Haines, Gerald. “CIA and Guatemala Assassination Proposals: History Staff Analysis.” In “CIA and Assassinations: The Guatemala 1954 Documents.” Accessed May 2, 2021. https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB4/index.html.
This document is a compilation of reports on the Central Intelligence Agency plan to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz, the president of Guatemala, and install a government more favorable to their concerns. The operation, first named PBFortune and later PBSuccess, required CIA operatives to undertake many assassination attempts against communists in Guatemala and government agents likely to help prevent the coup. Although Arbenz’s government had not initially been considered a threat, the CIA and the intelligence community in general had been arguing that there was too much communist influence on Arbenz’s government for some time.
By 1954, the CIA was able to gain enough support for their planned coup to receive approval, and used a former general named Carlos Castillo Armas to lead the coup. Further, they organized support from friendly dictators in Honduras and Nicaragua to assist with the coup via air support, and furnished Castillo Armas’s forces with funds and weapons. The coup was ultimately a success, and the CIA carried out multiple covert assassinations over the course of the coup and its immediate aftermath.
“CIA and Intelligence Community reports tended to support the view that Guatemala was rapidly falling under the sway of the Communists. Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Walter Bedell Smith and other Agency officials believed the situation called for action. Their assessment was, that without help, the Guatemalan opposition would remain inept, disorganized and ineffective. The anti-Communist elements…. were prepared to prevent a Communist ascension to power, but they had little outside support.”