Guatemala


320. Airgram A–35 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, Guatemala City, February 16, 1969.

The Embassy reported on internal security incidents and guerrilla activities during the month of January, including the capture and “neutralization” of the fourth of 12 guerrillas implicated in the 1968 assassination of Ambassador John Gordon Mein.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23 GUAT. Confidential. Drafted on February 12 by David H. Clare (POL) and approved in draft by Wilson (POL) and approved by Political Officer Matthew D. Smith. Stamped notations on the Airgram indicate that it was received at the Department of State on February 18, at 8:24 a.m. and at the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs on February 20. Enclosed but not published is a Chart of Incidents.


321. Memorandum From the Central Intelligence Agency to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, March 31, 1969.

The CIA advised Kissinger that the Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) planned to conduct a terrorist campaign during the visit of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, with Ambassador Davis and other Embassy personnel as potential targets.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 803, Country Files, Latin America, Rockefeller Mission, Vol. I, April–May. Secret. No Foreign Dissem.; Background Use Only. It was sent under a March 31 covering memorandum from the Deputy Director for Intelligence, R.J. Smith. (Ibid.) On April 3, Nixon approved Secret Service protection for Rockefeller during his trip and unsuccessfully discouraged him from going to Guatemala. (Memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon; ibid., Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala)


322. Telegram 617 From the Embassy in Nicaragua to the Department of State, April 18, 1969, 1737Z.

From Nicaragua, where he had been posted as Guatemala’s Ambassador since April 1968, Colonel Carlos Arana announced that he would run for the Guatemalan presidency in upcoming elections.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 17 GUAT–NIC. Unclassified. Repeated to Guatemala. In Airgram A–43 from Guatemala City, February 27, the Embassy in Guatemala reported at length on Arana’s political views and that he had been nominated for the presidency on January 10 by the Movimiento Liberación Nacional (MLN). (Ibid., POL 14 GUAT)


323. Memorandum of Conversation, Guatemala City, June 17, 1969, 1–3:30 p.m.

Ambassador Davis met with Movimiento Liberación Nacional (MLN) candidate Carlos Arana Osorio and MLN representatives to discuss his candidacy, the problem of political violence, and MLN plans to promote law and order. Davis reiterated U.S. neutrality in the upcoming elections.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 12–6 GUAT. Confidential. Transmitted to the Department in Airgram A–163 from Guatemala City, June 27, 1969. (Ibid.)


324. Intelligence Note 729 From the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Denney) to the Acting Secretary of State (Richardson), Washington, October 10, 1969.

The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) reported that FAR rebel activities in rural areas were on the rise with an attack on oil drilling sites operated by the U.S.-based Monsanto Chemical Company, and plans to attack U.S. Embassy personnel.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–7 GUAT. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. In Intelligence Information Cable, TDCS 314/14485–69, October 6, CIA reported that the FAR was planning to assassinate or kidnap U.S. Embassy personnel. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I)


325. Telegram 4677 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, October 31, 1969, 0130Z.

The Ambassador and Foreign Minister Fuentes Möhr discussed the border dispute with British Honduras and what role, if any, the United States might play in providing technical and financial assistance as a “‘carrot’ for working out some kind of cooperation agreement.” Ambassador Davis indicated that he would find out what the “USG attitude” was on the matter.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Confidential; Exdis. Sent for action. A stamped notation on the telegram indicates that it was received in the White House Situation Room November 1 at 9:50 a.m. In telegram 192533 to Guatemala City, November 14, the Department of State indicated that it could not give a direct response to Fuentes Mohr’s question regarding possible U.S. financial and technical assistance, but it would welcome input from him on how the United States might contribute to a cooperation agreement between Guatemala and British Honduras. (Ibid.)


326. Intelligence Note 873 From the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Denney) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, December 24, 1969.

The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) reported on increased terrorism in Guatemala and guerrilla efforts to undermine presidential elections.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–8 GUAT. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. In telegram 5253 from Guatemala City, December 18, the Embassy reported establishment of a state of siege in the wake of the FAR assassination of prominent “rightist” David Guerra Guzmán. (Ibid.)


327. Memorandum Prepared in the Department of State, Washington, undated.

The Department of State provided background information for President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger and Secretary of State Rogers on Guatemalan presidential elections, scheduled for March 1, in which the U.S. Government was officially neutral, but hoped the Partido Revolucionario (PR) would win the elections.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Confidential. The paper was prepared for Secretary of State Rogers and forwarded to Kissinger under cover of an Eliot transmittal memorandum of February 27. (Ibid.)


328. Telegram 691 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, March 4, 1970, 0225Z.

The Embassy offered its prognosis of what to expect from President-elect Arana and the implications for U.S. policy. The Embassy suggested he would probably be more moderate and centrist than most expected.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 14 GUAT. Secret; Immediate. In a March 3 Intelligence Brief, INRB–45, INR concluded that “While Arana faces many problems and pitfalls, he can provide Guatemala with a constructive administration and the U.S. probably will be able to work with him.” (Ibid.)


329. LA Staff Note No. 1–70, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, March 6, 1970.

Responding to the Embassy analysis of Arana’s election, the Office of National Estimates at the Central Intelligence Agency countered that it was not at all confident that Arana was committed to evolving Guatemala’s political system.

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence Office, Latin American Staff Notes, 1970, Job 79–T00968A. Secret.


330. Telegram 729 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, March 6, 1970, 2103Z.

The Embassy reported that Labor Officer Sean Holly had been kidnapped.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Confidential; Critic; Limited Official Use. In telegram 746 from Guatemala City, March 7, the Embassy forwarded a transcript of a FAR bulletin, in which the guerrillas claimed responsibility for Holly’s kidnapping and threatened to execute him if the Guatemalan Government failed to release 4 imprisoned FAR guerrillas. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–8 GUAT)


331. Central Intelligence Agency Information Cable, TDCS 314/02581–70, Washington, March 7, 1970.

The Central Intelligence Agency reported that President Montenegro had ordered the Guatemalan National Police to release FAR prisoners.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. In telegram 768 from Guatemala City, March 8, the Embassy reported that Holly had been released. The telegram is not published. (Ibid.)


332. Telegram 785 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, March 10, 1970, 0015Z.

The Embassy reported the debriefing of Labor Officer Sean Holly, kidnapped on March 6 and released by the FAR on March 8.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–8 GUAT. Confidential; Limdis; Priority. In response to a Congressional request, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense William E. Lang stated, “During the past year at one time or another special forces MTT’s were in eleven countries for periods ranging from four days to six months. The size of the teams ranged from one to sixteen people.” (Washington National Records Center, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330–72A–6309, Box 22, Latin America, 1969)


333. Telegram 980 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, March 25, 1970, 0000Z.

Ambassador Davis met with President-elect Arana to discuss Guatemala’s internal security problems and to offer assistance.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23 GUAT. Confidential.


334. Intelligence Brief INRB–87 From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Cline) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, April 7, 1970.

Following the kidnapping and assassination of the German Ambassador to Guatemala, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) analyzed the potential for targeted actions against U.S. Government personnel in Guatemala. INR concluded that pressuring the Guatemalan Government to act under such circumstances might legitimate the guerrillas’ “long-time contention that the US calls the shots in Guatemala” and potentially affect Guatemalan Government stability.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Secret. A stamped notation on the brief indicated it was received at the NSC on April 8 at 8:32 a.m. Haig’s handwritten initials appear above the date on the cover page.


335. Telegram 1275 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, April 9, 1970, 2319Z.

The Government of Guatemala requested U.S. assistance in working with Mexico in addressing the guerrillas’ ability to easily pass back and forth across the Mexican border.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23 GUAT. Confidential. Repeated to Mexico. In telegram 53101 to Guatemala City, April 10, the Department of State replied that it would then be willing to follow up an approach by Guatemala with an expression of United States concern to Mexico based on threats to U.S. personnel in Guatemala. (Ibid.)


336. Telegram 1630 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, May 1, 1970, 0048Z.

Ambassador Davis met with President Méndez Montenegro’s private secretary López Padilla to discuss the security situation in Guatemala and the right-wing “Ojo por Ojo” counter-terror organization.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Secret; Exdis; Priority. A stamped notation on the telegram indicates that it was received in the White House Situation Room on May 1 at 8:35 a.m.


337. Memorandum for the Record, Washington, May 8, 1970.

During its regular weekly meeting with the Department of State, CIA indicated concerns over the possibility of U.S. Government help to President-elect Arana to deal with internal security problems, fearing that the new government would indulge in counter-terror.

Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Latin America General, 1969–70. Secret.


338. Telegram 1841 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, May 19, 1970, 0025Z.

Ambassador Davis met with President-elect Arana to discuss Public Safety in Guatemala and Arana’s desire to form an elite and highly professional anti-subversive police unit.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Secret; Exdis. A stamped notation on the telegram indicates that it was received in the White House Situation Room on May 19 at 8:33 a.m. In telegram 2140 from Guatemala City, June 10, the Ambassador reported that he told Guatemalan Vice President-elect Cáceres Lehnhoff he “was confident new Guatemalan Government could develop effective anti-insurgent police organization.” (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 GUAT)


339. Central Intelligence Agency Weekly Summary, Special Report No. 0375/70B, “Political Change in Guatemala: Order vs. Violence,” Washington, June 19, 1970.

The Central Intelligence Agency presented an analysis of Guatemala’s political and security situation in light of the Rebel Armed Forces’ (FAR) increased targeting of Americans for kidnapping and political assassination to pressure the Guatemalan Government.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. Prepared by the Office of Current Intelligence.


340. Airgram A–170 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, Guatemala City, July 31, 1970.

The Embassy reported on the first month of Arana’s presidency, observing that he was committed to pacifying Guatemala and that a lull in guerrilla activities had allowed the Guatemalan Government to settle in and organize.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15 GUAT. Confidential. It was repeated to CINCSO for POLAD, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa, Mexico City, San José, Managua, and Panama. It was drafted and cleared on July 30 by Political Officer Lawrence A. Pezzullo. Stamped notations on the Airgram indicate that it was received at the Department of State on August 4 at 8:28 a.m. and at the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs on August 5.


341. Intelligence Brief INRB–205 From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Cline) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, November 13, 1970.

The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) reported that President Arana had imposed a state of siege and was taking action to pursue insurgents, but that the action would likely have no effect on “hard-core terrorists.”

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–8 GUAT. Secret; No Foreign Dissem.


342. Telegram 4209 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, November 15, 1970, 2230Z.

Ambassador Davis reported that the Embassy had information on residences of “one or two truly important leaders” of the Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) and Guatemalan Worker’s Party (PGT) and raised the possibility of providing this information to the Guatemalan Government. The Ambassador recognized that providing such information might “pull us closer in,” but noted that “we now have Government ready to act on basis of help we can give them.”

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Secret; Nodis; Priority. A note, initialed by Kissinger, reads, “Al, Put into 40-Committee urgently.” Haig initialed the response, “done.”


343. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, November 16, 1970.

Haig reported that the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs supported providing the Government of Guatemala with the names and locations of Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) leaders, noting that consideration by the 40 Committee might delay action until too late.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Secret. In paragraph 1, the word “tomorrow” was crossed out and replaced with the hand-written notation, “(now Wednesday)”. Option 2 was approved, but a line was drawn through the memorandum and the letters “OBE” were written at the bottom of the memorandum.


344. Telegram 187819 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Guatemala, November 17, 1970, 0255Z.

The Department of State instructed Ambassador Davis to take immediate steps to provide the Guatemalan Government with the location of Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) leaders.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Secret; Nodis; Immediate. Drafted on November 16 Hurwitch; cleared in ARA/CEN, S/S–O, O, INR/DDC, and by Kissinger; approved by Johnson. A stamped notation on the telegram indicates that it was received in the White House Situation Room November 17 at 8:45 a.m.


345. Telegram 4283 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State, November 20, 1970, 2250Z.

Ambassador Davis reported on internal security, counter-terrorism, and the Guatemalan Government’s state of siege, noting that “some arrests have been made based on intelligence information.”

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–8 GUAT. Confidential. It was repeated to CINCSO for POLAD.


346. Memorandum From Arnold Nachmanoff of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, November 23, 1970.

National Security Council staff member Nachmanoff forwarded a Central Intelligence Agency report indicating that 1 of 3 top Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) leaders had been arrested.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information. Initialed by Kissinger. Attached but not published at Tab A is CIA Intelligence Information Cable TDCS 314/12113–70, November 20, which indicated that the FAR leader captured was Enrique Salazar Solórzano (a.k.a. “Antonio”), chief of FAR intelligence. CIA warned that repercussions from the guerrilla’s capture “may fall, at least in part, on North American personnel.” (Ibid.)


347. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, December 23, 1970, 12:15 p.m.

Secretary of State Rogers met with Guatemalan Ambassador Julio Asensio Wunderlich to discuss Guatemala’s request for the sale of military equipment, including 8 A–37B aircraft to be used in counterinsurgency operations.

Source: Washington National Records Center, OASD/ISA Files, FRC 330–73A–1975, Guatemala 1970, 000.1. Confidential. Drafted on December 31 by Breen and approved in S. In a December 23 briefing memorandum for Rogers, Crimmins provided detailed background on the Guatemalan request for $12 million in arms purchases. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL GUAT–US)


348. Telegram 22560 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Guatemala, February 10, 1971, 0148Z.

The Department of State asked the Embassy to express concern to President Arana over the targeting of leftist opposition figures not involved in Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) terrorist activities and feared that “friendly relations with Guatemala over the long run could be threatened by a close identification with what in the public mind are the excesses of a particular government’s counter-insurgency campaign.”

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Guatemala, Vol. I. Secret; Exdis. Drafted on February 9 by Breen; cleared by Hurwitch; and approved by Meyer. In Airgram A–14 from Guatemala City, January 25, the Embassy reported that representatives of the Christian Democratic Party charged that the Arana Administration had embarked on a policy of assassinating the legitimate political opposition. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 12 GUAT)