338. Telegram 1841 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State1 2

[Page 1]


  • Terror and Counter-Terror


  • Guatemala 1630 and 1773

1. In talking about public safety (Guatemala 1840), Arana go to talking about his desire to form an elite and highly professional anti-subversive police unit. He said he was holding meeting with his advisers on this subject this afternoon and hoped to clarify his thinking. He emphasized that unit would have to be highly responsible and not lend itself to abuses. This gave me opportunity to emphasize importance we place—as we develop our efforts to be of assistance in police field—to responsible and legal methods. It also gave me opportunity to remark on problems for Guatemala and for us all, if abuses—at any time—open door to public and journalistic attack.

2. Arana made clear he fully understands importance of this issue to government for which he is responsible. He gave every indication he wants his government to proceed in legal way. Whether he fully understands dangers inherent in “Ojo por Ojo” activities during next six weeks is less certain.

  1. 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)
  2. 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.