GUATEMALA APPROACH - MEETING MAY 30, 1954

Created: 5/30/1954

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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fron Guatemala on the previous Wednesday,nd atrequest

arranged for both of them to com tohome, which they did onofew moments beforerushed aside

incidental conversation and went to the heart of the natter at onoe, speak-

with little interruption for almost tbr hours.

The arms shipment fron Burore arrived while ho was thore and was a

sensational development but does not in effect change the situation. It ia

that Guatemala now has Csech arms but the fault lies with the

strenuously aought for three years to acquire arms from the United States but was prevented from doing so. When the Army gotesperate oltua-

States Government end not with tbe Guatenslan Army because tbe latter

2 Lu

LOof not having arms ort waa Justified in going wherever

could to fill its needs, even though it acqulrea equipment not ininter-American standardisation and counter to the Army's ownimself come to Washington

as Military Attache* with the special commission of. armsUnited States Government, but he was rebuffed; the letter hothe Pentagon, inopy of whichpreviouslyclear-cut evidence that there was no hope of getting necessary

nclueively

arms in this country. r.is-: in Guatemala do not, he is hopeful, yetopy of that letter but if they did it wouldery strong weapon in their hands as it did nhow conclusively that the honest efforts of the

Guatemalan

Gustcrslnn Arxy to. arms were defeated as late aa about sixond If the Aray thereafter nought purchase In Europe, early inwaa Justified in doing oo in ita own selfiald that

^ fully understood the Justification of the unitedat that Use, in view of the poeaibilltlei; of elimination ofofficers from tha Guatemalan Army but said that

there is no point now in reviewing the matter further aas history. He did want to emphasize that he felt MtaeOon the Guatemalan Army for acquiring Cuech arms la unjustified and offensive to the Army.

here la no danger from this acquisition beoauae the arms are fully in the hands of the Army, which will guarantee their strict control. Ihe shipment waa known to be coming for aome time before arriving) he himself knew of it for five days before the ahlp docked, end the feet that the Minlater of Defense hlmeelf supervised tba unloading and sent the arms to Guatemala City under military guard for depoalt in the principal garrisons ia proof that no mlausa will be made. The quantity of arma la not out of line ofa needs and the kind of arma are only infantry weapons, of standard type,ew light field artillery pieces. There are definitely no tanks or plnnes in the shipment. He did not see any of the arma himself but knows that the Minister of Defenseomplete list of tbe shipment and was reliably assured that thla list comprleea only tbe above mentioned kind of arma. They arehreat to any of Guatemala's neighbors.

ublication of the arrival by the United Statesistake in ao far as Itcandal in Guatemalaatter in which the armed forces aro

deeply

deeply end rightfully interested. The net effect of the arms shipment is to make the Army much stronger and to raise its morale, both of vhich contribute to its preparedness to combat the Communists. Por thiB reaaon, the armsshould not be made an international issue as the United States has already done.

neighbors have no roason to fear aggression. jiself went to Salvadoray's visit and om/scted hla friends

in the Salvadoran military, who received him with the same cordiality as before. They were not worried over the arms shipment and indeedoast to the Guatemalan Army's better situation. These officers know him personally and have full confidence in him and believe him when be tells them that theArmy will not be used ao an Instrument of attack against Salvador. The Honduran situation is somewhat different because the Communists fronhave been working ln Honduras, but this does not mean that the Guatemalan Army would ever take any steps against Honduras, whichountry with no effective Amy organization and no military defense system.

problem of the Communists in Guatemala remains as before,isore determined opinion in the armed forces to take steps ychological atmosphere Is now ripe for some aotion, and it must

be taken very aom because the Comunista are boasting that nothing ishappen in spite of all of the fuss about the arms shipmentso thathappens, they will be stronger than before and will have profittedwhole incident.spoke with numerous people ln all levels

of society! businesrroen. Army officers, coffee planters, tradesmen, clergy,

and

and many peraonal friende and from all of thaaaiewpoint which la not merely hia own butubstantial oroaa aeotlon of responsible opinion. The concluaion la that there la now adequate organisation to talis stops against the Communiats and what la required ia an lneldent to provoke action. The organisation la both in tba Army and in underground civil groups; he doaa not have daUlla himself, even of the Army line-up, but accepts the strong assurances of hia Army colleagues that theylan end are reedy to aot. The beat meana to aet their action ln motion la toharp economic crisis, whioh can be done very eaaily by cutting off petroleum lmporta by Guatemala. Thla would paralyse transportation lneek and would areatourore that the Army would be perfectly secure in moving againat tha CoBEuniBta. He does not believe that thla aot oould ba turned by the Coamiunlets against tha United ft*tee, whose oil companies are tha suppliers of tha petrolemause th* general public is waiting for the opportunity to do something against the Communists. Tha atop ahould only be taken on an unofficial basis by tha companies themselves by refusing to make more deliveries because their pending bills are long overdue) if tha Government thereupon promptly pays beck bills, tha companies should beosition to say that they oannot resume shipments at once ea their schedules have bean dislocated by the teaporer suspension. The plan ahould involve that at leeat two and preferably three weeks minima time elapse without any oil imports. All public transportation {trucks, buses, taxle) runs on gasoline and the railroad does not reach the most populated areas outside of Guatemala City.

Tha

mi

Tba raaBoo for the present state of mind in Guatemala le that the

Communists have over-step pod tbemselTee, embarking on armlgn of terror in the rural areas. Ho one feels his life is safe and land values arein face of the illegal application of the Agrarian Reform Law. The murder of the anti-Communist labor leader whose body was found ln Lake Atillon,drowned, has stirred many people deeply; this should be strongly publicized.

n the other hand, the armed forced are well disposed toward the United States and are prepared to cooperate. This vas shown during hie own stay by the cordial reception given Colonel Glass, who was welcomed to the Military School and was everywhere received as an old friend; even newspaper notices on him were very favorable. Tbe United States military missions are of real value in continuing the friendly association and should not ln any case be removed, aa they are well thought of by the Guatemalans. To remove them would beajor error, as it would not only lose tbe link with tbe armed forces but would open the door to bringuropean mission which might be either Czeoh or relish. The fact that the Army will how use Czech arms is no reason why the missions should not stay because the Guatemalan Army alreadyixture of equipment, including Czech.

Col -e! did not know. Would itolidification of opinion and national

senticuitt behind the Government? Ke felt this is not likely, even though

anything elae that oould be done as It would not compromise any foreignnor the inter-American system. If thla step ahould fall, it would be necessary to go on to other steps aa once embarked on this road it ia essential to carry through, regardless of ultimate coat.

n ted out that aome inter-American aotion la nowupon and steps would probably be taken in the coming month to that this might succeed but in itself is not smove ae It will cost so much in the way of bitterness, foreigndomestic dissension and lasting wounds. It is far more deairableproblem be settled Internally by Guatemalansthat if atopsuspension of petroleum imports) should notfurther steps would have to be under government 'auspices andeuoplcep as, for inatanee, none of the coffee buyers wouldall of them were compel led to act under some kind of Government replied that this would of course have to be studied asstep on ooffee would absolutely break tha national economy and hethat in the next four months, before the crop la harveated, privatecould be curtailed so ss to create the aome kind of immediateas would rssult from suspension of oil imports.

"tending up to leave, etsted with considerabletheroanger of mistake in poliay by the United StateB at thismust not lose sight of tha Guatemalan Army, which la the official,and bonorahle force to be employed for solution of the problem. A

movement

a afoot to attack the Army, which he and hla fellow offloere could notoment tolerate) they muet defend and will defend the Integrity and the honor of the armed forcee. He knows of Castillo Armas but does not think that he can accomplish anything In Guatemala as he does not have the support of any considerable number of Army personnel and bis strength from outside the country Isf he bad any of the strength claimed for him, he should haveaster stroke in descending on ruerto Barrios and selling the whole shipment which was lightly protected by nothing moreattalion of troops,force which Castillo Armas should have been able to cope with. The fact that he did nothing when he could have accomplished, at onetep which would probably lead to overthrow of tho Government is indication that be is not espable ofevolution. Even the attemp would be undesirable because lt would lead to bloodshed and the sacrifice of innocent Uvea, which is not necessary if the Guatemalan Army can act itself inaide the country. The attempt to sabotage the railroadeel attempt and was probably Inspired by Castillo Armas; be himself saw the dynamite eharges which did not go off and while thoy were homeaade they were nevertheless real end were tbe kind of thing which would be put together Inining country. The Army had pursued the saboteurs, who were four in number and were armed with Bub-machine guns. One of them killed (also one msjor ln the Guatemalan Army) and the other three escaped into Honduras.

Ii Concluding, he said that any future contacts must be handledost confidential basis as thlaery serious business In which death Is the penaltyistake as Is witnessed by the body In Lake Atitlan.

promised him that this would ba the way of handling the relationship.

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