salva-
doran military commanders and the President of El Salvador.




Page 18                              GAO/NSLAD-20-227F3   U.S. MUltary   in El Salvador
Appendix V

M$or Contributors to This Report


                        John Brummet, Assistant Director
National Security and
International Affairs
Division, Washington,
DC.

                        Roderic Worth, Regional Manager Representative
Atlanta Regional        Nancy T. Toolan, Evaluator-in-Charge
Office                  Raymond H. Murphy, II, Evaluator




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(467802)                Page 19                         GAO/NSIAD-90-227FS   U.S. Military   in El Salvador
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                                                             Ttwrt~ is a 25% ttiscoiuit.       on orctw-s for 100 or more cqbiw   mailed to a
                                                             singIt* addrttss.
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