The Chargé in Guatemala (Donovan) to the Secretary of State

No. 2017

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s airgram No. 543 of December 11, 1946,18 stating that during recent weeks the opposition has started a number of rumors to the effect that in view of the growing communistic trend in Guatemala, the United States looks with disfavor upon this country and is imposing certain economic sanctions.

In this connection there is enclosed a copy, in translation, of an editorial18 which appeared in La Hora on December 9, 1946 entitled “Mr. Braden in Action”. The editorial was written by Licenciado Clemente Marroquin Rojas, Minister of National Economy and owner of La Hora, and the Department will note that he states that the reports received by the Department of State emphasize the disorder into which the present administration in Guatemala has fallen. After a defense of Guatemala’s lack of experience in the management of its affairs, due to the lengthy periods of dictatorships, Marroquin Rojas goes on to state, “Mr. Braden, Under [Assistant] Secretary of State, seems to be [Page 893] watching our attitude with care and to be studying it in order to ascertain just where we are heading …19 And as to lead us back to a logical center path all that is needed is a jerk on the reins of economic interests, it would not be strange if that jerk on the reins were to be felt at any moment.”

… it is felt that the enclosed editorial, perhaps based upon reports of Mr. Braden’s recent conversation with the Guatemalan Ambassador in regard to the possible nationalization of the IRCA, as discussed by the Foreign Minister20 upon his return, reflects fairly accurately the attitude of a number of the members of the Government that there is a growing feeling of concern in the Department with regard to political developments in Guatemala, and that if measures are not taken to effect a decrease of communistic influence in this country, Guatemala will suffer economic sanctions.

This attitude was also expressed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in a conversation with me on December 9. Licenciado Silva Peña described at some length the Soviet attitude at the UN Meeting at New York21 and expressed strong admiration of the firm and straightforward position taken by the United States. He said that upon his return he had pointed out to the President his feeling that while there now appears a probability that it will be possible to cooperate with the Soviets, such cooperation must be in accordance with the firm policy of defending the rights of the democracies and not allowing the Russians to dominate the situation through constantly acceding to their demands. Licenciado Silva Peña said that he told the President that he felt that at this time Guatemala should take a strong stand with regard to the elimination of foreign labor agitators in this country, influenced by communistic doctrines.

Respectfully yours,

Andrew E. Donovan, ii
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Omission indicated in the original.
  4. Guatemalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eugenio Silva Peña.
  5. For documentation on the second part of the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York, October 23–December 16, 1946, see vol. i.