151. Memorandum for DC/P and CIP, Central Intelligence Agency1


  • Acts of Force Before D-Day
In view of repeated observations by Guatemalans to the effect that the anti-Communist forces must prove their strength by deeds as well as words, as well as the need for accelerating the psychological pressure on Guatemalans, certain limited, specific acts of violence prior to D-Day are hereby proposed.
The acts are as follows: [Page 287]
D–12. Raid on Arbenz’ Finca, “El Cajon.” This raid should be a combination of arson and demolitions work, but should not attack personnel. It should be conducted in the absence of Arbenz from the finca. The purpose of this raid would be to focus public attention on the fact that Arbenz is the enemy of the anti-Communists and that more dire things are in store for him later.
D–10. Disposal of [name and less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. This would be the first anti-personnel action. Its purpose, beyond that of helping to paralyze [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], is to show the public that the anti-Communists resent the Soviet-style [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] system and consider [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] a prime symbol of oppression.
D–8. Disposal of [name and less than 1 line of source text not declassified], for the same reasons as the disposal of [name not declassified]. The disposal of [name not declassified] and [name not declassified] would make the anti-Communist protest against the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] character of the Arbenz regime perfectly clear.
D–6. Disposal of [name and 1 line of source text not declassified]. This action documents the anti-Communist character of the revolution and leaves [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] leaderless.
D–4. Disposal of [name not declassified]. With this, opposition to both the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] character and the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] regime will have been effectively displayed.
D–1 or D-Day before H-hour. Disposal of [name not declassified]. It is apparent, from Page’s debriefing of [name not declassified]2 and many other indications, that the fate of [name not declassified] may well be the key to the entire D-Day situation. With [name not declassified] still on the scene, he would undoubtedly be able to command certain support which would render the task of friendly forces more difficult. If the issue were in doubt, his personal ability and prestige could tip the scales unfavorably. An attempt should therefore be made to have victory grow out of the disposal of [name not declassified], rather than reckoning with [name not declassified] after victory. This action must be carried out as close to D-Day as possible; otherwise members [less that 1 line of source text not declassified] or non PBSUCCESS forces might fill the vacuum before Calligeris could.3
In any program of this sort, the possibilities of reprisals and their damaging effect on the D-Day objective must be considered. The above actions would undoubtedly invite some reprisals and lead to an attempt on the part of the government to tighten security. However, such government actions in the period D–14 to D-Day must be expected anyway. On the other hand, successful accomplishment of the above actions should cause panic among the government sympathizers and possibly negate their increased vigilance. At the same time, friendly forces should be greatly heartened and mobilized. The program as described above would give enough time for both enemy disintegration and friendly mobilization prior to D-Day. On balance, it is believed that these shows of friendly strength and these efforts to “soften up” the enemy would be beneficial and would decrease the risk of putting all PBSUCCESS eggs in the D-Day basket. It may also be that the government reaction to one or the other proposed acts of violence would provide significant guidance to existing friendly D-Day plans.
It should be emphasized that the success of only one or two of the proposed actions would be insufficient and would give a “flash-in-the-pan” impression to the public. Execution of the whole program, with proper KUGOWN exploitation, would be not only physically impressive but psychologically most explicit and significant.
If the foregoing program is approved, C/FI should be immediately requested to obtain, under the direction of C/PM, the requisite information relative to the personal habits, movements, etc., of the target personalities and appropriate data on Arbenz’s finca. Chief of Station, Guatemala, has indicated his ability to procure such information on short notice. The first three proposed actions have been suggested by him, either orally or by dispatch.4
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 142, Folder 4. Secret; RYBAT; PBSUCCESS. No drafting information appears on the memorandum.
  2. Cryptonym for a high-ranking military officer.
  3. A handwritten marginal note next to this sentence reads: “True—but perhaps good.”
  4. A handwritten marginal note next to this paragraph reads: “Should work up some questions for submission on this point—”