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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 18, September 1997

US Defends New Latin America Arms Sales Policy

On 20 August, State Department spokesperson James Rubin defended the much-criticised decision of the Clinton Administration, announced on 1 August, to lift its ban on sales of advanced weapons to Latin America (see last issue). Rubin stressed that the blanket ban had not been replaced by a blank cheque:

"[Before, we] had a presumption against sales, and now we [will] treat them on a case-by-case basis. We will examine the specific needs of the nation requesting the weapons. If we get such requests, we'll examine a whole series of factors [including the] regional situation, the arms balance in the region, [and] the ratio in terms of countries' spending on military verses other activities. ...let's bear in mind that Latin America is now a continent, with the exception of Cuba, run by democracies. ... And so we're trying to update our position... we're [not] interested in flooding Latin America with American arms. ... We're interested in acting responsibly."

Report: US elaborates on arms sales policy to Latin America, United States Information Service, 20 August.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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