19. Letter From the Secretary of State to the Director of the Foreign Operations Administration (Stassen)1

Dear Harold: I am quite concerned by reports which are reaching me regarding the situation in Guatemala. It appears that the stability of the present government is imperiled by a number of factors, one of the most important being widespread public belief that the government has developed no practical, constructive program for strengthening the country’s economy.

I am advised that our respective people concerned with this problem agree upon the desirability of FOA’s executing a contract with some recognized firm of economic and fiscal consultants which could send to Guatemala rapidly and for such periods as might be desirable a wide variety of experts. I am advised that negotiations have been in progress with the recognized firm of Klein & Saks since the middle of December, but that agreement upon a specific contract is being held up by failure to settle several subsidiary items such as maximum per diem salaries which the contractor might pay to experts employed by it.

In view of the increasing urgency of the political and economic situation in Guatemala I hope that a contract with this particular firm or some other comparable group can be executed as quickly as [Page 56] possible and that performance thereunder can begin immediately thereafter. The presence in Guatemala of such experts as could be provided immediately under such a contract may well prove to be a decisive factor in preserving the stability of the present government whose increasing insecurity is the cause of such concern to both of us.

I would be grateful if you would look into this problem and let me have your views as to whether it seems feasible within the next few days to executive [execute?] a contract and initiate its performance.2


  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 714.5–MSP/1–2455. Secret. Drafted by Holland.
  2. In a letter dated January 27, Stassen informed Secretary Dulles of the status of the Klein and Saks contract as follows: “I have been advised that all outstanding items of negotiation were resolved with the contractor and that a contract is now being drafted in final form and is expected to be signed momentarily.” (Ibid., 814.00/1–2755)