Central Intelligence Agency. “Central Intelligence Agency Information Report.” In “Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Guatemala – Office of the Historian.” Accessed May 2, 2021. https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1952-54Guat/d27.
This document is a report on the state of affairs in Guatemala in 1952, written by the local CIA agent to assess the risk of a leftist takeover in Guatemala. For this purpose, the report has two main sections: one on whether the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, and whether or not his views were to be considered danger and communistic, and a second on the dangers of a coup by Guatemala’s actual communist elements. The report does not ultimately consider either of these to be threatening.
The report says that President Arbenz does not need to be considered a threat, saying that he did not enact very radical policies and only sought to improve the lives of the people of Guatemala via social programs. Further, it says that had made common ground with political factions of various stripes, and even some of the most reactionary elements of the government viewed him as a legitimate and trustworthy leader.
Nor does the report worry of the possibility that a farther left faction would oust Arbenz. It describes him as being widely popular, with little political opening to oust him. Further, the country’s far left elements are described as being too disorganized and weak to actually topple the government. Finally, it says that Arbenz himself was in good health and said that assassination was unlikely. The report concludes that for the most part the situation in Guatemala did not warrant direct US intervention at the time.
“Rather than setting up a Communist state, Arbenz desires to establish a “modern democracy” which would improve the lot of its people through paternalistic social reforms. Arbenz’ personal idol is FDR and his reforms are patterned after New Deal reforms and adjusted to the backward economy and social structure of Guatemala. None of the reforms is substantially extreme as compared to many of those in the US, Europe, and even in other Latin American countries.”