THE DEATHS OF NICHOLAS BLAKE AND GRIFFITH DAVIS

Created: 3/29/1985

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Nicholasyear-old freelance journalist fromPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, and Griffithyear-old amateur photographer from Scranton, Pennsylvania who had resided In Guatemala for three years, were last seen on. At that time, they were walkingemote mountain area of El Quiche province, which isiles northwest of Guatemala City.

Blake and Davis traveled to the highlands toossible story regarding the Ejerdto Guemllero de los Pobreshe Guerrilla Army of the Poor. The EGP was one of four insurgent groups in Guatemala.

The Blake family investigation concluded that the two were detainedivilian Action Patrol (PAC) in Losistrict in Huehuetenango. The PACs are paramilitary groups comprised of civilians but are organized by the Army, which supervises their counterinsurgency operations. Three PAC members killed Blake and Davis for their possessions and because they were suspected of being guerrilla sympathizers.

Seven yearsilitary commissioner from the area came forward after being assured by Blake's family that no charges would be filed in return .'or the remains of Blake and Davis. He said that the bodies of the two men were moved from the site where they had been killed and were burned in order to conceal evidence of the crime. The remains of Davis and Blake were located and identified

lake's familyetition before the Inter* American Commission on Human Rights charging the Guatemalan Government with Blake's murderubsequent cover-up. The family alleged that the Guatemalan Government was legally responsible for the Blake and Davis deaths because the PAC was under its command. Tne Blake family continues to seek financial compensation from the Guatemalan Government.

CIA Reporting

reporting regarding the Blake/Davis casentil4 and consists of^BTSrationReports^everaU^eadauart^

flies. flUiBMHHMHM

unable to provide substantive information on the initial disappearance and deaths of Blake and Davis.

eadquarters Cable. Headquartersthe Station check new

developments or information related to the case.

tation Report The Station reportedriend of Blake's who was the ownerotelreported that heard from Blake throughpostal system. The card indicated that Blake waswell. Onrivate investigator hired by theBlake and Davis reported that the friend burned the cardreasons.

According to the Station Report, Blake and Davis were last seen on Marchrhe village of Llano, El Quiche near the Department of Huehuetenango in the western highlands of Guatemala. Despite warnings that there were EGP units in the area, Blake and Davis decided to continue on their own and on footoute that was not normally patrolled by the Army.

Onhe Commander of Militaryl Quiche) met with relatives of Blake and Davis and pointed out that the EGP units in his area consisted mostly of Indians who did not speak Spanish and who were indoctrinated to believe that all foreigners were witting collaborators of the Guatemalan Government. Furthermore, the Commander noted that these EGP units would killamera orair of pants.

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commander of MilitaryJ^^arned that, despite repeated efforts on the part of Army units to locate Blake and Davis, no additional informadon had been acquired conceiriing their whereabouts.he Guatemalan Army, nor the Station and Embassy were able to establish new leads that would shed light on the whereabouts of Blake and Davis.

eadquarters Cable.the Station that. Vice President had made afor an update of information oh the disappearance ofwas requested that the Station query

iources.

tation Report. The Station reported

times on the status of the Blake case. None provided any information on Blake's fate.

to the Station Report, members of theaccused the Guatemalan Army of either having killed Blakeup his death. The Station uncovered no evidence ofin Blake's disappearance.

The purpose of Blake's foray into El Quiche was to contact the EGP. Presumably, he expected similar treatment from them as he had received from the Salvadoran guerrillas However, the guerrillas of the EGP were not the same sort of sophisticated, publicity-seeking types that he probably found among the Salvadoran insurgents. The Station reported that Blake and Davis chose their route into El Quiche deliberately to avoid the Army and they hiked into the middle of an isolated EGP-controlled area for the specific purpose of contacting the EGP. It was likely that they were killed by the EGP. The Station commented that, for some unknown reason,rothers seemed unwilling to consider that the guerrillas were responsible for his death.

6 Station Report The Station referred to an6 New York Times article entitled, "Guatemala Rebels Accused of Slayinghat noted that members of the Blake family concluded that heriend were killed by guerrillas and not the Army as they initially and repeatedly had claimed. The

stated that the Guatemalan military waspressure from. Embassy on behalf of the ke family was preparing

toase against Guatemala in the Inter-American Court in an attempt to collect financial compensation for the lengthy search for Blake's remains and for the grief suffered by family members.

d that. should not expect Guatemalan authorities to collaborate in the investigations of past incidents if they must fear that their efforts will be used against themuit against the Guatemalan Government. Guatemalan authorities were in the process of retrieving four letters received from the Blake family and the Embassy expressing gratitude to Guatemalan Government officials for their cooperation in the Blake investigation. Guatemalan Government officials planned to use these letters in their defense of the Blake case.

ntelligence Report. The StationMPBMBphar President De Uon and the Guatemalan Government were confused with regard to the emphasis being placed by. Government on the fate of Guatemalan insurgent Efrain Bamaca. ^HlHHithat the Guatemalan Government understood completely the importance that. Government attached to the investigation of the extrajudicial killings of US. citizens Michael DeVine, Blake and Davis. However, the Guatemalans were baffled by the importance being attached to Bamaca, whouerrilla-terrorist Guatemalan,. citizen.

tation Report. Basedequest

from

earchMfor draft cables related to human rights casesHeadquarters.

contained no cables that were not forwarded to Headquarters. Other Reporting

receivedeports relating to Blake and DavisGuatemala Embassy, the Department of State, FBIS, andAttache Office (DAO).

tate Telegram. State reported that on Aprilriend of Davis reported to the Embassy that Blake and Davis had not returnediking trip in the Huehuetenango and

El Quiche area of Guatemala. They were expected to return onrccording to the friend. Government military unitsearch of the area.

BIS Report. FBISocal newspaper story that Blake and Davis disappeared onhile preparing to climb the Cuchumatanes Mountains, which servedideout for guerrilla groups fighting the Army. The twoeeting with the "Poor People's Guerrilla Army" (EGP).

BIS Report FBIS summarized media comments on the disappearance of Blake and Davis. The Guatemalan President commented that the missing Americans could have been taken hostage by the guerrillas.

zy

SEiPRET

5 FBIS Report. FBIS summarized an article that reflected that the whereabouts of Blake and Davis, who disappearedonflict zone, were still unknown.

5 Embassy Telegram. The Embassy reported that Carlecurity consultant -hired by Davis's family, visited the Embassy on Mayo review recent developments in the case. West said that onehone callemale caller who stated that Blake was well. Another source of West's said that he had sources in Managua who assured him that Blake was with the EGP and would be released circa

July l.

6 State Telegram. State reported that Mark Clark, who was with Blake and Davis prior to their trip to the highlands, did not believe that the EGP or the Guatemalan Army would kill two Americans because both groups had enough internal organization and discipline to ensure that their members would not murder foreigners. Clark believed that the local militia killed Blake and Davis and hid the bodies.

mbassy Telegram. The Embassy reported on the issues likely to arise during President Cerezo's visit to. Cerezo was reminded that Senator Edward Kennedy and President Bush had expressed an interest in the investigation of the Blake/Davis case.

April0 State Telegram. Stateistory of the case: When it was learned on5 that Blake and Davis were missing, the Embassy requested Guatemalan Government assistance. Army patrols were alerted and the Guatemalan Army followed upan search of the area. Embassy officers, traveled to the area andeaflets into the area. Inmbassy officers returned to the area and interviewed former guerrillas who defected to the Government. Inn informant alleged that Blake and Davis were killed by members of the local civil patrol. The informant provided the names of seven men who participated in burying the bodies. Inhe Guatemalan Minister of Defense agreed with the Embassy that all seven men should be interviewed. Embassy officers were present when three of the men were interviewed and denied knowledge of the fate of Blake and Davis. The military zone commander planned to interview the other four witnesses by mid

0 Embassy Telegram. Embassy officers traveled to Huehuetenango to be present during the questioningivil patrol member who was allegedly involved in the disappearance of Blake and Davis. He initially denied any knowledge of the case but later admitted that he had heard of the disappearance and discussed the matter with other civil patrol commanders.

0 Embassy Telegram. An Embassy officer accompanied Blake family members to Huehuetenango, where they met the zone commander. The Embassy officer spokeivil patrol member who allegedly was involved in the

murders bur. denied any knowledge of the disappearance of Blake and Davis.

mbassy Telegram. The Embassy reported that Blake family members, accompanied by forensic anthropologists and others, recovered teeth and bonesite. The Embassy commented that there was no doubt that Blake and Davis were murdered by the civil patrol, and not the guerrillas as was originallyrother of Blake's believed that they were killed on orders from the military zone commander, although there was no evidence to support his belief. The Blake brothers stated that the family would keep its promise not to seek indictment of the guilty parties.

mbassy Telegram. The Embassy reported that the remains of Blake were positively identifiedmithsonian medical anthropologist.

2 Embassy Telegram. The Embassy reported that the remains of Davis and Blake were located in March and June, respectively. Blake's brotheretter to the Ambassador and included new allegations that Guatemalan rnilitary officers may have ordered the execution of Blake and Davis. The Embassy requested that the Chief of the Guatemalan Army investigate the allegations.

AO Report The DAO reported that Blake's brother alleged that Army Lt. Col. Terraza Pinot was in the same highlandvillage in Huehuetenango as Blake and Davis on the day that the two were murderedivil patrol from that area. The Blake brother alleged

that the leadership of the military zone of Huehuetenango. including Lt. Col. Terraza Pinot, may have ordered the civil patrollers to carry out the killings and then participated in the cover-up.

tate Telegram. Stateomplaint filed by Blake's brothers before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The complaint sought several remedies,eclaration that the Guatemalan Government violated the American Convention on Human Rights when membersivil patrol killed Blake and Davis, and that it had failed to investigate the killings and prosecute those responsible. The Blake family requested that the Embassy communicate to the Guatemalan Government the family's willingness to discuss settlement directly with the Guatemalan Government.

3 DAO Report. The DAO reported hat,ocialAO officer explained to the Guatemalan Army Chief of Staff that no civil defense patrol members had been arrested for the murders of Blake and Davis, and the Army was being accused of covering up the involvement of the civil defense patrol members in the case. The Chief of Staff agreed that the Army should try to make some progress in this investigation.

5 Embassy Telegram. The Embassy reportedeeting that Ambassador Marilyn McAfee had with the Minister of Defense, who offered little hope of any new action or breakthrough on the Blake/Davis case. The Blake family requested an indemnification0 from the Guatemalan Government. The family's

sworn statements to the civil defense patrol members that no criminal charges would be pursued in return for locating the remains of Biake and Davis made it very difficult to pursue judicial proceedings against the patrol members.

5 Embassy Telegram- The Embassy summarized the resultseeting that the -Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) had with the Chief of the Presidential Military Staff on human rights cases. The DCM said that those involved in the murder of Blake and Davis by the El Llano civil patrol of Huehuetenango should be punished.

Personnel Recollections

IA personnel indicated they had no additional knowledge rdating to the deaths of Blake and Davis.

Original document.

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