25. Letter From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy) to the Director of the Foreign Operations Administration (Stassen)1

Dear Mr. Stassen: The enclosed letter of January 12, 1955, from the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Mr. Struve Hensel,2 proposes that the President be requested to make the findings which are required by the Mutual Security Act of 1954 to establish the eligibility of Guatemala for grant military assistance under a bilateral military assistance agreement.

In addition to the United States military advantage of a bilateral agreement with Guatemala, in which that country would agree to commit certain of its armed forces for hemisphere defense, the Department of State believes that the provision to Guatemala of grant military assistance under such an agreement would assist in the attainment of important United States political objectives in Guatemala. The present Guatemalan Government, which came to power by removing a communist-controlled government, is the recipient of United States economic assistance intended to help stabilize the economy of the country and assist the present Government in maintaining popular support for its anti-communist policies. However, the economic assistance being provided makes no direct contribution to winning and maintaining the support of Guatemalan Armed Forces, which probably will assert the determining influence in any political crisis. In the opinion of the Department of State, a bilateral military assistance agreement with the United States would have considerable appeal to Guatemalan Armed Forces and be a major step in the direction of assuring their continued support of the present non-communist Government.

I recommend that the President be requested to establish the eligibility of Guatemala for grant military assistance by making the following determinations required by the Mutual Security Act of 1954: that the increased ability of Guatemala to defend itself is important to the security of the United States (Section 105 (a)); that defense plans require Guatemala to participate in missions important to the defense of the Western Hemisphere (Section 105(b) (4)); and [Page 69] that the furnishing of military assistance to Guatemala will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace (Section 141).3

Sincerely yours,

Robert Murphy4
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 714.5–MSP/1–1255. Secret. In a memorandum dated March 2, Sparks forwarded a copy of this letter to Acting Secretary Hoover, with the recommendation that he sign it. In a note dated March 3 to John Goodyear, Special Assistant to Deputy Under Secretary Murphy, Robert K. Sherwood of the Executive Secretariat recommended that Murphy, rather than Hoover, should sign the letter to Stassen.
  2. Document 14.
  3. In a memorandum to the President, April 30, Stassen transmitted the recommendation of the Departments of State and Defense that the President make the necessary findings prerequisite to granting military assistance to Guatemala. (Department of State, Central Files, 714.5–MSP/5–555) In a memorandum to Stassen, May 2, President Eisenhower authorized the initiation of negotiations with Guatemala looking toward a military assistance agreement under the provisions of the Mutual Security Act of 1954. (Ibid.) Talks between representatives of the United States and Guatemala began in Guatemala City on June 10. An agreement was signed on June 18, and entered into force on that date. For text, see 6 UST (pt. 2) 2107. For additional information, see press release 339, June 10, Department of State Bulletin, June 20, 1955, p. 1019; and press release 367, June 20, ibid., July 11, pp. 85–86.
  4. Printed from a copy which bears this typed signature.