Declassified documents produced by the U.S. government provide an illuminating look at the structure and behavior of the Guatemalan military during that country's decades-long civil war. There are 48 documents included here in a briefing book entitled The Guatemalan Military: What the U.S. Files Reveal.
This briefing book is part of a larger archive dedicated to making available U.S. documents declassified by the Freedom of Information Act. In fulfilling this mission, it contains hundreds of government documents, primarily collected in briefing books that include detailed scholarly introductions and an annotated collection of primary sources. These materials offer the chance to explore the difficult nature of policymaking, which is often shaped by pre-existing attitudes and incomplete intelligence. Holdings on Latin America and Europe are particularly strong. It is important to note that the archive's materials have been selected carefully by the National Security Archive, whose aim is to blow the whistle on U.S. malfeasance. Still, the archive is hardly an extremist organization, and its interpretations are generally reasonable.