May 21, 1984. El Salvador President-elect José Napoléon Duarté conferred with President Reagan at the White House earlier this day. As he left, he told reporters the watchword of his administration, which was to begin in 11 days, was “Democracy embracing all the people”. After his Oval office meeting with President Reagan, Duarté went on to say he had the guts to “pull his country together”. Duarté claimed the he was working hard to stop the death squads and the institutional violence that had crippled El Salvador in recent years, but he said he needed U.S. help if Democracy was to survive. He was expected to take that message to Capitol Hill the following day where he was planning on lobbying for millions in new economic and military aid for his country. Supported by the Reagan Administration and the Central Intelligence Agency, his time in office occurred during the worst years of the Salvadoran Civil War which saw numerous abuses and massacres of the civilian population by Salvadoran security forces and the death squads linked to them.
Meanwhile, the Oil Minister of Kuwait, whose ships had been attacked by both Iran and Iraq, criticized the United States for not stepping in to stop the war. He said the Arab world was looking with “astonishment at the indifference of The United States toward the Iran-Iraq War”. Back home, Senator John Glenn gave a Democratic Platform hearing his views on U.S. intervention. He said the U.S. needed to exhaust all diplomatic channels before going into anything like an intervention and even then, only on invitation by the neighborhood nations in that area, and only if there was a multi-national force that saw it in their interest too. He did not think this was an area where the U.S. should take sole responsibility for keeping those shipping lanes open.
And that’s a little of what happened, this May 21, 1984 as reported by Richard C. Hottelet and CBS Radio News.