352. Telegram 2439 From the Embassy in Guatemala to the Department of State1 2

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  • Counter Terror


  • Guatemala 2438 and 809.

I. It may be useful to give background on exchange between President Arana and me on subject of political violence. As reported in reftel, this was only one of rather broad range of subjects touched on. When talking about general political situation, Arana asked me how I saw it. I said I thought GOG was making measurable progress against terrorists, to which Arana agreed, and went on to express my concern at level of political violence. Arana asked me what I meant, and I referred to disturbing number of reports I had read in press of killings. Arana’s reaction was to complain of yellow journalism which characterized Guatemala’s free press—contrasting it with Mexican Government’s management of its public relations. Arana indicated that Mexico had high rate of “delinquency,” as did my country, but in neither case was there the same sensationalism in press reporting. I indicated skepticism that press sensationalism about “delinquency” was whole problem, saying that violence, wherever it occurred, was tragic, regardless of press sensationalism. Arana agreed.

2. Comment: Neither of us talked about our earlier discussion of this question, but there is no doubt it is in both our minds.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 GUAT. Secret; Exdis. The report of the broader conversation is in telegram 2438 from Guatemala City, June 8. (Ibid.)
  2. Ambassador Davis provided the Department of State with information on exchanges between himself and President Arana regarding Guatemalan political violence.