The author of this book is a recent president of Guatemala, deposed by a coup d’état on March 30, 1963. His collaborator is a native of Guatemala, a correspondent for the Associated Press, and the author of Guatemala: The Story of an Emergent Latin-American Democracy, published in New York in 1962.
By way of preface, My War with Communism begins with a brief essay sketching the main story and explaining how and why its author was overthrown and forced into exile, including a vigorous denial that he connived in his own downfall and departure. The essay is dated April 6, 1963, Managua, Nicaragua, and is followed by a short foreword by Adolf Berle dated New York, New York, March, 1963, in which Berle vouches for the importance and, apparently, for the veracity of the narrative. These dates are specified here because they suggest that the main body of the book was probably completed before General Ydígoras left Guatemala.
The most interesting portions of the volume are those dealing with Guatemala’s participation in the Bay-of-Pigs episode and with the posture and activities of the Guatemalan delegation at the Santiago, San José, and Punta del Este Inter-American Conferences. The rest is illuminating and important but often rather dull because of a multitude of names, dates, and geographical details without maps or illustrations. At least the author proves his case that Communist activities in Guatemala did not cease with the overthrow and expulsion of Jacobo Arbenz in July, 1954, and that those activities intensified with the success of the Fidel Castro revolution in Cuba.
General Ydígoras asserts that his administration (1958-1963) was attacked by enemies both from the right and from the left; that he has long been a champion of democracy and enlightened capitalism; and that he has been misunderstood and misrepresented in the United States. These assertions have the ring of truth and sincerity. But most readers will probably be slow to accept without further verifying evidence some of the author’s assertions with reference to the role of United States Ambassador John Peurifoy during the critical months of 1954 and regarding the policy of the United Fruit Company, the International Railways of Centra] America, and some of the officials and lobbyists in Washington, D. C.