153. Telegram From the CIA Station in Guatemala to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida1

574. Ref: GUAT 573.2

1.
Seamen aboard Alfhem told [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Puerto Barrios that another ship due here within two days and a third due as soon as the second ship leaves. Names date these ships not known.
2.
High ranking military officers including Min Def Sanchez, Alfonso Martinez, Colonel Barzanallana, were in Puerto Barrios awaiting arrival ship and still there. Sanchez others at Hotel del Norte, Puerto Barrios accompanied by aides and at least five body guards.
3.
Crates unloaded3 on seven flat cars and now enroute capital have following shape and size; 9 feet high, base 3 feet by 3 feet, top round with diameter approximately 18 inches, one side crate perpendicular and other side sloping like pyramid. Weight 785 lbs each. Triangular marking on side of crates. Could be mortars.
4.
Three box cars unknown contents also enroute capital. Should arrive around mid-night. Due abundance empties Puerto Barrios impossible deny military their use. Apparently military intends forward to capital as unloaded which direct from ship to train cars.
5.
[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Puerto Barrios estimates that government will need minimum seven days to unload ship at present speed although Minister Sanchez trying hurry.
6.
No signs ammo unloaded as yet but probable such aboard although crew members did not take any precautions usually associated [Page 291]with ammo shipments. TRCA officials will attempt prevent ammo shipments coming capital attached to regular trains. Have promised advise upon learning about ammo.
7.
Due congestion port as result strike New York, trains leaving every three or four hours. To these trains government apparently intends hitch cars containing Alfhem material. Impossible obtain ETD since trains departing as loaded. Impossible obtain that material be forwarded in one train. Under normal conditions Alfhem cargo would take minimum of five double header trains and government has made no request for such.
8.
Meanwhile public kept away from pier and no visitors allowed aboard.
9.
Since relatively small amount total cargo unloaded strongly suggest action taken soonest against ship. Request attention be given other ships mentioned para 1, which evaluated F–3, rest 2.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 65, Folder 1. Secret; Immediate; PBSUCCESS; RYBAT; INTEL. Repeated to the Director of Central Intelligence.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid., Box 11, Folder 1)
  3. The Department of State approached the Swedish Government in an attempt to prevent the cargo from being unloaded. See the memorandum from Assistant Secretary Holland to Secretary Dulles, May 18, printed in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. IV, pp. 11111112.