816.00 Revolutions/62: Telegram

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

12. My telegram No. 9, January 20, 3 p.m. The situation is daily becoming more serious. The Communists have taken Juayua, second city in importance in Department of Sonsonate, and are now attempting to capture the city of Sonsonate. There is fighting in Santa Tecla, 8 miles from San Salvador, and in Panchimalco, 10 miles from here. Government has cut off all telephone communication and has given orders that members of armed forces found with communistic propaganda will be shot immediately.

The government is apparently taking strong measures to suppress these outbreaks but states that it will not be able to control the situation unless it can obtain money. General Martínez at meeting of the principal merchants, bankers and coffee growers, yesterday emphasized the gravity of the situation and admitted that the government [Page 615] could hardly hold out without funds and asked for their financial assistance.

The government urgently needs $250,000 to pay for military supplies ordered in the United States and to pay salaries of the armed forces to date. Robinson Woodbridge is wiring to Manufacturer’s Chatham Bank requesting them to advance this amount if possible because of the unusual gravity of the situation and has suggested that they also get in touch with the State Department. If the Department could help in any way it might prevent the threatened establishment of a communistic state here accompanied by much bloodshed.

I and the principal Americans here believe that there is really serious danger to American and foreign lives and property. The British Chargé d’Affaires is in full agreement with me regarding this sudden and serious turn of events. I am reliably informed that the Communists will make an attack on the capital tonight.