cia historical review program
T PBSUCCESS RYBAT classification
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from hief of Station, Chief
sptciFtc- Meeting with SWALLOW
Onay, Graham L. Page, accompanied by ESQUIRE (who had made the necessary arrangements the day previous) called upon SWALLOW at hisresidence in Guatemala City. It was pointed out to SWALLOW that PAGE, tnougn in no official capacity, would be able to reflect some of the thinking prevalent in responsible American circles on the highest policy-making level of the Administration. There can be little doubt that SWALLOW immediately and fully grasped the distinction we were trying to convey.
We told SWALLOW that while It would be inappropriate for the JMBLUG to raise certain issues reflecting excessive American preoccupation with tbe internal affairs of Guatemala, PAGE wasosition to give it to hia straight without necessarily implicating the United States government, JMBLUG would undoubtedly be willing to vouch for PAGE's bona fide should SWALLOW decide to seek such assurance; the substance of PAQE's message, however, was unlikely to get official backing, all through our conversation the implication was clearly that SWALLOW accepted PAGE's bona fide without questioning.
SWALLOW, who in official American circlesnique reputation for personal probity aod whose dedicated opposition to communism has never been questioned, is the prototypeoung, tough, healthy, athletic obviously endowedeen and intelligent appreciation of the political situation and with no illusions whatsoever as to the magnitude of the danger esult of developments in Guatemala. In talking about tbe attitude of the Guatemalan people and specificall the officers* corps, his remarke breathed scarcely veiled contempt and he repeated corrected himself in deference to the presence of ESQUIRE. The trend of our conversation and certain concreteFade hv swallow clearlv indicated that
and that his desire to be ol service was mainly prompted by this under-
told SWALLOW that the United States had cone to the firmaccomplish the removal of the Arbenz regime. Recent developments andefforts of the Guatemalan government to play down the seriousness ofissue had merely served to stiffen that resolve. In adherence to the
principlet of good neighbor policy the United States Qovernsent did not feel at this stage that it could afford to interfere directly In the internal affairs of Guatemala. It was still our belief that the Guateaalan people themselves could and would take care of the situation. For that reason, CALLIGERIS had found unofficial American backing in his endeavor to overthrow the Arbens regime.
S. row? of private Americans, referred to as the consejo, in league with CALLIGERIS J fofmeaed duatatand was directing moves designed to unsaddle arbens and Ais associates. The underlying concept of its blueprint for action was toivilian uprising inside of Guatemala. Success and failure of this enterprise would hinge essentially upon the attitude of the Army in each an event. This in turn would largely be determinedmall group of officers in the Army High Command, in effective control of the armed forces, visTANBEL-l, SMILAX, and STANDEL-2.
, 6. PAGE'e function ih Guatemala aaa to impart to tnie Army group the koowle of American determination to thwart the attempt of International communism toee-tern Hemisphere icachhead in Guatemala. In pursuit of this objective, the consejo was anxious to avail itself of SWALLOW'S good services ineliable estimate of the situation as regards the anticipated reaction of the Army High Command to the eventuality of an armed insurrection. It was further desired to effect direct contact between PAGE and selected ranking officer who oould be depended upon not to disclose to tbe government what they would be told. Applying those standards, the consejo had cone to tbe conclusion that the only member of the aforementioned gpup, meriting trust, was SMI lax. Our request to SHALLOW was therefore to layeeting between PAGE and SMILAX "on neutral ground." SWALLOW, in remarking upon the feasibility of the High Jommand project, pointed out that we were likely to be facederysituation. The Guatemalan government had been successful in corrupting theorps to an unprecedented extant, mainly by means of handing out monetary and other material inducements. Heitherorould possibly be counted upon to hold inessage of the type PAOE was contemplating to impart. Mere likely than not they would advise Arbenz.
7. PAGE interposed that tbe consejo was completely devoid of illusions as regards the trustworthiness of the individuals mentioned by him. However, it was felt that the degree of American involvement in PBSUCCESS might conseivablyeterminant factor and swaying those elements of the officers' corpsthis time still eed their salvation in backing Arbens. For that reason, also, would the consejo raise no objections should SWALLOW decide to pass the gist of its message to Armyorn he feels he can trust. SWALLOW answered that he appreciated this point.
egarding SMILAX, PAGE mentioned that those American officials who have had dealings with him are holding him in universally high esteem. While it was realized that he did not actually exercise effective control over any important segment of the armed forces, he was bound toollowing among his fellow-officers. It was not intended, PAGE stressed, to maneuver SHILAX into aposition from which he could only extricate himself by throwing in
with the resistance. The fact that the meeting was going to take placeaegis as it were andhould afford him sufficient
assurance that it was not intended to abriagefreedom of decision. All we were desirous of accomplishing at this stage was to present to SKLLAX our estimate of the situation and to place ourselves at his disposal for any question he aright choose to ask. SWALLOW expressed the conviction that SKJXAX wholose personal friend of hie would give his consent to attend the meeting.
9. SWALLOW mentioned thatonthalf ago, SUMAC-4his intercession to layeeting with
This meeting had taken place at his t esidence anaad been expounding in considerable detail upon wMys and means of accomplishingoverthrow.ew days later Arbens had confronted him with an almost verbatim recital of what transpired. SWALLOW laughingly observed thatf he had two mothers, would sell them both.
beenon-aggression pact by the Guatemalan government;offer was made orally* SWALLOW reported this ln person tcthey bothhearty laugh." Guatemala was currentlyalculated policy of gaining time at all cost. Every move made by the government should be viewed in that light. No doubt the current phase in Guatemalan developments waa characterizedituation of flux and should be considered as moat propitious from the point of view of starting anything. The Guatemalan government was in desperate neederiod of consolidation.could assure us that it would take fron eight to ten months beiore the Army had gained mastery over the uee of the arms recently delivered* No instructors had arrived yet. Once they arrived, the training of Guatemalan instructors alone would take an unconsionably long time.
SWALLOW emphasised that the arms deliveryistinct threat to the security ofAs we knew, hityears in Guatemala had been devoted to protecting his oountry against communist penetration* If, therefore, any of the new arms should be aade available to non-Army elements and ultimately be smuggled into his country, aome action would have to be taken, be therefore proposed to seends soon as possible and to tell them that if this ahould come to pass, the full responsibility for thewould rest with the Guatemalan Army. This, he pointed out, wouldost appropriate occasion to convey tondthe gist of PAGE'S message. PAGE observed that it would probably be even more effective if this message could be imparted tolone-.an.as much as there was some faint indication that he is not as certain regarding the wisdom of Arbens1course
as he used to be heretofore. SWALLOW agreed ttbat this nightood idea.
12. It should be noted that SWALLOW spoke about CALLIGERIS inthe highest admiration, describing him as the only nan who couldthe existing situation. PAGE stated that CALLIGERIS was enjoyingtrust of the consejo and we would do everything ln our powerhis enterprise. In this connection, PAGE remarked offhand thatnot enjoy American backing contrary to what he *av have led
to believe. SWALLOW immediately rejoined thatno
illusions whatsoever about ERRATIC'e effectiveness, having reached his ownmainly on the basis of SWALLOW'S reporting. In fact ERRATIC had been tryine consistently to have SWALLOW bring him and the President together, to no a>
15. As you doubtlessly realise, certain calculated riska had to be taken in bringing about this meeting. We are fully consious of those risks and consider them worth taking. Least among then is the probability that SWALLOW will wake come mention of his meeting with PAGE to JMBLUG. Precautions by way of back-stopping PAGE have been taken through the station. In view of the fact that PAGE is, in actual fact, poaching upon JMBLUG's preserve, it was deemed advisable to keep him advised. It would have been detrimental to the accomplishment of PAGE'S mission had we enjoined SWALLOW from talking to JMBLUG.
The likelihood of SWALLOW'S relating what transpired to his President has also (been considered. PAGE sees no harm in this. The possibility of his talking inadvertantly in the presence of hostile elements should not be rated too highly. SWALLOW is no neophyte In conspiratorial matters and is bound to realise that his patronageeeting between PAGE and SMILAX should it leak out, would undoubtedly lead toSWALLOW is going to be privy to PAGE'e talks with SMILAX, an unavoidable contingency under the circumstances. Inasmuch aa the firat meeting will mainly serve the purpose of indoctrinating SMTLaX, it is unlikely that operational pattersensitive nature will turn up.
My plans regarding SMILAX will be submitted to you by separatereat deal will depend upon his reaction to our initial approach. At the
risk of stating the obvious,oint out again that any manifestation-of strength behind PBSUCCESS,any tangible indication of American backing, is bound to redound to the benefit of my talks with members of the Army Highoted with regret that my suggestion of Indicating in some veiled fashion that the underground movement enjoys American backing has obviously fallen flat. ODACJD'b latest statement lacked some of the essential ingredients which might serve to engender active resistance and which in the last analysis are bound to determine which way the Army High Command is going to turn.
is scheduled to leaveon4 andto return onune, he promised to extend an invitationas soon as he gets back and to notify ESQUIRE regarding time and datenext Beetlng,
Graham L. Page
BSUCCESS RYBATOriginal document.