Dwight Ink of AID's Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean questions the accuracy of the Rev. Don Lewis' Op-Ed Page column "U.S. Military Assistance to El Salvador Negates Benefits of Economic Aid" (May 16) in a letter published May 30.
Ink states that "The United State's role in El Salvador has been extremely positive. A whopping three-fourths of all U.S. assistance to El Salvador is economic or humanitarian."
In reading some material based on reports from Ink's AID office I found information that contradicts both of his assertions.
In 1985 nearly 84% of U.S. aid was either military aid or direct transfers to the government with no way of ensuring that the money would be used for development purposes. In 1986 the corresponding figure was 78% (AID, Congressional presentation, FY 1987).
The same congressional presentation concluded that malnutrition in El Salvador is widespread, accompanied by a high death rate for children under 5, and that only a small percentage of total aid did go to benefit the Salvadoran people--7% went to agriculture, 4% to health and 4% to education.