Robert E. White
|United States Ambassador to Paraguay|
November 30, 1977 –January 27, 1980
|Preceded by||George W. Landau|
|Succeeded by||Lyle Franklin Lane|
|United States Ambassador to El Salvador|
March 11, 1980 –February 1, 1981
|Preceded by||Frank J. Devine|
|Succeeded by||Deane R. Hinton|
|Born||September 21, 1926|
Melrose, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||January 14, 2015 88) (aged|
Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
|Nationality||United States of America|
|Alma mater||Saint Michael's College|
Robert Edward White (September 21, 1926 – January 14, 2015) was an American career diplomat who served as US Ambassador to Paraguay (1977–1980) and to El Salvador (1980–1981). He then became president of the Center for International Policy.
He was born in Melrose, Massachusetts.White served in the US Navy from 1944 to 1946, and after the war benefitted from the G.I. Bill. He graduated from Saint Michael's College in 1952, and after a Fulbright Scholarship graduated from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1954.
White died at a hospice on January 14, 2015, aged 88, due to bladder and prostate cancer.He was married to Mary-Anne White and had 5 children and 3 grandchildren.
Joining the United States Foreign Service in 1955, White served in a variety of positions at the State Department and in US delegations, primarily in Latin America. Postings included Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua. From 1968 to 1970 he served as Peace Corps deputy regional director and then regional director, for the Latin America region. From 1975 to 1977 he was Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States.In October 1977 he was nominated by President Jimmy Carter as US Ambassador to Paraguay.
On March 6, 2001, The New York Times reported the existence of a recently declassified 1978 cable from Robert White, at the time the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay.Professor J. Patrice McSherry of Long Island University described the discovery as "another piece of increasingly weighty evidence suggesting that U.S. military and intelligence officials supported and collaborated with Condor as a secret partner or sponsor".
In the cable, Ambassador White relates a conversation with General Alejandro Fretes Dávalos, chief of staff of Paraguay's armed forces, who told him that the South American intelligence chiefs involved in Condor "keep in touch with one another through a U.S. communications installation in the Panama Canal Zone which covers all of Latin America". This installation was "employed to co-ordinate intelligence information among the southern cone countries". White, whose message was sent to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, was concerned that the US connection to Condor might be revealed during the then ongoing investigation into the deaths of Orlando Letelier and his American colleague, Ronni Moffitt. "It would seem advisable", he suggests, "to review this arrangement to ensure that its continuation is in US interest".
In 1980–81, he was posted to El Salvador during the first years of that country's brutal 12-year civil war. He was harshly critical of the Salvadorian government and accused the military and paramilitaries (widely alleged to have close ties) of committing widespread atrocities against civilians, many of which were later factually confirmed. He once called prominent military figure Roberto D'Aubuisson a "pathological killer". D'Aubuisson was widely suspected of collaboration with death squad killings including the assassination of Archbishop Óscar Romero. He also accused José Napoleón Duarte, El Salvador's President from 1984 to 1989 of being a CIA asset.
He was dismissed by the new Reagan administration in 1981. He wrote of his ouster:
In 1981, as the ambassador to El Salvador, I refused a demand by the secretary of state, Alexander M. Haig Jr., that I use official channels to cover up the Salvadoran military's responsibility for the murders of four American churchwomen. I was fired and forced out of the Foreign Service.
After retiring from the Foreign Service in 1981, White served as a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was also Professor of International Relations at Simmons College in Boston,and an election observer in Haiti's 1987 general election. He was at one time President of the International Center for Development Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
In 1990, he joined the Center for International Policy as the Presidentand presided at conferences, led delegations to several Latin American and Caribbean countries and published numerous studies regarding U.S. policy towards the region. In 1999, he stated his criticism of U.S. policy:
In the name of anticommunism, U.S.-supported armies suppressed democracy, free speech, and human rights in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Torture and assassination of democratic leaders, including presidential candidates, journalists, priests and union officials became commonplace.
Additionally, White led an ongoing effort to reform U.S. intelligence agencies.
In the 1983 tv-movie dramatizing the murder of the four missionaries Choices of the Heart Ambassador White is portrayed by Mike Farrell.
In Oliver Stone's 1986 film dramatization of the Salvadoran Civil War, Salvador , the character "Ambassador Tom Kelly" (played by Michael Murphy) is based on Robert White. White appeared in the 62-minute retrospective documentary Into the Valley of Death, included on the 2001 DVD release of Salvador. Although he points out some of the fictional aspects of Salvador, White was complimentary of Stone's film overall, noting that it captured the pervading sense of doom that surrounded the real-life events. In the documentary, White also re-iterated his criticisms of the activities of US intelligence and the Reagan administration in El Salvador.
El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is a country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2021, the country had a population of approximately 6,825,935.
Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez was a prelate of the Catholic Church in El Salvador. He served as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of San Salvador, as bishop of Santiago de María, and finally as the fourth archbishop of San Salvador. As archbishop, Romero spoke out against social injustice and violence amid the escalating conflict between the military government and left-wing insurgents that led to the Salvadoran Civil War. In 1980, Romero was shot by an assassin while celebrating Mass. Though no one was ever convicted for the crime, investigations by the UN-created Truth Commission for El Salvador concluded that Major Roberto D'Aubuisson, founder of the right-wing ARENA political party, had ordered the killing.
Operation Condor was a United States-backed campaign of political repression and state terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents. It was officially and formally implemented in November 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America.
John Dimitri Negroponte is an American diplomat. He is currently a James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. He is a former J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of International Affairs at the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. Prior to this appointment, he served as a research fellow and lecturer in international affairs at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, United States Deputy Secretary of State (2007–2009), and the first ever Director of National Intelligence (2005–2007).
United States intervention in Chilean politics started during the War of Chilean Independence (1812-1826). The influence of the United States of America in both the economic and the political arenas of Chile has since gradually increased over the last two centuries, and continues to be significant.
The Nationalist Republican Alliance is a conservative, right-wing political party of El Salvador. It was founded on 30 September 1981 by retired Salvadoran Army Major Roberto D'Aubuisson. It defines itself as a political institution constituted to defend the democratic, republican, and representative system of government, the social market economy system and nationalism.
José Napoleón Duarte Fuentes was a Salvadoran politician who served as President of El Salvador from 1 June 1984 to 1 June 1989. He was mayor of San Salvador before running for president in 1972. He lost, but the election is widely viewed as fraudulent. Following a counter-coup in 1979, Duarte led the subsequent civil-military Junta from 1980 to 1982. He was then elected president in 1984, defeating ARENA party leader Roberto D'Aubuisson.
Roberto D'Aubuisson Arrieta was a far-right Salvadoran soldier, politician and death squad leader. In 1981, he co-founded and became the first leader of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) and served as President of El Salvador's Constituent Assembly from 1982 to 1983. He was a candidate for President in 1984, losing in the second round to former President of the Junta José Napoleón Duarte. After ARENA's loss in the 1985 legislative elections, he stepped down in favor of Alfredo Cristiani and was awarded the honorary post of party president for life. He was named by the UN-created Truth Commission for El Salvador as having ordered the assassination of then-Archbishop Óscar Romero in 1980.
The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, based in Washington, D.C., is a national activist organization with chapters in various cities in the United States. CISPES supports the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the progressive social movement in El Salvador.
The Revolutionary Government Junta was the name of three consecutive military dictatorships that ruled El Salvador between 15 October 1979 and 2 May 1982.
The National Reorganization Process was the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. In Argentina it is often known simply as última junta militar, última dictadura militar or última dictadura cívico-militar, because there have been several in the country's history.
The Salvadoran Civil War was a civil war in El Salvador which was fought between the military-led junta government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) from 15 October 1979 to 16 January 1992. A coup on October 15, 1979, was followed by killings of anti-coup protesters by the government and of anti-disorder protesters by the guerrillas, and is widely seen as the start of civil war.
The assassination of Orlando Letelier refers to the 21 September 1976 car bombing, in Washington, D.C., US of Orlando Letelier, a leading opponent of Chilean president Augusto Pinochet. Letelier, who was living in exile in the United States, was killed along with his work colleague Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who was in the car with her husband Michael. The assassination was carried out by agents of the Chilean secret police (DINA), and was one among many carried out as part of Operation Condor. Declassified U.S. intelligence documents confirm that Pinochet directly ordered the killing.
The Central American crisis began in the late 1970s, when major civil wars and communist revolutions erupted in various countries in Central America, causing it to become the world's most volatile region in terms of socioeconomic change. In particular, the United States feared that victories by communist forces would cause South America to become isolated from the United States if the governments of the Central American countries were overthrown and pro-Soviet communist governments were installed in their place. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, the United States often pursued its interests through puppet governments and the elite classes, whose members tended to ignore the demands of the peasant and working class.
Operation Charly, was allegedly the code-name given to a program undertaken by the military establishment in Argentina with the objective of providing military and counterinsurgency assistance to right-wing dictatorships in Central America to murder left-wing activists. The operation was either headed by the Argentine military with the agreement of the United States Department of Defense, or was led by the US and used the Argentinians as a proxy. Few of the Junta members are currently in prison for convicted for crimes against humanity.
Jon David Glassman is a former U.S. State Department official. He is best known for having authored the "White Paper" on Communist intervention in El Salvador published by the U.S. State Department in 1981. Glassman also served as Deputy National Security Advisor for former Vice President Dan Quayle.
On February 23, 1981, the U.S. State Department released a document titled "Communist Interference in El Salvador: Documents Demonstrating Communist Support of the Salvadoran Insurgency", also known as "the White Paper". The document was used as justification for U.S. intervention in Nicaragua. Critics charged that the technique deployed by the White Paper was to correlate events in El Salvador into alleged examples of Soviet and Cuban military involvement. The White Paper was claimed to be part of a propaganda effort to divert attention from U.S. support for a repressive regime by creating a false threat of communist insurgency.
The International Center for Development Policy (ICDP) was a non-profit public policy research and advocacy think tank with offices in Washington, D.C.. Its President in the early 1980s was Raul Manglapus, and subsequently Robert White, former US Ambassador to Paraguay and El Salvador.
The 1979 Salvadoran coup d’état was a military coup d'état that occurred in El Salvador on 15 October 1979. The coup, led by young military officers, bloodlessly overthrew military President Carlos Humberto Romero and sent him into exile. The National Conciliation Party's firm grasp on power was cut, and in its place, the military established the Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador (JRG). The junta was composed of two military officers and three civilians.
Death squads in El Salvador were right-wing paramilitary groups acting in opposition to Marxist-Leninist guerrilla forces, most notably of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, and their allies among the civilian population before, during, and after the Salvadoran Civil War. The paramilitaries committed the vast majority of murders and massacres during the civil war and were heavily aligned with the United States-backed government.
George W. Landau
| United States Ambassador to Paraguay |
30 November 1977–27 January 1980
Lyle Franklin Lane
Frank J. Devine
| United States Ambassador to El Salvador |
11 March 1980–1 February 1981
Deane R. Hinton