102. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the Policy Planning Council to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Oliver)1
- Guatemala and Counter-terror
I made the points in the attached memorandum in a private conversation I had with Ambassador Mein yesterday prior to the IRG meeting.2 These views are based on my experience as DCM in Guatemala and upon a close following of events since I left.3 They are the product also of extended reflections on the situation and my experience there. As I told Ambassador Mein I feel somewhat like Fulbright says he felt about the Tonkin Gulf resolution—my deepest regret is that I did not fight harder within Embassy councils when I was there to press these views. I can in any case understand quite well how easy it is to be complacent or rationalize things.
Because I do feel so very strongly about the problem, I felt compelled to repeat these points to you with the hope they may receive a hearing.4[Page 238]
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, ARA/CEN/G Files: Lot 74 D 26, POL 23, Internal Security, Jan–March 1968, Guatemala. Secret. Vaky did not initial the memorandum. According to marginalia on the memorandum it was seen by Oliver, Sayre, and Burrows. A handwritten note, evidently from Vaky, reads: “This is a response based on my conversation with INR/RAR.”↩
- At the IRG/ARA/COIN meeting on March 28 Ambassador Mein analyzed the problems and policies of the Guatemalan Government, including the status of the counterinsurgency campaign. According to the record of the meeting, Sayre indicated concern about the Guatemalan Government’s response to insurgency and terror; he noted that the element of counter-terror in this response had adverse repercussions in Congress and public opinion in the United States; and he questioned the effectiveness of counter-terror as a doctrine. In conclusion he thought the Country Team should assess whether counter-terrorism was “necessary to cope with the insurgency and terror problems, and, if yes, submit specific recommendations for making the counter-terror campaign more palatable. If no, the U.S. Government should inform key Guatemalan officials that unless the counter-terror campaign is stopped or substantially modified, the USG will have to reassess its assistance to Guatemala.” (IRG/ARA/COIN Action Memo No. 10, April 4; ibid., ARA/IG Files: Lot 70 D 122, IRG/ARA/COIN Action Memos)↩
- Vaky was Deputy Chief of Mission in Guatemala July 1964–August 1967.↩
- No written response to the memorandum has been found.↩