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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Eisenhower Administration > Volume IV
Foreign Relations, 1952-1954, Volume IV, American Republics (Guatemala Compilation)
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 47-73

47. Memorandum of Discussion at the 199th Meeting of the National Security Council/1/

Washington, May 27, 1954

/1/Source: Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower Papers, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret; Eyes Only. This memorandum was drawn up by NSC Deputy Executive Secretary Gleason.

[Here follow a list of those present (22) and discussion of matters unrelated to Guatemala.]

3. U.S. Policy in the Event of Guatemalan Aggression in Latin America (NSC 5419/2/; NSC 144/1/3/)

/2/Document 46.

/3/NSC 144/ 1, "United States Objectives and Courses of Action With Respect to Latin America," dated Mar. 18, 1953; Foreign Relations, 1952-1954, vol. IV, p 6-10.

Mr. Cutler pointed out that the short Planning Board paper had been drawn up in the light of Articles 3 and 6 of the Rio Treaty. It has also taken into consideration the U.S. right of self-defense and the great desirability of collective action in dealing with the problem of Guatemala. He then turned to the Recommendations in the Planning Board paper, which he proceeded to read, together with the recommendation for revision submitted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff./4/ The proposals for revision of paragraph 5-b and paragraph 7 offered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff were agreed to by the Council, as was a suggestion for the revision of paragraph 8 offered by Mr. Cutler.

/4/The Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a memorandum to the Secretary of Defense dated May 26, 1954, stated that they assumed early action would be taken to convene the Organ of Consultation of the Organization of American States as one of the steps to be taken under the provisions of paragraph 7 of NSC 5419. They recommended that paragraph 5 of the draft statement be revised to indicate that "unilateral military action should be taken only as a last resort", and suggested that, for accuracy, "direct attack" be substituted for "aggression" in the title of NSC 5419. A copy of the May 26 memorandum is in JCS Files.

Thereafter, Mr. Cutler informed the Council of the decision made by the President on the previous Saturday,/5/ on means to prevent further shipment of arms to Guatemala. After reading a brief statement of the content of the President's decision, Mr. Cutler asked Secretary Dulles for his comments.

/5/May 22. See the Secretary's memorandum of conversation with the President, Document 41.

Secretary Dulles suggested one slight amendment in the Presidential statement, and said that he had little else to say except that the State Department has commenced its informal conversations with those countries which were likely to have vessels in the area near Guatemala. He predicted that these various countries would not accord formal recognition of our right to detain and search their vessels on the high seas, but that they would be willing to look the other way while we did this. Secretary Dulles also expressed the opinion that action taken thus far by the United States had probably scared away other vessels carrying arms to Guatemala. Accordingly, the immediate danger of shipments of arms to Guatemala had been allayed. The point that had been hard to get other people to appreciate was the relative magnitude of the first shipment of arms to Guatemala. While not in itself large, the shipment really had produced a serious shift in the balance of military power in Central America in favor of Guatemala.

Mr. Cutler then asked whether the arms which had arrived in the first shipment to Guatemala were being handed out to the strikers in Honduras. Secretary Dulles replied that part, at least, of these arms was apparently being set aside for subversive activity both in Honduras and Nicaragua.

Secretary Anderson/6/ referred briefly to the preparations by the Defense Department to evacuate American civilians from Honduras if this proved necessary.

/6/Robert B. Anderson, Acting Secretary of Defense.

Secretary Dulles then expressed very great concern about the Communist line being followed by Sydney Gruson in his dispatches to the New York Times. Gruson, thought Secretary Dulles, was a very dangerous character, and his reporting had done a great deal of harm. The President said that he often felt that the New York Times was the most untrustworthy newspaper in the United States, at least as far as the areas of the news with which he was personally familiar were concerned. Mr. Allen Dulles pointed out some very disturbing features of Sidney Gruson's career to date.

The Attorney General/7/ asked if it would not be a good idea for someone to talk informally to the management of the New York Times. Admiral Strauss/8/ them suggested that he would be glad to talk to Arthur Sulzberger/9/ if the President thought it a good idea. The President said he had no objection to Admiral Strauss' proposal, but he doubted if anything useful would come of the conversations.

/7/ Herbert Brownell, Jr.

/8/Lewis L. Strauss, Special Assistant to the President.

/9/Publisher of The New York Times.

Mr. Allen Dulles then pointed out that the forthcoming arms shipments to Guatemala might well come from other countries than those behind the Iron Curtain, and wondered whether the phrasing of the President's statement should be changed to recognize this fact and to take account of the importance of the use to which the arms were put rather than the place of origin of the shipment.

Secretary Dulles commented that of course the essence of the matter was not the place of origin but the fact of a hostile government in Guatemala. If this government succeeds in procuring arms next time from elsewhere than the Soviet bloc, we should, of course, do all we can to prevent the shipment from reaching its destination. The President's statement was amended to meet the point raised by Mr. Allen Dulles.

The Attorney General then made a brief comment as to the legality of the U.S. action proposed by the President, of stopping suspected vessels on the high seas. Such action was in general outside the limits of international law. There was, however, a well-established exception which permitted interference with vessels of another nation on the high seas if self-defense or self-preservation was clearly involved. It seemed to the Department of Justice, continued the Attorney General, that the facts of the case, as presented by Secretary Dulles in his recent press conference, fully supported an invocation of self-defense and self-preservation.

Secretary Dulles pointed out that Guatemala's military establishment was three times as large as the military establishments of all its neighbors put together. This completely denied Guatemala's allegation that the arms it had imported were for its own self-defense. The Attorney General agreed, but warned the Council to be prepared to see a division among the international lawyers on this question. He also expressed the opinion that no internal constitutional issue was raised by the Presidential action, and that there was no need to seek Congressional approval.

Governor Stassen/10/ said that the problem of Guatemala seemed to him to raise the question of revising the Monroe Doctrine to prevent shipment of arms to a government in this hemisphere which was dominated by a foreign ideology. Secretary Dulles replied that he thought something like this had been accomplished at the Caracas Conference. The present action against Guatemala was simply a detailed application of the general rule of preventing the extension of the Communist conspiracy to the Western Hemisphere. He added that the United States was preparing to take the Guatemalan problem into a meeting of the Organization of American States as a situation which called for action even beyond the terms of the Caracas anti-Communist resolution./11/ He said that he had had conversations with the Brazilian Ambassador, who had said that his country would not only go along with us, but would take the lead. This Secretary Dulles found very heartening, since we needed support from others than the Somozas in the Hemisphere.

/10/Harold E. Stassen, Director, Foreign Operations Administration.

/11/ Reference is to Resolution XCIII; see footnote 3, Document 21.

The President expressed the hope that we could secure the support of Uruguay as the outstanding democracy in South America. Secretary Dulles replied that the Brazilian Ambassador had suggested that one of the best ways of getting Uruguay to go along would be to propose holding the OAS meeting in Montevideo. He predicted it would be hard to gain the support of Uruguay, but thought that this suggestion might help. Mexico also would prove difficult.

With regard to the problem of military assistance to the Latin American republics, the President said he hoped that we would not forget that we could not strengthen the military position of tiny countries like Honduras by merely dumping modern arms into them. We should supplement this action by seeing to it that the armies of these countries were taught the effective use of the armament we provided. He thought this problem ought to be surveyed as a long-range affair.

Governor Stassen inquired as to whether thought should be given to canceling the very small amount of Technical Aid which the United States was still providing Guatemala.

The National Security Council:/12/

/12/Subparagraphs a-d constitute NSC Action No. 1135.

a. Discussed the reference report on the subject (NSC 5419) in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff presented orally at the meeting.

b. Adopted the Recommendations contained in paragraphs 5-9 of NSC 5419, subject to the following changes:

Paragraph 5-a, 3rd line: Change "paragraph 2" to read "paragraph 1".

Paragraph 5-b, 5th line: Add, after "to the extent feasible", the words "and unilaterally only as a last resort,".

(3) Paragraph 7, 1st line: Insert "political" between "practicable" and "steps".

(4) Paragraph 8: Revise to read as follows: "8. Appropriate Congressional leaders should be immediately informed of the above policy."

c. Noted that the President, in order to protect the security of the United States and specifically to defend the Panama Canal, had authorized the Navy to halt on the high seas off the Guatemalan coast vessels, including foreign-flag vessels, suspected of carrying munitions of war destined for Guatemala, in order to inspect their cargoes, and if such inspection is refused, to escort such vessels by force, if necessary, to Panama for inspection; such action to be taken, where time permits: (1) after notice to the country of registry of any such vessel in order to obtain. if possible, such country's consent to such inspection and (2) after notice to the Organization of American States and, if possible, with the approval of such Organization.

d. Noted the President's reference to United States policy as to training the military establishments of Latin American nations, provided in NSC 144f1, paragraph 18-b.

Note: The Recommendations referred to in b above, as approved by the President,/13/ and the actions in c and d above subsequently referred to the Operations Coordinating Board as the coordinating agency designated by the President, and circulated as NSC 5419/1.

/13/ President Eisenhower approved the recommendations contained in paragraphs 5-9 of NSC 5419, as amended and adopted by the NSC, on May 28, 1954.


48. Statement of Policy by the National Security Council/1/

NSC 5419/1

Washington, May 28, 1954.

/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/P-NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, NSC 5419/1 Series. Top Secret. NSC Executive Secretary Lay, under a covering note dated May 28, 1954, not printed, transmitted the recommendations of NSC 5419 (paragraphs 5 to 9), adopted by the NSC subject to the changes set forth in NSC Action No. 1135-b, to the NSC as NSC 5419/1. Mr. Lay informed the NSC of the President's authorization to the Navy to halt Guatemalan coastal vessels, including foreign-flag vessels suspected of carrying munitions of war, for cargo inspection, and also the President's reference to NSC 144/1, paragraph 18-b regarding U.S. policy on training the military establishments of Latin American nations. President Eisenhower approved the recommendations in NSC 5419/1 on May 28, 1954, directed their implementation by all appropriate executive departments and agencies, and designated the OCB as the coordinating agency.



l. If the government of any member of the Organization of American States should, under Article 3, paragraph 2 of the Rio Treaty, request the assistance of the United States to meet an armed attack by Guatemala, and if the President should be satisfied that such an attack has occurred, it is recommended that the President:

a. Determine that such Guatemalan armed attack is considered by the United States as an armed attack against all American states under Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Rio Treaty,/*/ and constitutes an imminent threat to the security of the United States.

/*/For text of pertinent articles of the Rio Treaty, see Appendix. [footnote in the source text; appendix not printed.]

b. Direct that under Article 3, paragraph 2 of the Rio Treaty and to protect the security of the United States, the armed forces of the United States, in collaboration with the armed forces of other members of the Organization of American States to the extent feasible, and unilaterally only as a last resort, take military action to the extent necessary to counter-act the attack and eliminate the danger to the state attacked.

2. The United States should encourage any member of the Organization of American States which requests the United States to come to its assistance, also to request such action by other members of the Organization of American States pending a decision by the Organ of Consultation./2/

/2/On Sept. 3, 1954, NSC Acting Executive Secretary Gleason, in a memorandum to the NSC, not printed, stated that the Council at its 212th meeting on Sept. 2, 1954, in connection with action on NSC 5432, agreed that the statement of policy in NSC 5419/1 "should be terminated as no longer applicable." (NSC Action No. 1209) President Eisenhower approved the action of the Council on Sept. 3, thereby terminating NSC 5419/1. Mr. Gleason informed the Council that "policy relating to action against anti-U.S. subversion or intervention in Latin America and to the application of sanctions, including military action, in the event of threatened or actual domination of a Latin American state by Communism" was contained in paragraph 6 of NSC 5432/1 (see Foreign Relations, 1951-1954, vol. IV, p. 83).

3. The United States should take all practicable political steps to ensure that the other members of Organization of American States are prepared for collective action under the Rio Treaty to assist any member of Organization of American States threatened by aggression or internal subversion inspired by Guatemala.

4. Appropriate congressional leaders should be immediately informed of the above policy.

5. The timing of public disclosure of the above policy should be determined by the Secretary of State.


49. Circular Telegram From the Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices/1/

Washington, May 28, 1954, 9:04 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 414.608/5-2854. Secret. Drafted by John C. Hill, Jr. of the Office of Middle American Affairs. Sent to the Embassies in Stockholm, Paris, Brussels, Lisbon, Rome, The Hague, Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Athens, London, and Madrid; sent also to HICOG in Bonn; repeated for information to the Embassies in Bern and Guatemala City, USUN in New York, and USPOLAD in Trieste.

In circular telegram 443, dated May 29, 1954, sent to all diplomatic posts in the American Republics, except Guatemala, and repeated for information to the Embassies in Guatemala City, London, Paris, Rome, Bonn, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Bern. Vienna, Madrid, and Athens, and to USUN in New York, the Department augmented this telegram with additional details concerning arms shipments to Guatemala, particularly the so-called "Alfhem case." (Ibid., 414.608/5-2954)

440. Department requests you inform government to which accredited at high level of serious concern this Government with regard to use of ships of friendly powers to transport arms to Guatemala, whose Communist-oriented government poses increasing threat in vital Central American area.

For your information only this Government is determined prevent further substantial arms shipments from reaching Guatemala, but first seeking cooperation of other governments which it urgently desires you obtain.

You may exercise your judgment how this matter is taken up. Following argument presented for your guidance:

1. A Soviet thrust into Western Hemisphere by establishing and maintaining Communist-controlled state between U.S. and Canal Zone would represent serious set-back to free world. It would represent challenge to Hemisphere security and peace as Guatemala has become increasingly instrument of Soviet aggression in this hemisphere. Its President (Arbenz) has publicly expressed his backing of Communists saying that to isolate them would be equivalent to suicide of revolutionary movement he heads. Communists have infiltrated government and now control its agrarian reform, labor, social security, informational and educational policies. Police and Army are either subservient or passive toward Government's pro-Communist policies. Sole national labor federation, affiliated with WFTU, is Communist controlled. All political parties supporting Administration, controlling 51 of 56 seats in Congress, are bound together in Communist controlled "National Democratic Front". In its foreign relations, Guatemala has become spokesman for Soviet policy for Western Hemisphere and menace to stability of strategic Central American and Caribbean area.

2. U.S. Government has for some time pursued policies designed to reduce this threat. It obtained at Caracas OAS Conference anti-international Communist resolution under which action can be taken against the domination or control of an American state by international Communism. Guatemala was only American country to vote against it. U.S. has for several years progressively denied export licenses for arms to Guatemala to prevent build up of its military potential which is already predominant in area. This predominance now greatly increased by recent arrival 2,000 ton shipment of armaments from behind iron curtain. Leading Western European Governments last month agreed to refuse export of arms shipments from their territories to Guatemala. You should cite any specific assurance you have on this point.

3. It has now been established that these controls are insufficient and it will be necessary to supplement control program by preventing use of ships of free world to transport arms to Guatemala. Arrival Swedish ship Alfhem in Guatemala on May 15 with some 2,000 tons arms loaded at Stettin April 18 illustrates capacity international Communist movement to vitiate cooperative efforts of free world by simply loading up entire ship at Communist-controlled port for clandestine delivery. Market value these arms, if only light weapons and munitions are involved, has been estimated at $10 million by our military authorities and considerably higher if tanks and planes are involved. This is large sum for nation whose annual military budget is less than $7 million and suggests Soviet's long term purposes in arming Communist power in Central America. Department now has information two more ships, which may carry flags of one or more of countries to which you accredited, are on their way to Guatemala with arms from Soviet orbit.

4. Arrival these ships or others carrying more arms for Guatemala would further augment Guatemala's preponderant military position in area. Guatemalan military and police forces, totaling 9,000 already overshadow combined forces of Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, numbering about 7,000.

5. This Government is anxious for cooperation of free governments in all possible measures to prevent use their flag ships in future arms traffic to Guatemala; for controls to be instituted to identify and report possible arms shipments for Guatemala on national ships; and for measures to be taken by governments themselves to divert or otherwise prevent delivery such shipments.

6. Guatemalan Government has forced strong measures by its flagrant abuse of system of international trade under which ships move freely and without hindrance because of presumed reliability of ships' documents. In connivance with Soviet orbit suppliers of the arms, it resorted to false documents misrepresenting nature and destination of cargo, false statements as to ships destination and a Swedish charterer who made public statement misrepresenting nature cargo. These tactics make it impossible rely on conventional means for determining contents ship destined to Guatemala and, in cases where suspicious circumstances exist, force actual inspection. Moreover tactics used by Guatemala in this case prejudice best interests all nations engaged in maritime commerce and would justify their filing vigorous protest with Guatemala against such abuses.

7. This Government would welcome cooperation Western maritime nations to end that if U.S. Naval patrols in Caribbean or Pacific approaches to Guatemala have reason suspect that ship approaching Guatemala carries arms and U.S. does not have time notify flag government, they detain it while U.S. Government clarifies its status and cargo with flag government.

You should attempt to obtain explicit consent of government to which you accredited to measures outlined preceding paragraph; otherwise indication of its tacit approval and willingness not to make formal protest if we do take such measures./2/

/2/In a memorandum to Assistant Secretary Holland, dated June 3, 1954, Mr. Leddy and Mr. Hill stated that of the six countries (United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the German Federal Republic) whose governments had indicated their position in response to circular telegram 440, "none have explicitly agreed to our detention of their ships but none have objected," and that one other country (Finland) had requested use of a modified approach "limited to an expression of serious concern about the use of ships of friendly powers to transmit arms to Guatemala." (Ibid., 414.608/6-354)

Embassy London: This matter is being taken up with British Ambassador here and therefore you should not initiate discussions there.



50. Memorandum by Louis J. Halle, Jr. of the Policy Planning Staff to the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Bowie)/1/

Washington, May 28, 1954.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, PPS Files: Lot 65 D 101, "Guatemala". Top Secret. In a brief covering memorandum, Mr. Halle noted that the drafting of this memorandum began on the afternoon of May 27.


Major decisions affecting our Latin American policy are being made in an atmosphere of urgency generated by (a) the outbreak of a strike among United Fruit Company and Standard Fruit Company workers in Honduras, and (b) the delivery at a Guatemalan port of a cargo of arms from behind the Iron Curtain. The consequent haste in decision involves certain dangers which are already being realized and may be realized further in the absence of precaution:

(a) There is no time for preliminary staff-work to provide an adequate basis of information and thought;

(b) The concentration on what appears to be a local emergency may result in inadequate attention to larger considerations that are not local or short-range;

(c) The atmosphere of emergency breeds a disposition to exaggerate dangers, and this disposition is strengthened by the necessity of "making a case" in order to get effective action.

The purpose of this memorandum is to put into your hands (a) such intelligence with respect to the Guatemalan situation as can be assembled at short notice, (b) a brief account of the historic inter-American context in which the situation arises, including the complex of international commitments within the terms of which it has been our policy and pledge to act; and (c) opinion on the consequences of alternative policies.

1. The Guatemalan Situation

[Here follows a description of the Guatemalan economy.]

This typical underdeveloped country is now undergoing the social revolution that typifies underdeveloped countries generally in our time. That revolution is an expression of the impulse to achieve equality of status (a) for individuals and groups within the national society, and (b) for the nation-state within the international community. Social reform and nationalism are its two principal manifestations.

We see the same revolution at various stages of development in Asia and Africa. On our own side of the globe it has taken various acute forms in Argentina, Bolivia, and Mexico-less acute forms elsewhere. It has hardly manifested itself at all, as yet, in Honduras (before May 1), Paraguay, or Haiti.

In Guatemala historic conditions provide substantial fuel to fire the revolution. Foreign ownership of the elements of Guatemala's economic life, together with the pattern of its international trade, gives the Guatemalans a vivid and unwelcome sense of dependence on foreigners. This is not too galling with respect to foreign ownership of coffee plantations, for the owners are scattered individuals of various nationalities who lack collective means of exercising control over the country's economic and social life. The case is different with the utilities, the vital transportation and communication facilities, and the banana empire of the United Fruit Company (which is a monopoly). U.S. ownership is overwhelmingly predominant here.

Up to twenty years ago the United Fruit Company and the International Railways of Central America (now controlled by United Fruit) still practiced marked discrimination against native employees in favor of U.S. employees. Today the Fruit Company is, as it was becoming then, an agent of social betterment; but its past is not forgotten and what really counts is that, whether beneficent or maleficent in its practices, it remains the expression of Guatemala's economic colonialism.

The international Communist movement is certainly not the cause of the social revolution in Guatemala, but it has made the same effort there that it has made everywhere else to harness the revolutionary impulses-nationalism and social reform alike-and exploit them for its own purposes. In Guatemala this effort has been less successful than in Vietnam and perhaps no more successful than it was in Mexico twenty years ago under the regime of Lázaro Cárdenas. It has, however, been impressive in its success, all the circumstances considered. It has achieved a high degree of covert control over the reformist regime of President Arbenz and is dominant in the national labor movement.

The revolution in Guatemala is nationalist and anti-Yanqui in its own right. It is, in its own right, a movement for "social justice" and reform. If the international Communist movement had gained no foothold at all in Guatemala one might expect that the United Fruit Company, the Railways, and the Electric Power Company of Guatemala City would still be the victims of persecution in Guatemala, and that the U.S. would thereby be presented with diplomatic problems of a serious nature. All this is merely aggravated by the participation of Communism, which supplies a leadership and a body of tactical doctrine beyond the capacity of native resources alone.

More serious in its implications is the use that the international Communist movement might make (or be making) of Guatemala as a base from which to operate against the political and social structures of other Latin American states, and from which to organize sabotage of physical installations that contribute to the defense of the Hemisphere. It is the projection of the Communist will from Guatemala across its borders that properly gives us the chief cause for concern.

I attach Intelligence Report No. 6185 of April 30, 1953, on "Guatemalan Support of Subversion and Communist Objectives (1950-1953)"./2/ The intelligence that it contains is of activities that do not appear to differ substantially from the normal operations of the Balkan-type intrigue that goes on all the time, and has for decades past, among the Central American states. It is quite normal for Central American political parties and governments to conspire covertly against one another across the international borders. To a Central American politician the obstruction of an international boundary is merely like the net in tennis: it makes the game more sporting. This kind of conspiracy is the expression, in fact of what appears to us sober Norteamericanos to be a frivolous temperamental necessity. One expects it, and the Intelligence Report confirms it. The participation of Communism, however, gives it a sinister character that it would not otherwise have.

/2/Not printed. (Department of State, PPS Files: Lot 65 D 101, "Guatemala")

It is against this background that one must view the two events which, in this month of May, have aroused our alarm.

1. The first was the initial conspicuous manifestation of social revolution in the hitherto stagnant Republic of Honduras, bordering on Guatemala, in the form of a strike that paralyzed the operations of the United Fruit Company and the Standard Fruit Company. That conditions in Guatemala influenced this development is virtually to be assumed. The plantations owned or serviced by the United Fruit Company on the Gulf of Honduras are scattered on both sides of the boundary between the two republics, which boundary would not be apparent to an airplane flying overhead. Until a few years ago, in fact, the location of the boundary was a matter of opinion, since it had not been demarcated and was in controversy. The local farmers were unsure of their own nationality, gratified the tax-collectors of both countries, and had resigned themselves to being policed alternately by patrols of the two respective armed forces (which had the salutary habit of fleeing from each other at sight).

With social warfare, marked by repeated strikes, being waged in the banana plantations on one side of the border, one might expect and even assume that the fever would sooner or later communicate itself to the plantations on the other side of the border. There are no automobile roads or railways that traverse this border, but mules and men go back and forth without hardship. It would be surprising, moreover, if the Communist-controlled labor-union harassing the United Fruit Company on the Guatemalan side denied itself any reasonable opportunity to promote the harassment of the United Fruit Company on the Honduran side. Finally-if only because intrigue is the Staff of Life for Central American politicians-one would expect individual Guatemalan officials or even the Guatemalan Government itself to become involved here or there, in greater degree or less.

The reasonable suspicion of some Guatemalan complicity in the Honduran strike, however, has not been supported as yet by any evidence in the form of hard facts. Our efforts to discover such facts have led us floundering through rumours and reports for which we could get no substantiation. Our main sources of information have been . . . which has proved itself neither reliable nor altogether disinterested, and . . . which is not disinterested and has been confused or confusing on some points.

Our Embassy in Tegucigalpa (Honduras) manifested alarm, almost from the beginning of the strike, at the prospect it conceived of an armed attack by Guatemala on Honduras. Specifically, the Embassy saw in the dispatch of Honduran troops from the garrisons of Tegucigalpa to the strike-bound area, where they were needed to keep order, an invitation to the Guatemalan Army to march on Tegucigalpa. Our Ambassador/3/ had just arrived in Honduras and presumably relied largely on his experience in strife-torn China, which was I believe the only foreign experience he had had. His able deputy/4/ was also just off the `plane, having come from Djakarta. (Old Vice Admiral Johnson used to criticize the Department for this sort of thing, pointing out that the Navy never changed both the Captain and the Executive Officer of a battleship at the same time.)

/3/Whiting Willauer. He was appointed Ambassador to Honduras on Feb. 5. 1954; he arrived in Tegucigalpa and presented his credentials on Mar. 5.

/4/Wymberley DeR. Coerr.

It was at this point that the intelligence services and experienced officers in the Department could have made a useful contribution in "staffing" the situation. Events moved with such speed and drive, however, that subordinate officers who were caught up in them felt that it was "theirs not to reason why. . . ." Otherwise they might have pointed out that the deterrent to armed attack within Latin America is not in any balance of military powers but in Article 3 of the Rio Treaty, which obligates the U.S. to stop any such attack. This, and not the local garrison, was the shield that defended Tegucigalpa; it virtually insured that no armed attack would be launched.

The unfounded alarm, however, created an atmosphere of emergency in our Government and, communicated to the President and the NSC, led to immediate preparations for meeting a Guatemalan armed attack with U.S. military force.

2. It was in the exhilarating atmosphere thus created that news of the second event was received in the Department. This was the arrival at a Guatemalan port of a Swedish steamer with 1900 or 2000 tons of arms from behind the Iron Curtain for delivery to the Guatemalan Government. What the nature of these arms were we did not know then, nor do we now; although it is evident that any elaborate armed equipment would be useless to the Guatemalans in the absence of special training in its use.

At this point we needed, as we still need, an assessment by military intelligence and OIR of the nature and magnitude of the danger to our security interests that this represented. I have asked OIR/DRA to gather some material on this jointly with G-2. Meanwhile, we should bear in mind that the Guatemalan Army has all along had the capability, in our opinion, of whipping the Honduran Army or even the Honduran, Salvadoran, and Nicaraguan Armies together in any trial of relative strength. This estimate has mere academic significance, for the most part, because of the Rio Treaty.

At a moment, however, when we were preparing for a Guatemalan armed attack on Honduras the news that these arms had been delivered naturally took on added significance. The Department issued a statement/5/ "that this is a development of gravity". The President announced that it was "disturbing". The Secretary at his press conference/6/ said that it made Guatemala dominant in Central America. The newspapers carried headlines such as: "Dulles Sees Peril to Panama Canal" (N.Y. Times).

/5/Press release 260, dated May 27, 1954; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, May 31, 1954, p. 835.

/6/Presumably the Secretary's press conference held on May 25, 1954; for text of the Secretary's remarks, see ibid., June 7, 1954, pp. 873-874.

At the same time, unconfirmed reports of rumors reached us of two other shiploads of arms from behind the Iron Curtain, perhaps already on the way. We were told that one such shipload might be waiting offshore to move into the dock when the Swedish ship left.

We moved swiftly to prevent the unloading of the Swedish ship, but were unsuccessful. We also took a decision to prevent any further such shipments, even if this should necessitate our use of force on the high seas against friendly foreign flag vessels in violation of international law. In a memorandum of May 20 to Assistant Secretary Holland (copy attached)/7/ the Acting Legal Adviser/8/ stated: ". . . if the United States were to intercept and escort by force any ships in Guatemalan territorial waters or on the high seas to an American port, there would be no legal justification for such action either under the Rio Treaty or under the United Nations Charter. Such action would constitute a violation of international law, and could be considered an act of war by the countries whose ships were intercepted, and by Guatemala (at least if the interception occurred in that country's territorial waters)." Nevertheless, on May 22, the following decision was made (quoted from S/S-R's Top Secret Summary of Decisions/9/ of May 25):

/7/Not printed as an attachment; a copy of the memorandum is also in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.00/5-2754.

/8/Benedict M. English.

/9/File of summary of major decisions made by the Secretary of State and the Under Secretaries of State for the period 1954-1955, as retired by the Executive Secretariat, Lot 61 D 258.

"Foreign Ships Transporting Arms to Guatemal--The Secretary recommended to the President, and obtained Presidential approval, of the following policy with respect to any vessel on the high seas sighted by the US Navy and suspected of transporting arms to Guatemala; 1) if time permits, we shall attempt to persuade the ship's Flag State to divert it to Panama for inspection; 2) if time does not permit the preceding step, our Navy shall detain the ship while we attempt to persuade its Flag State to divert it to Panama for inspection; 3) if neither of the preceding steps is successful, our Navy should, using force as a last resort, escort the ship to Panama for inspection."

Even in the absence of relevant intelligence materials one may offer certain conclusions regarding the effect of this shipment on our national security interests:

(a) We have been withholding military equipment from Guatemala and have been concluding military agreements with Guatemala's neighbors that would call for supplying them with such equipment. This policy was calculated to create dissatisfaction in the Guatemalan Army with the pro-Communist orientation of the Guatemalan Government. The acquisition of arms from behind the Iron Curtain is calculated to neutralize our policy in this respect if those arms are put into the hands of the Guatemalan Army.

(b) If some of the arms are, alternatively, smuggled to dissident groups in neighboring countries they might play a decisive role in any attempt to overthrow the governments of those countries or disrupt civil order. (I have asked OIR/DRA to get together with G-2 for an estimate of (i) the possibilities of successful smuggling, (ii) the precautions against it that may be feasible, and (iii) the amount of smuggling that might have how much effect, etc. )

(c) The fact that Guatemala can and does buy arms from behind the Iron Curtain in defiance or contempt of the U.S. may hurt our prestige in the Hemisphere and elsewhere. It also sets a bad example inside the Hemisphere, suggesting alternatives to dependence on the U.S.

(d) The shipment has a favorable effect on U.S. security interests to the extent that it arouses other Latin American states to the danger posed by Communist influence in Guatemala.

Since the above was written I have received a one-page memorandum prepared in OIR/DRA, which I attach/10/ and from which I draw the following. In reply to the question, "What is potential of shipment with respect to subversion outside Guatemala? Possibilities of smuggling, etc.," G-2 has replied:

/10/Not printed.

At present G-2 feels that the effect would be largely psychological. G-2 doubts that the Guatemalan Government will dispose of any of the arms now. They may do so later when they feel more secure.

In reply to other questions it has offered the following:

G-2 and air force intelligence are of the opinion that there is no immediate military threat to the safety of US. Guatemala's air force is at present qualitatively inferior to that of Honduras and Nicaragua.

Later, May 28, REW, G-2, called me and informally stated that because of training and technical factors materiel received would not substantially increase Guatemala's military capabilities.

At the same time that we have (a) prepared to meet an armed attack by Guatemala on Honduras, and (b) issued orders to our naval forces to prevent the arrival in Guatemala of any further shipments of arms, we have taken other steps designed to elicit the concurrence of other American states in the actions we are taking, may take, or may wish to take. Our embassies have discreetly inquired of the governments of the other Central American states, Mexico, and Panama whether they would request action by us to prevent further shipments. Favorable replies have been received from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. We have also been sounding out other American governments to determine the degree of support which might be forthcoming for a proposal that collective action on the arms shipment be taken under Article 6 of the Rio Treaty, which would require an immediate Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the American Republics (the "Organ of Consultation"). The Chronology of Events attached to this memorandum lists these actions./11/

/11/The referenced chronology is not printed as an attachment.

II. The Context of Inter-American Agreements

[Here follows extensive discussion of the historical background of the inter-American policy and commitments of the United States.]

III. Policy Alternatives

Our main policy alternatives with respect to the Guatemalan situation, in the light of the above, are:

(1) To invoke Article 6 of the Rio Treaty now and seek to carry the matter through by obtaining at least 14 Latin American votes (out of 19) for effective action by the U.S. and others to (a) do away with the covert Soviet political aggression in Guatemala, or (b) remedy whatever the situation is that constitutes a threat to the peace of America;

(2) Determining that collective action won't work and that the national safety requires us to take decisive measures now, to conclude that the corollary to a failure of collective responsibility is a return to unilateral intervention and to act accordingly;

(3) Determining that an attempt to get collective action now is too risky and that there is no imminent danger to our national safety, to adopt a policy of watchful waiting in the expectation that if the situation gets worse the chances of getting effective collective action will thereby be increased.

The key to a wise choice among these broad alternatives lies in the answer to two questions: (1) What is the magnitude and imminence of any danger that the present situation holds for us? and (2) How much support for collective action can we expect from the rest of the inter-American community?

(1) As to the first question, the evidence indicates no present military danger to us at all. Although we read public references to the facts that Guatemala is three hours' flying time from the oil-fields of Texas and two hours' flying time from the Panama Canal, we may console ourselves that Guatemala's capability for bombing either is nil. The recent shipment of arms makes no difference to this conclusion, nor would repeated shipments.

Guatemala, moreover, may confidently be expected not to launch an armed attack in the direction of the Panama Canal or in any other direction, since under Article 3 that would at one stroke remove the legal and political impediments which now prevent us from dealing decisively with the situation. If Guatemalan military units on the Honduran border should go berserk and make a dash for Tegucigalpa our policy problem would be solved without military danger to ourselves, and the consequence would be the elimination of any military threat that Guatemala may now offer her neighbors.

The real and direct threat that Guatemala poses for her neighbors is that of political subversion through the kind of across-the-borders intrigue that is a normal feature of the Central American scene. The danger is of Communist contagion and is most immediate with respect to Guatemala's immediate neighbors. The Communist infection is not going to spread to the U.S. but if it should in the fullness of time spread over much of Latin America it would impair the military security of the Hemisphere and thus of the U.S.

The infection could spread by intrigue supplemented by the smuggling of arms-although I note from the attached memorandum that G-2 expects the newly acquired arms to remain in Guatemala for the present. It could also spread through the example of independence of the U.S. that Guatemala might offer to nationalists throughout Latin America. It might spread through the example of nationalism and social reform. Finally and above all, it might spread through the disposition the Latin Americans would have to identify themselves with little Guatemala if the issue should be drawn for them (as it is being drawn for them), not as that of their own security but as a contest between David Guatemala and Uncle Sam Goliath. This latter, I think, is the danger we have most to fear and to guard against.

(2) How much support for collective action can we expect from the rest of the inter-American community? I have asked OIR for an estimate and it is being prepared. Meanwhile, I call your attention to the attached OIR/DRA memorandum of this date entitled "The Caracas Resolution on Communist Intervention in the Hemisphere"./12/

/12/Reference is to Resolution XCIII, adopted by the Tenth Inter-American Conference; see footnote 3, Document 21. The memorandum is not printed.

The nationalistic and reformist elements in the Guatemalan situation have hitherto loomed larger for the Latin Americans than the element of international Communism. They believe that we exaggerate the latter for our own purposes, and this belief is not weakened when we meet it with redoubled protestations. The United Fruit Company is a symbol of colonialism in their eyes which they equate with other like enterprises within their own respective jurisdictions. Under the circumstances, the more we have viewed the Guatemalan situation with alarm the more they have tended to view it with complacency. (There is a parallel, here, in the respective attitudes of the U.S. and India towards Indochina.) The same thing happened in the case of the U.S. vs. Argentina. The disposition develops among the Latin Americans to look upon the whole business as a David-Goliath contest in which they identify themselves naturally with David. (See attached OIR memorandum of this date/13/ on the growth of Societies of the Friends of Guatemala.)

/13/Not attached to source text.

These inclinations of the Latin Americans are in part masked when it comes to a conference like that of Caracas, since we are able to put considerable indirect pressure upon them to get their votes. But the 17 votes for our anti-Communist resolution at Caracas were granted only after the resolution had been watered down to the point of saying virtually nothing, and then grudgingly. The speeches indicated that there was more fear of U.S. interventionism than of Guatemalan communism. The pressures we brought to bear were resented and the scars remain. We should not, therefore, be deceived by the fact that 17 out of 19 were officially "for us".

Without having an OIR estimate on this I can only guess. My guess is that under present circumstances we could hardly win more than a Pyrrhic victory in a meeting of the Organ of Consultation, obtaining fourteen votes for relatively innocuous measures only by putting the thumbscrews on our neighbors. I doubt that it would be worth it in terms of the consequent further deterioration of our relations with Latin America in general. However, we ought to have, and promptly, a very thorough OIR estimate on this.

If the above analyses are sound the conclusion must be that the time is not ripe for collective inter-American action under the Rio treaty. This conclusion is reinforced by the indications that the situation poses no immediate danger for us. The conclusion raises the question, however, of what policy we should follow to expedite the ripening of time.

In this connection it seems to me that the two events which have so aroused us are as if calculated for our advantage. In the absence of undue excitement on our part they are bound to arouse alarm among Guatemala's neighbors, which alarm would tend to communicate itself throughout Latin America. If other like events ensued, the alarm would increase-but we would not ourselves be directly endangered. The Latin Americans would begin to ask whether the U.S. could be counted on to defend them against this growing menace. At that point they would be in the suppliant position vis-ŕ-vis us rather than ourselves being suppliants to them. And this would be proper, for their danger is the greater. We could at this point act the part of the big brother who was not scared for himself but would stand by his small neighbors and live up to his commitments.

But if we present, instead, the spectacle of the elephant shaking with alarm before the mouse, if Guatemala disturbs us by gaining military dominance in Central America and imperiling our Canal in Panama, then the prestige of underdog Guatemala will be greatly enhanced throughout Latin America and Asia, and Latin American bosoms will (secretly or otherwise) swell with pride at the spectacle of one of the least among them actually arousing us to alarm for our own safety. Our own prestige and influence will be correspondingly diminished and the time will not ripen as we would wish it to.

We could be quite complacent about the Indochinese situation if only we could afford to let it get worse until the corresponding alarm in India and Indonesia made it possible to deal with that situation by really effective united action. Unfortunately, our danger there is extreme and we cannot be complacent about allowing it to get worse. The Guatemalan situation, however, can safely get worse and, if one leaves historical caprice out of account, cannot get better until it does get worse.

If we should adopt, instead, the second alternative of intervening unilaterally with whatever force was necessary we would, in effect, be making a colony of Guatemala that we could maintain only by continued force, and by so doing we would turn all of Latin America against us to the advantage of the international Communist movement. If our intervention was less than decisive the Argentine experience would be repeated and we would have strengthened Communism in Guatemala while antagonizing Latin America generally.

It would seem to me wise for us to countermand the present orders to our naval forces in the Caribbean and, for the rest, to take a more relaxed attitude generally. In this connection we ought also avoid needlessly alarming and arousing our own public, for that would end by making the pursuit of a considered policy impossible.


51. Circular Telegram From the Acting Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices in the American Republics/1/

Washington, May 29, 1954, 6 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 363/5-2/9/54. Secret. Drafted by Assistant Secretary Holland, Ambassador Dreier, Director of the Office of South American Affairs Atwood, and Director of the Office of Middle American Affairs Burrows; signed for the Acting Secretary by Mr. Holland. Sent to diplomatic offices in the American Republics, except Guatemala City and Rio de Janeiro; repeated for information to the Embassies in Guatemala City and Rio de Janeiro, and also to USUN in New York.

442. Inform Govt at highest level that US believes immediate consideration should be given to holding consultative meeting under Rio Treaty, Article 6, to consider situation created by extensive penetration Guatemalan Govt by international communist organization and recent clandestine deliveries arms from Soviet orbit to Guatemala. US feels consultative meeting should be called only if required 2/3 majority (14) agrees to support action under the Rio Treaty as outlined below. We feel this majority assured. FYI however your approach must not be such as will commit US to calling meeting. End FYI.

Our idea is that meeting, if held, should be called by US for about July 1, be brief, and confined to single topic and adoption of one main resolution. Although Uruguayan Govt has not been consulted, US prefers Montevideo as site.

US would propose that meeting adopt resolution covering following points:

1. Finding that international communist organization has achieved extensive penetration of Guatemalan institutions; that in this context, recent covert movement of arms from iron curtain countries to Guatemala has created present threat to sovereignty and political independence of other American States, endangering peace of America; and that any further substantial shipments of arms to Guatemala would further endanger peace.

2. Recommendation that American Republics immediately take measures necessary to prevent further shipments of arms to Guatemala and travel of communist agents to and from that country, and inform SC of UN of such measures. (Under this recommendation US visualizes concrete action such as detention and inspection of ships and other means of transport.)

3. Recommendation for continued exchange of views and info re present danger and means of maintaining peace, security of continent.

4. Call to Guatemala to eliminate agents international communist organization and resume rightful place as member American nations dedicated defense America against all forms foreign intervention.

Request early expression views of Govt on holding meeting and proposed resolution outlined above.

Main points to stress to Govts are:

1. Guatemala is one of several points of current conflict between Soviet communism and free nations throughout the world. Situation constitutes test as to whether international communist organization can achieve establishment communist controlled state this hemisphere. Communist success Guatemala would therefore have worldwide significance as demonstration ineffectiveness regional organizations of free nations and power of communist forces establish subservient regimes even beyond immediate sphere of communist military power. Communist world hopes demonstrate inability of American nations to resist subversive penetration by joint action and thereby discredit OAS, the oldest and most effective regional organization.

2. Delivery on Alfhem of arms known to have come from communist controlled territory offers further evidence Moscow has chosen Guatemala for special effort, having in mind its small size, proximity to Panama Canal, fluid internal political situation, and opportunity for communist agents to seize leadership and disguise their work as genuine Guatemalan nationalistic campaign against United Fruit Company.

3. While every important US interest in Guatemala including UFCO is under attack, our concern about communist penetration would be just as great if this were not true. In defending US enterprises in Guatemala we have followed clear and consistent policy established in other similar cases, namely, representations requesting due process of law and prompt, adequate and effective compensation for expropriated properties. Prior to presentation UFCO claim, US formally and publicly proposed it be settled by arbitration or adjudication by international tribunal. This proposal still stands. Guatemala has ignored this proposal and on contrary attempted to obscure issue of Communist penetration by constantly dragging in Fruit Company dispute.

4. Brief of evidence/2/ re extent and nature communist penetration Guatemala being air mailed. Analysis reveals in Guatemala all signs which have identified similar occurrences elsewhere under direction Kremlin including methods of achieving initial penetration, training of leaders, extensive use of popular front organizations, blind adherence Moscow party line. While preserving appearance of small minority party, communists have here as elsewhere succeeded in substituting small informal communist controlled councils for lawful policy making bodies.

/2/Apparent reference to an earlier version of the study entitled "Penetration of the Political Institutions of Guatemala by the International Communist Movement: Threat to the Peace and Security of America and to the Sovereignty and Political Independence of Guatemala," prepared in the Department of State in June 1954 for submission to the Fifth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics. The study was issued under date of July 9, 1954.

In addition to foregoing emphasize to Govt we have no quarrel with Guatemalan people, have no desire adopt measures more severe than those required combat problem posed by communist penetration in Guatemala. US is determined make every effort to achieve demonstration that collective procedures of OAS are adequate and effective in dealing with the major threat to continental peace and security implicit in the Guatemalan situation.

Embassy should note that our case rests upon the conclusion that in the present context of extensive communist penetration of Guatemala the delivery of substantial amounts of arms has created a threat to the peace. FYI This decision reached in order to secure support of those nations not now prepared to support more exacting finding contemplated by Res 93 of Caracas which would call for a collective determination that the international communist movement dominates and controls the political institutions of Guatemala.

FYI Guatemala undertaking intensive campaign among foreign offices oppose consultative meeting.

FYI Brazil has endorsed our position and will take lead in approaching Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Embassies those countries and Cuba, Venezuela should await special instructions. End FYI.



52. The Second Secretary of Embassy in Guatemala (Hill), Temporarily in Washington, to the Ambassador in Guatemala (Peurifoy)/1/

Washington, May 30, 1954.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.00/5-3054. Top Secret; Official-Informal.

Dear Mr. Ambassador: As I write this on Sunday morning, you will have the telegram/2/ we sent out yesterday afternoon instructing our missions in the other Latin American Republics to sound out the opinion of the governments to which they are accredited on holding an OAS meeting on Guatemala about July 1.

/2/Reference is to Document 51.

This represents an important modification of the tactics here as respects the Conference. You should know, however, that basic thinking is that if we obtain a resolution requiring the prevention of movements of arms and Communist agents to Guatemala, this will enable us to stop ships including our own to such an extent that it will disrupt Guatemala's economy. The idea is that this will accelerate one of two developments: either it will encourage the Army or some other noncommunist elements to seize power or the Communists will exploit the situation to extend their control. If the latter occurs, it is thought, it will justify the American community, or if they won't go along, the U.S. to take strong measures.

With this in the back of the policy making minds, a decision crystallized gradually over the past week to retreat from the former intent to call an OAS meeting to haul Guatemala up under the Caracas Resolution which in effect would have called for a finding by two-thirds of the States that Guatemala's political institutions were under the "domination and control of international Communism". With the Alfhem case fresh, it was thought more Latin Americans would go along under Article 6 of the Rio Treaty on a case of threat to the peace, based on "extensive penetration" of Guatemala by international Communism plus the arrival of arms from the Soviet orbit. It was also thought that a resolution calling only for prevention of movement of arms and agents would get more votes than one calling for economic sanctions or other tough action.

The opinion here seems to be that we have the necessary fourteen votes. Brazil is enthusiastic to the extent of undertaking to sound out and line up Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile. Our soundings there are being delayed until the Brazilians have had their say. Ambassador Zuleta Angel of Colombia was called in to see Mr. Holland last night/2/ and said he was sure there would be at least sixteen or seventeen affirmative votes for our resolution as described in the circular. Ambassador Facio of Costa Rica was in later and said to be willing to urge his government to go along/3/ and the Panamanian Ambassador/4/ was called in this morning with results yet unknown to me./5/ Mexico, under Ambassador White's manipulation is more tractable than I would have thought; our cause has been helped by the Guatemalan Ambassador in Panama's boner in telling President Remón that the Alfhem arms even loaded at Veracruz, and allegation that seems to have made Padilla Nervo, the Mexican Foreign Minister, hopping mad.

/2/No memorandum of the referenced conversation between Mr. Holland and Ambassador Zuleta Angel was found in Department of State files.

/3/A memorandum of his conversation with Ambassador Facio and Counselor of the Costa Rican Embassy Jorge Hazera, by Mr. Holland, dated May 29, 1954 and not printed, is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.00/5-2954.

/4/Roberto M. Huertematte.

/5/The Department's telegram 237, to Panama, dated May 30, 1954, from Mr. Holland, reads as follows: "Huertematte told me this morning he strongly favored our ideas re OAS action (Depcirtel 442) and would return Panama soonest to advocate them to President." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 363/5-3054)

In the discussions in the Department which I have attended, I have pointed out what I consider some of the shortcomings of the present tactics: I have heavily stressed that external pressures, whether economic sanctions or more informal interruption of trade, should be supplemented by a more definite plan of action in the country or the Communists may well be the chief beneficiaries of the dislocations caused. Our problem of dislodging them then would perhaps have more serious proportions than is realized. I have also taken the line that if an OAS meeting is held a strong rather [than a?] wild resolution should be forced, if at all possible, because the resolution as now drawn/6/ will not appear to represent a determined effort to eradicate Communism since it will not be apparent from it that commerce is to be disrupted. I fear that if we do interrupt commerce under the resolution we will be charged with unilateral intervention not only by Guatemala but also by other nations who will have voted for the resolution without specifically endorsing what is tantamount to economic sanctions. I have also argued that we are going to be in an odd position ourselves in stopping our own ships which carry the bulk of the commerce to Guatemala ostensibly to inspect them for arms and Communist agents after they have loaded at U.S. ports.

/6/For text of the referenced resolution, see the Department's circular telegram 459, dated June 5, 1954, Document 56.

The telegram/7/ which went to you yesterday asking for me to remain here was based on the week's developments. The OAS case, the current shipping cases, and the Honduran situation have added enormously to the workload and I have had to pitch in on all of them. Ambassador Dreier has now been assigned physically to assemble the "case" on Guatemala and Mr. Holland wants me to help him. I am also continuing to lend a hand to Ambassadors Donnelly and Pawley on their many projects, the most active of which to date has been the organization of our Naval surveillance of the Caribbean and the inspection of ships. The Department thus has a real need for someone with a speaking acquaintance with the problems of the area. On the other hand, I have pointed out that I am the only full time political officer on your staff and that in these critical times in Guatemalan affairs that is rather essential. It is a question of choosing between evils.

/7/Telegram 1067, to Guatemala City, dated May 29, 1954, not printed. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 124.143/52954)

Say hello to Bill/8/ for me, and if it is decided for me to stay, extend him my sympathy!

/8/Reference is to William L. Krieg, Counselor of Embassy in Guatemala City.

Best regards,

John C. Hill


53. Editorial Note

On June 2, 1954, at 9:22 a.m., the President's Press Secretary, James C. Hagerty, called Secretary Dulles to inquire about the status of several foreign policy issues in preparation for the President's press conference scheduled for 10:30 a.m. that morning. Secretary Dulles recorded their conversation concerning Guatemala as follows:

"4. Guatemala. If asked about our intention of getting the Caracas resolution injected, the Sec. said he is not up to date on that. We are checking up on ships. Doubt was thrown on the ships involved in the Guatemala incident because of the manifest. If asked re the President of Guatemala saying he would meet with the President if the President so invited him, the Sec. suggested ducking anything further on this. The issue is not between governments, but whether it is subject to control of international communism, which the Caracas Resolution said is a threat to security." (Eisenhower Library, Dulles papers, "White House Telephone Conversations")

The record of President Eisenhower's press conference is in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954, pages 526-533.


54. Telegram From the Ambassador in Guatemala (Peurifoy) to the Department of State/1/

Guatemala City, June 2, 1954, midnight.
[Received June 2-5:58 p.m.]

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.00/6-254. Secret; Priority.

866. Re Embtel 816, June 1./2/ Toriello's proposal for appointment non-government commission by Presidents Eisenhower and Arbenz to discuss problems affecting relations between two countries obviously designed to gain time to permit lowering of recent local tensions which have caused grave concern in Guatemalan Government circles and have greatly heartened opposition. Let-down in tensions following crisis caused by arrival arms already noticeable and they can be expected to decline further when government press seizes upon omission of economic sanctions from agenda of proposed Montevideo conference/3/ as evidence of strong Latin American support for Guatemala. Government's recent moves against opposition elements may also depress opposition morale. (Embtel 848, May 31 .)/4/

/2/Telegram 816 is not dated June 1; presumably the reference is to telegram 860, in which Ambassador Peurifoy reported that at a meeting with Foreign Minister Toriello that day to continue discussion of mutual problems begun May 24, 1954, the Foreign Minister stated that after consultation with President Arbenz he had decided that the best way to improve relations between Guatemala and the United States would be the adoption of the proposal made by President Eisenhower, on the occasion of Toriello's farewell call in January 1954, for the appointment of a non-governmental, neutral commission authorized to discuss all outstanding problems (Ibid., 714.00/6-154). For the memorandum of conversation between President Eisenhower and then Ambassador Toriello, dated Jan. 16, see Document 12.

/3/Proposed site of the OAS meeting to consider developments in Guatemala.

/4/In the referenced telegram Ambassador Peurifoy reported renewed searches by Guatemalan authorities of the residences of opposition elements (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.00/5-3154).

Under circumstances, it is desirable steps be taken to maintain tensions. Two such steps which occur to me are:

1. President Eisenhower might care to reply to pre-arranged questions in his next press conference that he has made no proposal of any kind for discussion of differences between US and Guatemala but state Department proposal for direct negotiation or arbitration of UFCO claims was rejected by Guatemalan Government./5/ President might wish to add that he doubted visit by President Arbenz to Washington would be conducive to solution of problems in US-Guatemala relations as long as Communists retain their influence in Guatemalan political circles. These statements would scotch rumors of possible direct conversations between President Eisenhower and Arbenz and would make it difficult for Toriello to persist in his claim that President Eisenhower had proposed discussion of Guatemalan differences by an impartial board./6/

/5/At a press conference on June 8, 1954, Secretary Dulles made a statement along the lines suggested by Ambassador Peurifoy; for text of the statement, see Department of State Bulletin, June 21, 1954, pp. 950-951.

/6/ In telegram 870, from Guatemala City, dated June 2, 1954, Ambassador Peurifoy reported that Foreign Minister Toriello stated that he had changed his mind about requesting a presidential commission because he had received information that the United States "was holding consultations which had progressed very far toward a meeting of OAS." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.00/6-254)

2. US Government might within next few days give notice intention denounce reciprocal trade treaty with Guatemala. This would cause great uncertainty in Guatemalan Government, business and other circles as it would be interpreted as preliminary to application of economic sanctions by US Government. Denunciation would not only have immediate impact on political circles but would cause increasing concern during six-month period between denunciation of treaty and its expiration, particularly since new coffee crop will begin to move in December. Denunciation could be made on grounds that Guatemalan Government has repeatedly contravened terms of agreement and has not given us courtesy of substantive reply to its protests of these contraventions except in one instance in which its arguments were unsubstantial./7/ See Embassy Despatches 877, April 26, 1954; 773, March 10, 1954; 750 March 2, 1954./8/

/7/The Department's telegram 1194, to Guatemala City, dated June 8, 1954, reads in part as follows: "Department desires avoid action suggestive of unilateral economic sanctions against Guatemala which would prejudice quick adoption our (anti-Communist) resolution at proposed consultative meeting; therefore does not favor denunciation trade agreement this moment." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.00/6-254)

/8/The referenced despatches, none printed, all transmit to the Department of State copies of notes delivered to the Guatemalan Foreign Office by the Embassy pertaining to alleged violations of the United States-Guatemala Reciprocal Trade Agreement by Guatemala; they are filed, respectively, in National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 411.1431/3-254, 411.1431/3-1054, and 411.1431/4-2654.



55. The Officer in Charge of Central America and Panama Affairs (Leddy) to the Ambassador in Guatemala (Peurifoy)/1/

Washington, June 5, 1954.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.00/6-554. Top Secret; Official-Informal.

Dear Jack: Your puzzlement over the Department's circular telegram 442 of May 29/2/ as outlined in your letter of June 1/3/ is readily understood. You should have received an individual message to clarify it, and I am only sorry that in the rush of things here (which, believe me, surpasses all understanding) we did not think to give this proper consideration.

/2/Document 51.

/3/Not found in Department of State files.

The policy outlined has a very definite purpose. First, by asking for advance OAS concurrence on a specific resolution, it is hoped that we may be assured of the votes in advance of a meeting and limit the meeting to the merest formality of approval, thereby avoiding a long drawn out debate and resulting bitterness and disunity. Second, by limiting the resolution to one authorization, believed to be the minimum step in the present circumstances, and one on which general concurrence is most likely to be obtained, it is hoped that success will be certain. Third, since the resolution is so drawn as to permit examination of traffic in both directions, it will be possible to halt effectively the normal flow of commerce. Fourth, this halting or interruption will be as effective as the most specific economic sanctions, which if proposed on their own would fall into certain opposition. Thus, in total, it is expected that we will achieve the ends desired by an easier and quicker route.

The matter was given pretty thorough consideration at the highest levels here and the decision is pretty solid. Further, it is one which has so far been easily sold to our colleagues in Washington missions, and replies from the field are so far entirely encouraging.

There is one thing which I think you can be assured of and that is that we are on the road of settling this problem, either by the means now devised or by some other means should these not succeed. There is 100 percent determination here, from the top down, to get rid of this stinker and not to stop until that is done. For this reason, our morale is rather high and I am sure the Embassy's will correspond as the methods utilized become more understandable.

With all our good wishes and regards,

Sincerely yours,

Raymond G. Leddy


56. Circular Telegram From the Secretary of State to Diplomatic Offices in the American Republics/1/

Washington, June 5, 1954, 8:18 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 363/6-554. Official Use Only; Priority. Drafted by Ambassador Dreier; signed by Assistant Secretary Holland. Repeated for information to USUN in New York.

459. Verbatim text. Following draft resolution for your info and for use following receipt special instructions:/2/

/2/In circular telegram 458, sent to the Embassies in Buenos Aires, Bogotá, San Jose, Habana, Ciudad Trujillo, San Salvador, Port-au-Prince, Tegucigalpa, Mexico City, Panama, Lima, and Managua, and repeated for information to USUN in New York, dated June 5, 1954, the Department instructed diplomatic representatives to transmit as soon as possible to the appropriate authority that portion of the text of the draft resolution beginning "and considering" and to determine whether the host government would support the specific text. "If so," continued the instruction, "summarize verbally whereas clauses as being U.S. idea of type which might be desirable and suggest Govt's ambassador here be authorized participate drafting definitive text this portion of resolution." (Ibid., 363/6-554)

June 4, 1954.


The nations of America have long recognized a historic mission to create on this Continent a society in which man shall enjoy a greater degree of political liberty, economic well being, and social and cultural advancement, than has heretofore been achieved in the world.

The American republics, recognizing that the need for progress toward that high objective is still great, are determined to press forward toward more perfect political and social institutions guaranteeing to their citizens an increasing measure of personal freedom and happiness.

The measure of freedom already achieved by the peoples of this Continent should be continually improved and not impaired by extra-continental intervention.

The objectives of the International Communist movement, as demonstrated by the coercion and repression instituted in nations and areas subjected to its domination, are directly contrary to the aforementioned purposes of the American nations.

The American republics recognize that the ultimate goal of International Communism is the domination of the whole world by the unlawful processes of violence, subversion and conspiracy.

There is increasing evidence that the International Communist movement is attempting with special vigor at this time to establish a center of strength in the Americas from which to extend its influence throughout the Continent.

The danger inherent in the establishment of such a center of the International Communist movement in this Continent is to be measured not by the dimensions of the state which might fall victim to such an attempt but by the vast power and resources available to the world Communist organization.

On a number of occasions the American States have enunciated their determination to discover, condemn and eliminate from this Hemisphere every attempt by the International Communist movement to effect a penetration of the political institutions of any American State and to intervene in American affairs.

From the moment in which the American republics gained their independence, their statesmen and their peoples have proclaimed the necessity for eternal vigilance to maintain that independence in the face of any form of imperialistic intervention or encroachment from outside the Continent.

The Organization of American States is the appropriate collective instrument through which the nations of this Continent can coordinate their will and arrive at collective decisions, in accordance with existing treaties, to protect their independence, their sovereignty and their way of life.

The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance in Article 6 states that the Organ of Consultation shall meet in case of any fact or situation affecting the integrity of the territory or the sovereignty or political independence of an American State that might endanger the peace of America.

The Tenth Inter-American Conference recognized the present danger posed in this Hemisphere by the International Communist Movement, expressing the determination of the American States to take necessary measures against the intervention of International Communism and calling for consultation and the adoption of appropriate action in the event of the domination or control of an American State by the International Communist movement.

And Considering:

That a large, clandestine shipment of arms and munitions of war, despatched from European territory dominated by the International Communist movement, reached Guatemalan territory on board the S.S. Alfhem on May 15, 1954; and

That the quantity of arms so delivered has substantially increased the pre-existing preponderant military power of Guatemala in the Central American area; and

That evidence has been presented from various authoritative sources regarding the penetration of the political institutions of the Republic of Guatemala by the International Communist movement.

The Fifth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, as Organ of Consultation,


That the International Communist organization has achieved extensive penetration of the political institutions of the Republic of Guatemala; a penetration so extensive as to create the danger that the Guatemalan state, like others which have been subjected by International Communism, will be deprived of its independence and become subordinated to the International Communist conspiracy to achieve world domination through violence and subversion.

That in this context the recent covert movement to Guatemala of arms and munitions of war from European territory dominated by the International Communist movement has created a threat to the sovereignty and political independence of other American States, endangering the peace of America; and

That so long as the penetration by International Communism of the Guatemalan political institutions remains unchanged and the preponderance of Guatemalan military force in the area persists, any further substantial movement to Guatemala of arms or munitions of war would seriously increase the danger to the peace of America;


That so long as the danger above referred to subsists the American republics undertake as preventive measures the detention and inspection of vessels, aircraft and other means of conveyance moving to and from the Republic of Guatemala, in order to insure against the further introduction of arms and implements of war into that country, as well as travel by agents of International Communism between that country and territory dominated by the International Communist movement.

That a commission comprised of representatives of (name 5 countries) shall assist the Member States in the application and coordination of the preventative measures specified above and shall recommend to the American Governments through the Council of the OAS the termination of such measures when the commission finds that the circumstances justifying them no longer exist.

That the American Governments continue an exchange of views and information regarding the presently existing danger and means of maintaining the peace and security of the Continent; and

Calls upon:

Guatemala, as a sister republic in the American family, to eliminate agents and collaborators of the International Communist movement, resuming her rightful place among the nations dedicated to the defense of the American hemisphere against all forms of foreign intervention.



57. Notes of a Meeting of the Guatemalan Group, Held in the Department of State, June 9, 1954/1/

/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.001/6-954. Secret. Prepared by Mr. Pearson.

Holland, Pawley, Dreier, Leddy . . ., Woodward, Burrows, Atwood, Sanders, Wieland, Herron, Pearson

1. Consultation on Draft Resolution

(a) Holland reported a number of conversations with the Ambassadors here on the text of the draft resolution. However, it is too early to determine how many of the LA countries would accept it as it stands.

(b) It was agreed that AR under Dreier's direction should draft all outgoing cables on this subject that were not drafted by Holland himself. Also, AR will be responsible for all messages relating to the OAS meeting with appropriate checking with other officers of the Bureau.

(c) It was decided not to give the draft resolution general distribution to the LA or OAS Ambassadors in Washington until it breaks publicly.

(d) Wieland is to prepare guidance for USIA for use when the draft resolution appears publicly.

(e) It was decided not to suggest to the LA countries that they have their Ambassadors negotiate the text here.

(f) Burrows was to cable Hill to tell the Costa Rican Government that if Figueres will agree to the text of the draft resolution, Hill will be in a position to put pressure on the Department to hasten the delivery of arms.

(g) Holland wanted to be sure that an answer was going out to Beaulac's query as to how many approvals we had for the meeting and the draft resolution.

2. Consultation with LA Ambassadors to UN

(a) Dreier reported a message was being sent to Wadsworth to instruct USUN to (1) give necessary background materials to the LA Ambassadors, and (2) stress the importance of the Guatemalan problem to us.

(b) Dreier was to talk with Key concerning the desirability of Holland's having a dinner for the LA Ambassadors to the UN in order to meet them and explain our position on the Guatemalan problem.

3. Consultation with West European Maritime (WEM) Countries

(a) Holland asked that three documents-Communism in Guatemala, the Communist Party in Guatemala, and Communist Penetration of Czechoslovakia and Guatemala-be sent to our Embassies in the WEM countries for their use in getting across the necessary background to the respective governments.

(b) Woodward was asked to talk with Merchant in an effort to get advice and help from EUR on this phase of our problem.

(c) It was decided that in our reply to Bonn concerning claims arising from our stopping ships we should hedge since . . . the source of any indemnification is not clear.

[Here follow paragraphs 4 through 7 dealing with procedural aspects of the proposed OAS conference.]

8. Withdrawing Technical Assistance from Guatemala

It was decided that we would not withdraw the nine technical assistance people and their families from Guatemala any time before the OAS meeting. Stassen and the Defense people had recommended immediate withdrawal. Holland pointed out that immediate withdrawal would be contrary to the main line he had followed with the LA Ambassadors that we would not take any unilateral economic or other steps before the meeting./2/

/2/In a memorandum to Governor Stassen concerning the subject of withdrawing FOA aid from Guatemala, dated June 14, 1954, William M. Rand, Deputy Director of the Foreign Operations Administration, stated in part that "at the June 2 OCB luncheon I took the position that, by leaving our men in Guatemala, we had a line of communication, we had the friendship of the people, and we were doing a job of mercy with our hospital work and could possibly be valuable." (ICA Director's Files, FRC 56 A 632, "Latin America")

9. Preparation of the Case

(a) It was decided that not only would the details of our case be made available to the LA countries in advance, but we would ask any Ambassador who might be useful to help in the actual preparation of the case. Zuleta was particularly anxious to help. If several participated, the parallel approach in the calling of the meeting would be strengthened.

(b) Dreier was to send a message to Peurifoy to get his views on what he thought the Guatemalans would present at the meeting, but the actual coordination and preparation would be done here in Washington.

(c) Sanders reported that some chapters of the case would be completed by the end of this week and ready for Holland's examination Monday, June 14. Holland said the case would not be completed until the eve of the meeting because of the constant adjustments which would have to be made.

(d) Holland put considerable stress on the need for us to develop the Guatemalan case in actual written outline so that we would be sure that our own case took account of all the points.

10. Anticipating Guatemalan Maneuvers Before the Meeting At this point Holland read a memorandum. . . .

(a) Holland indicated we must be in a position to counter a move by Arbenz in which he may fire a few Communists and superficially reorganize his government./3/

/3/A telegram from Guatemala dated June 9, 1954, stated that information had been received indicating that representatives of the Guatemalan Council of National Defense had called on President Arbenz ostensibly to thank him for procuring arms, but actually to declare the army's anti-Communist solidarity and to request that he rid the government of Communists. Another telegram from Guatemala reads as follows: "Officer corps torn between conflicting loyalties . . . and forthright declaration U. S. intentions may sparkplug opposition."

11. Economic Measures

(a) Holland reported that the proposed statement by the President on lead and zinc, sugar, and Venezuelan oil would not be made. Instead, it has been decided that the President will make the decision on lead and zinc, followed presumably by a public statement on this subject. Holland would try to get some Congressmen and Senators to make statements opposing restrictive trade measures by this Government.

(b) Atwood called attention to an Eximbank announcement to be made tomorrow on subjects included in the economic memorandum.

(c) Atwood noted the Bolivian reference to their need of an economic program appearing with their reply on the OAS meeting.

(d) Atwood was to prepare a memorandum for Holland indicating whether or not we should get RFC to change its decision on the terms of the recent tin purchase from Bolivia which resulted in $350,000 less for Bolivia.

(e) Holland expressed the view that there would be no other economic price for the OAS than the Bolivian aid program.

12. Congressional Consultation

(a) Pearson was to arrange consultative meetings with the LA Subcommittees of the House Foreign Affairs and the Senate Foreign Relations Committees at which Holland was to (1) bring the Subcommittees up to date on developments, and (2) endeavor to get some of them to issue statements or make speeches opposing restrictive trade measures by the U.S.

(b) Burrows and Atwood were to brief Holland for these meetings.

[Here follow paragraphs 13 through 15 which deal briefly with publicity, other cases, and psychological attack, respectively.]


58. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the United States High Commissioner for Germany (Conant)/1/

Washington, June 10, 1954, 3:50 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 414.608/6-254. Secret. Drafted by Mr. Leddy and Mr. Hill; signed by Deputy Assistant Secretary Woodward. Repeated for information to Stockholm, Paris, Brussels, The Hague, Lisbon, Rome, Athens, Madrid, Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, London, and USPOLAD in Trieste; by pouch to Bern, Guatemala City, and USUN in New York.

3487. You should attempt minimize further discussion with Government of claims possibly arising from detention ships suspected carrying arms to Guatemala (urtel 3756)/2/ and stress problem of preventing further covert importation of arms into Guatemala requires prompt acceptance in principle of measures we proposed in Deptcirtel 440./3/ Should Government persist in raising question payment of claims, you should endeavor isolate this issue and press for explicit consent or tacit approval to basic proposition. In event assurance against liability on claims becomes condition precedent to Government's decision, you may then state Department studying U.S. legal and budgetary aspects of assuming responsibility for any actual losses resulting detention ships.

/2/The referenced telegram reported that the Federal Republic's attitude was cooperative, but that the Embassy would regard it as helpful if the Department would furnish and authorize the Embassy to convey answers to questions concerning the Federal Republic's responsibility for claims arising from detention of ships, and which other governments had agreed to the proposal. (Ibid., 414.608/6-254)

/3/Dated May 28, 1954, Document 49.

You are also authorized tell Government that principal Western maritime powers have been approached and like German Federal Government are now studying proposal, and request was sympathetically received in every country from which we have received reports. You should emphasize problem is one of urgency and express hope Government will see its way clear cooperate as requested without waiting for other Governments to act.

If you receive queries from officials why US has not taken action prevent US citizens from aiding Guatemala in procurement of arms, you may mention US taking such action.



59. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the Embassy in Honduras/1/

Washington, June 12, 1954, 6:47 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 363/6-1254. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Mr. Jamison; signed by Assistant Secretary Holland.

533. OAS case/2/ re Guatemala requires proofs as convincing as it is possible to obtain,/3/ but it should be borne in mind that action will be taken by Foreign Ministers and not by a court of law. Re urtel 437,/4/ the most important type of evidence direct or circumstantial will be that which shows any kind of Guatemalan connection (preferably official but communist unofficial will be valuable), with events which have had the purpose or effect of undermining the stability of the Honduran government. Finding of proposed resolution (Depcirtel 459)/5/ is that in context of communist penetration Guatemala, receipt Alfhem arms by that country has created threat to other American States. Therefore any data which demonstrates that Guatemala has overtly or covertly sponsored, supported or tolerated interventionist activities in other countries is needed. What is important at this stage is to show to extent possible any Guatemalan connection with items such as seven listed urtel 437. On basis Embassy reports Department has publicly referred to "interesting coincidence" in fact strikes occurred in area in which Guatemalan government sent three consuls subsequently declared personae non gratae. Reasons for action re consuls and lack authorization landing Guatemalan plane, as well as charge that map spotting UFCO properties found in plane must therefore be documented if at all possible. Other evidence, such as identification by name Guatemalans arrested or known to have been in strike zone instigating communist or strike activities, source and nature broadcasts clandestine radio stations agitating strikes, and press clippings speeches strike leaders reflecting party line highly useful. Hondurans should also develop facts re charge Guatemalan group sent to kidnap and murder exiled Guatemalan leader Castillo Armas…

/2/Reference is to the effort of the United States to document a case against Guatemala for presentation to the OAS proving Guatemalan encouragement of Communist infiltration into Honduras and El Salvador.

/3/The Department's telegram 518, to Tegucigalpa, sent also to Guatemala City, dated June 4, 1954, reads in part as follows: "Department considers proof of connection between Guatemala and strikes in Honduras is of utmost importance in presentation case at proposed OAS meeting, as means of proving threat to peace and security exists from Guatemala affecting sovereignty and political independence of other Central American Governments. Embassy should therefore continue to press Honduran Government to prepare convincing case against Guatemala." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 363/5-3054)

/4/In telegram 437, from Tegucigalpa, dated June 9, 1954, Ambassador Willauer stated in part the following: "Doing our best meet requirements evidence proposed OAS meeting but very gloomy as to evidentiary value as distinguished from circumstantial value material available from Honduras. Embassy attempting basic study Communist penetration Honduras along lines Department's Guatemalan study, but facts few, convicting and convincing evidence scarce." (Ibid., 363/6-954)

/5/Document 56.

While it preferable Honduras present any hard facts this kind on its own, and you should encourage them do so, we should be in position use them if Honduras does not.



60. The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy (Thomas)/1/

Washington, June 12, 1954.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 414.008/6-1254. Secret

Dear Mr. Secretary: I refer to the request of the Department of State dated May 22, 1954,/2/ to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, for assistance in preventing the delivery of contraband arms cargoes from Europe to Guatemala. It is my understanding that the Chief of Naval Operations is attempting to determine the identity of ships suspected of carrying such cargoes to Guatemala, and to divert them to Panama or to a United States port for inspection. I now wish to confirm conversations between officers of both Departments concerning orders by the Chief of Naval Operations to effect this purpose.

/2/Document 42.

It is understood by the Department of State that suspected ships are of three categories, each of which lists specific ships after consultation and agreement between the Department of State and Department of the Navy. Category A are those ships which, in most cases, have been reported as carrying arms to Guatemala or are known illicit traders; Category B are ships of Soviet or Soviet Bloc registry encountered in the Caribbean, on a course for or in the Gulf of Honduras. Category C are those ships which have sailed from Iron Curtain ports within the past sixty days and which enter the Gulf of Honduras.

With respect to the above-stated categories, it is the desire of the Department of State that the task units of the Department of the Navy will provide surveillance of designated areas and of the suspected vessels in accordance with the following instructions: If time permits, upon sighting of a vessel on the suspect list worked out jointly by the Department of State and the Navy, the Navy units should without detaining the ship inform the Chief of Naval Operations so that the Department of State may attempt to obtain authorization from the flag state or from the Organization of American States to order it to Panama or to a United States port for inspection. The Department realizes, however, that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for a ship to be trailed from the limits of surveillance areas to the limits of the territorial waters of Guatemala pending the receipt of instructions from the Chief of Naval Operations. Therefore, if time does not permit the surveillance, it is recommended that the ships in the suspect category lists A, B, or C, be detained as they enter the Gulf of Honduras surveillance area on a course for Puerto Barrios, and that the Chief of Naval Operations be informed in order to obtain further instruction. The Department of State would then desire to be consulted at once, so that steps can be taken to persuade the flag state, or the Organization of American States if the Department of State is unable to obtain the approval of the flag state, to approve the detention of the ship and to divert the detained ship to Panama or a United States port for inspection. In the case of ships which refuse to identify themselves while on a course for Puerto Barrios in the surveillance area, they should be detained until the identity is established. The procedures for the three categories (or for non-suspect ships) can then be followed.

It should be pointed out that in case of suspected vessels the Department of State will seek prior permission to divert the suspected vessel to Panama. Only if the Department of State cannot secure approval for the detention of the ship from its own state, and if it cannot obtain a decision from the Organization of American States authorizing the detention of the ship, will the Department of the Navy forcibly divert the ship to Panama or to a United States port for inspection of its cargo, and in every case the Department of the Navy will act only with the concurrence of the Department of State.

It will be appreciated if the Navy will take the precaution to assure that the ships in the area will be properly instructed with respect to its duties in this surveillance action.

Sincerely yours,

For the Secretary of State

Henry F. Holland
Assistant Secretary


61. Circular Telegram From the Secretary of State to Diplomatic Offices in the American Republics/1/

Washington, June 13, 1954, 10:50 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 363/6-1354. Secret; Niact. Drafted and signed by Assistant Secretary Holland.

482. In conference today with representatives nine Latin American states Department accepted following changes which it feels will achieve greater support for text resolution quoted Depcirtel 459:/2/

/2/Dated June 5, 1954, Document 56.

(1) For three paragraph section beginning "That a large, clandestine" and ending "international communist movement" substitute the following:

"1. That a large clandestine shipment of alms and munitions of war reached Guatemalan territory on board the M/S Alfhem on May 15, 1954; and

2. That said arms and munitions of war were despatched from European territory dominated by the international communist movement and have created a state of tension in Central America; and

3. That evidence has been presented from various authoritative sources regarding the penetration of the political institutions of the Republic of Guatemala by the international communist movement; and

4. That the above circumstances warrant the deduction that said arms and implements of war will be used to extend the influence of the international communist movement in the American continent."

(2) In paragraph beginning "That so long as" eliminate words "and the preponderance of Guatemalan military force in the area persists".

Amendments/3/ adopted to obviate useless debate on extent of Guatemalan military superiority and to prevent precedent for any future inquiry into relative military strength of American States in other areas. Communicate changes to Government and use your discretion re disclosing reasons for adoption/4/

/3/Department of State files indicate that further changes were made in the draft resolution; pertinent documents are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 363.

/4/Department telegram 1278, to Guatemala City, dated June 15, 1954, stated that a draft resolution containing stronger measures than those proposed was almost certain not to obtain the necessary two-thirds vote for approval in the OAS, and that the Department therefore considered that it was advisable at this time to press for a limited objective, "believing if we obtain approval present resolution and situation in Guatemala continues to deteriorate, we in better position obtain stronger measures at subsequent stage." (Ibid., 363/6-1154)


For AmEmbassy Rio de Janeiro only

Deliver urgently to Walter Donnelly stating Muniz recommends the amendments.


62. Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Holland) to the Secretary of State/1/

Washington, June 15, 1954.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.00/6-1554. Secret. Drafted by Mr. Holland.

Draft Press Statement by President on Guatemala

Attached as Tab A is a draft of press conference statement/2/ submitted by the CIA to Mr. Hagerty for use at the President's press conference on Wednesday, June 16.

/2/The draft statement reads as follows:

"The current crisis in Guatemala grows out of the attempt to convert its communist infiltrated government into an out-and-out communist dictatorship. A few days ago the regime officially announced the suspension of civil liberties and rounded up many prominent non-communists. Now we hear of an order directing that part of the recent shipment of arms from behind the Iron Curtain is to be distributed to communist cadres. Clearly these moves, all too familiar as steps in a communist takeover, are not being made in response to any external threat. The truth is that they are prompted by the increasing awareness of the communist threat and growing anti-communism of the enormous majority of the Guatemalan people and above all of the Guatemalan army. These same circumstances give us reason to hope and expect that the loyal anti-communists in the country will themselves clean their own house."

I most vigorously oppose the use of this statement.

Our whole plan for an OAS meeting on Guatemala is based upon the principle that the United States is undertaking to solve this problem without unilateral intervention, whether political or economic, in Guatemalan affairs. I have reiterated this again and again to every Latin American Ambassador and so have our Ambassadors in those capitals.

The CIA very understandably wants to bring both political and economic pressure to bear in Guatemala at this time. From their point of view I can see that this is logical. I object strenuously, however, because by following this course we will demonstrate that our assertions regarding the OAS meeting are not true. On the one hand, we would be avowing a laudable determination to forebear from all unilateral action and, on the other hand, through the President of the United States we would be indulging in the most direct unilateral political intervention.

The results, in my judgment, would be disastrous to our proposed OAS meeting.

Attached as Tab B is a recommended substitute./3/

/3/Not printed.


63. Excerpt From the Diary of James C. Hagerty, Press Secretary to the President/1/

Washington, June 16, 1954.

/1/Source: Eisenhower Library, Hagerty Papers.

. . . . . . .

4. Guatemala--Allen Dulles and the CIA yesterday had prepared a brief memorandum/2/ for the President which was sent first to the State Department and which I actually did not see. Their memorandum, however, had the President backing "their form of activity in Guatemala". Dulles rejected this memorandum because he was afraid if the President supported the CIA, it would lead to charges that the President and this country were supporting revolutionary activities within Guatemala and would place the President in the dangerous position of appealing to citizens of a foreign country to revolt against their leaders. Instead the State Department recommended (which was later approved by the President) that the President merely say that the current crisis in Guatemala shows a "disturbing tenor to change its Communist-infiltrated government into an out and out Communist dictatorship. A few days ago the regime officially announced the suspension of constitutional liberties. This was immediately followed by a wave of arrests of anti-Communists. Others are fleeing the country. A strict censorship has been imposed. There have been a number of killings. All of this is part of a similar pattern of a typical Communist take-over and is not in response to any external threat." The State Department also urged the President to emphasize that any attempt by internal Communism to penetrate into the western hemisphere was a serious matter and one which was being studied by the Foreign Ministers of the American states./3/

/2/See footnote 2, Document 62.

/3/On June 16, at 9:37 a.m., Secretary Dulles spoke with Hagerty concerning foreign policy issues in connection with the President's press conference later that morning. With respect to Guatemala, the conversation was recorded as follows: "The Sec. did not see the final [press] statement, but what he saw was o.k. . . . it is all right to say we are having talks with Latin American countries." (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, "White House Telephone Conversations") The text of the President's press conference is printed in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954, pp. 566-574.

. . . . . . .


64. Notes of a Meeting of the Guatemalan Group, Held at the Department of State, June 16, 1954/1/

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.001/6-1654. Secret. Drafted by Mr. Pearson.

Present: Holland, Atwood, Colonel Clark, Jamison, Sanders, Wieland, Herron, Sparks, Warren, Pearson, Leddy, Pawley, . . .

1. Draft Resolution/2/

/2/Reference is to draft resolution transmitted in circular telegram 459, June 5, 1954, Document 56.

(a) It was noted that the following countries have approved the resolution in its entirety: Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and the U.S.

(b) Atwood was to check regarding a Uruguayan note/3/ outlining proposed changes in the resolution.

/3/No such note was found in Department of State files. However, a summary of the Uruguayan Government's suggestions concerning the draft resolution and the proposed OAS meeting is contained in telegram 188, from Montevideo, dated June 10, 1954, not printed (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 363/6-1054).

In a memorandum of conversation between Assistant Secretary Holland and Uruguayan Ambassador Mora, by Mr. Havemeyer, dated June 23, 1954, Ambassador Mora was reported to have confirmed the position of his government that it could not accept the draft resolution so long as it contained the present wording with respect to the detention and inspection of ships. (Ibid., 714.00/6-2354)

(c) After talking with Andrade, Sparks was to get in touch with Rowell immediately to get Bolivian agreement to the considerandos.

(d) With respect to Brazil, Donnelly had called Holland to give Rao's views as follows:

(1) Rao proposed two changes in the operative parts of the resolution. If we agreed to these changes, Brazil would be a co-sponsor, would send telegrams to Bolivia and Chile urging them to become cosponsors, inform Paraguay that she would be happy if Paraguay would go along, and inform Uruguay that she will be a co-sponsor.

(2) Rao urged July 6 as the date for starting the conference (Venezuela wants any time after July 7).

(3) Rao suggests the considerandos could be reduced in number but not in substance and have the same effect. This is not a condition for agreement to the resolution.

(4) He reported that the Brazilian Ambassador to Argentina says Peron had told him that he will attend the meeting only if it is a general case against Communism rather than a specific case against Guatemala.

(5) Rao believes that Ecuador's position reflects Argentine pressure (stemming from its support of Ecuador in the latest boundary dispute with Peru).

(6) Rao suggested that we get out a statement of our views on the UFCO case. On this point, Holland asked that Leddy prepare a report on the history of the UFCO problem in Guatemala for transmission to all of the LA Foreign Ministers. He was to cable a summary of this report and state that the report itself would be sent by pouch.

Action With Respect to Brazilian Draft Changes

After Holland talked with the Secretary, it was agreed he would tell Donnelly (a) that the substitute language proposed for the "Calls Upon" clause is acceptable. The Brazilian language requests Guatemala to implement Resolution VIII, Section 1, of the Fourth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs held in Washington 1951. (b) that with respect to the proposed change in the Recommendation section, we can accept the Brazilian language except for the phrase "any American state which is in present danger of becoming a center of the international Communist movement in the hemisphere" in place of which Donnelly should seek Brazilian agreement for the word "Guatemala".

(e) Holland stressed to the group the need to close off further changes in the draft resolution. Each time we accept a change it means that we must clear it with all the other countries.

2. Plans in the Event Arbenz is Overthrown

(a) Holland indicated that if Arbenz were overthrown, we would still go ahead with the Montevideo meeting but extend the date.

(b) Pawley reported that his ad hoc committee, made up of representatives of CIA and Defense, would meet today to work up a paper/4/ outlining the steps we will take in the event the Arbenz government is overthrown. This paper would include the evacuation planning, recognition, possible economic aid to a successor government, etc. He asked that all members of the group give him any ideas they might have. Because of the similarity of this project with Woodward's assignment on "treatment of successor government",/5/ it was agreed that Woodward should work with the Pawley group.

/4/Not identified.

/5/Mr. Woodward drafted a memorandum on the following subject: "Plan of action in the event that the Arbenz government is overthrown," dated June 23, 1954, which was circulated within the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs for comment; no copy of the memorandum was found in Department of State files.

3. Implementation of Preventive Measures

It was agreed that Woodward would consider the two points raised by the Venezuelans in connection with their acceptance of the draft resolution and report at the next meeting./6/ These were (a) what would we do if the vessel we planned to stop had a naval escort of its flag country, and (b) would the area of search be as large as the Rio Treaty area (Holland thought the area should be considerably smaller).

/6/ The notes of a meeting of the Guatemalan Group held at the Department of State on June 18, 1954, drafted by Mr. Pearson, read in part as follows: "Venezuela would not be asked to co-sponsor the [draft] resolution but would be asked to agree not to change the resolution without the unanimous agreement of the co-sponsoring group." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.001/6-1854)

4. Date of Meeting

Holland noted that the Secretary could be available for the Montevideo meeting beginning July 6.

5. Calling the Meeting Under the OAS Charter or the Rio Treaty

(a) After considerable discussion, the group decided unanimously to fight for the use of the Rio Treaty and Holland (who had been absent during the discussion) heartily concurred.

(b) Since at the Sunday, June 13 meeting/7/ with the Ambassadors Holland had indicated that he would convoke the meeting under either the Charter or the Rio Treaty if our legal position were equally strong under both, it was decided that L should render an opinion on the legality of our actions under each.

/7/No record of this meeting was found in Department of State files.

6. Spanish Translation of "Guatemalan Labor Party/8/

/8/Reference is to a study originally prepared by Mr. Hill at the Embassy in Guatemala City; a copy was transmitted to the Department of State under cover of despatch 308, from Guatemala City, dated Oct. 9, 1953, not printed (714.001/10-953). The study was revised at the Department in May 1954, and subsequently released under the title "The Partido Guatemalteco del Trabajo (The Guatemalan Communist Party): A Basic Study."

Leddy reported that the Department's Translation Division had done a very inadequate job on translating this document. CIA was being requested to go over it in order to translate properly the Communist jargon. The decision against wide dissemination of the document at this time was maintained.

7. Fisher's Daily Reports

It was decided that the daily reports being prepared by John Fisher should be discontinued and that instead he should maintain a control on all of the same actions in the form most convenient to himself.


65. Excerpt From the Diary of James C. Hagerty, Press Secretary to the President/1/

Washington, June 18, 1954.

/1/Source: Eisenhower Library, Hagerty Papers.

In at 8:15.

Allen Dulles called early in the morning to tell me that his organization expected there would be an anti-Communist uprising in Guatemala very shortly. Officially we don't know anything about it. The story broke late Friday night.

. . . . . . .


66. Editorial Note

On June 18, 1954, the forces of Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, a Guatemalan army officer in exile, crossed the Guatemalan border from Honduras at three points in a movement aimed at overthrowing the government of President Arbenz. Numerous telegrams and despatches from Guatemala reporting the activities of Castillo Armas’ followers are in file 714.00. For information concerning the reaction of the United States Government to the developments in Guatemala, see the statement released by the Department of State, dated June 19, in the Department of State Bulletin, June 28, 1954, pages 981-982.


67. Excerpt From the Diary of James C. Hagerty, Press Secretary to the President/1/

Washington, June 19, 1954.

/1/Source: Eisenhower Library, Hagerty Papers.

Allen Dulles called me-and later Pete Carroll dropped in-to tell me that the situation in Guatemala as reported by the American press is greatly exaggerated. Press reports "bombing". As Pete Carroll, said, "There are no such planes in that part of the world. There have been a few homemade bombs dropped by Piper Cubs but that is about all." Expect that the Wire Services have very poor men in Guatemala and that they are overplaying the story. However, the State Department and Foreign Ministers of the other American countries are watching the situation very closely.

I think the State Department made a very bad mistake, particularly with the British, in attempting to search ships going to Guatemala. This was done obviously in an attempt to stop arms shipment to the country, but somebody in the State Department (maybe Dulles) forgot that the right of search of neutral vessels on the high seas is one which we ourselves oppose. As a matter of fact, we were at war with the British in 1812 over the same principle. I don't see how with our traditional opposition to such search and seizure we could possibly have proposed it, and I don't blame the British for one minute for getting pretty rough in their answers. I don't see why we did not ask the British and other nations to cooperate and to clear cargo lists in their own ports rather than to have them suffer the indignity of a search of their own ships by a foreign power.

. . . . . . .


68. Editorial Note

On June 19, 1954, the Guatemalan Government requested both the United Nations Security Council and the Inter-American Peace Committee (IAPC), an organ of the Organization of American States, to convene emergency meetings in order to take the necessary measures to stop alleged aggression against its territory by Honduras and Nicaragua, and to restore peace in the Central American area. For text of Guatemala's cablegram to the Security Council, dated June 19, 1954, requesting an emergency meeting, see UN document S/3232, printed in United Nations, Official Records of the Security Council, 9th Year, Supplement (April, May, and June 1954), pages 11-13. For additional information on Guatemala's requests and subsequent events, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1954 (New York, 1955), pages 96-99, and Annals of the Organization of American States, 1954 (Washington, 1954) pages 239-245.


69. Memorandum by the Director of Central Intelligence (Dulles) to the President/1/

Washington, 20 June 1954.

/1/Source: Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower Papers, Whitman File. Secret

The attached summary of the situation in Guatemala as of today is submitted at the suggestion of Mr. Allen Dulles.

For the Director of Central Intelligence

K. W. McMahan
Acting Assistant Director
Current Intelligence




1. As of 20 June the outcome of the efforts to overthrow the regime of President Arbenz of Guatemala remains very much in doubt. The controlling factor in the situation is still considered to be the position of the Guatemalan armed forces, and thus far this group has not given any clear indication of whether it will move, and if so, in which way. If the Guatemalan army should move within the next few days against the Arbenz regime, it is considered to have the capacity to overthrow it. On the other hand if it remains loyal and if most of the military elements commit themselves to vigorous action against the forces of Castillo Armas the latter will be defeated and a probability of uprisings from among other elements of the population is considered highly unlikely.

2. The position of the top-ranking military officers is constantly shifting with daily rises and falls in their attitudes. This group has long proclaimed its strong anti-Communist feelings and its ultimate intention of doing something to rid the government of Communist influences. Various officers have declared themselves as willing to take action against the regime given just a little more time or just a little more justification. It is probable that the rising pressure of events will compel this group to declare its position, one way or the other, at any time from now on-although the possible result could be a split in the ranks. [There are unconfirmed rumors as of Saturday night to the effect that Colonel Diaz, the Chief of the Armed Forces, and some 40 officers had applied for asylum in various foreign embassies in Guatemala City, but these embassies have not yet confirmed this report.]/2/

/2/Brackets in the source text.

3. There were new defections on Saturday from the Guatemalan Airforce, one pilot flying out with his plane and several others obtaining asylum in the Salvadorian Embassy. The Guatemalan Airforce has thus far failed to produce any interception effort against the overflights by the Castillo Armas planes. However very heavy anti-aircraft fire is reported.

4. There is thus far no evidence to confirm the charges and propaganda of the Guatemalan regime of bombing attacks upon Guatemala. On the contrary there are eyewitness accounts of clumsy efforts to fabricate evidence of aerial bombardment (the home of Colonel Mendoza-one of the defecting airforce officers, was set on fire by the police). It is probable that some of the damage to oil storage facilities and other installations, attributed by the Guatemalan Government as well as by Castillo Armas, to bombing attacks is in fact the result of sabotage efforts on the part of Castillo Armas agents or other resistance elements.

5. There is considerable evidence of a determination on the part of the Guatemalan Government to mobilize and arm Communist-controlled student youth and labor (agriculture) organizations. At the same time there is evidence of a hasty attempt to mobilize additional strength for the army.

6. There are strong indications of mounting tension between the army and the Guardia Civil-the Communist influenced police organization.

7. We cannot confirm that either Puerto Barrios or San Jose has fallen to the Castillo Armas forces, but its is clear that there have been uprisings in these and other cities. A bridge on the key railroad line between Guatemala City and Puerto Barrios is reliably reported to have been damaged near Gualan.

Description of the Castillo Armas Movement

8. The action of Colonel Castillo Arenas is not in any sense a conventional military operation. He is dependent for his success not upon the size and strength of the military forces at his disposal but rather upon the possibility that his entry into action will touch off a general uprising against the Guatemalan regime. The forces of Castillo Armas entering Guatemala from Honduras are estimated to number about 300 men. These have now been joined by others from inside the country to make a total in excess of 600 armed men. (The majority of this number is equipped with rifles, sub-machine guns and 50 mm mortars. These weapons are non-U.S. manufacture.) Castillo Armas himself is expected to leave his command post in Honduras today and join one element of his forces near Jutiapa by plane, but thus far there is no word that an airfield has become available. From the command post which he proposes to establish at this location, he will endeavor to coordinate the activities of his other scattered groups throughout the country.

9. The entire effort is thus more dependent upon psychological impact rather than actual military strength, although it is upon the ability of the Castillo Arenas effort to create and maintain for a short time the impression of very substantial military strength that the success of this particular effort primarily depends. The use of a small number of airplanes and the massive use of radio broadcasting are designed to build up and give main support to the impression of Castillo Armas’ strength as well as to spread the impression of the regime's weakness.

10. From the foregoing description of the effort it will be seen how important are the aspects of deception and timing. If the effort does not succeed in arousing the other latent forces of resistance within the next period of approximately twenty-four hours, it will probably begin to lose strength.


70. Editorial Note

In a memorandum to the Director of the Policy Planning Staff, Robert R. Bowie, dated June 21, 1954, Jacob D. Beam of that Staff, stated the following with respect to a meeting held in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Samuel C. Waugh:

"4. The Shipping Officers in E complained bitterly that they had not been previously informed regarding the U.S. decisions about the handling of foreign ships suspected of transporting Soviet Bloc military equipment to Guatemala. They said they are having to deal with complaints from all over the world. It was explained that these decisions were taken on the highest U.S. Governmental level." (PPS files, Lot 65 D 101, "Chronological")


71. Editorial Note

On June 22, 1954, at 2:30 p.m., Secretary Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Assistant Secretary Holland met with President Eisenhower at the White House to discuss possible United States cooperation in replacing aircraft lost by Castillo Armas' forces. The President's daily appointment book for that date indicates that the meeting was off the record. According to the account presented in the President's memoirs, Assistant Secretary Holland opposed resupplying Castillo Armas with aircraft on the ground that if the action became known, Latin American countries would interpret it as intervention in Guatemala's internal affairs, and this would have an adverse impact on United States relations with those countries. The President stated further that he made the decision at the meeting to replace the aircraft through the country which had originally supplied this equipment to Castillo Armas' forces. For the President's account, see Dwight D. Eisenhower, The White House Years: Mandate for Change, 1953-1956, pages 425-426.


72. Editorial Note

In a memorandum of conversation summarizing the Secretary's staff meeting, held on June 23, 1954, at 9:15 a.m. in the Secretary's office, the Director of the Executive Secretariat, Walter K. Scott, recorded the following statement on Guatemala:

"Mr. Holland reported that the revolution in Guatemala was having serious anti-American consequences in a number of Latin American states. He was certain that it would affect our ability to secure a suitable resolution at the Montevideo Conference, if held. He stated further that it was our desire to maintain any consideration of this item before the Inter-American Peace Committee. He felt that this was pro forma; that its inability to act was so obvious that our support for using it would engender unfavorable opinion in the other States. He saw no action from this body adequate to arrest anti-U.S. feelings and thus help us at Montevideo. The tenor of his report was pessimistic. He felt that some strong statement or action on our part would be required to recoup the goodwill we had built up for our resolution. He had no specific recommendations to make at this time but his staff was devoting their continued attention to the matter." (Secretary's Staff Meetings, lot 63 D 75)

The Under Secretary of State for Administration presided at the meeting, which was attended by 15 other participants.


73. Notes of a Meeting of the Guatemalan Group, Held at the Department of State, June 23, 1954/1/

/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.001/6-2354. Secret. Drafted by Mr. Pearson.

Present: Holland, Atwood, Burrows, Jamison, Sanders, Weiland, Herron, Sparks, Woodward, Warren . . . Leddy, Pearson, Col. Clark, Dreier

1. Security Council Action

(a) Lodge informed Holland that the British and French representatives/2/ to the Security Council are prepared to go along with a Soviet proposal that the Council send peace observers to Central America. Lodge believed that he would have to go along unless an OAS organization announced that it was planning to send observers.

/2/ Sir Pierson Dixon and Henri Hoppenot, respectively.

(b) Holland later during the meeting called Lodge and told him the following: 1) our plans for action in the IAPC, which, if successful, would mean that that body would propose to send peace observers; 2) in his statement/3/ opposing the Guatemalan request for further Security Council action he could say that this is a dispute involving charges of Guatemala on the one hand and denials by Nicaragua and Honduras on the other hand, that this dispute was being handled by an inter-American organization just as it should be, that Nicaragua and Honduras would accept observers from an inter-American organization but not from the Security Council where the Soviet veto was used to prevent reference of the Guatemalan charges to the OAS; 3) as a second part of his statement before the Council, he should emphasize that there is another far more fundamental problem, namely, the attempts by international communism to penetrate the Western Hemisphere. This problem also is under study in the OAS.

/3/Apparent reference to Ambassador Lodge's statement made before the Security Council on June 25, 1954; for text, see USUN press release 1927, dated June 25, in Department of State Bulletin, July 5, 1954, pp. 29-31.

2. Preparation for IAPC Meeting

Since the IAPC was meeting this afternoon and since Lodge had made his call concerning the British and French attitude toward the peace observer proposal, it was necessary to plan the best course of action. The following actions were decided:

(a) Since Valle had, without instruction, sent a note/4/ to the IAPC requesting that the Guatemalan charges be taken up, Holland called Willauer to tell him to persuade the Honduran Foreign Minister,/5/ 1) to give Valle the instructions/6/ backing up the note which he had left with the IAPC and 2) to call Quintanilla direct concerning the Honduran position. Holland placed a call later to have Willauer ask the Foreign Minister to instruct Valle to ask that peace observers be sent by the IAPC.

/4/For a summary and quoted portions of the referenced note, dated June 22, 1954, see Annals of the Organization of American States, 1954, p. 240.

/5/J. Edgardo Valenzuela.

/6/In a memorandum to Mr. Holland, dated June 23, 1954, summarizing a telephone conversation with Ambassador Willauer which took place at 11 a.m. on that date, Mr. Leddy stated in part that the Ambassador was asked "to see whether the Government there could be encouraged to send Ambassador Valle some instructions for the presentation of the Honduran case before the I-A Peace Committee." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.00/6-2354)

(b) Holland called Sevilla-Sacasa and got him to agree to a plan whereby, after making the statement/7/ which he had already prepared, he would request that peace observers be sent to all three countries; indicate that his country was always prepared to receive observers from an OAS organization but that he would oppose observers from the Security Council because of the Soviet veto; suggest that the Committee invite the three countries to send delegates to discuss the arrangements for the peace observation mission.

/7/Reference is to the statement made by Ambassador Sevilla Sacasa before the IAPC on June 23, 1954, in which, inter alia, he denied the truth of Guatemalan charges against Nicaragua, explained that the rupture of diplomatic relations between the two countries resulted from Communist infiltration into Guatemala, and suggested that the IAPC's subcommittee on information should visit Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala; a translation of the text of the Ambassador's statement is attached to ibid., 363.1/7-654.

(c) Dreier was to talk with the Argentine, Mexican, Brazilian and Cuban representatives to the IAPC to persuade them to respond favorably to the request by Nicaragua and Honduras for peace observers and to say that they would recommend that their governments approve this proposal.

(d) Dreier was to persuade the Cuban representative to propose that the investigation begin with Guatemala.

(e) Burrows was to help Valle draft a note/8/ to the Committee complaining of the bombing of Honduran territory by Guatemala and also to see that he got in touch with Sevilla-Sacasa.

/8/No such note was found in Department of State files.

3. Draft Resolution

Secretary Dulles would not approve sending notes to the Foreign Ministers in an effort to get their agreement in advance that no changes would be made in the draft resolution without the unanimous approval of the sponsoring group. He indicated that it would damage his prestige if some of these countries did not accept. Consequently, it was decided to send a message to each of our Ambassadors instructing them to obtain the oral agreement of the Foreign Minister to our proposal to be confirmed at a later date in writing. When a total of fourteen countries, including ourselves, have approved this proposal the meeting will be called.

4. U.S. Plans if Armas Fails

(a) Holland observed that the messages coming in from all over Latin America bear out Warren's observation at the previous meeting/9/ that the revolution and particularly its failure would result in greatly lowered prestige for the U.S. in Latin America. Guatemala is more than ever the underdog and hence has very great appeal to all Latin Americans.

/9/Reference to the meeting of the Guatemalan Group held at the Department on June 22, 1954; the notes of that meeting, by Mr. Pearson, record Mr. Warren as having "expressed the view that if Castillo Armas loses we will probably lose at Montevideo." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central File 714.001/6-2254)

(b) As a general course of action we should take all steps possible to minimize the Guatemalan underdog position and we should also do everything possible to take the stigma surrounding the revolution off the U.S.

(c) The primary immediate actions discussed at this meeting were a) preparation for the IAPC meeting and b) advice to Lodge on the Security Council meeting, both of which were discussed above.



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