Dwight D. Eisenhower: Soldier, President, Statesman

By Joann P. Krieg | Go to book overview

In the conclusion to his last presidential message, Eisenhower referred to Cuba as one of the issues necessitating "delicate handling and constant review." 45 Such had been Eisenhower's watchwords, which resulted in a policy of reaction, not of initiative, and subject to the limitation implicit in such an approach. Still, this method had permitted governments, especially the revolutionary governments in Latin America, to make their position as friend or foe, as democratic or communistic, as constructive reformers or authoritarian dictators perfectly clear. Hence, Eisenhower believed the method amply justified his administration's subsequent responses to the various governments in Latin America.


NOTES
1.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, The White House Years: Mandate for Change, 1953-1956 ( Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1963), p. 420.
2.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, The White House Years: Waging Peace, 1956-1961 ( Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965), p. 517.
3.
Dwight D. Eisenhower to John Foster Dulles, June 20, 1952. Dwight D. Eisenhower Library Archive, Abilene, Kansas (hereafter referred to as Abilene): A.W.- Dulles-Herter-1.
4.
Under Juan José Arévalo, from 1944 to 1950, communists had infiltrated all the major unions, education, student organizations, and the government bureaucracy. They were his most reliable supporters because, although they thought he was too moderate, nevertheless he was useful to them. The results of the 1950 election were obviously vital to the communists. The popular opponent of Arbenz, Francisco Arana, was assassinated by persons unknown"; Guatemalans were not stupid, and held Arévalo and Arbenz responsible.
5.
John E. Peurifoy, U.S. ambassador to Guatemala, in testimony before the Subcommittee on Latin America of the House Select Committee on Communist Aggression stated the Eisenhower administration's position in October 1954. See U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Latin America of the Select Committee on Communist Aggression, Ninth Interim Report, Communist Aggression in Latin America, p. 124.
6.
Even his original promise of private farms, each of which would contain approximately 40 acres, was scarcely adequate for the needs and wishes of the people for their own land since the plots would have been miniscule and obviously insufficient to provide adequately for the needs of a family. Still, Arbenz hoped to win the allegiance of the landless farmers by this measure. Furthermore, it was a move designed to please nationalists who loathed the power and wealth of the unpopular United Fruit Company, known locally as "the octopus."
7.
See, for example, Dwight D. Eisenhower to Alfred Gruenther, November 30, 1954, and Dwight D. Eisenhower to William Robinson, August 4, 1954, Abilene: August and November 1954.
8.
Castillo Armas and Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes were the major opposition leaders. Neither Guatemalan particularly liked or trusted the other; in fact, one of the main problems for Arbenz' opponents and one of Arbenz' greatest allies was the indisposition of the opposition to compromise and cooperate with each other. This significant fact accounts for the survival of many a dictator or unpopular leader. The majority may not like

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