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SALVADOR GUERRILLA ACTION FAILED, PEACE NEARER, U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS

SHARE SALVADOR GUERRILLA ACTION FAILED, PEACE NEARER, U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS

A senior American official said Tuesday the guerrilla offensive in El Salvador has failed totally in its objective to create a general uprising in the cities and, as a result, peace is nearer than before.

But the official, speaking to reporters on the basis of no further identification, said the crucial factor in the future of El Salvador is the government's ability to convince the United States it will conduct a full and fair investigation of the murder of six Jesuit priests last month. Without that, he said, U.S. confidence and support will be lost.The official said the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front apparently believed its own propaganda and expected an anti-government general uprising in El Salvador's cities leading to the overthrow of the Cristiani government.

When that failed, he said, the FMLN went into its second phase - "bringing the war home to the rich" - by taking over wealthy enclaves and passing out weapons to untrained teenagers, enlisting them as "militia."