ACCESSION NUMBER:384423 FILE ID:PO1405 DATE:03/23/95 TITLE:ADD STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT, THURSDAY, MARCH 23 (03/23/95) TEXT:*95032305.PO1 ADD STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT, THURSDAY, MARCH 23 (Guatemala) (640) There was no State Department news briefing, but acting spokesman David Johnson discussed the following topic with reporters: GUATEMALA WAS PRESSED TO INVESTIGATE BAMACA CASE COMPLETELY Johnson said the United States has pressed Guatemalan authorities for the past two years to investigate fully the case of Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, a guerrilla leader who was captured by the Guatemalan Army in 1992. He said the United States is convinced that Bamaca died during the first few weeks after his capture. "Our embassy in Guatemala and the State Department, in cooperation with other agencies of the United States government, have made vigorous efforts since the cases of Michael DeVine and Efrain Bamaca came to our attention to find out what happened and to have Guatemala conduct thorough investigations and prosecutions," Johnson said. DeVine, an American who ran a hotel in Guatemala, was killed in 1990, reportedly by the Guatemalan military. The acting spokesman's comments were prompted by questions stemming from a front-page New York Times article that asserted the Guatemalan military officer who ordered both killings had been a paid agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The Times article contained quotations from a letter to President Clinton from Representative Robert Torricelli, a New 1ersey Democrat, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Torricelli's letter claimed that the State Department and the National Security Council learned the facts months ago, but did not tell Bamaca's widow, Jennifer Harbury, an American lawyer who has undertaken a series of hunger strikes near the White House and in Guatemala in an effort to get information about her husband's disappearance. "In that regard, I will assure you that we acted immediately when we received new reports in January involving these two cases," Johnson told reporters. He said appropriate congressional committees were briefed on that information at that time by the CIA. "Our ambassador met with the Guatemalan president, the minister of defense and others, reiterating our insistence on a full investigation of the Bamaca case," the acting spokesman continued. "We also advised the U.N. Human Rights Verification Mission in Guatemala about our meetings with Guatemalan officials and requested that they intensify their investigation as well. We have kept Ms. Harbury apprised of these efforts." Beginning in March 1993 and continuing to the present, Johnson said, Harbury has had frequent meetings with State Department and National Security Council staff officials in Guatemala City and Washington. "While we did not provide Ms. Harbury with the specifics of the intelligence information available to us," the acting spokesman said, "we went to extraordinary lengths to provide her on several occasions with the conclusions that the intelligence community had drawn from that information." The New York Times said Torricelli identified the man behind the killings of Bamaca and DeVine as Colonel Julio Roberto Alpirez, a Guatemalan military intelligence officer. The congressman said in an interview with the Times that Alpirez was "a contract employee" of the CIA at the time of DeVine's murder in 1990, but said it was unclear whether he was still a paid agent at the time of Bamaca's death. "I don't have any information on that issue -- whether he was an employee of another agency of the United States government or what his role may have been," the acting spokesman told questioners. It is understood that the information the U.S. government received in January had to do with the potential connection between Colonel Alpirez and the CIA and his possible involvement in the death of Bamaca. Asked if the United States might take further action against Guatemala in connection with the two cases, the acting spokesman told reporters he didn't have anything to announce March 23. But, he said, "I wouldn't exclude some further changes in our relationship." NNNN .