181. Dispatch From Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to All PBSUCCESS Stations1



  • General—KUGOWN
  • Specific—Policy Guidance for Final Phase of PBSUCCESS
We are forwarding herewith copy of our Policy Guidance which is a general outline of the KUGOWN effort desired in support of the final phase of PBSUCCESS which has just started.
In view of the continuous changes of the situation and the necessary flexibility of the KUGOWN effort in line with the progress of our KUHOOK action, our policy guidance had to be confined to a fairly general plan the implementation of which we must leave to you.
We shall supplement this general guidance by cable or dispatch, as the situation may warrant, but we expect you to take all possible steps for the implementation of this program without delay and without expecting separate directives for every single step from us. We reiterate, however, that all KUGOWN action must be coordinated with, and subordinated to, KUHOOK action on the spot.



Our enterprise has now entered its final, decisive phase. We cannot expect any more to change fundamentally the political opinions and attitudes of large groups of the population during this necessarily short period, but Psychological Warfare has nevertheless a very significant role to play during this final stage.
The government has been trying frantically during the last two weeks to recover the initiative which it had virtually lost before—as had been indicated by the profound effect of Archbishop Arellano’s pastoral letter, the impression made by the opening of a powerful clandestine [Page 325]radio station, the highly successful “32” campaign, the indignation provoked by the arrival of Soviet arms and finally the distribution of oppositional leaflets by an unidentified plane which swooped low over the roof of the National Palace.
The government’s initiative consisted primarily of mass arrests and house searches, climaxed by the formal suspension of constitutional liberties—which had been practically disregarded already before (arrests without warrants, people held incommunicado, etc.). At the same time, the communists issued publicly orders for the arming of labor and peasants’ groups, thus admitting their uncertainty as regards the political attitude of the army. In the diplomatic field, the government tried to seize the initiative by offering Honduras a non-aggression pact (an offer which has been turned down in the meantime), by offering direct talks between Arbenz and Eisenhower (also rejected) and by a world-wide propaganda campaign—supported by communists everywhere, notably by Radio Moscow—which tries to denounce the opposition movement as a “tool of foreign imperialists,” while at the same time linking the U.S. State Department’s protest against the Soviet arms shipment to the United Fruit Company’s financial claims (the old “amalgam” technique which Stalin used already in the beginning of his fratricidal fight against Trotsky and his followers).
The government—or rather the leaders of the Communist Party manipulating the figureheads in the government—obviously pursue a triple goal:
deprive the opposition movement of its heads through arrests and of its voices through rigorous censorship
intimidate and confuse the rank-and-file of the opposition by a show of strength, while at the same time impugning the motives of the opposition
defend their position diplomatically by presenting Guatemala as the victim of U.S. imperialist intervention, mainly in the interest of UFCO and other “monopolies,” thus preparing for the OAS conference and gaining time for the consolidation of their internal position.
Our Psychological Warfare effort in combatting this government-communist policy must be focused on the following objectives:
Explaining to the people that the apparent “show of strength” is actually a show of weakness, confusion and hysteria and that the few smart moves of the government (especially in the diplomatic field) have most obviously not originated in Guatemala, but in Moscow and in Moscow-trained minds;
Weakening the enemy’s potential by showing them the hopelessness of their stand, their increasing isolation, the true motives behind the government’s actions and inviting them to change sides—or [Page 326]at least to leave the government’s side—while there is still time (but very little time left);
Giving as much direct, on-the-spot support to all moves connected with the actual uprising against the government—discouraging premature local actions as well as panic, reducing the need for violence in persuading enemy forces to surrender or to withdraw and mobilizing popular support on the broadest possible scale.
Inside the target area, the above objectives will have to be reached under the present circumstances primarily by clandestine means, especially—though by no means exclusively—by the activities of mobile Tactical Psywar Teams (for which special, detailed instructions have already been issued before) which ought to include (but do not have to be confined to)
  • Issuance of clandestine bulletins and leaflets
  • Nerve war action against enemy key personnel
  • Rumor (whispering) campaigns
  • Wall paintings etc.
The enemy relies especially on mass support through communist-led labor and peasants unions and through front organizations of youth, students, women, peace committees, etc. Enemy public mass meetings and parades ought to be attacked by hecklers, spreading of sudden panic rumors (e.g. telling people gathering for an open-air meeting that an air raid is imminent or that store of explosives in a nearby building is about to blow up), use of stink bombs, setting inflammable displays, posters, banners, etc. afire, or the like. Wherever arms are issued to communist-led groups, our friends and sympathizers ought to try to get their share: if this is impossible, we ought to start at least rumors that these weapons are getting largely into the “wrong” hands.
Our main psychological efforts should be concentrated on the following groups:
Most Important—upon the members of the Armed Forces, influencing them to side with the opposition, or where this proves impossible, at least inducing them to stand aside and not give any support to the government;
All other armed groups, police, armed workers and peasant troops, etc. To the extent to which these groups are composed of irredeemable enemies, they should be at least weakened and so far as possible eliminated from the struggle, by intimidating or confusing them, etc.;
Workers in key enterprises, railroad, dockers, electrical power plants, printing shops, etc. (to prevent them from carrying out communist orders);
Students and other young people who can possibly be mobilized for active participation in the fighting on our side;
Housewives and other women who can (i) influence their men, husbands, sons etc. in the armed forces, and so forth (ii) undertake demonstrations before prisons, police stations, government buildings, etc., asking for the release of political prisoners, demonstrate against the use of force, perhaps even physically impede the move of the government forces, by crowding the streets, lying down on railroad tracks, etc.
Rumors, combining fact and fiction, which ought to be circulated, may include the following (not every rumor is applicable to every group of people and to every situation; select from the following suggestions whatever is suitable for given moment and audience):
A group of Soviet commissars, officers and political advisers, led by a member of the Moscow Politbureau, have landed (at the airfield, in Puerto Barrios, etc.);
The government has issued an order devaluating the Quetzal at the rate of 1:10. Use your money immediately to buy food and durable goods;
The government is about to change. Fortuny will take Arbenz’ place, Pellecer Foreign Minister, Gutierrez will be made Minister of Government (Interior), Monzon propaganda minister, etc. Fortuny, Toriello and Fanjul are being flown to Argentina in a two-engined Soviet jet plane.
In addition to military conscription, the communists will introduce labor conscription. A decree is already being printed. All boys and girls 16 years old will be called for one year of labor duty in special camps, mainly for political indoctrination and to break the influence of family and church on the young people. These labor troops will also be used for special missions in other countries.
Food rationing is about to be introduced and the money which people can no longer spend on food stuffs and other consumer goods is to be made available to the government by means of a compulsory loan.
Arbenz has already left the country. His announcements from the National Palace are actually made by a double, provided by Soviet intelligence.

An educational reform is being prepared. There will be no longer any religious instruction at state expense, but on the contrary lessons in atheism, Soviet style.

Add rumors of your own, following the day-by-day changes in the situation.

The efforts of our friends inside the target area must be supported to the utmost from outside, by radio, newspapers, leaflets, teams of border crossers, etc. This outside effort must be subordinated to the program outlined above. All outside groups, by listening to our own [Page 328]radio station as well as the other news broadcasts, must adapt their activities on a day-to-day basis to the developments inside the target area.
An all-out effort on a 24-hour basis, using all human and material resources within reach, must be started immediately to implement the above program in support of the decisive last steps of our enterprise.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 104, Folder 1. Secret; RYBAT; PBSUCCESS. Drafted by Dunbar on June 13. Sent to Guatemala City, [4 places not declassified], and Washington.