Duke Considers Court Action Against Feds

The state is considering court action to prevent the Reagan administration from sending Massachusetts National Guardsmen to Central America.

Gov. Michael S. Dukakis said yesterday he met with state Attorney General James Shannon on the possibility of challenging a federal law that requires states to follow Pentagon orders about the deployment of National Guard units.

Until this week, Dukakis had said he would oppose the assignment of Massachusetts guardsmen to Central America. Dukakis argued that the assignment was part of the Reagan administration's overall policy of attempting to destabilize the Nicaraguan Sandinista government.

Dukakis, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president said federal law currently forces him to comply with the Pentagon order.

The order would affect only a relatively small public affairs unit of the state guard. The unit would go to Central America for training exercises.

Dukakis said he wouldn't make a decision on court action until he had been officially notified by the Pentagon. That notification is reportedly in the mail, but Dukakis said he had not received it as of yesterday evening.

The administration did receive a copy of the letter but it is not considered official.

In the letter, Lt. General Herbert R. Temple Jr. noted that federal law calls for withholding financial aid from the national guard of any state that fails to comply with orders.