E L   S A L V A D O R
El Salvador, 1977-1984
1 9 7 7 - 1 9 8 4

Thousands of once classified government documents provide the record to one of the most passionately debated yet inadequately comprehended subjects of the day--U.S. intelligence-gathering and policy-making activities in El Salvador over the past decade.

Now, for the first time, the National Security Archive and Chadwyck-Healey Inc. bring together the key documents, previously inaccessible to the public, in a new fully indexed publication: El Salvador: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1977-1984.

The National Security Archive, a non-profit research institute and library in Washington, D.C., has for several years been diligently locating, obtaining declassification of, organizing and indexing government documents on El Salvador needed by journalists, scholars, and policy planners.

Through systematic document searching, sophisticated use of the Freedom of Information Act, and computer-based cataloging, the Archive has developed an unmatchable collection of primary materials--comprehensive in scope, pioneering in organization.

Now, through a cooperative publishing program with Chadwyck-Healey, this resource, once available only to a handful of Washington insiders, becomes available, fully-indexed, to researchers everywhere.

First Publication

El Salvador: The Making of US. Policy, 1977-1984 reproduces on microfiche over 27,000 pages of rarely-seen government documents. In many cases, these materials have been gathered by the National Security Archive through its own--or other investigators'--Freedom of Information Act requests.

Comprehensive Coverage

Drawn from the files of more than a dozen top-level government agencies, the collection presents a uniquely integrated, comprehensive picture of America's political, economic, and military involvement through the Carter and Reagan Administrations.

The over 27,000 pages of documents include:

  • Cables
  • Statements
  • Briefing Papers
  • Letters
  • Press Briefings
  • Hearings
  • Memos
  • Internal Papers
  • Airgrams
  • Reports
  • Intelligence Reports
  • Presidential Findings

  • One-Stop Retrieval

    It would take an individual researcher years of work, along with an overwhelming financial commitment, to accumulate the resources offered in this collection. Here is a one-stop retrieval for information on events, issues, and players, American as well as Salvadoran, official as well as non-official, Left as well as Right.

    While the State Department is the largest single source of documentation, there is also important representation from:

    The White House
    National Security Council
    Central Intelligence Agency
    Defense Intelligence Agency
    Department of Defense
    Southern Command
    Department of Treasury
    Department of Justice
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Agency for International Development
    Peace Corps
    Congressional committees
    General Accounting Office

    Unprecedented Access Through In-depth Indexing

    More than simply a vast accumulation of government writings, the publication-- designed by indexing specialist David Bearman--offers researchers unprecedented access to specific information through in-depth, document-level indexing. Important transactions within each document are indexed individually. Prepared by the Archive staff, the hard-bound Index to names, organizations, and subjects is a major historical contribution in itself.

    Also provided are:

    Events chronology
    Glossaries of key individuals and organizations
    Chronological document bibliography
    Bibliography of relevant secondary sources

    These tools open additional paths of inquiry. Researchers will find the listings invaluable for follow-up interviews with relevant figures, or for efforts to reclaim government-excised references in declassified materials.

    Research Vistas

    With its depth of documentary detail and balance of perspectives, the collection enables researchers to explore afresh:

  • Backgrounds of individuals and organizations continuing to figure prominently in Central American affairs
  • The intricacies of U.S. involvement in Salvadoran agrarian reform programs and elections
  • Myriad interactions among American officials and Salvadoran leaders on human rights issues
  • Unique U.S. assistance provided El Salvador in investigations of the murders of American citizens
  • Continuities and changes in American strategy from the Carter to the Reagan Administration
  • Shifting U.S. assessments of Leftist guerrilla strength and objectives
  • The relationship between U.S. policy and the document declassification process itself.

  • The Collection Will Be A Necessity For:

  • Scholars of American government and international relations
  • Specialists in Latin American and Third World affairs
  • Librarians and bibliographers
  • Newspaper, television, radio reporters and commentators
  • Development aid specialists
  • Government consultants and policy makers on all levels
  • Concerned citizens

  • Sample Document Titles

    This is a sampling of the more than 5,000 documents included in El Salvador: The Making of U.S. Policy 1977-1984:

    El Salvador Editorial Board

  • Enrique Baloyra Associate Dean, Graduate School of International Studies University of Miami, Florida
  • William LeoGrande Associate Professor of Political Science School of Public Affairs The American University
  • Tommie Sue Montgomery Associate Professor of Latin American Studies Agnes Scott College
  • Lars Schoultz Professor of Political Science Director, Institute of Latin American Studies
  • Ricardo Stein Member, Sanford Commission Former Editorial Member, "El Processo" University of Central America, San Salvador
  • Janet DiVincenzo Project Coordinator National Security Archive
  • Robert Oram Project Analyst National Security Archive

  • Praise for El Salvador, 1977-1984

    "These extraordinary materials on U S. policymaking and the crisis in El Salvador represent an enormous scholarly resource that would not be available without the tremendous work of the National Security Archive. Students of foreign policy, Latin American studies, and American politics will gain real insights from this unique collection of documents."

    William LeoGrande
    Associate Professor of Political Science
    School of Public Affairs
    The American University

    "These documents provide unprecedented insight into the making of American foreign policy that only the Pentagon Papers have done before. They are a must for every journalist and academic who seeks to understand the inside story of foreign policy"

    Raymond Bonner,
    Former Correspondent in El Salvador,
    The New York Times

    Orders and Inquiries

    Return to National Security Archive Microfiche Sets.