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Edwin Corr Ambassador to El Salvador

During the Iran-Contra Affairs, Edwin Corr served as U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador. He was brought into contact with the Enterprise’s private aid network for the Contras because the network based some operations out of Ilopango, a few miles east of San Salvador.

When Salvadoran Air Force General Juan Bustillo and other Salvadoran officials grew concerned over the size of the Ilopango operation, Corr urged U.S. officials to reduce the size of the program there and to reduce their interference in humanitarian assistance. At the same time, the Enterprise’s Ilopango efforts were facing time and budgetary issues, so businessman Richard Secord sought a meeting as well. Corr told Congress in 1990 that at that meeting he neither met with North nor discussed Contra support specifically.

But questions were raised about Corr’s testimony when Army Colonel James Steele provided contradictory information. Moreover, Secord had told Congress in 1987 that he received “moral support” for his efforts to supply the Contras from Corr. In 1991, when Secord testified before a grand jury, he further claimed that he, North, and Steele had a meeting, which had been scheduled in advance, with Corr in his embassy office, the very meeting Corr had denied.

Corr continued to deny this meeting. Walsh spoke with Secord again, who maintained the truth of his testimony. Although North did not testify about the meeting with Corr on April 20, he wrote in his notebook the following day, “Mtg w/ Ed C.” Moreover, Corr deputy David Dlouhy testified before a grand jury that he had been in El Salvador that week and verified that a meeting among Corr, Secord, North, and Steele had taken place.

As Walsh was proposing an indictment, doubts were raised about the accuracy of the testimony against Corr. As the Independent Counsel wrote in his final report to Congress, “North's equivocation and a recent interview with Steele, who did not remember Dlouhy's presence, posed additional uncertainty.” Indeed, Dlouhy's passport and travel vouchers made it unlikely that he had actually been in San Salvador on April 20.

Given the multiple other trials and investigations taking place at that time, Walsh decided he could not afford to spend time and resources on Corr’s investigation after these doubts were raised. Since Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams had already pleaded guilty, it was unlikely that Corr’s account would be relevant to any other investigations beyond his own, which gave Walsh further reason to drop the case.