199. Editorial Note

Simultaneous action on the part of the Guatemalan army was key to every Castillo Armas scenario that U.S. planners developed. In the early days of the operation, it was believed that Castillo Armas had a strong organization inside the Guatemalan military, but that belief gradually eroded and faith was placed in the K-Program’s ability to persuade the officers themselves to take action against communism. On the eve of operational D-day, June 17, 1954, however, the CIA Station in Guatemala informed PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida:

“[name not declassified] says he must wait for emergency. He pled for bomb drop on racetrack etc. Begged for show of force. Vigorously urged [Page 345]tear gas drop and breaking up of 18 June demonstration which govt. busily trying stage on mammoth scale. Says army and government do not believe anything can or will happen. All pure talk. Nothing but psychological stunt.

“[name not declassified] assured him bomb would be dropped, that planes would fly over, that tracers would be fired, that spectacle force would be provided. [name not declassified] pleaded that this be done soonest, that planes zoom city, [name not declassified] home, [name not declassified] home, Guardia Civil etc.

“He categorically stated that bomb drop and impressive show of strength would swing army over. He insisted with obvious sincerity that show of strength will give him and friends opportunity which they will seize. He convinced they can gain control. He reiterates that time for showing strength is here.”

The operatives in Guatemala agreed: “We urgently request that bomb be dropped, show strength be made, that all available planes be sent over, that army and capital be shown that time for decision is here.” (Telegram 864 from Guatemala City to PBSUCCESS Headquarters, June 17; Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 11, Folder 4) Telegram 866 from Guatemala City to PBSUCCESS Headquarters, June 17, reiterated this message. (Ibid.)