This document is a transcript of a speech broadcast on radio by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles shortly after the resignation of President Árbenz. He praises the overthrow of Árbenz and the “Soviet despotism” present in Guatemala. In describing the infiltration of communism, he says, “they moved on to take over the official press and radio of the Guatemalan Government. They dominated the social security organization and ran the agrarian land reform program.” According to Dulles, the coup, which he does not describe in much detail, retored “peace and freedom…to that sister Republic.” He makes no mention at all of the United States’ role in the regime change, other than their general support.
The description of communist and Soviet rule projected to the United States public differs greatly from the classified CIA descriptions from just a few years ago. Rather than reforms that were modeled after the New Deal, they are framed as plans of oppression by Soviet-educated officials. Dulles’s focus on agrarian land reform is also interesting, as it was a major complaint of UFCO, and therefore a focus of its anti-communist propaganda. By mentioning it directly, Dulles follows the narrative created by UFCO. His use of “peace and freedom” is ironic considering he is using it to praise a violent coup and an oppressive, undemocratic regime. Concealing the United States’ (and his own) part in orchestrating, or even funding, the coup is yet another way that Dulles conveys a false or incomplete image of Guatemala to the United States public. This document reveals how the United States’ government knowingly obscured the reality of the situation in Guatemala and their own role in changing it.
Dulles, John F. “Secretary of State John F. Dulles, Radio Address, 1954.” Speech, June, 1954. https://www.umbc.edu/che/tahlessons/pdf/historylabs/Guatemalan_Coup_student:RS07.pdf.