86. Memorandum From the First Secretary of the Embassy in Guatemala (Wardlaw) to the Counselor of the Embassy in Guatemala (Krieg)1

A finquero who has on previous occasions supplied me certain information recently told me that he had learned from the Czech Kubes who is a next-door neighbor of Colonel Elfego Monzon that the Colonel seems to be prepared psychologically for joining the opposition. Colonel Monzon reportedly stated that he had 300 officers on his side, but my informant did not know whether this meant they were merely well disposed towards Monzon or actually had come to some sort of understanding with him. Colonel Monzon is quoted as having stated that it would be too bad to have the uprising occur just at this time when things were not quite ready.

A few days ago Colonel Monzon was shocked to learn that the Guardia Civil had recently received 500 sub-machine guns from Belgium and he was particularly annoyed that despite his position in the Guatemalan Army this delivery had been effected without his having been informed. He arranged to inspect one of these guns and reported it to be a very fine weapon. The guns fire clips of 30 cartridges. He is reported to have said that the delivery of these guns to the police was an affront to the Army.

My informant was of the opinion that the police are now better equipped for fighting inside the city than is the Army. Supporting his view that the Army’s weapons are in a very poor state, he remarked that an individual by the name of Julio Gaitan, whom he knows slightly, told him that he had recently visited the barracks at Guardia de Honor where he observed 150 soldiers working away at rifle cartridges with files. He asked an officer what the soldiers were doing and was informed that they were filing down Czech cartridges which did not quite fit the 7 mm. rifles used by the Guatemalan Army. My informant took this as evidence that the Guatemalan Army is suffering a desperate shortage of ammunition.

My informant also reported that it is said by many people in Guatemala that the opposition has a large store of arms in Ahuachapan, El Salvador, which is not far from the Guatemalan border. He had no further information on this.

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I am convinced of the reliability of my informant but I have no opinion about the reliability of Kubes or Gaitan.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79-01025A, Box 98, Folder 8. Secret. This memorandum is marked as a copy and is the first enclosure to a memorandum from the Chief of Station in Guatemala to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida, February 1.