97. Contact Report1

No. 23

PLACE: Safehouse “A”

PERSONS PRESENT: [2 names not declassified]

COVER USED: Roberto Ford

SUBJECT: Discussion of Political Matters with [name not declassified]


On 9 February 1954 I advised [name not declassified] that within a very short time the Group would need a very concise report on his political platform; we would need this, I explained, to help summarize our future propaganda activities (which I restated for him). I advised [name not declassified] to put himself in the position of an individual facing a group of newspapermen who could within 10 or 15 minutes briefly outline his political program. He said that he would be very happy to do so and immediately started to prepare this report; after working on this matter for one day, he said that he was almost finished. In addition to writing the general points, [name not declassified] said that he was attempting when possible to put on a separate paper the specific steps of his program which would fall under each general heading; this, he said, would be extremely necessary in order to make our propaganda campaign more effective.
We developed the discussion of how [name not declassified] would implement this political program, discussing the great difficulties of re-orienting certain political trends in his country. At this point [name not declassified] made the following observation: “If the Group gives me freedom of administration—” I immediately assured him that there would be no interference by the Group in Guatemalan administrative affairs once his Junta in power. He continued, “Well, if that is true, and if Rufus provides me with the sufficient military security which he has indicated, then I will provide him with a sufficient strong administration.” He added, “You will see that we will make this work.”
He indicated very forcibly that he himself would take the responsibility for administering the political and economic program. He [Page 191]implied RUFUS would be relegated to the more or less secondary position of holding a military club in the background in order that [name not declassified] could achieve the administrative and political aims with which he has stated he will comply.
I asked [name not declassified] if he had thought about the matter of resolving the need to obtain military security while at the same time maintaining a certain balance within the army to enable him to secure liberty of action. He said, “Ah yes, I have not forgotten that. I hope that if plans progress it will be possible to have the army neutralized in a certain form so that certain elements will not be powerful enough to wreck the program which I expect will be necessary to carry out.” He indicated again that his complete dependence on full cooperation with RUFUS and the maintenance of a balance among the various army elements would evolve into a successful dual military-political operation for his new government.
In this discussion [name not declassified] further indicated clearly that with circumstances as they are today, government of and by the people of Guatemala would be virtually impossible, that as he saw it his new government had certain long range targets and certain short range targets. He implied that absolutely free elections and other such lofty principles as greatly expanded educational facilities and certain technical advances would certainly be the long range type of planning. Specifically, the agrarian reform issue would fall into this category.
Speaking on the agrarian reform issue, [name not declassified] indicated that he hoped to achieve an equitable set-up where ever possible. I asked him at this point what would be his position with regard to the demands of United Fruit and how he would handle their obvious claims for repayment of the land which had been taken from them. While there was no direct statement on this point by [name not declassified], the inference was that that which had already been taken from United Fruit would be almost impossible to return and his solution would be the possibility of opening up to them new tracks of land and making available other land enterprises which had heretofore been denied them. The possibility of offering United Fruit other undeveloped lands for their technical exploitation would constitute [name not declassified] reply to the demands of United Fruit for retribution or repayment for lands taken from them.
[name not declassified] was advised that immediately upon his return from his home in [place not declassified], I would have prepared for him a group of ideas of a propaganda nature which could be very closely dovetailed in with some of the political ideas which he has espoused. However I stated that while the ideas which he would give me would be carefully considered, they would not necessarily be incorporated [Page 192]immediately into any propaganda programs. I also mentioned to [name not declassified] that he could use some of these propaganda ideas in radio broadcast programs which he could cut here in [place not declassified] and which he would do on an anonymous basis. He agreed wholeheartedly that such programs, based on the specific points of propaganda upon which both the Junta and the Group were in agreement, could be done upon his return from his home in [place not declassified].
[name not declassified]
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79-01025A, Box 147, Folder 1. No classification marking. Drafted by [name not declassified] on February 13.