ATTEMPTS OF GUATEMALAN GOVERNMENT TO OBTAIN ARMS (W/ATTACHMENTS)

Created: 3/12/1954

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

MEMORANDUM FOR: Chief, UH

Attempts of Guatemalan Government to Obtain Arns

following notes axe transmitted in renponne torush roquost. Tour attention ls invited,s containing data which may be of usepresent purpose. Ue have for some time considered' thedescribed ln those paragraphs as of potential Importance,not attempt to deal with It in our recent study on Comnunism

In Guatemala because we have only classified sources for the

you think it worth while, we canurthersupporting evidence this afternoon, which night be cabled ^tomorrow.

Chief, RQM/OIS

Attempts of Guatemalan Government, to Obtain Anna

Guatemalan Government has been seeking to obtain arms

and ammunition from European sources throughout the term of the present administration, elected There have been many prea3 reports. In Guatemala as well as. newspapers, of attempts to acquire such supplies through Switzerland. Various attempts have been made to buy munitions In England, Italy and Spain, as well as Czechoslovakia.

Some supplies may have been obtained from the latter country during the past eighteen months. Acquisition of military equipment from England, Italy and Spain has been blocked, however,. Intervention. This intervention has occurred in the form of direct approach by U. S. Government officials to the prospective suppliers, leading to reported cancellation of negotiations, and by. Coast Guard seizure of one shipment.

The action of the U. S. Government has been determined by the State Department policy decision based on the apparent influence of international Communism in the Guatemalan Government. The question of arms and munitions acquisition by the Guatemalanthus comes back to the question of the validity of non-validity of the U. S. charge that the present government of Guatemala le in fact subject to influence, direction and potential control by agents of international Communism.

A. While that question remains at debate, the Guatemalan Government can argue that its decision to obtain arms for legitimate national defense and internal security, in order to resort to clandestine channels or channels disapproved under inter-American defense agreements, was forced upon it by the United States. Guatemala in tho past has. proposals for Hemispheric security to the extent of organizing its Army in consonance. training and arms standarization programs. In the latter part7 Ouatemala received from the U. S. under the Interim Allocationuantlity of U. S. standard military equipment. Kost of the ammunition received with these weapons has been expended during the ensuring years. In the present circumstances these supplies of ammunition cannot be replaced, nor can the Guatemalan Government obtain replacement parte for the U. S. tanks and airplanes in its possession.

5. The Chief of the Armed Forces, Col. Carlos Enrique Diaz, the Minister of Defense, Col. Sanchez, and the Chief of Staff, Col. Parinollo, have to tbe past appeared to be friendly and cooperative toward the U. S. military mission in Guatemala. The Army is believed to be loyal to President Arbenz. It has been infiltrated to some extent by Communist influence, mainly in enlisted and non-commissioned officer ranks. The degree of Infiltration doesn't appear to be serious, however. In the current political situation, the Communist forces have rather been able to"neutralizen the Army ig^ra) increasing pay, (b) making

special provision for Amy personnel to enjoy benefits froa tbe TOSS, Agrarian reform progran, public works, incraased school facilities, and other undertakings of the present government, aa well as by propaganda emphasis on theaos identifying the united Statss with reactionary.designs to overthrow the present government and deprive the armed forces of those benefits.

Available information does not indicate that Soviet or Satellite agents have approached the Guatemalans with offers of arms. Mir os lav Piroch. the Czechoslovakian Cosraercial Attache stationed in Mexico, hasumber of visits to Guatemala, however, and thereood possibility thst plans have been made for exchanging Guatemalan coffee for Czecho-slovakian manufactured goods, including armaments.

Some clandestine purchases of arms nay have been brought into Guatemala under invoices for machinery. The Guatemalan Government is known to have made hoavy purchases in that line. In the main these purchases appear to have boon as announced, especially for the purpose of advancing highwayajor objective of the Arbenz administration.

There la recent evidenceeal toightguns from Czechoslovakia has been completed and that the first delivery has been made. These guns were ostensibly purchased for the Army but have not been issued. The possibility arises that thay will never reach the Army but be held by Commonist-affiliated political and labor leaders for possible use against the Army by irregular forces of labor and peasant militia,erious conflict arise between conservative and extremist forces within the country. Carlos Manuel Pellecer, notorious Communist leader and agitator who lately has been the key figure in provoking disorders

and illegal land seizures around Eseuintla, under the agragian program, has talked of the formation ofrural committees of self-defenae" for use against "enemies of the revolution".

State,efers to this subject as follows i etition to the Superior Council of National Defense, the Onion of lot Bayersffiliated with the Coaaminist-controlled CTG, requested that obligatory military Instruction be given to the public to prepare them for any attempted foreign intervention. This petition paralleled the announcement made at the time the Agrarian Reform law uas passed2 by Carlos Manuel Pellecer, the Communist labor leader, that "Shockould bo formed within the labor unions. These announcements appear thus far to be onlyropaganda and preparatory nature, for despite recurrent rumors of para-military workers' units, no creditable evidence whatever has thus far turned up that workers havo actually received unit military training. **

10. As Minister of Defense, Major Jacobo Arbenz himselfthe creation of such militia. 8 it was reported that ho asked the leaders of the Partido Acclon Rcvolucionarlo. the Confederadon de Trabajadores de Guatemala and the PederaclonSuateaaltoco

SE8ffET

for secret lists ofaon to whoa area could bo entrusted in the event of an attempt by the Army to overthrow the Arevalo It is possible, although not definitely proven, that nuclei of labor and peasant militia have been maintained since that time and are in possession of secret caches of arms.

11. In case of serious agrarian disorders, tho Civil Guard (national police force) could not be counted on to supportforces. The chief officera of the Civil Guard have shown and stated that their policy is to defend the agent* and activities of the pro-Communist group presently directing the agrarian program.

Original document.

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