I am writing as a conservative who nonetheless deplores our present foreign policy in Nicaragua. I wish to propose an approach that I think will increase the chance of achieving our aims in that country.
All policy must be based upon a clear understanding of objectives and an appropriate assignment of priorities. In this case our basic aims are two: First priority is preventing Nicaragua from playing a destabilizing role in Central America or elsewhere in the world, and second priority is fostering freedom in that troubled country.
To achieve the first priority aim, we should offer a bargain. We will withdraw all support from the contras, and refrain from any attempts to influence internal affairs in Nicaragua. Further, we would consider extending economic and technical aid. We would keep faith with the contras by offering to accept them (except for criminals) into the United States, or otherwise aid them in relocating. In exchange, Nicaragua would promise (1) to cut its armed forces to a size and complexion appropriate to the defense of the country, (2) to refrain from sending troops outside its own borders, (3) to avoid any actions tending to destabilize other countries, such as aid to the Salvadoran guerrillas, and (4) to allow no terrorists, or foreign military personnel or bases in their country.