29. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the Adviser for Political and Security Affairs to the United States Mission at the United Nations (Armour) and the Guatemalan Representative at the United Nations (Arenales Catalan), New York, May 11, 19551


  • Guatemala

A few days ago Arenales said he planned to draw up a memorandum for submission to Ambassador Lodge2 which he hoped would be transmitted to appropriate US officials. This memorandum would outline a sort of “Declaration of Truth” to be negotiated and subsequently publicized by the Governments of the United States, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. This Declaration would serve to convince world opinion that the Castillo Armas revolution was nationally inspired and not the product of outside intervention. In this connection he referred to a remark of Nehru’s3 at the Bandung Conference.4 When someone had referred to Soviet satellites, Nehru had replied the US had them too, e.g. Guatemala.

Arenales appeared upset by what he referred to as the tragic mishandling of the revolution by the US. He indicated that the publicity the US had received during that period had placed Guatemala in an unenviable position vis-à-vis her relations with the US and other Latin American countries. He believed a “Declaration of Truth” is necessary in order to clear the air. He said he had discussed this with President Armas before leaving for the US but that the President did not quite seem to grasp the idea.

Subsequently Arenales paid a courtesy call on Ambassador Lodge. He told him he was planning to submit this memorandum in the near future. He also said that should the US government wish to deal directly with President Armas and not through the Embassy in Washington or through his Foreign Office, they could deal with him as he has a direct line with the President.

Comment: Arenales in all his conversations with USUN seems to be trying to give the impression he is here as Permanent Guatemalan [Page 80] Representative to the UN, Ambassador to the US and possibly acting Foreign Minister temporarily abroad.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Guatemala Files: Lot 59 D 6, Memoranda of Conversation. Confidential. The Guatemalan Ambassador was Emilio Arenales Catalan. Norman Armour left his post in Guatemala on May 9. He was succeeded by Edward J. Sparks, who was appointed on June 14 and presented his credentials on July 29.
  2. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., U.S. Representative at the United Nations.
  3. Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of India.
  4. The Conference of Asian-African Countries, held at Bandung, Indonesia, April 18–24, 1955.
  5. According to a memorandum of a telephone conversation, May 16, Armour informed Fisher that Arenales stated that he had received cables from the Guatemalan Foreign Office “ordering him to drop any idea of a ‘Declaration of Truth’ on the Guatemalan revolution of 1954, and demanding an explanation of his reported approach to Ambassador Lodge on the subject.” The memorandum stated that Arenales had presented the idea as his personal view and not as an official proposal from his government. The memorandum stated further that Arenales had spoken informally with Armour prior to the conversation with Lodge. (Department of State, Guatemala Files: Lot 59 D 6, Memoranda of Conversation)