165. Memorandum by Graham L. Page1


  • K-Program


Your letter, dated 30 May 1954,2 prompts me to line up once more my premises and conclusions. If you should detect any inconsistencies put that down to a situation in flux.
The recruitment of [name not declassified] was effected under PBSUCCESS auspices. He has become reconciled to Calligeris’ role, but there are no indications of subservience.3 Nor has he waived his stipulation that Calligeris be kept uninformed. [name not declassified] realizes that the underlying concept of PBSUCCESS is a workable one and [Page 301]that—at least at the time of his recruitment—there existed no workable alternative.
[name not declassified]’s sole asset is a personal following among ranking Army officers. He is our channel to Colonel [initials not declassified], an officer who—according to [name not declassified]—is fully committed to our cause. He is working on SMILAX. He is turning over in his mind ways and means of defecting Colonel [initials not declassified]. Regarding the latter he has provided us with a frame of reference that makes sense to me.
I have increasing doubts whether additional recruitments can be effected under PBSUCCESS auspices. I know for certain that in the cases of SMILAX, Colonel [initials not declassified], and Colonel [initials not declassified], the involvement of Calligeris is likely to stiffen their resolve to protect the regime at all cost. They detest Calligeris and his enterprise to them holds connotations of a “foreign invasion”, calling forth a strictly emotional reaction (see SMILAX broadcast).
Now this is where the inconsistency comes in: I maintain—so far a priori—that the manifest threat of United States intervention is the sole lever that might conceivably unhinge the allegiance of the “Anti Calligeris faction” to the Arbenz regime. Of course, they wouldn’t cotton to the prospect of landing marines any more than to that of invading revolutionaries. But—I maintain—the certain prospect of a unilateral United States move would give them ample food for thought. In an atmosphere of reflection, my message conveying to them an “Easy way out” formula, would be bound to make an impact. In effect they would be offered an opportunity to stave off intervention by the simple expedient of overthrowing the regime and usurping power for themselves. Of course, there would be some weighty political strings attached to our countenancing this shift, but nothing that could possibly be construed as an abridgment of Guatemala’s sovereignty.
You of course realize that I am not advocating that we scrap PBSUCCESS or modify its objectives. I am discussing defection techniques and approaches. By a process of elimination I believe to have isolated the one motivating factor that may lead to significant defections in the Army High Command. If those defections come off, it may conceivably provide the spark setting off Calligeris’ effort, because there will undoubtedly ensue a period of turmoil during which [lots] of things can happen. But the “crucial spark” has to be generated by heat—United States heat.
Speaking of “overt thunder”, I am most concerned that our initial clarion [call] which scared the dickens out of Arbenz and his gang may turn out to have been little more than amplified Bronx cheers. I trust no one up the line is taking umbrage at my Alsopian outbursts. [Page 302]Without anything factual to go by, I can just feel in my bones what is going on in “foggy bottom”. Let me tell you some time—with the radio turned full blast—what I think about good neighbor policy and hemispheric solidarity. But promise to tell only your closest friends.
Pinning [name not declassified] down to facts is a slow and arduous process. He is endowed with a meandering and reminiscing mind. His interest in Calligeris’ plans is not un[text missing]. He hardly ever asks direct questions.
Graham L Page4
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 134, Folder 1. No classification marking. Transmitted on June 4 via courier from the Chief of Station in Guatemala to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida. Sent for information to the Chief, Western Hemisphere Division.
  2. Not found.
  3. Less than 1 week later, however, [name not declassified] wrote: “I personally feel that it would be destructive to the concept of Army unity which underlies our planning, were he to be allowed to come in here. Whether you wish to believe it or not, there are some very important officers in the higher ranks who are actively hostile to Calligeris. Under these circumstances, it is obvious that the injection of Calligeris would disrupt the kind of effort I have been outlining to you.” (Memorandum, June 7; Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 134, Folder 1)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.