Langhorne Motley, Shaper of U.S. Latin Policy, Quits

Associated Press

Langhorne A. Motley, head of the State Department’s Latin America bureau and a key architect of U.S. policy in the region, resigned today after two years in that post, Secretary of State George P. Shultz announced.

Shultz said Elliott Abrams, who has served for the last 3 1/2 years as chief of the State Department’s human rights bureau, is being nominated to replace Motley, whom he called “a real scrapper.”

Motley, 47, who served as ambassador to Brazil before being named assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs in 1983, will return to the private sector, Shultz said.

He said Motley indicated several months ago a desire to leave the Administration but was prevailed on to delay his return to private life.


‘Go Make a Million’

With Motley standing at his side, Shultz said, “The President has come to admire him as I have as a real scrapper. We hope to get him back with us. Go make a million bucks and then come back with us.”

As assistant secretary, Motley has played a key role in shaping U.S. policy toward Central America and also was a main architect of the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada in 1983.

“No assistant secretary of state for Latin America can point to more accomplishments than those achieved by Tony,” Shultz said, adding, “He never gives up. He keeps coming back.”

The last several months have been particularly frustrating for Motley as he has attempted to persuade a reluctant Congress to resume military assistance to the resistance forces in Nicaragua.

That effort ended for the time being last week when the House killed the Administration’s $14-million request for assistance and rejected compromise proposals as well.

But the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada in October, 1983, occurring just a few months after Motley assumed his duties, is widely viewed as a success.

Abrams, 37, was appointed assistant secretary of state in the bureau of human rights and humanitarian affairs after initially joining the Administration as the assistant secretary for international organizations.


Previously, he worked for the late Sen. Henry M. (Scoop) Jackson (D-Wash.) and Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.).