184. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to the Station in [place not declassified]1
04884. To: [name not declassified]. For [name not declassified] CS-40544. Guatemala, Guatemala City, 11 June 1954. Former Guatemalan army officer with many contacts among leading gov’t officials.
During 3 hour talk with leading civilian gov’t officials on 11 June, President Arbenz stated army trying persuade him get rid of Communists and change gov’t policy, but said present policy his and unchangeable with or without Communists, added would, if necessary, arm workers and peasants who would “fight to last man” against any attempt overthrow gov’t.
(Washington comment: Anti-Communist sentiment of army has until now been balanced by personal loyalty of officers to Arbenz as fellow officer. However, officer’s reaction to Communist arms shipments together with growing concern that Arbenz firmly committed to present pro-Communist policies indicates possibility major split in army on whether to continue support to Arbenz. Army reaction to any Arbenz attempt to arm peasants as counterforce to wavering army is expected to be indication their intentions to initiate or support any anti-government movement.)
Arbenz also stated he was trying to send Foreign Minister Guillermo Toriello to Salvador to talk with President Osorio but has been informed by Salvadorans that “our minds made up and we not interested becoming friends of Communist gov’t”.
(Washington comment: Stiffening attitude of Salvador toward Guatemala may be result of Guat receipt Communist arms and recent Communist-inspired strikes northern Honduras.)
- Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 9, Folder 1. Secret; Routine. Drafted by [name not declassified] on June 14 and cleared by [name not declassified].↩