In May 1985, the Reagan Administration declared a "National Emergency" in response to the "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States" posed by Nicaragua while also declaring a trade embargo against them:
-Arousing no ridicule. The administration claimed Nicaragua was serving as a Soviet "beachead."I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, find that the policies and actions of the Government of Nicaragua constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
-A Soviet beachead it was not. The Bureau of Intelligence and Research report prepared for the State Department concluded:The New York Times: REAGAN CONDEMNS NICARAGUA IN PLEA FOR AID TO REBELS
President Reagan, condemning Nicaragua as a ''cancer'' that poses a direct threat to the United States, said tonight that stopping Communism and international terrorism there would serve as a historic test of his Presidency. In a bluntly worded television speech that lasted about 20 minutes, Mr. Reagan called on the American people to demand that Congress endorse the Administration's $100 million aid package for the Nicaraguan rebels.
The alternative, he said, was to face a growing Soviet beachhead in Central and South America, increased terrorism in the region and a tide of ''desperate Latin peoples by the millions'' fleeing into the southern United States. ''For our own security, the United States must deny the Soviet Union a beachhead in North America,'' he said.
Peter Kornbluh, Senior Analyst of the National Security Archives observes:aid from Western Europe and UN agencies [to Nicaragua] has been even more substantial, and hence crucial. Furthermore, it must also be said that in the context of her overall aid to Third World nations, Moscow's commitment to Nicaragua is modest.
Continued..State Department officials sought to highlight the Nicaraguan- Soviet link by commissioning a study of Soviet influence in the Central American region.
The June 1984 Bureau of Intelligence and Research report, "Soviet Attitudes Towards, Aid to, and Contacts with Central American Revolutionaries," characterized Soviet military aid to the Sandinistas as "unobtrusive and sometimes ephemeral."
While the administration's White Papers hyped Nicaragua's acquisition of Soviet T-54 and T-55 tanks, the author of this report, Dr. Carl Jacobsen, called them "limited in quantity and outdated." By contrast, "the limited amounts of truly modern equipment acquired by the Sandinistas . . . came from Western Europe not the Eastern bloc."
The report concluded that "all too many US claims proved open to question" and that "the scope and nature of the Kremlin's intrusion are far short of justifying the President's exaggerated alarms."
After pressure was exerted on the author, University of Miami Sovietologist Carl Jacobsen, the language was changed to read "Soviet military aid to Nicaragua is unobtrusive and difficult to track."
One classified CIA assessment written after the Hind helicopters were delivered in November 1984 contradicted the administration's assertion that Nicaragua was building an offensive military force:
"Nicaragua's overall buildup is primarily defense- oriented, and much of the recent [Sandinista] effort has been devoted to improving counter insurgency capabilities."