141. Paper Prepared in Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida1

During the next few weeks, beginning not later than the second week of May, we ought to aim with increasing intensity and urgency at provoking first distrust and finally, open disaffection against the pres-ent regime among the armed forces of the Target Country. We ought to use all available outlets for this purpose, in particular (a) Radio, (b) La Voz, (c) rumors which ought to be initiated through radio and press, but also passed on by direct word of mouth. We suggest that you tell this plan, as explained in more detail below, to Manuel in installment form—that is, tell him every week only what you expect him to do in the following week or so. This would be not only good security, but it would also make it easier for us (and for you) to change details in the later phases of the plan, if the need for such changes should arise. However, we leave it to you to decide how much you may tell Manuel at any given time and to elaborate on our ideas as you will find suitable.

As a first step, the general themes of propaganda against the Arbenz regime should be sharply focused upon the military audience (details to be worked out with the advice of Manuel and of the military men writing for La Voz, etc.), based on the fundamental argument that the honor and the personal as well as the professional future of a soldier or officer depends upon the deeds (and misdeeds) of the regime under which he serves. Such general themes will include, for instance:

Guatemala is being turned into the beachhead of international communism in the Western Hemisphere (Radio Moscow applauds every speech by Toriello, every step taken by Arbenz);

Taxpayers funds are being spent for communist propaganda (see press items on propaganda exhibit about Caracas conference in Guatemala City) and for extensive travels of communist leaders to Moscow and elsewhere behind the Iron Curtain, while the government is less and less able to pay even its own employees, let alone to fulfill its other obligations;

Freedom is being suppressed, censorship tightened, independent newspapers and radio stations terrorized;

And so forth.

As a next step, members of the armed forces ought to be made increasingly aware that they are about to be misused for aggressive communist purposes. One way of starting this might be to assert that Arbenz and Diaz have consented to have the Caribbean Legion supplemented not only by arms and equipment from the regular Guatemalan Army but by regular army personnel as well. One of Manuel’s sources inside the army (or inside some suitable government office) may have come across evidence—a secret document, or the record of conversation between Arbenz and a likely communist leader, presumably Fortuny. According to that document (it might also be presented as an interview), Moscow is very dissatisfied with the failure of the attempt against Somoza, feels that the Caribbean Legion will never fulfill its purpose unless it is bolstered by regular, trained military personnel and demands therefore that selected groups of officers and EM of the regular Army be assigned to Legion “commando”-type enterprises, naturally not openly, but under appropriate cover. (This theme lends itself primarily to dissemination by rumors.)
The next step might be a direct, formal warning to all military personnel against penetration of the Army by the Communist Party and against political snooping by these cells. Based on the fact that all Communist Parties anywhere, since the very foundation of the Communist International, have been under the strictest orders to penetrate the armed forces of their respective countries, it is only natural that the Guatemalan CP follows the same pattern. You might mention in this connection that Communist Parties have been known to use the charms of the female members of their youth groups to make contacts with military personnel (if you and Manuel assume that such a charge against the AJDG will be believed, you might put this very specifically, quoting actual incidents). He might also broadcast or print an interview with a CP defector who discloses party activities in forming cells inside the armed forces.
This campaign should reach its climax around 1 June with the disclosure that Arbenz has concluded a secret pact with the CP (perhaps directly with an emissary from Moscow or at least in his presence) about the bolshevization of the armed forces, providing for the appointment of political commissars in all units and for the arrival of a Red Army (possibly: Czechoslovak Army) training and the indoctrination mission—perhaps to be disguised as a trade or “cultural exchange” mission, but conceivably also quite openly. This development would correspond to the changes which the armed forces underwent in all countries in which the communists have seized power. You might add that the pact also provides for an extension of military conscription and that those conscripts for whom there will be no arms immediately available (especially since the Caribbean Legion and other aggressive, revolutionary [Page 276] enterprises will have priority—see para 3 above) will be organized into labor battalions for the construction of military airfields, border fortifications and other work resulting from a communist foreign policy for Guatemala. This announcement should be made in a spectacular manner, based on either an intercepted official document, the letter of a high CP official or the statement of a defector from either the CP, the armed forces High Command or from Arbenz’ own office (whatever your local experts may consider more effective and more likely to be believed). It should be publicized in a special broadcast, interrupting all regular programs and to be repeated several times, as well as in a special edition of La Voz—possibly with an additional number of reprints of that special item, provided distribution inside the armed forces can be assured.
You are aware that this is a highly sensitive proposition: its black character must under no circumstances become known beyond Manuel and, if technically unavoidable, one or two of his closest and most trustworthy associates. All other personnel involved in producing and distributing the items required for the campaign outlined above must be made to believe in the general character of these disclosures, in order to avoid any possible leaks or “backfiring”.
Please advise us soonest what you think about the chances of implementing the above program, how Manuel reacts to it and keep us currently informed about the progress made along these lines. If you feel it essential, call on us for any additional background information (experience with communist impact upon the armed forces in other countries, etc.) which we might be able to give you within the limited time left—but we are not sure whether many details of that sort will be really needed.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 103, Folder 1. No classification marking. This paper is Attachment B to a May 2 memorandum from Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters to the Acting Chief of the CIA Station in [place not declassified]. The first enclosure comprising two letters was not attached, and the second enclosure, Attachment A, is not printed. The covering memorandum describes this paper as a “plan for KUGOWN campaign directed against the Armed Forces of the Target Country.”