REVIEW OF NIE-84, PROBABLE DEVELOPMENTS IN GUATEMALA (W/ATTACHMENT)

Created: 4/22/1954

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FDR THE DIRECTOR (Draft for Board consideration) SUBJECTi Review of NlE-8u, Probable Devalopraenta In Guatemala

lo The Board of National Estimates has reviewedProbable Developments in Guatemala, which was adopted by the IAC on In tbe course of this review tho Board consulted with Ambassador Peurifoy,H (Col.IR (Ur.2 (Colout the present memorandum has not beencoordinated. Dieouaslon of critical aspects of the problem la contained in the Enclosure. eor^6XclUei6uM are below.

Wo consider that tbe conclusions of NIE-oli remain valid Inssentials. In particular, we reaffirm the first conclusion, aa

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Tne current political eituation In Guatemala is adverse to US interests. The Guatemalan Connsuniatsolitical Influence far out of proportion to their email numerical strength. Their influence will probably continue to grow as long ae President Arbens remains in power.

Bte CottHuniste now effectively control the politioal life

ofe effective decisions on domestlo and foreign policy

aro reached, nut lu the officialutitchen cabinet

coaposed of Conaannieto and pro-CcatrOTniBta.

There has probably been an Increase in internal politioal *

the Arbena regime. There ia certainly increased

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desperation among opponition No possibility exiete, however, for an alteration of the situation by moans of internal political action. "Be believe that effective revolutionary action would require the active eupportajor portion of the Army.

disposition of tho krny toward the reglno ie therefore

crucial. We note indications of unrest* oven of dinaffection,

withinay snd considerevolutionary potential new

exists there. We do not believe, however, that the Guatemalan

Is likely to km eulieil If early spontaneous Array action.

Ceramists will be concerned to neutralise thepotential in the Army, and, with the passage ofsucceed in doing so.

7* The solidarity of the other Central American states in

-relation to Guatemala has weakened during tbe past year, and Aaaa

nay further debet lui aCV.

8. In view of the foregoing considerations, v* believe that

time lo on the side of the Cooaimiets in Guatemala,.

ETC LOS ORE

The Growth of Cppmunlat Political Influence

1b -he first conclusion of HTE-oU reads aa follows:

Tha current political situation in Guatemala is adverse to UShe Guatemalan Communistsolitical influence for out of proportion to thoir small numarlcal strength- Their influence will probably continue to grow ae long as President Arbena remains in powero

2o This conclusion reoaina vnlido Under tho patronage

of Arbens, Communist influonce in Guatemala has grown during the past year and will probably continue to grow, Thio growth is not the result of any innovation, butear's further development along linee previously esteblishedo For example:

There has been further development in the organisation of rural workersolitical force under Communist Influence and control (asanticipated in the sixth conclusion of The Comnunists have demonstrated

a capability for the rapid mobilization and assembly of considerable numbers of these workers for political

demonstration..

The Comnunists aro probablyapable of mobilising up0 of theso workero ae an armed militia available to support the regime in ano cannot confirm reports of the existence of such aforoe, but would considerogical davelopmont

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In tho circumstances. Thereod rcaoon to believe

that the required qusntltloo of jaall arms have been

distributed and cached under the 'control of Conaunist

agrarian organi&oro. It la not apparent that thla

putative militia has receivod any appreciable military

Even without such training, however, a

substantial number of rural workers, armed and organised,

could oxert considerable political and military force0

The Comnunlsts have strengthened their control of tbe

pro-Arbenx political parties- The Communist Party itself

lsbut crypto*Coaraunlote control the other parties

in the pro-Arbenz coalition and through thorn effectively

control the politioal life of tho country-

do Thoro is good reason to believe that tha

deoiolon regarding Ouatemalan domestic and foreign policy are reached, not In the official cabinet, butltahon cabinet compoeed of four Communista and six pro-CoOTmni ta ta

t

Arbona' Coaamnent to the CoanunlBtB

3, The third ooncluslon of HIE-Sb reads as follows*

President Arbena still exercises personal control of tbe Administration and of the Army and tho Polico0 It Is still possible for him to break his Una with the Ooranuniato and to nodorate the policies of his but lt ls highly unlikely that he will do aoo

a prinn^bl^hbraaV^atwvan^aa^a^

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be diemlaagd. He is too deoply coraitted, emotionally and politically, to axtricato hijaaolf0

Tha Absepco of Effective Politioal Opposition

5o The key suntenceaof the seventh conclusion ofead as follows-

There Is no likelihood that /internal/ opposition could alter tba course of the Government by politioal actiono It oould not succeedevolutionary attcspt opposed by the Amy>

60 He believe that thla co->cluBlon remains valid, Therfl

has probably been an increase of political diaaffjctlUH trmard tha Arbens reglms,, There is certainly increased desperation among opposition eleirentoo In present circumstances, however, the possibility of effective political action does not

existo We continue to believe that effective revolutionary

would require tha active supportajor portion of the ArmyP

The frsltjop of ^ho Gugfonalen Aigg

7. Tho olghth conclusion of RIBoods aa foUovai

Tho Anry la tho only orgonizod olemsnt In QoateoBla capable of rapidly and decisively altering tho pclitloal situation, ulok ehnngo of attltadelways possible, there Is no present rooaon to doubt theloyalty of the Amy high cosaand and of nost of the Amry to Arbenz. The Amy under Ite preaant leaders oould not be axpoetsd to take revolutionary action unions thay became convinced tbat their personal security and wen-being were threatened by Comunint infiltration and domination of the

6. Uo consider ths probable notion of the Aranr to be the critical factor In the situation. In Modification of the second sentoDOs of the quoted paragraph, wo note certain indications of unrost, even of disaffection, ataong Arsy offlcerB which suggost that the preoonditioa for rovolutlcoiary not ion speciflod in the third sentence nay bo approachingCol.owever, would reaffirm the second oentenos, dressing the watchful control which Arbens exarclsos over the Anay eoosand, tha aonaideratlona of personal advantage which bind key officers to the rogino, and tho dlopooitlon of the rank-and-file to follow their leaders. Thle differenceatter of emphasis rather than of essential substance. All would ngrooevolutionary potential now exists In the Guatemalan Arnry, but that the Guatemalan -probleu Is not likely

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9. The Conn anill bo oonc*?rnod to neutralize the

revolutionary potential of the Amy. With the paasage of tlae

they nay sueceedoing ao byradual purge of disaffected

(b) eubrorolon of tho enliotsd personnel,radual

reduotlon of the military capabilities of the Array by the govern-

mant'a failure to replace used weapons, equipment, and aesaniition,

and (d) further developmentorkers'

militiaounter-balanclns force. iVImaI

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Tbe Poaltlop of Other Central Arm-lean Rqpabllca

10. Tba ninth oonelusion ofoods ao follows!

he Governments of BI Salvador, Honduras, andfearful that the trend In Guatemala will load to Ccenuniot oubverslon and social upheaval In their own territories. Tbey are probably giving seriousto the possibility ofolitical change In Guatemala through elandastlne support ofaction there. It lo highly unlikely, however, that they would or oould mount an open militaryin Qoateoaln.

13. Thia conclusion reoaino valid. Prospective OSaid to these countries will take time to booowe effective and is not likely to altar tbe situation substantially. To the extent that It reassures then regarding their security against Guatemalan retaliation, lt may embolden these countries to render clandoBtino support to revolutionary activities In Guatemala. Open military intervention wouldoubtful adventure at best, all the more ao In vlev of Latin American sensitivity

on the subject of Intervention ea recently demonstrated anew at tbe Caracas Conference.

12. The current Imbroglio between Nicaragua and Cootu Rica has weakened Central Amerioan solidarity in relation to Guatemala. If long continued, it nay canoe Costa Rica to look to Guatemala for support. Tho approaching election in Ikmduraxi nroeents opportunities for Guatemalan intrigue In that country and the possibility of an adveres chnngo thoro.

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