The United States Continuing Munition Supply Relationship With Guatemala

NSIAD-86-31: Published: Jan 30, 1986. Publicly Released: Jan 30, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent and legality of the government's continuing military supply relationship with Guatemala.

GAO noted that: (1) the United States cut off U.S. arms sales to Guatemala between fiscal years (FY) 1978 and 1984 because the State Department cited the country for human rights violations; (2) any significant increases in military sales or assistance are linked to additional improvements in human rights; and (3) from 1978 through 1984, Guatemala obtained military and dual-use equipment through U.S. companies' commercial sales. GAO found that: (1) the State Department controls arms sales by requiring licenses for the export of munition items; (2) approvals for licensed munition items peaked in FY 1979 at 62 percent, but dropped to a low in FY 1982; (3) all exported items controlled by the Department of Commerce are contained in the Commodity Control List, which identifies items for export control for mutual security reasons; and (4) Commerce approved applications for exports to the Guatemalan military totalling $55 million and $61 million to nonmilitary government agencies from January 1978 to February 1985. GAO also found that: (1) there was an illegal transfer of 10 U.S. M-41 tanks from Belgium to Guatemala in 1982; (2) there was no record of a request to transfer any M-41 tanks to Guatemala; (3) no foreign military sales (FMS) or military assistance program financing had been approved for Guatemala from FY 1976 through 1985; and (4) a $10 million FMS credit request for 1986 has been appropriated, but the appropriation restricts the types of assistance and is subject to the election of a civilian government and progress in human rights conditions.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State has purchased a new $1.8 million automatic data processing system which will fulfill all the requirements of this recommendation. Application development of the software is in process. They are configuring the programs and rewriting their forms to fulfill their needs. This system will identify all intended destinations for equipment and technology.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that the department's information retrieval capabilities are such that all intended destinations can be easily identified.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The report was issued to Congress on January 13, 1986.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should take the steps necessary to issue the report to Congress as required under section 3 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

    Agency Affected: Department of State


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