233. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida1

06395. Ref: A. LINCOLN 4263;2 B. LINCOLN 4262.3

We now prepared authorize bombing specific targets in Adam area4 since you and JMBLUG feel this now the most effective move to achieve success. Targets should be selected with a view to having [Page 380]desired effect on army and regime morale with minimum political cost to PBPRIME.5
In order meet this condition targets must be:
Recognized as legitimate military objectives;
So located and of such a character that attack would involve absolute minimum risk numerous civilian casualties, and minimum risk large scale casualties to troops not currently engaged in active operation against rebels;
Clearly identifiable.
Your proposed target Fortress Matamoros would seem to meet these conditions if [name not declassified] information is correct and reliable that this structure now used for storage arms and ammo and if large number of troops not quartered there.
Other appropriate target for your consideration: Petroleum storage in Adam. Judging from air photo, tanks are fairly remote from residential areas. Direct hit would produce spectacular results. Destruction petroleum reserves in Adam combined with subsequent attacks storage at Bond and Ike would have paralyzing effect on economic and military activities in WSBURNT.
As between the two targets, our preference is for Matamoros if sure about its use as arsenal since this is clearly military target and destruction would have minimum effect on civilians. If information about utilization doubtful, recommend petroleum storage.
You are hereby granted authority attack either target or both. Whichever selected, vitally important avoid wide miss resulting in heavy civilian casualties. Accordingly, pilot should be ordered take no chances if visibility poor.
Believe will be desirable, if attacks successful and effective, to follow up with leaflet drop emphasizing:
That only military targets were attacked;
Targets chosen to minimize even military casualties;
Usual line that liberation forces opposing regime, not army and that army can prevent regrettable damage to military installations by helping to liberate the country.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 9, Folder 23. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Bissell.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid., Box 6, Folder 4)
  3. See footnote 2, Document 232.
  4. Targets had already been bombed in other parts of the country earlier on June 24; this authorization was specifically for Guatemala City. (Telegram 951 from Guatemala City to PBSUCCESS Headquarters, June 24; Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 91, Folder 6)
  5. At the same time the CIA authorized the use of fighters with non–Guatemalan fighter pilots for tactical support missions: “We give this approval reluctantly in view grave security risks inevitably involved and attach greatest importance to phasing out these pilots just as soon as others can be recruited.” (Telegram 06394 to PBSUCCESS Headquarters, June 24; ibid.)