Install failure: ./configure -> Cannot find ssl libraries

Just beginning to install nrpe on remote servers, all Linux rhel i386. Plungins compile great. But nrpe chokes at ./configure stage with “checking for SSL libraries… configure: error: Cannot find ssl libraries”. I’ve used the --without-ssl and --with-ssl-lib= but no help. I’ve installed openssl and openssl-devel rpm’s (though they were already there). Can’t find a solution in 2 days searching internet. Any ideas? Thanks!