323. Telegram From the Embassy in Colombia to the Department of State 1

4414. 1. At President Lleras’ invitation [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] I went to his private residence last night to brief him on security developments as we see them, especially related to recent upsurge guerrilla activities. [2½ lines of source text not declassified]2

2. President conceded that memo confirmed his own fears for the immediate situation but appeared visibly sobered and perturbed by its implications, including the role of Cuba in professionally training and supplying guerrilla needs. He then reviewed need for new tactics by GOC armed forces. He feels present situation under control however precarious but apprehensive lest another three or four successful forays by guerrillas against the military will undermine army morale and perhaps cause loss of confidence in ability his government maintain law and order.

3. President cited military and police reports that rural populace attitude toward security forces has worsened in recent months while guerrilla bands woo tacit support local peasants by ample use of funds, paying generously for food and local supplies.

4. President has called meeting for April 28 his top military commanders for discussion new tactics to cope with deteriorating situation.3

Carlson
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23 COL. Secret; Limdis.
  2. Not found.
  3. On May 9 Lleras met Ambassador Carlson [text not declassified] for a “second round of discussions on insurgency activities.” Lleras stated his belief that the counterinsurgency campaign must be waged as “a concerted coordinated effort,” employing civic action programs as well as unconventional military tactics. The efforts of the previous administration, he maintained, had been hampered by deficiencies in such factors as funding, imagination, and coordination among the intelligence services. Lleras also asked the Americans for “suggestions on specific and concrete tactical measure that might be used.” (Telegram 4580 from Bogotá, May 11; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23 COL)