816.00B/44: Telegram

The Chargé in El Salvador (McCafferty) to the Secretary of State

9. During the past 3 years and especially during the Araujo administration, communism has been permitted to be spread throughout Salvador. It is now very well organized and has been actively carrying on radical propaganda. Since the revolution the leaders have taken advantage of the unsettled condition of the government to intensify their activities and have succeeded in inciting the farm laborers to take over control of several large coffee plantations and the government has been obliged to use force to expel them. About 10 days ago in the city of Ahuachapán the Communists attacked the government offices and were driven off by the police and the National Guard and it is estimated that at least 30 people were killed. An active radical campaign has been carried on in Santa Ana. The night before last communistic activities were discovered among the soldiers of the infantry barracks here. A number of sergeants were under arrest last night. A crowd of several hundred Communists including students well armed and with dynamite bombs attempted to attack the cavalry barracks here but were repulsed. It is said that a number were captured including the notorious agitator Augustin Marti.

It is difficult to obtain absolutely accurate information and while the details of the above may not be exact I believe that they are fundamentally true. The de facto government claims that it has the situation well in hand. It is difficult however to ascertain to what extent the loyalty of the Army has been undermined by radical propaganda. Even the most sober-minded Salvadoreans and foreigners are becoming deeply concerned regarding the situation and fear that the authorities may not be able to continue to suppress these communistic outbreaks. While I do not wish to be an alarmist I am inclined to feel that the present situation is serious.