A State Department official disputes evidence in the Oliver North trial, saying the U.S. government backed away from a plan approved by President Reagan to give Honduras extra U.S. aid in return for supporting the Nicaraguan rebels.
The comments Tuesday by Michael G. Kozak to a House subcommittee came in response to disclosure of the plan at North's trial. The jury in the trial concluded its fourth day of deliberations Tuesday without a verdict.Reagan initialed a Feb. 19, 1985, memo prepared by North and introduced at his trial approving a plan to link more than $110 million in extra aid to Honduras' support for the Contra rebels. The maneuver was intended to get around a congressional ban on U.S. aid to the rebels at the time.
The month after Reagan approved the plan, then-Vice President George Bush visited Honduras and told President Robert Suazo Cordova that Reagan had directed expedited delivery of U.S. military items and other aid to the country, according to a 42-page admission introduced at North's trial. Honduras did receive the additional assistance and continued to support the Contras.
But Kozak, acting assistant secretary of state, maintains that the extra aid wasn't conditioned on Contra support.