31. Memorandum of Interview1

Welch, interviewed at Bethesda Naval Hospital where he is awaiting an operation, passed on the following story:

About three months ago he was approached in Managua by a Guatemalan with a Nicaraguan passport who presented himself as a representative of Somoza. This man asked what help the U.S. was going to provide in the attempt on Guatemala and was apparently on a fishing expedition. Welch knew of no such plan and could therefore not commit himself on anything. Later Somoza and his sons in conversations with Welch and the Ambassador among others indicated that they were expecting help from the U.S.

When Somoza came to the U.S. he brought the matter up with Miller who stalled and passed him on to Acheson, who suggested that Somoza pass his story on to Truman. Truman professed to find the story very interesting, but he did not commit himself. On the return trip to Managua, Col. Mora indicated to Somoza that U.S. was definitely interested. Somoza and Mora, in Managua, talked rather openly of the attempt on Guatemala to be made with Nicaraguan and U.S. backing.

When Whelan came to the U.S., he was told by Miller to inform Somoza that the State Department was not interested in sponsoring a “covert” aggression on any American State, to call his attention to mutual obligations of the two countries under the OAS and UN, and to state that any request for U.S. arms should be made through normal diplomatic channels. However, Miller indicated to Whelan that he thought some support for Somoza might be coming from the Army.

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Somoza has said that he has an alliance with the Dominican Republic, Panama and Venezuela, but Welch doubts it. The Dominican Ambassador is away at the moment, Somoza is irked with Ramon because of a slight to Nicaragua with reference to the Panamanian inauguration, and Welch believes that Somoza is relying on Ramon’s word as regards Venezuelan backing. However, Welch says that when the Nicaraguan press indicated last month that the U.S. was supporting Somoza, and at the same time announced that a revolution was about to take place in Guatemala, all the countries mentioned plus Haiti, Colombia, and Cuba, appeared anxious to get into the act, or at least it seemed so to one in Managua at the time.

Welch feels that Somoza would aid any attempt on Guatemala only to the extent that he was benefiting more than he was aiding. He might provide a training area and obsolete arms in exchange for new arms. Welch feels that Somoza is much more concerned with Jose Figueres’ possible election to the Presidency in Costa Rica than he is with any developments in Guatemala, and says that there is little doubt that Somoza will move against Figueres should it appear that the latter will win the election.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 73, Folder 6. No classification marking.