49. Memorandum From the Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division, Central Intelligence Agency (King) to the Deputy Director for Plans of the Central Intelligence Agency (Wisner)1


  • Statements Critical of the U.S. Attributed to Guatemalan Ambassador

Meeting held in office of CWH on 9 September.


  • Mr. Lampton Berry
  • Mr. Ray Leddy
  • Mr. Hans V. Tofte
  • Mr. Tracy Barnes
  • Colonel J.C. King
  • [name not declassified]

The critical remarks attributed to Guatemalan Ambassador Toriello and the action to be taken re them were discussed. Mr. Leddy reported that:

At a meeting held in ARA on the morning of 9 September, where twenty-three officers were present, he was the only one favoring action. The other twenty-two voted to do nothing for fear of “rocking the boat”. They explained their position by saying that nothing should be done to divert attention from the main issue.

Both Mr. Leddy and Mr. Berry expressed themselves as strongly in favor of positive action and all present agreed that this was an excellent opportunity to initiate our PW campaign.
Mr. Berry will speak to General Smith, but explained that any action taken by the General which might be attributable to Berry could embarrass and adversely affect Berry’s relations with the ARA side of State. His position would be more protected if an approach could be made to General Smith by Mr. Dulles or Mr. Wisner. If Mr. Wisner does not approve, then Mr. Berry will handle the matter directly.
Action recommended is as follows:
A note from the Department of State quoting the remarks attributed to Ambassador Toriello at his press conference in [Page 100]Guatemala City on 3 September2 and inquiring if said statements are true.
If he denies having made these remarks, wide publicity should be given to his reply. If he confirms them, a strong note of protest should be presented and our action played up prominently in the press, particularly in Central America.
There should not be a threat to declare the Ambassador persona non grata because the Guatemalan Government in retaliation might refuse an Agrement for Ambassador Peurifoy.
Attached is a factual summary of events prepared by Mr. Leddy.3
J.C. King4
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–010125A, Box 76, Folder 2. Secret; Eyes Only. A memorandum for the record of this discussion is printed as Document 50.
  2. Toriello’s remarks may have been in response to the Department’s aide-mémoire of August 27 on the expropriation of United Fruit Company property. See the editorial note in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. IV, pp. 1056-1057 (Document 13). The text of the aide-mémoire is printed in Department of State Bulletin, September 14, 1953, pp. 357-360. Toriello’s remarks have not been found.
  3. Not attached to the source text.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.