810.20 Defense/8–2845

The Ambassador in Guatemala (Kyle) to the Secretary of State

No. 538

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s unnumbered informal comment of August 21, 19454 concerning various despatches of this Embassy, and in particular despatch no. 247 of June 26, 1945, entitled: “Convenient Summary of Report of Bi-Lateral Military Staff Conversations with Guatemala—showing Present Guatemalan Military Strength and Recommended Organization”.

In its informal comment, the Department inquired whether the Embassy agrees that the Guatemalan Army now numbers 13,311, and whether Guatemala would be able to support and maintain an army of 10,806, including the proposed air force and 32 airplanes.

As indicated in the enclosure to despatch no. 247, only about 2,400 officers and men of the total infantry figure of 11,725 are organized into fighting units. This number of 2400, when added to the numbers of officers and men in the smaller specialized units, brings the total fighting strength of the present Guatemalan Army to 3,986 officers and men. The Embassy believes that this total constitutes the fighting strength of the Guatemalan Army at present for any practical purposes of defense. The difference between this figure and the larger figure of 13,311 would seem to be of significance only as a sort of “active reserve” which could be utilized for the most elementary type of fighting with considerable rapidity. It is understood that weapons are not issued to this larger group of men and that they would be important as replacements for the total of 3,986.

The Embassy believes that Guatemala might be able readily to support and maintain an army of 10,806, provided some special allowance were made for obtaining under lend lease, or by some other financially advantageous method, the equipment recommended for an army of this size in the Staff Conversations which were reported in this Embassy’s [Page 1084] despatch no. 247. Once this equipment was obtained, the budget for an army of this size could be $3,164,000 in 1945 as compared with an expenditure of $2,298,315 in 1944.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Robert F. Woodward,

First Secretary of Embassy
  1. Not printed.