245. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to the CIA Station in [place not declassified]1

06753. Please deliver the following message from [name not declassified] to [name and place not declassified].

  • “1. Very distressed on return here to note serious distortion of Guatemalan developments in US and foreign press. This distortion made worse by apparent inability or unwillingness grasp true significance these developments plus effects of iron clad press (both foreign and domestic) censorship by Guat Gov’t. Time cover story this week excellent but almost unique job.
  • “2. Among distressing reports was an Agence France Presse cable which completely missed the boat and was heavily picked up in Europe chiefly Scandinavia.
  • “3. Because of former association and continued unofficial access to facts and great personal concern over how this whole thing looked in the newspapers, I have done some checking.
  • “4. If you consider advisable would appreciate your conveying following as message from me to Fernand Moulier which he can feel free to use in AFP provided no personal or official attribution.
  • “5. The Guatemalan situation is not a banana republic fracas. It is an actual Guatemalan uprising against a Communist regime and Communist apparatus which is definitely linked to Moscow. That link is not a casual ideological or intellectual link—it is an operational link with the plays being called from Moscow both direct and via Mexico literally on an hourly basis.
  • “6. The fact that the revolt apparently started outside Guatemala proper and thereby handed the Communists the word ‘invasion’ on a silver platter is a grave over-simplification. The people involved are in absolute fact Guatemalans who happen to have had to seek sanctuary in fear of their lives outside Guatemalan borders and always wanted return.
  • “7. The ‘invasion’ label has been further emphasized by the apparent loyalty to Arbenz regime of Guatemalan army. The fact is that defections inside Guatemala have been large scale. So much so that the relatively small band with which Armas crossed the border is now three-to-four times its original size, entirely due to defections within Guatemala. The Guatemalan air force has virtually defected in toto, which accounts for what should have been an intriguing journalistic fact; namely, that no Guatemalan regime planes have been in action against the Armas forces.
  • “8. Arbenz regime statement that churches have been bombed is completely false. Falsity established by actual eyewitness testimony.
  • “9. Also false is Arbenz statement that Guatemala City has been bombed. A barracks on outskirts used as an arsenal was bombed but destruction of Mendoza House within Guatemala City, which was used by Arbenz as evidence bombing, was according to several eyewitnesses and neighbors arsoned by regime police in order provide an exhibit.
  • “10. The United Fruit Co. simply does not figure in this thing at all. In fact expect Armas to make public soon his private determination not to allow Fruit Company get away with traditional reactionary policies labor and otherwise.
  • “11. The 2000 ton shipment of Czechoslovak arms shipped via Swedish freighter out of Stettin, with false documents, was no invention. This ten million dollar consignment of arms actually landed in [Page 392]Guatemala and was taken over by Arbenz and represents, in relation to the size of the regime military forces, a colossal shipment completely unbalancing the armament equilibrium of that area. This by no means only such procurement of arms by Guatemala.
  • “12. Arbenz is using part of these weapons to arm Communist-led civilian terror commandos who have received secret instructions to prepare for wholesale civilian massacres when the signal is given. In the meantime Arbenz has publicly announced that he will execute ten hostages for every bomb dropped.
  • “13. Finally, and to repeat, this is a very serious business. The stakes are not the dividends of the United Fruit Company. The stakes are whether or not imperial Communism shall have a tactical command post in Central America within a few miles of the Panama Canal and in position undermine neighboring states. Instead of yelling about Yankee imperialism and invasion the free world should be grateful that a handful of brave but maybe pathetically comical exiles got the pitch and decided decidedto do something about it.”
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 9, Folder 3. Secret; Priority; Urgent. Drafted by Wisner.