814.00–TA/12–3151: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Guatemala


A–103. The Mutual Security Act (Public Law 165—82nd Congress) approved by the Congress on October 10, 1951,1 contains two provisions which the Director2of the Mutual Security Program3 has determined apply to the technical cooperation program in the other American republics.4

These two provisions are as follows:

“Section 511 (b) No economic or technical assistance shall be supplied to any other nation unless the President finds that the supplying of such assistance will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace, and unless the recipient country has agreed to join in promoting international understanding and good will, and in maintaining world peace, and to take such action as may be mutually agreed upon to eliminate causes of international tension.

“Section 515 All countries participating in any United States aid program or in any international organization receiving United States aid shall be required to so deposit, segregate, or assure title to all funds allocated to or derived from any program so that the same shall not be subject to garnishment, attachment, seizure, or other legal process by any person, firm, agency, corporation, organization, or government when in the opinion of the Director any such action would interfere with the attainment of the objectives of this Act.”

Another section of the Act requires that the recipient countries must agree to the provisions of Section 511(b) within ninety days after passage of the Act (i.e. on or before January 8, 1952) or the assistance must be terminated.

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As you are aware the Point IV Agricultural Mission has been operating in Guatemala without an agreement for a year and a half—the Rubber Development Program for approximately six months. Continuation of the programs in this manner was agreed to as a temporary expedient by the administrator of the technical cooperation program even though it did not strictly conform to general procedure established pursuant to the Point IV legislation passed by Congress. As you will recall, the Department had a dual motive in adopting this procedure. On the one hand it did not wish to extend to Guatemala the full measure of cooperation that it was offering to more friendly nations; and, on the other hand, the existing state of affairs in Guatemala was recognized as being fluid and the Department did not deem it wise to terminate long-range programs which were doing good work (one of them on a commodity of strategic value to the United States) and which might be utilized to good purpose in its efforts to influence developments in Guatemala. Nevertheless a limitation was placed on technical cooperation in Guatemala to the effect that no new programs would be introduced and no existing programs would be expanded.

Because of the continuing atmosphere of hostility in Guatemala toward the United States and United States interests, the Department has increasingly over the last several months come to doubt that the interests of the United States are being served by the continuation of our programs in Guatemala. No final decision on their withdrawal has been taken, however, as you are aware. Nevertheless, pending a final decision, the Department now feels that the programs in Guatemala must be placed on the same footing as those in other countries with the Government of Guatemala formally undertaking to meet the requirements stipulated in all applicable technical assistance legislation.

In view of the foregoing, if the existing technical assistance programs are to be continued, it will be necessary to negotiate and conclude in the immediate future agreements covering the Agriculture and Rubber Programs. While the January 8, 1952 deadline referred to above is not to be considered inflexible and may be extended, the agreements will nevertheless have to be concluded as soon as possible. These agreements must embody the conditions required by Congress in legislation relating to technical assistance, which are those set out in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the proposed draft of a note regarding the Rubber Development Program which was forwarded to you under cover of instruction No. 18 of October 4, 19515 and the two provisions of the MSA quoted above.

With regard to the two provisions of the MSA it is suggested that Section 511(b) be incorporated in the agreements in the form of a preamble as follows:

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“Considering that the peoples of the United States and of Guatemala have a common interest in economic and social progress and that their cooperative efforts to exchange technical knowledge and skills will assist in achieving that objective, and

“Considering that the interchange of technical knowledge and skills will strengthen the mutual security of both peoples, and develop their resources in the interest of maintaining their security and independence, and

“Considering that the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Guatemala have agreed to join in promoting international understanding and good will and in maintaining world peace, and to undertake such action as they may mutually agree upon to eliminate causes for international tension.”

The Embassy will note that the language used to comply with the requirements of Section 511(b) is similar, and in some cases almost word for word, to language embodying commitments which Latin American countries have made from time to time in such treaties and agreements as the Rio Treaty and the Charter of the Organization of American States,6 and most recently in resolutions at the Fourth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.7 The Department suggests, therefore, that the Embassy may want to approach the Guatemalan Government on the basis that these provisions are simply a restatement of existing commitments.

As noted above, Section 515 of the Mutual Security Act requires all countries receiving assistance to give assurances regarding garnishment, attachment, seizure, etc. This section was enacted out of concern by Congress over the type of situation which arose when funds intended for assistance to Greece were attached in Belgium in the course of the past year. It is recognized that in certain situations attachments are possible on United States foreign aid funds wherever there is an assistance program of any kind in any area. Thus, it is deemed necessary to ask all the countries to agree to the anti-attachment provision which is considered the minimum step which must be taken now in order to comply with the statute. It is suggested that Section 515 be incorporated in the agreements as an article as follows:


“The two Governments will establish procedures whereby the Government of Guatemala will so deposit, segregate, or assure title to all [Page 1453] funds allocated to or derived from any program of assistance undertaken by the Government of the United States so that such funds shall not be subject to garnishment, attachment, seizure or other legal process by any person, firm, agency, corporation, organization or government when the Government of Guatemala is advised by the Government of the United States that such legal process would interfere with the attainment of the objectives of the program of assistance.”

The Department recognizes that the language suggested above may be too stylized in the event you should consider it appropriate or necessary to keep the negotiations on a more informal plane. The Department is therefore prepared to give sympathetic consideration to such changes in language as you may suggest, provided that they do not alter the sense of the MSA provisions in question.

If in your opinion negotiation of these agreements is not feasible at this time and you believe it would be harmful to over-all United States policy toward Guatemala to endeavor so to negotiate, there will be no other alternative than to inform the Guatemalan Government that present technical assistance missions will have to be terminated in the near future. The Department would prefer, however, and hopes that this procedure will be possible, that an attempt at negotiation be made in order that, should the negotiations be unsuccessful, the onus for termination of the programs should rest on the Guatemalan Government because it was unable or unwilling to accept conditions which have been agreed to by most other countries in the world.

As agreed while you8 were recently in the Department on consultation (reference memoranda of conversation dated October 10 and 11, 19519 regarding the Agricultural and Rubber programs, respectively), the decision regarding which Ministry to negotiate with (Foreign Office, Agriculture, INFOP10) and by what instrument (agreement, exchange of notes, exchange of letters) will be left to your discretion. The timing, however, can now be discretionary only within the limits described above.

It will also be necessary to negotiate with the Guatemalan Government to amend by appropriate means the existing IIAA Roosevelt Hospital Agreements to include the new MSA requirements. It is considered that the other assurances required by legislation pertaining to technical assistance are adequately provided for in the existing Roosevelt Hospital agreements.

Please keep the Department informed of the status of any negotiations you may undertake as a result of this instruction.

  1. For text, see 65 Stat. 373.
  2. W. Averell Harriman.
  3. For documentation on this subject, see vol. i, pp. 266 ff.
  4. For documentation on the technical assistance policy of the United States toward the Latin American Republics as a group, see pp. 1038 ff.
  5. Not printed.
  6. For text of the Charter, signed at Bogotà, Colombia, April 30, 1948, and entered into force for the United States, December 13, 1951, see TIAS No. 2361, or United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST), vol. 2, (pt. 2), p. 2394.
  7. For documentation concerning the Fourth Meeting of Consultation, held at Washington, March 26–April 7, 1951, see pp. 925 ff.; for text of the Final Act of the meeting, containing resolutions adopted, see Pan American Union, Fourth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Held in Washington, D.C. March 26–April 7, 1951; Proceedings (Washington, 1951), pp. 234–268.
  8. Ambassador Schoenfeld.
  9. Neither printed.
  10. Institute de Fomento de la Produceión (Production Development Institute).