The Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Cabot) to the Ambassador in El Salvador (McDermott)


Dear Mike: Many thanks for your letter of August 26, 19531 with regard to the possibility of securing from the Salvadoran authorities evidence of officially-fostered Guatemalan infiltration into El Salvador. I am glad that you seem at last to have made some progress in this matter.

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I think that you might point out to Canessa very informally that an embargo on Guatemalan coffee would simply result in all probability in its diversion to European destinations. It might hurt the present regime in Guatemala a little economically, but it would give that regime a good weapon to attack our economic imperialism throughout the hemisphere. If we are to embark on any course not clearly within the norms of inter-American action, I most emphatically want to be sure that it will end in extirpating Communism from Guatemala.

OAS action would undoubtedly be a lenghty procedure and it may prove to be impossible or ineffective. It is, however, a mode of procedure at which no other republic could justifiably take offense. I want, therefore, to be very satisfied in my own mind whether it is a practical procedure or not. If we are satisfied that this undeniably legal procedure will not work, then, of course we must further canvass the situation, but I trust that Canessa will understand we do not wish to do anything brash which would make a bad matter worse.

I am very happy to hear that you are enjoying San Salvador and finding the work there interesting. It has always seemed to me a charming spot. With every good wish,

Very sincerely yours,

John M. Cabot
  1. See footnote 2, supra.