Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Caribbean and Central American Affairs (Newbegin)

The Ambassador of Guatemala25 called this afternoon at my request and was told that the Department had received information to the effect that the two C–47 planes, for which the Department had approved the issuance of a license on January 21 upon assurances from Dr. López-Herrarte, Counselor of the Embassy, that they were for the use of the Guatemalan Government, had in fact been delivered upon their arrival in Guatemala City to the hangars of Aviateca.26 I told the Ambassador that we had received further information that [Page 896] these planes were now being used on scheduled commercial flights. I emphasized that this report had caused the Department serious concern. The Ambassador stated that he knew nothing of the matter and had not realized that it had been discussed by Dr. López-Herrarte. He then telephoned the latter in my presence requesting a clarification. Dr. López-Herrarte confirmed that he had requested the Department’s assistance in obtaining the license and that he had done so at the request of the Guatemalan Military Attaché. I explained to the Ambassador that had we had any knowledge that the planes were being delivered to Aviateca we would not have approved the issuance of the license. I asked him to be good enough to verify the report that the airplanes had been so delivered and were being used on commercial flights, expressing the hope that were the report confirmed the Guatemalan Government would take whatever action might be necessary to remove the planes from Aviateca. The Ambassador said that he would send a telegram to his Government immediately explaining to them that if the report were true some means would have to be found for the Government to take over the planes. He said further that he understood the Department’s position perfectly, that he felt that it was entirely justified in its concern and he offered his profound apologies.

R[obert] N[ewbegin]
  1. Jorge García Granados.
  2. Aviateca, the Compañia Guatemalteca de Aviacion, S.A., was organized following the expropriation by the Government of Guatemala of the airline, Aerovias de Guatemala, whose principal stockholder was Alfred E. Denby, American citizen.