210. Telegram From the CIA Chief Station in Guatemala to the Central Intelligence Agency1
Guatemala City, June 19, 1954, 2345Z.
909. Re DIR 05547.2 For Ascham from Page.
- Effective 12 June K Program taken over by Guat Station. Page no longer in touch with either [name not declassified] or ESQUIRE. Bannister in direct contact [name not declassified] as of 15 June. Page not familiar contents GUAT 886.3
- My estimate of situation, no longer based on controlled sources or access to official reports, is following: PBSUCCESS capabilities inside WSBURNT exceedingly limited and no match for combined strength law enforcement agencies, army and armed campesinos. Validity assumption underlying PBSUCCESS that local civilian insurrections will sweep garrisons into open revolt questionable, even if you take Calligeris claims regarding controlled inside assets at face value. Other intangible factors that may determine developments in provinces simply defy assessment.
- I have on repeated occasions reported that this resolution will be won or lost in WSBURNT city and that the one determinant factor is the attitude of the Army High Command. If the Army High Command can be won over to our side ultimate success is a foregone conclusion. If it decides to back Arbenz, PBSUCCESS will not prevail. This is the principal consideration underlying K Program.
- Our sole key to the Army High Command is [name not declassified]. I have the very greatest respect for him as a human being, an officer and a patriotic servant of his country. It is on his authority mainly that I originally proposed an air strike against military targets in the WSBURNT city area. I refuse to believe that [name not declassified] would be so swayed by self-seeking motives as to ignore counter productive effects with respect to the attitude of people WSBURNT. Although I specifically and repeatedly questioned him on that score he could not conceive of “adequate other forms of exhibiting strengths”. Nor could SWALLOW with whom I raised that point.
- It would be presumptuous to stake my judgment against yours in matters as portentous as those involved here. You of course know what is at stake for the U.S. if this endeavor fails. I can not assay the prospects of collecting backing for future unilateral intervention in WSBURNT. I am deeply perturbed by what failure will do not only to the many brave people who have staked their lives on American good faith and strength but also how it will affect our prestige in other Latin American countries.
- I am convinced that the Guat Station in strict compliance with your directions will do its utmost to wrest success from a situation that to me looks serious. I am deeply impressed their utter dedication to that task.