CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

1950s

Guatemala (1954)

Operation PBSUCCESS

D - Z

Dosal, Paul J. Doing Business with the Dictators: A Political History of United Fruit in Guatemala, 1899-1944. Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1993.

Fraser, Andrew. "Architecture of a Broken Dream: The CIA and Guatemala, 1952-54." Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 3 (Sep. 2005): 486-508.

The author tries hard to find something new to say about the 1954 overthrow of Arbenz. He does offer some interesting tid bits. Fraser concludes quickly that United Fruit Company "was not a significant factor in the decision to topple Arbenz." That decision "was motivated by American strategic interests" -- i.e., a fear of a Communist regime on the U.S. doorstep. Fraser believes success came only when the Guatemalan military abandoned Arbenz.

Gleijeses, Piero. Shattered Hope: The Guatemalan Revolution and the United States, 1944-1954. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.

According to Surveillant 1.5, this work is based on a "large number of interviews, including some with CIA officials"; there are "[m]any references to CIA operations." Gugliotta, WPNWE, 1-7 Jul. 1991, finds that Shattered Hope "adds little to the debate" about the Eisenhower administration's role in the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954. The work is lacking in "sensational revelations about U.S. motives or actions." Gleijeses does provide "rich detail" about Arbenz.

Gordon, Max. "A Case History of U.S. Subversion: Guatemala, 1954." Science and Society 35, no. 2 (Summer 1971): 129-155.

Handy, Jim. Revolution in the Countryside: Rural Conflict and Agrarian Reform in Guatemala. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

Holland, Max. "Operation PBHISTORY: The Aftermath of SUCCESS." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 17, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 300-332.

PBHISTORY was "the cryptonym for the project dedicated to gathering and exploiting Guatemalan Communist documents." There were few, if any, sensational disclosures from this project. Nonetheless, "PBHISTORY supplied the U.S. intelligence community with a ground-level look at a Communist takeover by slow motion.... Yet PBHISTORY did not succeed in its most vital purpose -- to persuade Latin America to look at Communist penetration of the hemisphere from the standpoint of the United States."

Immerman, Richard H.

1. The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1982.

According to NameBase, Immerman's narrative presents "a well-crafted balance between Guatemalan history and its economy, the cold war milieu in Washington, the CIA at work, U.S. propaganda efforts and diplomatic maneuvering in the U.N. and elsewhere, the coup itself, and finally the cover-up." Barrett, Studies, Winter-Spring 2001, comments that Immerman "carefully analyzes the American and Guatemalan political environments."

2. "Guatemala as Cold War History." Political Science Review 95, no. 4 (Winter 1980-1981): 629-653.

Karabell, Zachary. Architects of Intervention: The United States, the Third World, and the Cold War, 1946-1962. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1999.

Cohen, FA 78.6 (Nov.-Dec. 1999), believes that the author "writes well and does a service by combining case studies on American intervention in Greece, Italy, Iran, Guatemala, Lebanon, Cuba, and Laos. He is strongest on Iran and Lebanon, weakest on Cuba and Laos, and includes no studies of intervention by the Soviets, Chinese, British, or French." To Sullivan, I&NS 16.2, this is "a readable engaging work," the basic thesis of which is that "local elites essentially manipulated the United States into intervening in their countries to shore up reactionary forces there."

Marks, Frederick W., III. "The CIA and Castillo Armas in Guatemala,1954: New Clues to an Old Puzzle." Diplomatic History 14, no. 1 (Winter 1990): 67-86.

A companion article, Stephen G. Rabe, "The Clues Don't Check Out: Commentary on 'The CIA and Castillo Armas,'" Diplomatic History 14.1 (Winter 1990): 87-95, takes issue with Marks' presentation.

McCann, Thomas. An American Company: The Tragedy of United Fruit. New York: Crown, 1976.

Meers, Sharon I. "The British Connection: How the United States Covered Its Tracks in the 1954 Coup in Guatemala." Diplomatic History 16, no. 3 (Summer 1992): 409-428.

Phillips, David Atlee. The Night Watch; Twenty-five Years of Peculiar Service. New York: Atheneum, 1977. London: Robert Hale, 1978. New York: Ballantine, 1982. [pb] JK468I6P54

Clark comment: Phillips retired from the CIA in 1975 after a 25-year career during which he rose to the position of Chief, Western Hemisphere Division, Directorate of Operations. Pforzheimer calls Night Watch the "well-written, anecdotal and philosophic story" of the author's "intelligence career. It gives a meaningful account of the work and thoughts of a successful career officer." Constantinides finds "some primary-source nuggets" among the generalities of Phillips' careful presentation. For Lowenthal, the book contains "interesting and sometimes thoughtful insights."

See the author's account of Operation SHERWOOD, the clandestine radio portion of PBSUCCESS.

Rabe, Stephen G. "The Clues Didn't Check Out: Commentary on 'The CIA and Castillo Armas.'" Diplomatic History 14 (Winter 1990): 87-95.

Rey, Julio Adolfo. "Revolution and Liberation: A Review of Recent Literature on the Guatemalan Situation." Hispanic American Historical Review 38, no. 2 (May 1958): 239-255.

Schlesinger, Stephen, and Stephen Kinzer. Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1982. Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1983. [pb]

Blum, NameBase, calls this work "one of the more complete accounts of the CIA operation to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954.... The authors make extensive use of U.S. government publications and documents, as well as interviews with former CIA and other officials and individuals who played a role in the events."

U.S. Department of State. Office of the Historian. Ed., Susan Holly. Foreign Relations of the United States, Eisenhower Administration, 1952-1954, Guatemala. Washington, DC: GPO, 2003. [Available at: http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1952-54Guat]

Clark comment: This is a supplemental volume to the original 1983 volume that did not mention the 1954 coup.

From "Preface": "This volume fills in many details about the role of the United States in Guatemala in the early 1950s. The CIA operation in Guatemala is an important instance of the use of covert action to implement U.S. foreign policy, and this volume provides a detailed account of that action.... [T]he documents published in the 1952-1954 American Republics volume [1983] are not reprinted here.... The two volumes complement each other and should be read together for a full and comprehensive account.... The Office of the Historian is convinced that the Central Intelligence Agency has made all relevant documents available for this publication."

World Intelligence Review. Editors. "CIA Documents: The Guatemala Operations." 16, no. 3 (May/Jun. 1997): 1-2.

"On 23 May 1997, the U.S. National Archives released 1,400 pages of declassified CIA documents, including an internal history by Nicholas Cullather, revealing the details of two covert operations [PBFORTUNE and PBSUCCESS] against Guatemala's leftist regime of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman."

Return to CIA 1950s Guatemala Table of Contents