GENERAL- PBSUCCESS - SPECIFIC-LETTER FROM AMBASSADOR PEURIFOY TO ASSISTANT SECR

Created: 12/30/1953

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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from Ambassador Peurifoy to Assistant Secretary of State Cabot dated3

Attachedopyetter which was drafted by Second Secretary John C. Hill and concurred in by Counsellor of Eabassy Willism L. Eriec and First Secretary Andrew B. Hardlaw.

A copy of this letter fell into the hands of the writer,a talcing steps to forward it, inasmuch as it in possibleopy thereof might not beby Headquarters through other channels.

The letter servos to indicate the attitude of tho throe officers mentioned, and in view of the recoonendationa made therein, they, of course, will betate of expectancy during the coning months as to what is actually being donethis situation. Events of the future will bo interpreted try them in the light of the recommendations undo.

(l* Unless Headquartersopy of this lottor through Assistant Soc rotary Cabot, it la considered importantoint of view of our localwith Embessy personnel that no one. at Headquarters give the slightestthat Headquarters is knowlodgeable of tho contents thereof*

lA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM

RELEASEAS

S. Givloch

eST"

Enclosurei as noted

Distribution!

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Co?

American Shbassy Guatemala,3

SECRET Dear Jack:

You will have seen my Secret Telegramf Decembernecommended certain policies which we believe wouldlimate favorablehange ln tho Guatemalan In this supplementaryant to round out those recommendations by stressing ths need for. Government to work actively and quickly to assure that tie Guatemalan Government is taken over by elements willing and strong enough to eliminate Communist influence from tho Guatemalan political scene when the time comes. When the pressures suggested in ray telegtam become effective here, tha Communists as well aa the potential opposition to the regime may be expected to seek to exploit the situation and we must then be as sure as possible that elements favorable to our objectives are in the winning position.

esult of my conversation with President Arbenz and general evaluation of the situation since my arrival here two monthsm fully convinced that continuance of hisuntil its term expires7 will resulturther anil dangerous advance of CoTjauniam In this country, with all the attendant peril to our security and economic interests in this area. It might well then be too late to root it out without an Internal clash of the typo that occurred ln Greece andelieve further that the Internal opposition to the Arbenz regime is unlikely to act independently and thatust accept the risks inherent ln helping to bringhange of government here.

The pinclpal problem now isorce, which should if possibleuatemalan force, capable of taking control of the government with our aid and of besting the Communists in the troubled times which will almost certainly surround any hange is to be achieved in the nearhe most

Honorable John M, Cabot

Assistant Secretary of State Department of State

Washington, D. C.

Hon. J. M. Cabot

3

promising organization which meets the requlromonts fororce is the Guatemalan Armed Forces, possibly acting inwith such exiled military and political figures and domestic groups aa will cooperate. The internal "anti-Coanunist" opposition now is badly dividedorkable political program or an organlration immediately available. Itelieve, take many months of effort and failures to set the "antl-Comraunist" factions togetherlan with any chance of success; there would be continual high risks of exposure; and in any case it ia doubtful whether even in the evont that they win they could stick togetherieh wouldreduce the chancesommunist-influenced

I would therefore recommend that the Department select the Guatemalan Armed Forces aa the primary urea in which any effort to stimulate antl-govornmont action is most likely to be Though now loyal to this government thoy are basically opportunistic. Efforts to win over key military personnel must be done,now the Department is fully aware, so as to take the minimum risk of exposing our hand, byudicious mixture of our clandestine channels, our influence withanti-Communist governments and our contacts withexile groups together with such other contacts with the Military as we can maintain locally. It, of course, will mean expenditure and some risk of charges of intervention which could bo serious if the matter is clumsily handled. Out this risk must be accepted or we must be prepared to abandon this field to Communism.

The approach to subverting Lhe Armed Forcos should of course be flexible and wo ahould attempt simultaneously to develop the other groups, such as dissatisfied and opportunistic elements within the Administration and the "anti-Communist" opposition. While our effort should be concentrated for effectiveness on one group, we must bo prepared to shift quickly if our first approaches fail, and to work out combinations of forces ifoffers. In this connection, military personnel with government connections such as Colonel Elfego Konzon, as well as the Hanti-Coonunlst" movement, should be closely studied for any role they might usefully play.

The measures recommended in my telegram are Intended to be closely coordinated with the forgingon-Communist force to take over here, for of themselves they do not guaranteehange favorable to us would occur, xpect is that

Hon. J. K. Cabot

the program outlined In the telegram would (a) prepareand Guatemalan opinionhange and dull the charges of Intervention which may be expected toeveled at us, and (b) to createlimate in which important aegments of the population and especially the Armod Fcrces and propertied class folt their interests sufficiently threatened to be stirred from their present lethargyetter disposition to take tho risks necesaary to cooperate actively inewinto power.

We must be as certain as possible, however,on-Communist force is prepared to step in at the proper moment. The actual application of economic sanctions would probably hit the propertlod classes here harder and more quickly than it would the government, and If long-drawn-out it might well damage Irreparably the propertied class and prevent it from retarding the advance of Communiam. The Communists, of course, could then ho expected to exploit the situation with confiscatory taxes and measuros, economic sabotage laws,n order to complote the ruin of the conservative segment that they havo begun by their application of the Agrarian Reform Law.

uggest, ln short, has two complementary aspects: the measuros tolimate favorablehangein my telegram, and coordinated measures to win over andon-Comaunlst force capable of controlling theas urged in this letter. ee tho risks of exposure and recognize that the program would have to bo carefully worked out ln Washington and here, isfired attempt to change tho present Guatemalan Government would moat probably greatly strengthen tie Communists here and damage our standingif our partailurebec*roe generally accepted. How-evor,ee it. Communism Is slowly strangling this country, and delay will only face usnor'e difficult probelm later.

Sincerely yours.

John E. Peurifoy

Original document.

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