814.796/2–1346: Telegram

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


64. Urtel 74, Feb 13, 6 p.m.28 Dept does not concur in view that the two C–47 planes should be administered by Aviateca. While it is not necessary to impute bad faith to President Arévalo, FonMin or members of Guatemalan Emb here fact remains that license was granted for their export solely on the assurances from Guatemalan Emb that planes were for use of Guatemalan Govt in its military program and not for Aviateca. Had there been any intimation that Aviateca was even indirectly concerned the license would have been withheld. The Depts serious concern was brought forcefully to attention of Guatemalan Ambassador by one of its officers on Jan 28, (see memo of conversation transmitted informally to Emb) with request that if facts were in accord with Depts information immediate steps be taken to remove the planes from Aviateca. Any other course would jeopardize position of this Govt in seeking satisfactory solution of problem arising from expropriation of Aerovias. Continuation of connection [Page 897] with Aviateca would necessarily mean that Dept would view any further request for planes or aviation equipment from Guatemalan Govt in light that final destination might be Aviateca.

You are accordingly instructed to make the Depts position entirely clear to the FonMin and request that immediate steps be taken to comply with assurances given by Guatemalan Emb. Please inform Dept of results of your conversation.29

  1. Not printed; Ambassador Kyle reported that the Guatemalan Minister for Foreign Affairs (Silva Peña) had stated that planes were for Government use but, lacking competent pilots, the Government had turned them over to Aviateca for operation largely in connection with a Government-sponsored project (814.796/2–1346).
  2. Ambassador Kyle reported in telegram 98, February 26, 1946, noon, that the Foreign Minister had informed him officially that at a Cabinet meeting on February 25 the Government decided definitely to withdraw the C–47 planes from Aviateca and place them under the Minister of Communications (Chacón) effective immediately (814.796/2–2646).

    In despatch 1201 of March 22, 1946, Ambassador Kyle reported that Guillermo Toriello, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, and at that time attorney for Aviateca, had discussed with him on March 21 the decision of Aviateca officers to refuse to comply with the Government’s request to turn over the two C–47 planes, on the grounds that it had no legal right to make this request, since the Government owned 30 percent of the stock in Aviateca, and, further, because if the planes were disposed of, it would ruin the company as there were no other planes available. Ambassador Kyle also reported statements by Ambassador Garcia Granados a few days before that neither Aerovias nor Aviateca had a legal contract as they had not the final approval of the Guatemalan Congress (814.796/3–2246).

    In despatch 1492, June 27, 1946, Ambassador Kyle noted the possibility that Congress would declare illegal the contract under which Aviateca, the successor company to Aerovias, was operating (814.796/7–246).