The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ross

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:23 am


It was midnight in Manhattan, Sunday, April 16, when the telephone rang in the fashionable East Side apartment of Lem Jones. Sleepily, Jones answered, then came alert with a jolt. It was the Central Intelligence Agency calling from Washington.

"This is it," Jones's agency contact told him. The invasion had begun. The CIA man dictated the first communique, to be issued to the world by Jones in the name of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. Jones took it down in longhand on a pad.

"Before dawn," the CIA man dictated slowly, "Cuban patriots in the cities and in the hills began the battle to liberate our homeland from the despotic rule of Fidel Castro and rid Cuba of international Communism's cruel oppression ..."

It had been a peaceful Sunday for Jones, and he had received no advance inkling that midnight would be the start of D-Day. He knew the Council had met during the early afternoon at the Hotel Lexington on 48th Street and Lexington Avenue. (It had named one of its members, Carlos Hevia, to be the minister of foreign affairs when a new government was established in Cuba.) In midafternoon, Jones had called the hotel and tried to reach Miro Cardona. He was puzzled when he was told that there was no answer, but thought little about it.

There was a good reason why Jones was unable to reach his clients. At about 3:30 P.M., CIA agents, avoiding the main exit, spirited Cardona, Hevia and the other members of the Council out of the hotel. The Cubans were told only that they were being taken to Miami for something important.

They were driven by the CIA to Philadelphia, where they boarded a plane and were flown to Opa- locka. There for three days, the men who were to lead a free Cuba were virtually held prisoner in a barracks-like house, all but barren of furniture. They learned about the start of their invasion on a radio.

But Jones knew nothing of this at the time. The call from Washington had instructed him to take the communique across town to the Hotel Statler and show it to Antonio Silio, the secretary treasurer of the Council, and Ernesto Aragon, Cardona's right-hand man. Silo was registered at the hotel under an assumed name.

Jones typed the communique himself. He grabbed a taxi outside of his apartment at 39th Street and Second Avenue and took it to the Statler, where he showed the announcement to the two Cubans. Then, at 2:00 A.M., he started distributing it, still by taxi, to the wire services. It began:

Via: Lem Jones Associates, Inc.
280 Madison Avenue
New York, New York
April 17, 1961

Bulletin No.1

The following statement was issued this morning by Dr. Jose Miro Cardona, president of the Cuban Revolutionary Council:

"Before dawn Cuban patriots in the cities and in the hills began the battle to liberate our homeland ..."

At Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, at 1:15 A.M. on Monday, April 17, six B-26 bombers were lined up on the runway, ready to carry out the second strike against Castro's air bases. Their targets were Camaguey, Cienfuegos, San Antonio de los Banos, Camp Libertad, Santa Clara and also Managua, an Army base where U-2 photos had shown more than forty heavy tanks lined up in the open.

The planes were set to take off from Happy Valley at 1:49 A.M. They would strike just before dawn, finishing the destruction of Castro's air force that had begun with the first strike two days before.

The men in the B-26s had not yet learned of Richard Bissell's message from Washington, canceling the air strike on orders from the President. But when 1:40 A.M. came and went with no clearance to take off, they realized something had gone wrong.

At 1:55 A.M. the Cuban pilots were told their mission had been canceled on orders from Washington. They were not to proceed with the strike against the bases. Instead, they were to fly to the beaches to try to provide air cover for the landing.

Aboard the Houston, Mario Abril noticed the ship had come almost to a complete stop.

"They started using the winches to put the boats in the water, with a lot of noise, so much noise that they started shooting from the coast, just a few machine guns. We saw the tracers coming over. My squad was one of the first to get there, Company E. We got in a boat and ran for the coast. It was a wood boat, like you might use for water skiing, with an Evinrude outboard motor, with gray paint, the motor I mean. It stopped in the middle of the Bay of Pigs when we were two miles away from shore, so we had to start it up again and they were shooting. We were told not to shoot back because they would see our positions. So we got there, and we had a wreck against the rocks on the beach. [i] We didn't land at the right place. And then we met the other squads who were around. We got together and start thinking what to do. On both sides we had swamps, water and very marshy. We started walking on the road ..."

Hundreds of miles away, on tiny Swan Island off Honduras, the CIA's Radio Swan had begun broadcasting mysterious messages to the underground several hours before:

"Alert, alert -- look well at the rainbow. The fish will rise very soon ... the sky is blue ... the fish is red. Look well at the rainbow."

Now Radio Swan confidently broadcast the text of "Bulletin No.1."


At Happy Valley the disappointed B-26 pilots climbed down from their cockpits. New briefings were held in the wooden operations building. New plans had to be drawn up on the spot because of the changed nature of the mission.

It took a B-26 two hours and fifty minutes to fly from Happy Valley to the Bay of Pigs. The bombers had enough fuel to stay over the beaches for two hours if need be and still make it back to base. So it was decided that the bombers would fly over the beaches in pairs, every half-hour. A total of eleven B-26s were sent over the beaches in relays. The first of them took off before daylight.

As exile Brigade 2506 was moving ashore, Castro received word of the invasion. He ordered his T-33 jets and Sea Furies to take off before dawn for the Bay of Pigs.


At 4:00 A.M., as General Cabel was pleading with Secretary Rusk at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Washington, Mario Abril's E Company made contact with the enemy.

At 4:00 A.M. we met the first company of those guys, the Castro militia. They were attacking, shouting dirty words and shooting. We lay down and wait for them. We started shouting at each other across the marshes. We gave them the word: 'Surrender.' They said they were going to fight us. They shouted 'Patria O Muerte!' and then we started shooting."


The CIA's Radio Swan transmitter crackled again at 5:15 A.M.:

"Forces loyal to the Revolutionary Council have carried out a general uprising on a large scale on the island of Cuba ... the militia in which Castro placed his confidence appears to be possessed by a state of panic ... An army of liberation is in the island of Cuba to fight with you against the Communist tyranny of the unbalanced Fidel Castro ... attack the Fidelista wherever he may be found. Listen for instructions on the radio, comply with them and communicate your actions by radio.

"To victory, Cubans!"

On the Houston, the prow machine-gunner Manuel Perez Salvador had his hands full. Units of the second battalion were still unloading. Perez Salvador, a former catcher for the Fort Lauderdale Braves, a Class C team in the Florida International League, could hardly believe he had been in Miami only twelve days before. He had been recruited for the invasion at the last moment and flown to Happy Valley on April 5 with forty-seven others. He was literally turned into a soldier overnight. After one day's training as a machine-gunner, Perez Salvador was assigned to the Houston. Now, at 5:30 A.M., he peered through his gun sights and saw the first T-33s and Sea Furies begin a series of attacks on the ship. In the next five hours Perez Salvador fired 5,000 bullets.


Sergio Garcia had taken off from Happy Valley at 1:16 A.M. at the controls of a C-46 transport loaded with paratroopers. Their target was the strategic Y-shaped crossroads at San Blas, inland behind Giron Beach. His co-pilot was Fausto Gomez. At 6:14 A.M. Garcia began the drop of men and equipment at San Blas. When all the cargo and all but the last paratrooper had been dropped, the cable running the length of the plane snapped. It broke the leg of a parachute drop officer, jammed the tail controls of the plane and left one young paratrooper dangling helplessly from the plane at the end of the cable. Gomez went back to try to help. He and another man managed to pull the paratrooper in and discovered he was only a young boy. A few minutes later the youth, crying, came to the cockpit to plead with Garcia: "Please turn back and drop me. It's the invasion!"

"I can't," Garcia shouted over the noise of the engines. "Your main chute is broken. I can't drop you on a reserve chute. It's against orders."

An hour later, as they were winging back to Happy Valley, Gomez cut open the boy's boot and saw that his leg had been badly gashed when the cable snapped. He was bleeding profusely.


In New York the CIA phoned Jones with Bulletin No. 2 [ii]:

The Cuban Revolutionary Council announces a successful landing ... Because Cuban Revolutionary Council members are now totally occupied with the dramatic events unfolding in Cuba, their views will be made known to the press solely through the Cuban Revolutionary Council's spokesman, Dr. Antonio Silio.

The Council may have been totally occupied, but it was not totally free. Held in their barracks house at Opa-locka, the Cuban leaders were chafing. They were told they had been brought there so they could be flown to the beachhead as soon as it was secured. The United States would then recognize them as the legitimate government of Cuba. [iii]

The Council leaders donned their khaki uniforms, in readiness. They were allowed to take walks along the hard-surface road in front of the house. But when Carlos Hevia, who was to be the foreign affairs minister of a free Cuba, went to take a stroll, a CIA man warned him not to go very far. The area was rough and wild, the CIA man insisted, and the surrounding shrubbery was full of rattlesnakes.


Mario and the men of E Company had pushed back the militiamen and seized a T-shaped crossroads near Playa Larga.

"At 6:00 A.M. in the morning we saw the first plane. It had blue stripes on it. The sun wasn't out yet. At first 1 didn't see the stripes, and I was wondering, Is it going to shoot at us or not? It was ours. At that time we heard a real big noise and saw a couple of lights. It was a truck coming up the road with militia. We shouted the password 'aguila' and the other one answers 'negra.' [iv] But we didn't get any answer. We shouted 'aguila' again but we got no answer. The truck was coming closer, so everybody turned their weapons and started shooting and that thing exploded just like that, Pow! It jumped in the air and came down in flames. Then we saw there were three women and two girls, little ones, that's all, in the truck, and a couple of militiamen. I don't know how that happens but that's what we got out of it, three women and two girls, killed."

By dawn Castro's air force was taking a heavy toll of the invasion fleet. About 9:00 A.M., following a direct hit from the air, the Houston began to sink. Captain Luis Morse managed to edge the transport onto a reef a mile and a half from shore to keep it from going under completely. Along with most of the 120 men of the fifth battalion, Perez Salvador had to swim to the beach. The one-time professional baseball player stripped to his shorts, kicked off his shoes and jumped into the Bay of Pigs.

At 9:15 A.M. in San Juan, Puerto Rico, CIA Director Allen Dulles mounted the speaker's rostrum in the La Concha Hotel to the applause of the thousand members of the Young Presidents Organization. He launched into the keynote speech of the convention. For his topic this morning Dulles had chosen "The Communist Businessman Abroad."


Joaquin Varela, a slight, twenty-eight-year-old former Cuban Air Force pilot, led the relays of B-26s over the beaches. With Castro's air force still in action, the bombers were flying straight to disaster. Eight exile pilots died that April morning.

Jose Crespo and Lorenzo Perez, the two fliers who had landed in Key West on Saturday (and who had supposedly gone into asylum), flew over the Bay of Pigs this April 17 under the code name "Puma I." They were just leaving the beach, after firing all their rockets, when their bomber was hit in one engine by a Castro fighter. Crespo feathered the engine, radioed Happy Valley and began limping home at low altitude.

Chirrino Piedra, the twenty-five-year-old pilot so well liked by his comrades, was also turning from the beach when his B-26 was hit in the tail. The plane exploded instantly, killing Piedra and his co- pilot, Jose A. Fernandez.

Matias Farias, only twenty-two, tried to make a forced landing at the little airstrip now in exile hands at Giron Beach. The piles of gravel that had alarmed the CIA when spotted by the U-2 on Sunday had been cleared away. But Farias, coming in for a landing, flipped over and his B-26 lost its tail. Eddy Gonzalez, his co-pilot, was killed. Farias, slightly wounded, survived and was flown out in a C-46 two days later.

Crispin L. Garcia, a short, dark-haired pilot, fought over the beaches but ran short of fuel. He landed at Key West, refueled and took off for Happy Valley with his co-pilot, Juan M. Gonzalez Romero. He nearly made it. About a year later, during a search for a missing P-51, Crispin Garcia's mangled B-26 was found on a hillside eighty miles northwest of Happy Valley.

Antonio Soto, a small (five-foot-four) chestnut haired ex-Cuban military pilot flew as "Paloma II" and was hit in one engine. He became the second exile pilot to land at Grand Cayman Island. He and his co-pilot, Benito R. "Campesino" Gonzalez, were flown back to Puerto Cabezas, but their plane remained behind on British territory.

Still the B-26s kept coming. Demetrio Perez, riding the co-pilot seat of one of the bombers, looked at his watch as he crossed the south coast of Cuba en route to the Bay of Pigs. The twenty-five- year-old co-pilot noticed it was 11:56 A.M. He and the pilot, thirty-four-year-old Raul Vianello, were only two minutes behind schedule.

But Perez was worried. The two fliers had been plagued by bad luck since Saturday, when one engine of their bomber burst into flames as they were taking off for the first strike against Castro's bases. They were sidelined. Now, on April 17, they made it off the ground, but ever since take-off they had noticed a persistent smell of gasoline in the cabin.

Remembering their previous embarrassment, the two did not want to return to Happy Valley to face their friends. They decided to keep going. They radioed Soto to come closer for a look, but when he did, he was unable to spot the trouble.

Perez and Vianello met Varela as the squadron leader was returning from the beaches. They radioed him that they had fuel trouble but were going on. As they reached the beach, another pilot warned that a "T-bird" (T-33) was loose in the area. A moment later the Castro jet was diving at them. A burst of machine-gun bullets just missed the B-26.

The bomber turned inland, flew low over the swamps and blew up a Castro machine-gun nest that commanded a highway to the beach. Then the two fliers spotted a large convoy about to enter the sugar-mill town of Australia. They were uncertain whether or not it was a Castro convoy. By the time the bomber received radio confirmation that it was, the convoy was in the town. Rather than shoot at civilians, the fliers waited until the convoy emerged on the other side. As it came out, Perez saw a white ambulance with a red cross on its roof, followed by a jeep, a truck and a tank.

As they swooped low over the convoy for a better look, they were amazed to see Castro's militia waving their caps and guns at the plane in greeting. Then they realized the militiamen had not noticed the blue stripes under the wings, the only distinguishing marks between the exile bombers and Castro's B-26s.

Some of the militiamen were still waving when the bomber made a second pass, this time with its .50-caliber machine guns blazing. The B-26 also fired two rockets at the convoy. The ambulance blew up. Perez later claimed the attack was justified because the ambulance had armed militiamen in and around it.

At 2:15 P.M., its ammunition gone and fuel running low, the bomber turned for home. Just as Vianello attempted to climb into a bank of clouds for cover, a T-33 caught the bomber with a storm of bullets. The left engine was knocked out and smoke poured into the cockpit.

"Mayday! Mayday!" Perez radioed. Below, the two aviators spotted a destroyer. Assuming it was either American or British, Vianello flew near it. "Bailout!" he ordered the younger man.

Then, before Perez jumped, Vianello, who had a wife and three children, reached over and shook hands. He pointed to the water. "We'll meet down there," he said. "Good luck!"

Perez jumped. As he plummeted through the air he was unable, at first, to find the D-ring on his chute. Finally he did, and yanked with all his strength. The parachute billowed open, and the orange and white silk overhead was a beautiful sight to Perez. He looked up in time to see the bomber burst into flames and nose-dive into the ocean. He never saw Vianello jump.

Perez hit the water, inflated his Mae West and waited to be picked up. Forty-five minutes later, although it seemed hours, he found himself aboard the U.S.S. Murray, an American destroyer. [v]

Some of the B-26s did make it back to Happy Valley. Mario Zuniga, who had returned secretly from Miami the previous day, flew support over the beaches with Oscar Vega Vera, his co-pilot. They returned safely, as did the B-26s flown by Gonzalo Herrera, Varela, Mario Alvarez Cortina and Rene Garcia.

Crespo, with one propeller feathered and no compass, maintained radio contact as Happy Valley tried to guide him home. Crespo was also in contact with a C-54 pilot who attempted to persuade him to land at Grand Cayman Island. But Crespo did not change course. He radioed a final message to Happy Valley: "Trying to trade air speed for altitude for bailout, only ten minutes fuel left, no ground in sight." He was never seen again.

Eleven B-26s had flown from Happy Valley on this Monday, April 17. They were never told why their mission had been changed at the last moment from an air strike against Castro's bases to air support over the beaches. They obeyed their orders. Eight men died. Six planes were lost. Five planes returned to Happy Valley. Their valiant efforts at such a high cost had not really been very effective over the beaches. "The Monday air cover;" as one CIA official later conceded, "was murderous."


With the Houston out of action, the men of the second battalion were critically short of the ammunition and supplies the ship carried. In the Zapata swamps Mario Abril, with no food and little ammunition, skirmished with the enemy on Monday afternoon.

"There were only a few militiamen. I got my first one in there. He was in a tree. They were only ten or fifteen guys, but they were giving us a hard time because they didn't shoot all the time. They just shoot and keep quiet, shoot and keep quiet. And so this guy in a tree, I shot him down, he kept hanging from there. He was tied up to it and swinging. He just kept swinging."

In the United Nations in New York, Raul Roa was furious. He accused the United States of financing and backing the invasion. Grim-faced and chain-smoking, he charged that the CIA had poured $500,000 a month into the invasion preparations. He said a principal base was the Opa- locka airport. And he said the chief CIA agent in Miami was "Bender." On Monday afternoon, for the second time in forty-eight hours, Adlai Stevenson rose and denied the Cuban's allegations.

Stevenson had not left New York over the weekend and he did not see Kennedy. However, the President had dispatched McGeorge Bundy to New York to coordinate with Stevenson. Bundy, following developments on the AP ticker, had hastily briefed Stevenson that morning in the office of the United States mission to the UN. Then he accompanied Stevenson over to the UN, donned his hat and coat and flew back to the White House.

It was a day for denials.

They had begun in Washington, when Joseph W. Reap, a State Department spokesman, declared: "The State Department is unaware of any invasion." The Pentagon said it knew nothing about any invasion, either. The White House was equally uncommunicative. "All we know about Cuba," the Associated Press quoted Pierre Salinger as saying, "is what we read on the wire services."

The strongest assurances came from Secretary of State Rusk, who said of the Cuban situation:

"There is not and will not be any intervention there by U.S. forces. The President has made this clear, as well as our determination to do all we possibly can to insure that Americans do not participate in these actions in Cuba.

"We do not have full information on what is happening on that island.

"The American people are entitled to know whether we are intervening in Cuba or intend to do so in the future. The answer to that question is no. What happens in Cuba is for the Cuban people themselves to decide."


On the other side of the globe, at his Black Sea villa near Sochi, Nikita S. Khrushchev conferred with his impassive Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko. They drafted a note threatening to come to Castro's aid unless Kennedy halted the invasion.


In the Roman era,persecuted Christians would draw a fish to indicate a clandestine meeting was to be held. The CIA had selected this as a symbol for the invasion. (Hence the business about fish rising, which Radio Swan had broadcast Sunday night.) In New York, late on Monday, the CIA dictated Bulletin No. 3 to Lem Jones. It contained a reference to a fish standing. When Jones showed it to Silio, the exile official was worried. To Cubans, a phrase about fish rising or standing could have an earthy and much more graphic meaning. Jones argued with Silio, and finally, at 7:15 P.M., the bulletin was issued unchanged, despite the Cuban's apprehensions:

The principal battle of the Cuban revolt against Castro will be fought in the next few hours. Action today was largely of a supply and support effort ...

Our partisans in every town and village in Cuba will receive, in a manner known only to them, the message which will spark a tremendous wave of internal conflict against the tyrant ... before dawn the island of Cuba will rise up en masse in a coordinated wave of sabotage and rebellion which will sweep Communism from our country ... our clandestine radio has been giving instructions to the insurgents throughout the island. In a coded message on this radio yesterday, a statement was made that "the fish will soon stand."

As is well known, the fish is the Christian symbol of the resistance. When the fish is placed in a vertical position it is a sign that internal revolt is in full swing. The fish will stand tonight!

By this hour on Monday night, Dulles was hurrying home from Puerto Rico. In Washington, the full disastrous effect of the cancellation of the second air strike was being felt. It was realized that the invasion was slipping away fast. The exiles had, in the two days since April 15, lost ten of their original force of sixteen B-26s. Ten pilots had been killed in a little over forty-eight hours: Daniel Fernandez Mon, Gaston Perez, Jose A. Crespo, Lorenzo Perez, Chirrino Piedra, Jose A. Fernandez, Crispin L. Garcia, Juan M. Gonzalez Romero, Eddy Gonzalez and Raul Vianello.

Under the circumstances, Washington permitted a second air strike against Castro's bases to be reinstated. But attrition and exhaustion had overtaken the Cuban pilots. And the weather had turned bad. The whole point of that strike had been to catch Castro's air force on the ground before dawn. Now it would take place -- eighteen hours late.

Exactly three B-26s took off from Happy Valley at 8:00 P.M. Monday, April 17. Their target was the San Antonio de los Banos airfield. The strike was led by Joaquin Varela, despite the fact that he and his co-pilot, Tomas Afont, had flown that morning. Varela was unable to find San Antonio in the dark. Under orders to hit only military targets, he dropped no bombs and returned to Happy Valley. The second plane, piloted by Ignacio Rojas and Esteban Bovo Caras, developed engine trouble and turned back before reaching the target. So did the third plane, piloted by Miguel A. Carro and Eduardo Barea Guinea.

Two hours later, at 10:00 P.M., two more B-26s took off from Happy Valley. Their crews also had flown earlier that day. Gonzalo Herrera and Angel Lopez were in one bomber. Mario Alvarez Cortina and Salvador Miralles were in the other. They had no more success than the first three planes. Five B-26s had gone out Monday night. All returned, but they inflicted no damage on their targets. The score for the belated second air strike: Zero.


The start of Tuesday, April 18, found the exile brigade strung out along three separate beachheads on Cuba's southern shore. To the east of the Bay of Pigs, the exiles held Giron Beach and had moved inland behind it. At the north end of the wide Bay of Pigs itself, Mario Abril and the entire second battalion of 175 men was positioned in a crater astride a T-shaped crossroads near Playa Larga. The hole had been dug for a traffic circle under construction there. The battalion was alone, because the men of the fifth battalion, swimming ashore from the Houston, had been carried by the current to a point about twelve miles farther south of Playa Larga. As a result, the second and fifth battalions never joined up as planned. Shells were bursting all around the crater. The noise was deafening.

"They were shooting at us with mortars and artillery from far away, for three hours. Then at about 12:3O, maybe 1:00 A.M., it stopped. It was quiet. And then we start hearing the tanks coming up. I heard 'clank, clank, clank, clank,' real far away. They were coming closer. Our tanks moved into position on both sides of the road. The first Castro tank showed up with its lights on and the hatch closed. One of our tanks shot him and stopped him right in the middle of the road. But they cleared it away. All night long the tanks kept coming. They sent eight, but only one got through to the beach. Then this Stalin tank, real heavy, came up the road. Our tank had no ammunition, so it started pushing him on the side and threw him out of the road. The guys came out of the tank with their hands up and that was real great. We took them prisoners. It was real busy then. It was a real busy night."


At 3:44 A.M., as the second battalion stood off Castro's tanks, Radio Swan broadcast an appeal to the Cuban Army and militia to revolt:

"Now is the precise moment for you to take up strategic positions that control roads and railroads! Make prisoners of or shoot those who refuse to obey your orders! Comrades of the Navy, this is your opportunity to prove your sincerity ... Take over and secure your post in the Navy of Free Cuba. Comrades of the Air Force! Listen closely! All planes must stay on the ground. See that no Fidelist plane takes off. Destroy its radios; destroy its tail; break its instruments; and puncture its fuel tanks! Refuse to give service! Inform your friends that freedom and honor await those who join us, as death will overtake the traitors who do not!"

Three hours later, that was followed up with a broadcast urging internal sabotage:

"People of Havana; attention, people of Havana. Help the brave soldiers of the liberation army ... electrical plants must not supply power today to the few industries that the regime is trying to keep in operation. Today at 7:45 A.M., when we give the signal on this station, all the lights in your house should be turned on; all electrical appliances should be connected. Increase the load on the generators of the electric company! ... But do not worry, people of Havana, the liberation forces will recover the electrical plants and they can be placed in operation rapidly."


But at Playa Larga, the liberation forces were in trouble. Mario and the second battalion got the bad news; they would have to retreat.

"At 11 A.M. we got the orders to move to Giron Beach to join up with the other battalions. I ask myself, Why? I think we won that battle during the night against tanks with no ammunition, no support, no fifth battalion, which was in another place. So I got on a truck and I was riding to Giron Beach, twenty miles away down the line of the coast. We got there at 12:30, maybe 1:00 P.M. There we got rest and I got a couple of crackers and a bottle of water. We were in a new house Castro built for the workers. In the meantime, Castro's planes were coming and bombing and shooting. We were so tired, it didn't make any difference to us."


The exile air force was still in action, despite the long odds against it A thunderstorm swelled the little river behind the airstrip at Happy Valley on Tuesday afternoon, and sent the scorpions and snakes near the operations building scuttling for cover. Despite the storm, six B-26s took off at 2:00 P.M. Their target was a large Castro armored column moving toward the shrinking beachhead at Giron.

Mario Zuniga flew in one of the bombers, with the chief of the exile air operations, Manuel Villafana, as his co pilot. Luis Cosme, Villafana's deputy, took over as the operations officer at Happy Valley.

Rene Garcia, Antonio Soto and Gustavo Ponzoa flew three of the B-26s in the strike force. Despite the presidential pledge that no Americans would participate in the fighting, the other two bombers were flown by American CIA pilots. One was the instructor who used the name "Seig Simpson" and who had told the Cubans he was a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War. His co-pilot was Gustavo Villoldo, a Cuban. Alberto Perez Sordo, a twenty-two-year-old exile, flew as co-pilot with the other American.

It took the six bombers only twenty-five minutes to destroy the Castro convoy on the road to the beach. [vi] All six bombers and crews returned safely to Puerto Cabezas.

The same day, April 18, the exile air force received four P-51 Mustangs from the Nicaraguan Government. The trouble was, the Cuban pilots had not been trained to fly them. The Mustangs went unused.

At 1:20 P.M. on Tuesday in New York, Lem Jones issued Bulletin No. 4 of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. For the first time it took a more pessimistic tone:

Cuban freedom fighters in the Matanzas area are being attacked by heavy Soviet tanks and Mig aircraft [vii] which have destroyed sizable amounts of medical supplies and equipment.

Meanwhile, the note Khrushchev had drafted at Sochi the day before was transmitted to Washington. The Soviet Premier charged the United States had armed and trained the exiles. He threatened to give Castro "all necessary assistance" unless Washington stopped the invasion. At 7:00 P.M. Soviet Ambassador Mikhail A. Menshikov was handed a note by Rusk at the State Department. In it President Kennedy warned Khrushchev to stay out of the fight. In the event of outside intervention, Kennedy declared, the United States would "immediately" honor its treaty obligations to the hemisphere.

In the UN, Soviet Ambassador Zorin mocked Stevenson's continued denials of United States responsibility for the invaders. "Have these people come from outer space?" asked Zorin.

A few moments earlier Carlos Alejos, Roberto's brother, rose in the UN and said he had just returned from a trip to Guatemala, and wished to state, in answer to Cuba's charges, that the forces which had landed in Cuba had not been trained in Guatemala and had not come from Guatemalan territory. Guatemala, Alejos solemnly assured the UN, had never allowed and would never allow its territory to be used for the organization of acts of aggression against its sister American republics.


At the White House, that Tuesday night, more than a thousand guests had gathered for the President's traditional reception for members of Congress and their wives. Champagne and punch flowed. At exactly 10:15 P.M. the President and Jacqueline Kennedy descended the main stairs. Mrs. Kennedy wore a lovely sleeveless floor-length sheath of pink and white straw lace, with matching pink slippers. A feather-shaped diamond clip glittered in her bouffant hairdo. The Marine Band struck up "Mr. Wonderful." The Kennedys led the first dance. Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird, wearing her salmon-pink inaugural gown, joined in. Midway through the first number the Kennedys and the Johnsons switched partners. For the buffet dinner the guests had chicken a la king and pheasant. The President mixed with his guests, smiling and apparently carefree. But at 11:45 P.M. guests noticed he had slipped away.

Still in his formal dress, the President met at midnight at the White House with his highest military and civilian advisers. The Joint Chiefs and top officials of the CIA were present. The invasion was now near collapse. At the meeting Richard Bissell maintained that the operation could still be saved if the President would authorize the use of Navy jets from a carrier then stationed offshore between Jamaica and Cuba.

But the President had repeatedly stated, both privately and publicly (at his April 12 press conference), that no United States armed forces would be used in Cuba. He was reluctant to change his position now.

Bissell, who had been so deeply engaged in the Cuban operation for more than a year, argued desperately in favor of U.S. airpower to save it now. So did Admiral Burke, who made a series of proposals. Like Bissell he asked that Navy jets be sent over the beaches.

Burke also suggested several alternatives: that a company of Marines be landed; that a destroyer be allowed to give gunfire support to the invaders; that Navy jets be allowed to fly just outside the three-mile limit. General Lemnitzer, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, supported Burke's plea for Navy jets over the beaches, as did General White, Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

The President declined to accept these various proposals. Then Burke suggested that Navy planes be allowed to fly over the beaches, but that there be no U.S. markings on the planes. As the group talked, the clock ticked past midnight and into Wednesday, April 19. Finally the discussion resulted in a compromise:

The President authorized the unmarked Navy jets from the carrier Essex to fly over the Bay of Pigs for one hour just after dawn. Their mission was to be restricted. They were to support an air-to-ground strike that morning by the B-26s from Happy Valley. The Navy jets were to fly "dead cover," which meant they were to interpose themselves between the bombers and any enemy aircraft. In this way they were to try to protect the B-26s against attack by Castro planes. The Navy jets were not to strafe or to initiate any firing. Under the President's authorization, however, they could fire back if fired upon.

There was a subtle and unspoken aspect to this. If the Castro planes fired, the Navy jets would not be able to make the fine distinction of whether the attackers were firing at the bombers or at them. By interposing themselves between the B-26s and Castro's planes, in other words, they would draw fire and be able to fire back.

Burke wrote out the order on a pad. It was telephoned to the Joint Chiefs communication center at the Pentagon, sent immediately to CINCLANT, in Norfolk, Virginia, relayed from there to the Commander, Second Fleet, and thence to the carrier. The markings on the Navy jets were to be painted over.

It was 1:00 A.M. Wednesday when the meeting broke up at the White House.


At Happy Valley a 1:00 A.M. meeting was also in progress, in the building that served as the air operations center. Among those present were General Doster, Riley W. Shamburger, Jr., a CIA pilot who was a close friend of Doster's and on leave as a major in the Alabama Air National Guard, and Luis Cosme, the Cuban operations deputy.

All realized that the situation was grim and that something had to be done. The Cuban pilots were exhausted; ten were dead. The American advisers agreed to fly night missions starting that night, to relieve the weary Cubans. The Americans were not ordered to do so; they volunteered, although it was understood when they signed up with the CIA that they might at some point have to fly combat missions.

Now the pledge that no U.S. armed forces and no Americans would be involved was doubly violated, since American CIA pilots were flying in the invasion and Navy jets were to screen them against attack.

Five B-26s took off during the night. Shamburger and a fellow American, Wade Carroll Gray, flew in one B-26. Two more Americans, Thomas Willard Ray and Leo Francis Baker, flew in another. Three other Americans flew. One was a tall, skinny pilot known simply as "Joe," whose co-pilot was also an American. The other was the pilot known as "Seig Simpson." The fifth B-26 was piloted by a Cuban, Gonzalo Herrera.

Three more Cubans, including Zuniga, were scheduled to fly, but operations were halted before they took off.


Bissell left the White House meeting with the understanding that the Navy jets would appear over the beaches at dawn simultaneously with the B-26s. What happened next has since become clouded in a welter of conflicting interpretations.

Bissell, of course, did not have the responsibility of ordering the Navy jets into the air, but he did have the task of notifying the exile air force. From his secret office he relayed the news that United States air cover would be available for one hour at dawn to support the air-to-ground strike by the CIA B-26s. Bissell did not write the order out himself. He repeated it verbally to the colonel on duty at the CIA office, who in turn transmitted it to Happy Valley.

Bissell's message reached Happy Valley shortly before Shamburger, Gray, Ray and Baker took off. These four Americans, therefore, took off for the Bay of Pigs with the understanding that they would have protection from U.S. Navy jets. They did not.

Somewhere along the line there was a fatal mix-up between the CIA and the Navy. At first the CIA thought that the President's order had reached the carrier so conservatively worded that the jets had been unable to take hostile action against Castro's planes because the jets had not been fired upon. Later the CIA realized the error was one of timing. In the secret post-mortem over the Bay of Pigs, it was officially concluded that the bombers had arrived after the jets had already come and gone, after the clock had run out on the one hour of air support.

How this happened may never be entirely unscrambled (there has been no public explanation), but the evidence pointed directly to the incredible conclusion that the mix-up had occurred because of confusion over time zones. The Bay of Pigs and Washington were both on Eastern Standard Time, but Nicaragua time was an hour earlier. Which means a plane that left Happy Valley, Nicaragua, at 3:30 A.M. local time would have arrived over the Bay of Pigs at 6: 30 A.M. Nicaragua time, or just after dawn. But because of the difference in time zones, it was 7: 30 A.M. at the Bay of Pigs -- an hour too late.

The CIA and the Navy did not co-ordinate their respective orders to the fleet and to Happy Valley. Burke simply sent his order to the fleet and Bissell sent an order to Happy Valley. Neither official saw the order the other had transmitted.

The confusion over time zones may have been compounded by the fact that the Navy always transmits messages in Greenwich Mean Time, but the CIA sometimes uses Standard Time, sometimes GMT.

In any event, the Navy pilots reported they never made contact with CIA bombers. They said they saw no bombers and no Castro planes. After the hour had elapsed, they returned to the carrier.

On this morning of April 19 four Americans lost their lives. Riley Shamburger and Wade Gray were shot down and crashed at sea. Ray and Baker were shot down and apparently crashed inland. "Joe," the tall American, never reached the beaches. He heard the cries for help of the four American fliers as they were shot down, and he turned back. Gonzalo Herrera, his plane shot full of holes, also made it back.

At Happy Valley at 8:30 A.M. "Gar," the chief CIA air adviser, asked the Cubans for volunteers to go in again over the beaches. The pilots were called together by Luis Cosme, the Cuban operations deputy. They were willing, but since another trip over the beaches meant almost certain death, they understandably demanded to know why they were being sent out.

"We must hold twenty-four hours more," the CIA chief said. "Don't play the bells loud, but something is going to happen."

It was the sort of vague promise that the Cubans, by this time, were fed up with. Now they rebelled. Cosme addressed the assembled pilots. "I think we've had enough losses," he told them. "I believe this operation is a failure. I don't see any reason to continue the flights. Either they appoint another operations officer or no airplane takes off from Happy Valley with Cubans aboard."

It was 9:45 A.M. The air operations at Happy Valley were over. In four days of combat the exile air force had flown more than thirty-six missions, against overwhelming odds. It had fought an air battle against faster, more maneuverable planes, jets and conventional fighters that were supposed to have been destroyed on the ground. [viii] Its men were weary from lack of rest and sleep.

It had suffered fifty-percent losses -- twelve of its twenty-four B-26s were gone. Fourteen pilots had died -- ten Cubans and four Americans.


This final day of the invasion found Mario Abril with his battalion west of Giron Beach fighting against the militia as the perimeter was gradually pushed back.

"We stayed there until 1:00 P.M. At that time Erneido Oliva, the battalion commander, he told us everything was real bad and we were doing pretty bad, no support at all from the Americans. We could see the ships and they don't send nothing. He told us to try to run to the hills. He told us he was going that way, to resist until we can do something. So we started walking that way. At Giron Beach 1 got water, and with a couple of friends of mine, 1 started running for the woods. That was 3:30, maybe 4:00 P.M. [ix] 1 was in real bad condition. 1 started walking toward Cienfuegos. 1 got friends there and I believed if I could get there 1 would be saved."

The invasion was over. By 5:30 P.M. Castro's forces were engaged in mopping-up operations at the Bay of Pigs. At the same hour the indignant members of the Cuban Revolutionary Council, free at last from their Opa-locka confinement, were meeting secretly with Kennedy at the White House. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the Harvard historian and assistant to the President, and Adolf Berle had flown to Miami during the night to placate the Cuban leaders, after which the Council was flown to Washington for a meeting that was both emotional and difficult. This meeting was not disclosed by the White House until the next day.

In New York, Lem Jones issued two more bulletins for the CIA. The last one regretted that:

... the recent landings in Cuba have been constantly though inaccurately described as an invasion. It was, in fact, a landing mainly of supplies and support for our patriots who have been fighting in Cuba for months ... Regretfully we admit tragic losses in today's action among a small holding force which courageously fought Soviet tanks and artillery while being attacked by Russian Mig aircraft -- a gallantry which allowed the major portion of our landing party to reach the Escambray mountains.

We did not expect to topple Castro immediately or without setbacks. And it is certainly true that we did not expect to face, unscathed, Soviet armaments directed by Communist advisers. We did and survived!

The struggle for the freedom of six million Cubans continues!

Mario Abril, together with hundreds of his fellows, was captured the next day. He spent the next year and a half in prison in Havana. He returned to the United States with the rest of the brigade in the prisoner exchange of Christmas, 1962.

Manuel Perez Salvador, of the Fort Lauderdale Braves, lived for ten days on land crabs and muddy water after he had swum ashore from the Houston. Giant flies bit his legs, which became infected and swollen. He still bears round black scars the size and shape of kitchen-faucet washers. He and a companion had just found a tin of Russian canned meat on the beach and were trying to open it when a militia speedboat rounded the bend with a machine gun trained on them. They surrendered. That was how it went for the majority of the brigade.

A few managed to escape in small boats and were later picked up at sea by American Navy and merchant ships. A very few managed to escape through the Cuban underground. Most were captured.

The exile air force fought no more. Its task was over. And yet not quite. Sergio Garcia, the pilot who had refused to drop the wounded young paratrooper over San Blas, was assigned to a final mission.

On the morning of April 20 he flew far out to sea from Happy Valley, carrying thousands of leaflets that had been printed by the CIA. They were packed in special boxes designed to open after leaving the plane. The leaflets were meant to have been dropped over Cuba ahead of the advancing and victorious invaders. They bore such slogans as "Cubans, you will be free!"

Hundreds of miles off the Nicaraguan coast, out of sight of land, Garcia banked and began the last air drop of the Bay of Pigs. The boxes tumbled from the plane, and opened as they were caught by the wind. Garcia watched as the leaflets fluttered into the sea.



i. CIA hydrographic experts believed the beaches were excellent at the Bay of Pigs. An unexpected reef was encountered as the ships moved in, and it slowed down the landing operation.

ii. Although Jones and the Council later came in for some criticism for issuing press releases from a Madison Avenue office, the truth is that he did not write any of them. Each of the six bulletins was dictated directly to Jones by the CIA.

iii. Castro had realized the danger of this. On June 16, 1961, during a cigar-waving tour of the battlefield for British and American newsmen, he said that because the exiles held forty-three miles of coast at one point "it became an urgent political problem for us to oust them as quickly as possible so that they would not establish a government there."

iv. The two words together mean black eagle.

v. It was the start of a weird adventure for Perez, who followed orders and stuck to his cover story that he was a defecting Castro pilot. On April 19 he was flown by helicopter to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Randolph and given an air-conditioned stateroom. From there he was flown to Guantanamo, smuggled across the bay in a launch to the main Navy base and armed by Navy Intelligence, whom he exasperated by repeating his CIA cover story. Only after the Navy threatened to send Perez "back" to Havana, did he tell the truth. He was whisked to Washington by jet for further interrogation by the Navy and, finally, by the CIA. He met General Maxwell D. Taylor, the President's military representative, and even made it to the White House. All the while Perez was being kept in a luxurious Alexandria, Virginia, motel. Finally, he was given new clothes and a plane ticket. Still wearing the parachute boots in which he had jumped, Perez returned to Miami.

vi. During his June 16 tour of the battlefield, Castro admitted to newsmen that his forces had made the error of advancing on the open road that cuts through marshes, and as a result were an easy target for the exile air force.

vii. Castro had no Migs in the air during the invasion. This probably refers to the T-33 jet trainers.

viii. The exile pilots received no training in defensive tactics, for example, because it was not anticipated that Castro would be left with any planes.

ix. Several members of the brigade later claimed they saw U.S. jets flying high over the beaches about this hour. This would have been long after the one hour of air cover at dawn ordered by the President, however.
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:25 am

The Case of the Birmingham Widows

FOUR widows whose husbands had died at the Bay of Pigs were living in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. During the long, hot summer of that year, Birmingham was a city of fear and violence. But some of the widows lived in a special atmosphere of fear that had nothing to do with the city's racial troubles.

Partly it was because of an unseen hand that sent them, every two weeks, a check for $245. There was danger that if they said too much the same invisible hand might cut the payments off. For one of the widows, Mrs. Margaret H. Ray, a soft-spoken, attractive brunette, these fears were also compounded by talk of lie-detector tests, suspicion that her telephone was being tapped, that she was under surveillance.

The imaginings of a distraught widow alone in the world with her two young children? Perhaps. And then again, perhaps not. For The Case of the Four Birmingham Widows is, in some respects, a twentieth-century tragedy. It is George Orwell and Franz Kafka come true.

The husbands of these four women were Thomas Willard Ray, Leo Francis Baker, Riley W. Shamburger, Jr., and Wade Carroll Gray, the American CIA airmen who had died on April 19, 1961, while flying in combat at the Bay of Pigs.

One key to the mystery of all that has since happened to the widows could be found in a small two-story building on a quiet palm-lined street in Miami Springs, Florida, not far to the north of Miami International Airport. It was, the sign out front proclaimed, the law office of Alex E. Carlson.

Carlson, a big, blond, heavy-set man, towering well over six feet, saw three years of combat during World War II in New Guinea, the Philippines and Okinawa. After the war he got his bachelor's degree in Spanish at the University of Michigan. By 1952 Carlson, then twenty-seven, was finishing law school at the University of Miami. That year he went to Chile on an exchange scholarship. He then returned to Miami and set up practice in Miami Springs. Most of his clients appeared to be obscure airline and air-cargo firms operating out of Miami International Airport.

But Carlson's most intriguing business activity was the Double-Chek Corporation. According to the records of the Florida Secretary of State at Tallahassee this firm was incorporated on May 14 1959, and "brokerage is the general nature of business engaged in."

The officers of the Double-Chek Corporation, as of 1963, were listed as "Alex E. Carlson, President, 45 Curtiss Parkway, Miami Springs" (the address of Carlson's law office); "Earl Sanders, Vice-President, same address; Margery Carlson, Secretary Treasurer, same address." The "resident agent" was listed as "Wesley R. Pillsbury," at the same address.

In 1960 the CIA, having been given the green light by President Eisenhower to organize the Cuban exiles, began looking about for American pilots to serve as PIs -- pilot instructors. Because the Cubans would be flying the CIA B-26s, the agency wanted Americans who had flown the plane in wartime.

The CIA decided to do its recruiting through Alex E. Carlson and the Double-Chek Corporation. The agency uses cover of this sort when it recruits pilots for a covert operation. To find the pilots, the CIA naturally turned to the Air National Guard in Alabama, Virginia and Arkansas, the last state units to fly the obsolescent B-26.

From these states, some two dozen pilots were signed up by the CIA, acting through Double-Chek. The majority were from Alabama, and, in turn, the bulk of these were from the Birmingham area. The unit's doctor was from Montgomery.

General Reid Doster, the congenial, bulldog-faced commanding officer of the Alabama Air National Guard, was a key man in the CIA operation at Retalhuleu. (Doster had left the CIA and was back running the Alabama Air Guard and its 117th Reconnaissance Wing as of 1963.)

Because the Alabama Air Guard was under the supervision of the 9th Tactical Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Doster went to see Major General David W. Hutchinson, the commanding general there. [i] He asked for a leave of absence for himself and about a dozen of his men in the Alabama National Guard. Hutchinson approved the leaves of absence; the men, including Doster, joined the CIA as civilians.

Each of the American pilots was sworn to secrecy by the CIA, with the exception of Doster, who gave his word as a general officer. All pledged they would never talk about what happened in the training camps or at the Bay of Pigs.

Thomas Willard Ray, age thirty when he died, was born in Birmingham on March 15, 1931. He began dating Margaret Hayden while he was still in Tarrant High School. He served in the Air Force from 1950 to 1952 and was discharged as a staff sergeant.

In December of that year "Pete" Ray joined the Hayes International Corporation, a large aircraft modification company with its main plant at the Birmingham airport. Ray was a technical inspector at Hayes, but he kept up his pilot's proficiency by flying the B-26s and F-84s at the Alabama National Guard.

He married Margaret and they had two children: Thomas, a crew-cut blond-haired boy of eight when his father died, and Janet Joy, six. Five years before the Bay of Pigs, the Rays built a handsome brick home in Center Point, a Birmingham suburb.

Ray did not particularly like flying jets, and, with several buddies, he switched to the Army Reserve. He took leave from Hayes, and for one year before he joined the CIA he was on active duty at Fort Rucker, 170 miles south of Birmingham. In January, 1961, Ray received a telephone call. He told his wife he would be leaving to go to a "combined service school."

On February 5, 1961, Mrs. Ray and the children moved into her mother's home in Birmingham. Her husband left the same day. He did not say where he was going. He told his wife she could write to him at this address:

c/o Joseph Greenland
Box 7924
Main Post Office
Chicago, Illinois

(There was no Joseph Greenland listed in the Chicago telephone book in 1960, 1961 or 1962. The box was a CIA mail drop; the CIA official who selected "Greenland" apparently was unable to resist choosing a code name suggested by the verdant tropical vegetation of the target island.)

Margaret wrote to her husband c/o Joseph Greenland, and he wrote back, with his letters bearing the return address of different Air Force bases. Pete came home only once, on April 10, for a two- day visit; he had a deep suntan. During that time he did not tell his wife what he was doing, but she had begun to piece it together from newspaper stories and her own suspicions. She gave voice to these suspicions.

"If you've learned anything," he told her, "keep your mouth shut, because they are thinking of giving lie-detector tests to the wives." He indicated that "they" might do this in order to check on whether there had been any security leaks from the wives in Birmingham.

On April 15 Margaret was fixing a girlfriend's hair at her mother's house when her friend showed her a newspaper telling of the B-26 strike against Cuba. Margaret's hands began to tremble.


Leo Baker, thirty-four at the time of his death, was a native of Boston. A short, dark-haired, handsome man, he was thought to be Italian by many of his friends because of his appearance and the fact that he owned two pizza shops in Birmingham. Actually, he was the son of a French mother and a father who came from Newfoundland.

He entered the Air Force in 1944, served as a flight engineer and was discharged as a technical sergeant. He married, and was divorced. There was one daughter, Teresa. Baker flew in the Korean War, then, on Lincoln's Birthday, 1957, joined Hayes as a flight engineer. He also started a pizza shop in East Lake. The following year an attractive, blue-eyed brunette walked into Leo's Pizza Shop. He hired her on the spot.

Her name was Catherine Walker. Although born in Kentucky, she was raised in Birmingham and was graduated from Woodlawn High School there. They began dating and were married on August 12, 1959. In December, Baker was laid off by the Hayes Company. But he bought a second pizza shop in Homewood. Cathy managed one; Leo the other. He worked hard -- he could not abide lazy people -- and his small restaurant business prospered.

They had two children: Beth, born April 22, 1960, and Mary, who never saw her father. She was born September 26, 1961, six months after he died.

In January, 1961, Leo Baker went to Boston for his father's funeral. He told Cathy he was expecting a phone cal1 and it came while he was gone. Soon after, late in January, Baker left home. He did not tell Cathy where he was going. But he told her she could write to him c/o Joseph Greenland at the Chicago address.

His return mail came once from Washington, but usually it was postmarked Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One picture post card from that city showed a motel with a tropical-fish pool. One weekend Leo returned to Birmingham carrying a plastic bag full of tropical fish.

During this period Baker told his wife he was dropping supplies over Cuba and training pilots. Every two or three weeks he came home briefly. Two weeks before Easter he came home for the last time. He arrived on a Saturday and left on a Sunday, and that was the last time Cathy ever saw him.

"Watch the newspapers early in May," were among the parting words he spoke to her.

Cathy believed he then went to Guatemala. She later learned he had won $300 in a poker game in Central America before the invasion. When someone asked if he planned to send the money home, he had replied: "I'm taking it with me to Cuba. I might be able to buy my way out of trouble."

Cathy did not know how much money Leo was paid. But she received $500 a month while he was away.


Riley W. Shamburger, Jr., the oldest of the four fliers, was born in Birmingham on November 17, 1924. He married Marion Jane Graves, his childhood sweetheart. They had dated for twelve years before their marriage, through grammar school and Woodlawn High. After Pearl Harbor, Shamburger quit high school to join the Air Force. (When the war ended he returned and got his diploma.) A combat pilot in World War II and Korea, Shamburger was a big breezy extrovert who loved to fly.

He was a 209-pounder, six feet tall, with 15,000 hours in the air and eighteen years of flying experience by 1961. A test pilot at Hayes, he was also a major in the Alabama Air National Guard, and was its operations officer at the Birmingham airfield. He was also a good friend of General Doster. Shamburger did well; he owned a substantial home in East Lake.

The Shamburgers were part of a beer-and-barbecue, happy-go-lucky crowd of Air Guardsmen and their wives who frequently socialized together. Aside from flying, Riley liked nothing better than to sit in front of the TV set with a case of beer, eating his favorite food, "parched" (roasted) peanuts. And he liked to barbecue pork chops.

Early in 1961 Riley told his wife: "I'm going to be away at school for three months." He did not say where he was going, but about once a week he returned to Birmingham. He and Doster would fly in together.

Sometimes they would bring news of other Birmingham acquaintances -- such as Colonel Joe Shannon -- who were part of the mysterious operation. Once, when Riley returned for a visit, he told how the boys had rigged up a beer joint in Central America named after their favorite bar in Birmingham. Over the makeshift saloon a pair of red panties flew in the breeze as a cocktail flag.

Shortly before the invasion, Marion sent Riley a present -- a whole cigar box full of parched peanuts.


Wade Carroll Gray, born in Birmingham on March 1, 1928, and thirty-three when he died, had also once been employed at Hayes, as a radio and electronics technician. (But he had been laid off in 1960). He married his pretty wife, Violet, on December 14 1946. They settled down in Pinson, a suburb where Wade had lived all of his life. They had no children.

Gray left home on February 5, 1961, the same day that Pete Ray said good-bye to Margaret. He told his wife that he was going to Texas to test planes. He said the project was secret and that he could say no more.

He first returned home for a visit in early March, 1961. He, too, told his wife to write c/o Joseph Greenland. Some of the letters Violet Gray wrote were returned to her with her husband's effects after his death. Among these effects were matchbooks indicating he had been in both Guatemala and Nicaragua.

This, then, is the background of the four Americans, and of how they came to be in Happy Valley on Wednesday, April 19, 1961. On that day all four volunteered to fly B-26s over the beaches to relieve the exhausted Cuban pilots.

What happened has already been described: Shortly before they took off, the four CIA fliers were told they would receive air support from the carrier-based Navy jets. (The word had been flashed to Happy Valley by Richard Bissell after the President authorized the unmarked Navy jets to fly for one hour at dawn.) Because of the mix-up over time zones, the B-26s got to the Bay of Pigs after the Navy jets had already gone.

Exactly how the two planes were shot down is a subject of varying accounts, but most versions agree that Shamburger and Gray crashed at sea and that Ray and Baker crashed inland. [ii]

Some evidence that Ray and Baker did crash on Cuban soil was provided by Havana radio on the morning of April 19. At 10:30 A.M. Havana time (9:30 A.M. Nicaragua time), Radio Havana Broadcast:

We give you official government communique No. 3. The participation of the United States in the aggression against Cuba was dramatically proved this morning, when our anti-aircraft batteries brought down a U.S. military plane piloted by a U.S. airman, who was bombing the civilian population and our infantry forces in the area of the Australia Central [a sugar mill].

"The attacking U.S. pilot, whose body is in the hands of the revolutionary forces, was named Leo Francis Bell. His documents reveal his flight license number, 08323-LM, which expires 24 December 1962. His social security card is numbered 014-07-6921. His motor vehicle registration was issued to 100 Nassau Street, Boston 4, Massachusetts. The registered address of the Yankee pilot is 48 Beacon Street, Boston. His height is five feet six inches." (This was Baker's height.)

A Havana wire-service dispatch identified the pilot as Leo Francis Berliss. Another story had it as Berle.

In Oklahoma City the Federal Aviation Agency said it had no record at its headquarters there of the pilot's license as reported by Havana. The numbering system, the FAA added, "isn't like that." Reporters in Boston who checked the Beacon Street address found an apartment house. None of the residents had ever heard of Leo Francis Berliss. The State Department in Washington said it had no one by that name in either the civilian or military branch of the government.

What Castro had in his hands, of course, was Leo Baker's CIA-prepared credentials, made out with a fake last name. (CIA clandestine officers frequently have bogus papers; some possess three or four United States passports issued under different names.) Presumably, the papers were recovered from Baker's body after the bomber crashed inland.

One week later, on April 26, Margaret Ray received a visit from Thomas F. McDowell, a Birmingham lawyer, who was the law partner of Frank M. Dixon, a former governor of Alabama. McDowell was accompanied by another man. They told Mrs. Ray that it was believed her husband had been lost at sea in a C-46 transport plane. They asked her to tell no one. They indicated there was a slim chance he might still be alive.

For the next week Margaret Ray went about her normal life, going to church, to the PTA, to the supermarket. On Wednesday, May 3, she was again visited by McDowell. This time he brought with him a big blond man he introduced as an attorney from Miami. His name was Alex E. Carlson.

They repeated to Mrs. Ray the story about the C-46, but on this visit they said there was no longer any hope that her husband was alive. Carlson said he would tell the same story to the Birmingham newspapers the next day.

Carlson and McDowell visited Margaret for about thirty minutes at her mother's home. Then they left. Margaret hinted to them that she did not believe their story.

On Thursday, May 4, Carlson held a press conference in Birmingham. He announced that the four fliers were missing and presumed dead after their C-46 had left on a cargo mission from an airstrip somewhere in Central America. Carlson said he was an attorney representing the Double-Chek Corporation of Miami. He said Double-Chek had put some anti-Castro Cubans in touch with the fliers early in April. Carlson did not say whether the four had flown in the invasion.

"They were told to use the radio only in case of an emergency," said Carlson. "Then they reported one engine had gone out and they were losing altitude. That was the last they have been heard from."

He said the Double-Chek Corporation had contacted the four on behalf of an organization which requested that its identity remain confidential. "But it is presumed to be an exiled group of Cubans," said Carlson. He said that Double-Chek had hired the four at a monthly salary to fly cargo.

"These men knew what they were getting into," he added. "It was a calculated risk. If they came back, they had a nice nest egg."

To cover its role, the CIA was willing to imply that the four dead Americans were mercenaries. Their reputations were expendable.

The widows were embittered at Carlson's words.

"Riley wasn't a soldier of fortune," Mrs. Shamburger said. "He didn't do this for the money. He was a test pilot at Hayes, and was paid a good salary there. He was an operations officer for the Air National Guard. He held two jobs because he wanted us to have things. I have a maid twice a week. I wear furs. You see the things we have in the house."

Mrs. Gray told a newspaper interviewer her husband was no soldier of fortune either. She said he was paid $1,990 a month during the short period of time he was away. She said she, too, had been visited by Carlson. "He said my husband was dead and to start life anew. He said they had spotted one of the plane's engines floating in the water. I didn't think engines floated."

"They knew what they were getting into, but I didn't," said Cathy Baker.

Three days after he returned to Miami, Carlson told the press he was sure the C-46 had been flying a support mission for the Cuban invasion. But he said the mission was not connected with the main exile organization, the Democratic Revolutionary Front.

"There are many so-called fronts and wealthy individuals, all anxious to do their part," he announced. "This was a small group." Carlson's partner in Double-Chek, Raymond W. Cox, told Miami newsmen that the corporation originally was formed to buy a race horse. He said he knew nothing about any fliers.

Shortly after Carlson's appearance in Birmingham in May, 1961, mysterious checks began arriving for the four widows. At first the checks were issued by the Hialeah-Miami Springs Bank and were signed by Carlson. Soon afterward there was a change, and the checks began coming from the Bankers Trust Company of New York. They came every two weeks. The first fifty-two payments were $225 each. Later they were increased to $245, or a bit more than $6,000 a year for each of the widows. The checks from Bankers Trust were simply signed by an officer of the bank. They were drawn on a trust fund set up at the bank. But there was no indication of where the money came from.

However, it is quite obvious that it came from the CIA. On May 17, 1961, Carlson wrote to Cathy Baker on his law-office letterhead. He enclosed a cashier's check for $1,990 and wrote:

Double Check (sic] Corporation has decided to extend the regular monthly salary through the 4th day of June, 1961, but is regretably [sic] convinced of the finality of your husband's fate. Nevertheless, beginning June 5th, on a monthly basis, you will receive regular benefit allotments, as provided for by your husband's employment contract.

Again let me express my sincere feelings of condolance [sic] in your time of bereavement, and should you have any questions or problems, please feel free to call upon our attorneys in Birmingham for help.

Very truly yours, Alex E. Carlson,
Attorney for Double-Check [sic]

Peculiarly, Carlson seemed unsure both in this letter and in numerous public statements of whether the firm of which he was president was called Double-Check (as he wrote to Mrs. Baker) or Double-Chek, as it was incorporated in the State of Florida.

By "our attorneys in Birmingham," Carlson meant McDowell, who continued to act as a sort of self-appointed overseer of the widows' affairs. McDowell was able to obtain death certificates for the four fliers; he kept them in his safe in Room 533 of the Frank Nelson Building in downtown Birmingham. The widows were under the impression that McDowell had a background in Navy Intelligence, and believed he had something to do with the checks that they receive.

As this surrealistic chain of events unfolded, Riley Shamburger's mother began to try to do something about it. Riley's father was a retired city fireman, a semi-invalid who moved about their Birmingham home in a wheelchair. But Riley's mother, who refused to believe her son was dead, carried on an energetic correspondence with the Federal Government. She did her best to find out what had happened to her son. She even wrote to the Swiss Government, which handled affairs for the United States in Cuba after the break in diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana.

Mrs. Shamburger began by writing to the State Department. She received a reply, dated August 11, 1961, from Denman F. Stanfield, the acting chief of the Protection and Representation Division. It said:

Reference is made to your letter of July 9, 1961, concerning the welfare and whereabouts of your son.

If you will provide your son's full name, date and place of birth, last known address here or abroad, and any other pertinent information that would assist in locating him, the Department would be pleased to make inquiries.

A few weeks later she received a letter, dated September 14. 1961, from Major Sidney Ormerod, United States Air Force, Division of Administrative Services. This one was briskly efficient:

(1) Your letters to the Department of State concerning your son have been referred to me for reply.

(2) The records in this office do not contain the circumstances surrounding your son's accident. At the time he was not on active duty in his military status.

(3) For more detailed information it is suggested you contact the Hayes Aircraft Corp., [iii] Birmingham, Alabama, since he was under their jurisdiction at the time in question.

(4) I regret that I was unable to be of assistance to you in this matter.

The letter was deceptive. Hayes Aircraft is a private corporation and has no one under its "jurisdiction." At "the time in question" Riley Shamburger was flying for the CIA. He was certainly not testing aircraft for Hayes over the Bay of Pigs.

A lesser woman might have been discouraged by this, but Mrs. Shamburger was not. The following year she wrote to John McCone. She received a letter in reply, dated July 14, 1962, on CIA stationary and signed by Marshall S. Carter, Lieutenant General, United States Army, Acting Director. It said:

    In Mr. McCone's absence, I am replying to your letter of June, 1962, requesting information concerning your son. I am sorry to disappoint you, but this agency is unable to furnish you any such information. Also, we have made inquiries of other government departments, and these, too, have no pertinent information.

    We have every sympathy for you in your natural concern for the fate of your son, and I am sorry as I can be that we cannot help. Please be assured that if at any time we are able to furnish information we will contact you promptly.

Still Mrs. Shamburger did not give up. She decided to go to the very top. She wrote to the President of the United States. On October 4, 1962, Brigadier General Godfrey T. McHugh, the Air Force aide to the President, wrote back. His letter expressed sympathy and said in part:

If any information is ever obtained on the circumstances surrounding the loss of your son, you will be informed immediately. Unfortunately, at present neither CIA nor any other government agency possesses the slightest pertinent information on your son's disappearance.

Riley Shamburger's mother was determined to keep trying. "I am not going to give up," she said. "They take your boy away and never let you know what happened."

Mrs. Shamburger's correspondence with Washington, of course, was going on behind the scenes. After the brief flurry of publicity right after the Bay of Pigs, the story of the four missing Americans dropped out of the news for almost two years -- until it reappeared dramatically on February 25, 1963.

On that date Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen, Illinois Republican and minority leader of the Senate, revealed that four American fliers had been killed at the Bay of Pigs. He said he had learned this in the course of a one-man inquiry into the Cuban invasion.

Dirksen's disclosure was extremely embarrassing for the Kennedy Administration. In the first place, on April 12, 1961, five days before the invasion, President Kennedy had said: "This government will do everything it possibly can, and I think it can meet its responsibilities, to make sure that there are no Americans involved in any actions inside Cuba."

In the second place, on January 21, 1963, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the President's brother, had said in an interview with David Kraslow of the Knight newspapers that no Americans died at the Bay of Pigs.

Robert Kennedy, in this interview and a similar one with U.S. News & World Report, said something else of greater, and historical, significance: a ranking official of the government for the first time admitted clearly, and on the record, that the Bay of Pigs was a United States operation, planned by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA. "The President had to give approval to the plan," [1] Robert Kennedy said. The Joint Chiefs "did approve it, although responsibility for the planning lay primarily with the CIA." [iv]

After Dirksen's statement, newsmen sought out the elder Mrs. Shamburger. "If no Americans were involved," she said, with obvious reference to statements by President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, "where is my son?"

She said she had written to the President about her son "but he evaded my question."

The White House was alarmed. Andrew T. Hatcher, the assistant presidential press secretary, issued a statement. General McHugh had answered Mrs. Shamburger's letter, Hatcher explained.

"At the direction of the President," he said, "the general extended the President's heartfelt sympathy and explained that the government had, unfortunately, no information to add to that which had been conveyed to Mrs. Shamburger before.

"We are informed that representatives of the organization which employed Mr. Shamburger reported her son's death, and as much as is known of the circumstances, to Mrs. Shamburger in the spring of 1962."

However, the White House carefully did not make public the actual text of its letter to Mrs. Shamburger, in which McHugh had assured her that "at present neither CIA nor any other government agency possesses the slightest pertinent information on your son's disappearance."

Senator Mike Mansfield, the Democratic leader of the Senate, tried to blunt Dirksen's political thrust. He noted that Carlson's announcement in Birmingham on May 4, 1961 (the false cover story about the C-46) had been carried at the time (as a four-paragraph item) in the New York Times. There was nothing new about the story, Mansfield declared. He also said that a few, selected members of Congress had been told at the time that four Americans were killed in the invasion; but Mansfield said he did not know how the fliers met their deaths.

On March 4, 1963, following Dirksen's disclosure, Carlson told newsmen who inquired about the widows' checks that a "Central American group authorized Double-Chek to set up a trust fund for payments in case the men died. Now the widows receive these disbursements."

Then Carlson backed away from his "nest egg" remark of two years earlier. The four men, he said, "never were considered soldiers of fortune. They knew they were going into hazardous duty, involving anti-Castro tasks, but were motivated both by their beliefs and by attractive compensation."

Two days later, on March 6, the administration, under pressure, finally made its first oblique admission about the real role of the four airmen. At a press conference that day, this exchange took place with President Kennedy:

Q. Mr. President, can you say whether the four Americans who died in the Bay of Pigs invasion were employees of the government or the CIA?

A. Well, I would say that there are a good many Americans in the last fifteen years who have served their country in a good many different ways, a good many abroad. Some of them have lost their lives. The United States Government has not felt that it was helpful to our interest, and particularly in the struggle against this armed doctrine with which we are in struggle all around the world, to go into great detail. Let me say just about these four men: They were serving their country. The flight that cost them their lives was a volunteer flight, and that while because of the nature of their work it has not been a matter of public record, as it might be in the case of soldiers or sailors, I can say that they were serving their country. As I say, their work was volunteer.

The administration found itself in an awkward dilemma. It could not admit very much more about the four fliers because to do so would be to admit that it had misled Mrs. Shamburger and had kept the truth from the American public.

And if it opened up the record on the four fliers, this would lead directly to questions about why the carrier-based Navy jets and the B-26s, in which four Americans died, had not arrived over the beaches together.

This, in turn, would raise the question of why the President, having stated on April 12, 1961, that "United States Armed forces" would not be used "under any conditions," relented seven days later to the extent of permitting one hour of air support by the unmarked Navy jets.

In March of 1963, the case of the four CIA fliers, in short, held the key to a host of explosively difficult questions for the White House. But these were political questions. Suppression of information about the fliers was justifiable only if national security was involved. And it no longer was.

The need for security before the Bay of Pigs operation was understandable, once the President had committed himself to the invasion. It might be argued that in the immediate aftermath of the invasion it was still necessary to protect the position of the United States by fuzzing up the role of the fliers. But once the role of the United States and the CIA was freely and publicly conceded by Robert Kennedy in the two interviews in 1963, it is difficult to see how security could any longer have been a factor in cloaking the story of the four Birmingham fliers.

The administration was locked in with its previous denials to Mrs. Shamburger. It had already informed her, in writing, that it knew nothing about her son. And who could tell how much of this damaging correspondence the elderly lady might choose to reveal?

As for Carlson, he was still sticking to his script. In a private interview in Miami Springs in the summer of 1963, he said that he continued to feel the four men were, basically, flying for money. He pulled out a thick file, and, consulting it, said that Shamburger and Ray had been paid $2,200 a month, Gray $1,500 and Baker $1,700.

"Double-Chek was contacted back in 1960 by a Central American front," Carlson explained. But a moment later he said the "recruiters," whom he refused to identify, "appeared to be American businessmen." They had been recommended to him, Carlson said, by "someone at the Miami airport," whom he declined to identify.

Carlson said Double-Chek had originally been formed to hold real estate for a client. "I was listed as president to protect the identity of my client." The client, he said, "came from Czechoslovakia and that's where he got the idea for the name." (Carlson allowed as how Cox's story about a race horse was just a bit of "jazz.")

"The recruiters," said Carlson, "came to me and said they wanted pilots for the airline business, and did I have a corporation to use. I checked through my files and found the Double-Chek Corporation. They wanted to use the corporate shell as a broker or a sort of placement agency."

Double-Chek then proceeded to recruit pilots for the "Central American front" he said. Next thing he knew, said Carlson, he got a telephone call from Central America and was told that a C-46 cargo plane had gone down with the four men. Would he please go to Birmingham and notify the widows? Carlson obliged.

Carlson professed to know nothing about the source of the money for the widows' checks. He said that at first "Double-Chek had an account at the Hialeah-Miami Springs bank and I was the authorized signator." After that, he said, the "trust account" was established at Bankers Trust in New York. "I believe there is a lump sum set up there and the interest is what's paying the ladies."

And it was true that the checks continued to come from New York. But that was all the widows had.

Three years after the Bay of Pigs the Birmingham widows had still received no official acknowledgment from the United States Government about their husbands. There had been no written notification to the wives that their husbands died while employed by, and fighting for, the United States. They had nothing official to show their children to explain their fathers' deaths.



i. Hutchinson later retired from the Air Force and became an oilman in Oklahoma City. He said, on March 8, 1963, that five, not four, American pilots had died flying in the Cuban operation but implied that the fifth pilot was not lost in combat.

ii. Albert C. Persons, managing editor of the weekly Birmingham Examiner, said on March 8, 1963, that the plane carrying Shamburger and Gray was shot down by a T-33 jet. Persons was one of the American pilots at Happy Valley. He had been scheduled to fly in Shamburger's bomber. Doster canceled his mission because Persons had experience flying carrier aircraft rather than the B-26.

iii. Hayes was not notably communicative. When one of the authors asked for information about the background of the four men, who had worked for the company for many years, a Hayes public- relations spokesman said he would have to check with "topside." After doing so, he said he could give out no information. "The matter is closed as far as we are concerned," he said.

iv. Prior to this, the clearest statement by the administration was made by President Kennedy in an interview with the three major TV networks on December 17,1962. Speaking in general terms of the 1961 Cuban invasion, the President said: "And I was responsible."
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:27 am


A History

THE INVISIBLE GOVERNMENT was born December 7, 1941, in the smoke and rubble of Pearl Harbor. It was still a child when the Cold War began after World War II, an adolescent during the 1950s, and it reached its majority a year after President Kennedy took office.

Whatever else the multitude of inquiries into Pearl Harbor proved, they did show that the United States was badly in need of a centralized intelligence apparatus. There were plenty of warning signs before Pearl Harbor of the coming Japanese attack, but they were not pulled together, analyzed and brought forcefully to the attention of the government.

"The CIA," the Hoover Commission said in 1955, "may well attribute its existence to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and to the postwar investigation into the part Intelligence or lack of Intelligence played in the failure of our military forces to receive adequate and prompt warning of the impending Japanese attack."

The United States shed its isolationist traditions and emerged from World War II as the leader of the West. Regardless of Pearl Harbor, its new global responsibilities and objectives would have, in any event, led to the creation of a global American intelligence network. Added to this, the early emergence of the Soviet Union as an adversary almost before the V-J celebrations had ended made the growth of an Invisible Government in the United States virtually inevitable.

Even in the absence of a clash between Western democracy and international Communism, the conduct of United States foreign policy in the postwar world would have required intelligence information upon which the policy makers could base their decisions.

This was stated in characteristic style by President Truman in 1952. On November 21, shortly after President Eisenhower's election, Truman stole away from the White House to deliver a talk behind closed doors at a CIA training session.

"It was my privilege a few days ago," Truman said, "to brief the general, who is going to take over the office on the twentieth of January, and he was rather appalled at all that the President needs to know in order to reach decisions -- even domestic decisions." The modern presidency, Truman declared, carried power beyond parallel in history, more power than that of Genghis Khan, Caesar, Napoleon or Louis XIV.

No central intelligence organization existed when he became President in 1945, Truman continued. "Whenever it was necessary for the President to have information, he had to send to two or three departments ... and then he would have to have somebody do a little digging to get it.

"The affairs of the presidential office, so far as information was concerned, were in such shape that it was necessary for me, when I took over the office, to read a stack of documents that high [gesturing], and it took me three months to get caught up."

President Roosevelt had been concerned about the same problem. In 1940 he sent William J. Donovan, then a New York attorney, on an informal intelligence-gathering mission to England, the Mediterranean and the Balkans. "Wild Bill" Donovan returned with the information Roosevelt wanted -- and a recommendation that a central intelligence organization be established.

Out of this emerged the Office of Coordinator of Information, with General Donovan as its head. On June 13, 1942, this was split into the Office of Strategic Services, under Donovan, and the Office of War Information. The function of the OSS was to gather intelligence, but it first became famous by dropping parachutists behind enemy lines in France, Norway, Italy, Burma and Thailand, setting a pattern of combining special operations with information-gathering that is still followed by the CIA.

By 1944 Donovan had prepared for Roosevelt a plan to establish a central intelligence agency. It was referred to the Joint Chiefs, and pigeonholed. But after Truman became President (and dug his way out from under the stack of papers he later complained about) he sent for Admiral William D. Leahy and asked him to look into the whole problem.

In the meantime Truman issued an order, on September 20, 1945, disbanding the OSS. Some of the OSS agents went into Army Intelligence. Others were transferred to the State Department. There they formed the nucleus of what became the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, an important branch of the Invisible Government.

Four months after the OSS closed up shop, Truman, on January 22, 1946, issued an executive order setting up a National Intelligence Authority and, under it, a Central Intelligence Group, which became the forerunner of the CIA. The Authority's members were Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson, Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal and Admiral Leahy. The Central Intelligence Group was the Authority's operating arm. To head it, Truman selected Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers, the deputy chief of Navy Intelligence. Souers had been a businessman in St. Louis before the war; the nation's first Director of Central Intelligence once headed the Piggly Wiggly Stores in Memphis.

Souers was anxious to get back to his business interests, and five months later, in June, Truman named Air Force General Hoyt S. Vandenberg to the post. He served until May 1, 1947, when Truman appointed Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter. An Annapolis graduate who spoke three languages, Hillenkoetter had several years' experience in Navy Intelligence. He had been wounded while aboard the battleship West Virginia at Pearl Harbor. Later he set up an intelligence network for Admiral Chester W. Nimitz in the Pacific.

When the CIA was created by the National Security Act of 1947, Hillenkoetter became its first director. The CIA came into being officially on September 18, 1947. The Act is the same as that which established a Department of Defense and unified the armed services. It also created the National Security Council [i] and, under it, the CIA.

The duties of the CIA were set forth in five short paragraphs:

"(1) to advise the National Security Council in matters concerning such intelligence activities of the government departments and agencies as relate to national security;

"(2) to make recommendations to the National Security Council for the coordination of such intelligence activities ...;

"(3) to correlate and evaluate intelligence relating to the national security, and provide for the appropriate dissemination of such intelligence within the government ... Provided that the Agency shall have no police, subpena, law-enforcement powers, or internal-security functions ...;

"(4) to perform, for the benefit of the existing intelligence agencies, such additional services of common concern as the National Security Council determines can be more efficiently accomplished centrally;

"(5) to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct."

On the face of it, the law appeared simply to give the CIA the task of correlating, evaluating and coordinating the collection of intelligence. How, then, could the CIA mount an invasion of 1,400 men at the Bay of Pigs, complete with its own air force and navy? How could it topple foreign governments, as it has done and was attempting to do at the Bay of Pigs?

The answer lies in the "other functions" which the CIA may perform under the 1947 Act, at the discretion of the National Security Council.

Almost from its inception, the agency has engaged in special operations -- clandestine activities, sometimes on a military scale. In 1948, after the Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia, James Forrestal, as the first Secretary of Defense, became alarmed at signs that the Communists might win the Italian elections. In an effort to influence the elections to the advantage of the United States, he started a campaign among his wealthy Wall Street colleagues to raise enough money to run a private clandestine operation. But Allen Dulles felt the problem could not be handled effectively in private hands. He urged strongly that the government establish a covert organization to conduct a variety of special operations.

Because there was no specific provision for covert political operations spelled out in the 1947 Act, the National Security Council -- in the wake of the events in Czechoslovakia and Italy -- issued a paper in the summer of 1948 authorizing special operations. There were two important guidelines: that the operations be secret and that they be plausibly deniable by the government.

A decision was reached to create an organization within the CIA to conduct secret political operations. Frank G. Wisner, an ex-OSS man, was brought in from the State Department to head it, with a cover title of his own invention. He became Assistant Director of the Office of Policy Coordination.

Under this innocuous title, the United States was now fully in the business of covert political operations. (A separate Office of Special Operations conducted secret actions aimed solely at gathering intelligence.) This machinery was in the CIA but the agency shared control of it with the State Department and the Pentagon. On January 4, 1951, the CIA merged the two offices and created a new Plans Division, which has had sole control over secret operations of all types since that date.

It is doubtful that many of the lawmakers who voted for the 1947 Act could have envisioned the scale on which the CIA would engage in operational activities all over the world.

President Truman later maintained that he had no idea that this was going to happen. In a syndicated newspaper article, date-lined December 21, 1963, he wrote:

"For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government ...

"I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak- and-dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment that I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue -- and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda." 1

It was under President Truman, however, that the CIA began conducting special operations.

Although the machinery was not established until 1948, one small hint of what was to come was tucked away in a memorandum which Allen Dulles submitted to Congress back in 1947. It said the CIA should "have exclusive jurisdiction to carry out secret intelligence operations." 2

Like the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, the "other functions" proviso of the National Security Act has been stretched to encompass activities by the CIA that are not even hinted at in the law. It is not generally realized that the CIA conducts secret political warfare under interpretations of that law. Nor is it widely understood that under the law and subsequent presidential fiat, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency wears two hats. Not only is he the head of the CIA, but more important, as Director of Central Intelligence he is in charge of the entire intelligence community, of which the CIA is only one, albeit the most powerful, branch.

In 1949 the Central Intelligence Agency Act was passed, exempting the CIA from all Federal laws that required the disclosure of the "functions, names, official titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed by the Agency." And it gave the Director of Central Intelligence the staggering and unprecedented power to spend money "without regard to the provisions of law and regulations relating to the expenditure of government funds." It granted him the unique right to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars in his secret annual budget simply by signing his name. The law allowed "such expenditures to be accounted for solely on the certificate of the director." That and that alone, the law said, "shall be deemed a sufficient voucher." [ii]

Senator Millard E. Tydings, the Maryland Democrat who was chief sponsor of the 1949 Act, explained why he felt it was necessary: "Men in this agency frequently lose their lives. Several have already done so, and under not very pretty circumstances. If we forced the agency to have a record of vouchers, foreign agents could pick up information as to the identity of our agents and what they were doing." 3

By 1950 the broader outlines of the Invisible Government had begun to take shape, with the CIA at its center. In that year the Intelligence Advisory Committee was created as a board of directors of the covert government. Later its name was changed to the present United States Intelligence Board. Although the names of the men (and of some of the agencies) represented on the board have changed, the main components of the secret government have remained fairly constant. Its overall size, of course, has increased vastly.

Code-breaking and cryptology were consolidated in 1952 in the new National Security Agency, established by presidential directive as part of the Defense Department. And, finally, the military intelligence agencies were brought together under the newly created Defense Intelligence Agency in 1961. But these were essentially administrative reorganizations. What has really changed since 1947 is not the general amorphous shape of the Invisible Government, but its size, technology, scope, power and importance- all of which have increased in geometric progression with a minimum of Congressional or public examination or understanding.

During the first three years of the CIA's life Admiral Hillenkoetter remained its director. He was replaced at a critical moment in the Korean War by General Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower's Chief of Staff during World War II, a former Ambassador to Moscow and the first four-star general in the U.S. Army who was never graduated from West Point or any other military school.

The agency became more aggressive under "Beedle" Smith, who played an important role in the Korean conflict and its intelligence post-mortems. But from the start, the man who placed his personal stamp upon the Invisible Government more than any other was Allen Welsh Dulles.

Dulles was consulted when Congress created the CIA in 1947. The next year Truman named him to head the three-man committee to see how well the new agency was working. [iii]

Dulles submitted the report to Truman after his re-election. In 1950 General Smith summoned Dulles to Washington. He came, expecting, he often said later, to stay six weeks. Instead, he remained eleven years. On August 23, 1951, Dulles was appointed deputy director.

Soon after President Eisenhower was elected, he appointed Smith as Under Secretary of State and on February 10, 1953, named Dulles as Director of Central Intelligence. He took office sixteen days later. Up to that point two admirals and two generals had held the job. Dulles became the first truly civilian director of the CIA.

To the post he brought a brilliant reputation as the wartime OSS chief in Switzerland. Perhaps even more important, his brother was Secretary of State. The emergence of the Invisible Government in the 1950s to a position of unprecedented strength cannot be comprehended unless a word is said about the Dulles brothers and their relationship. Uniquely, they embodied the dualism -- and indeed the moral dilemma -- of United States foreign policy since World War II.

John Foster Dulles and his younger brother were the sons of Allen Macy Dulles, a Presbyterian clergyman in upstate Watertown, New York. Allen Dulles was born there on April 7, 1893.

Some thought they detected traces of a clergyman's zeal in the sternly moralistic public posture of Foster Dulles as he conducted the nation's foreign policy during the Eisenhower years: the United States would contain the advance of international Communism as it sought to subvert the underdeveloped nations; but America would scrupulously avoid any interference in the internal affairs of other countries. The United States would not, in short, adopt the evil tactics of subversion and secret manipulation practiced by the Communist enemy.

In this, Foster Dulles reflected the American ethic; the world as we would like it to be. While he took this public position, his brother was free to deal with nastier realities, to overturn governments and to engage in backstage political maneuvers all over the globe with the CIA's almost unlimited funds. He was, as Allen Dulles once put it, able to "fight fire with fire" 4 in a less than perfect world. Because he was equally dedicated in his own secret sphere, it was under Allen Dulles' stewardship that the CIA enjoyed its greatest expansion, particularly in the field of government- shaking secret operations overseas.

In pursuing this dual foreign policy, these special operations were largely kept secret from the American people. The exception, of course, was when something went wrong, as at the Bay of Pigs.

This is not to say that the same two-sided foreign policy would never have evolved had the director of the CIA and the Secretary of State not been brothers. It very likely would have. But the natural friction between the objectives and methods of the diplomats and the "spooks," between the State Department and the CIA, was to an extent reduced because of the close working relationship of the Dulles brothers. [iv]

There was consequently less of a check and balance.

In a sense, one might say the Dulles brothers were predestined to take over the levers of power in the conduct of U. S. foreign affairs. Their mother's father, John Watson Foster, was Secretary of State under Benjamin Harrison [v] in 1892-3. Robert Lansing, an uncle by marriage, was Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. Another uncle, John Welsh, was Minister to England under Rutherford B. Hayes. [vi] With such a heritage, it is not surprising that Foster and Allen were weaned on a diet of heady discussions of the affairs of state.

Allen Dulles was educated at Auburn, New York, Paris and Princeton. He taught English for a time in an agricultural school in Allahabad, India; and in China and Japan as well. Then he joined the diplomatic service in 1916, serving in Vienna and, during the war, in Berne, chiefly as an intelligence officer. Three years later the two brothers were together in Paris as staff members of the American delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference. Their uncle, Secretary of State Lansing, was a member of the delegation. The following year Allen Dulles married Clover Todd, the daughter of a Columbia University professor. (They had a son, Allen Macy, and two daughters, Clover Todd and Joan.)

In 1926, after service in Berlin, Constantinople and Washington, Allen Dulles left the world of diplomacy to begin a fifteen-year period of law practice with his brother in the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell. As an international lawyer, he knew the political and industrial elite of Europe, and of Germany. This became useful during World War II when General Donovan assigned Dulles as chief of the OSS mission in Switzerland. He had diplomatic cover as an assistant to the minister in the American Legation. But he operated as a master spy from a fifteenth-century house in Berne overlooking the Aar River.

He has been credited with two outstanding feats for the OSS -- first, penetrating the German Abwehr, Hitler's intelligence service, and second, negotiating the surrender of German troops in Italy.

After the war it was natural enough that Allen Dulles would soon gravitate away from his law practice into the more exciting world of espionage. While it is impossible to make any definite judgment about the talents of a man who operated, for the most part, out of view, the constant and bitter personal attacks upon him by the Communist bloc provide one significant indication of his effectiveness. He certainly bothered them.

The CIA director projected a deceptively grandfatherly image, with his white hair, rimless glasses, his pipe and his sense of humor. There was no official in Washington more charming. Beneath this outward Mr. Chips demeanor was a man fascinated by the world of intelligence, by secret operations and by espionage and of its ramifications. Although he seemed to fumble a good deal with his pipe and his tobacco, Mr. Dulles perhaps quietly enjoyed the incongruousness of his appearance and his vocation. He was not without a sense of the dramatic.

Dulles was occasionally accused of being too much of a public figure for the head of a secret service. And in 1955 a Hoover Commission task force criticized him for having "taken upon himself too many burdensome duties and responsibilities on the operational side of CIA activities."

"Allen," commented one CIA associate, "couldn't administer himself."

But if the CIA was run in a tweedy, relaxed, pipe-and-slipper manner under Dulles, it was also true that morale was high, and he was well liked within the agency as well as outside of it.

Except for his closest friends, few people knew of the great personal tragedy in Dulles' life. His son, wounded in Korea, suffered brain damage that left him with very little recognition of people or events, and it was finally necessary to place him in an institution in Germany on Lake Constance, just over the Swiss border.

For most of the nine years that Dulles headed the intelligence community, he worked with the same three assistants at the CIA:

Charles Pearre Cabell, a gray-haired but youthful-looking four-star Air Force general and West Point graduate, was his deputy director. A Texan from Dallas (where his brother Earle was the mayor), he was the former head of Air Force Intelligence. He came to the CIA in 1953.

Richard Bissell, the deputy director for plans, who joined the CIA in 1954.

Robert Amory, the brother of the writer Cleveland Amory, and a former Harvard Law School professor. A tall, dark-haired man, he had intelligence and combat experience in World War II. He became the CIA's deputy director for intelligence in 1953.

This was the group which led the CIA during its period of greatest expansion in the 1950s. But even before this, it was evident that the agency was involved in a wide range of activities in many parts of the world.

1948: Bogota

Only six months after the CIA had come into existence, it found itself under fire for what would become a familiar complaint over the years -- alleged failure to predict a major international upheaval. In this case, it was the assassination of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the popular Liberal Colombian leader, on April 9 on a street in Bogota. The shooting touched off the "Bogotazo," two days of bloody riots that disrupted the Ninth Inter-American Conference and greatly embarrassed Secretary of State George C. Marshall, who headed the American delegation. Marshall blamed the riots on Communist october 20. [vii]

The post-mortem had its strange aspects. In the first place, expecting the CIA to forecast an assassination, is, in most instances, to endow it with supernatural powers. There are limits to what intelligence can predict. In the second place, Admiral Hillenkoetter, hauled before a House Executive Expenditures Subcommittee on April 15, read the text of secret CIA dispatches into the open record for the first and only time in history. This action, which raised hackles at the time, would, if done today, cause pandemonium.

The admiral maintained that although the Communists seized on Gaitan's assassination, the Colombian leader was slain in "a purely private act of revenge" by one Jose Sierra. The CIA chief said Gaitan, as an attorney, had just successfully defended in a murder trial the killer of Sierra's uncle.

Hillenkoetter testified that, furthermore, the CIA had predicted trouble at Bogota as far back as January 2. Then he dropped a bombshell. He charged that a March 23 CIA dispatch from Bogota, warning of Communist agitation, was withheld from Secretary Marshall by Orion J. Libert, a State Department advance man in Bogota, acting with the support of Ambassador Willard L. Beaulac.

The CIA dispatch, dated March 23, said:

Have confirmed information that Communist-inspired agitators will attempt to humiliate the Secretary of State and other members of the United States delegation to the Pan-American conference upon arrival in Bogota by manifestations and possible personal molestation.

Have passed this information on to the Ambassador and other interested embassy personnel with the request that full details on the arrival of delegation be submitted to this office for transmission to local police, who are anxious to give maximum possible protection ...

Advanced delegate O. J. Libert, who has been apprised of above, does not consider it advisable to notify the State Department of this situation, since he feels adequate protection will be given by police and does not want to alarm the delegates unduly. 5

Hillenkoetter then placed a whole sheaf of top-secret dispatches into the record, telling in some detail of Communist plans to disrupt the conference. Possibly Hillenkoetter was egged on by the fact that a few hours before he testified, Truman had told a news conference that he was as surprised as anyone about the riots in Bogota. He had, said Truman, received no advance warning. The government had received information that there might be picketing or demonstrations. But, he added a trifle plaintively, there had been no indication that anyone was going to get shot.

At the State Department, Lincoln White said it was "inconceivable" that the department had suppressed any CIA communications. Besides, he said, Secretary Marshall had known all about the Communist plans and had brushed them aside with what White diplomatically called "salty remarks." That about ended this painful episode. It did not, however, end the recurring question of the adequacy of the CIA's forecasting abilities.

1950: Korea

To an extent, the CIA's role in the Korean War became clouded and fuzzed because it was caught up in the emotional storm touched off when Truman finally decided to fire General Douglas MacArthur. What the CIA had or had not predicted, and its freedom or lack of freedom to operate within MacArthur's command, became a subject of dispute between the imperious general and the angry chief executive. Yet the main outline of the CIA's performance and the precise issues in dispute are not difficult to pinpoint from the record.

Harry Truman was sitting in the library of his home in Independence, Missouri, on Saturday, June 24, 1950, when the telephone rang a bit after 10:00 P.M. It was Secretary of State Dean Acheson, calling to say that the North Koreans had invaded South Korea.

Truman hastened back to the capital the next day. On Monday he summoned to the White House the man he assumed should have had the most advance knowledge about what had happened -- Admiral Hillenkoetter.

It was something like Bogota all over again, although of course much more serious. The intelligence agency again had to defend itself for not precisely predicting a future event. And once again the CIA had become a subject of domestic political controversy.

After the meeting with Truman, Hillenkoetter told reporters at the White House that his agency had predicted the possibility of such an attack for a year. "The capabilities were there for a year, anyway," he said. He then hurried to Capitol Hill to give the same explanation to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Before testifying, he talked to newsmen about the Communist build-up along the 38th parallel.

"The condition existed for a long time," he said. "It has been expected for a year." Had the attack been anticipated over the weekend? "You can't predict the timing," the admiral replied.

Then the CIA chief appeared in secret before the Senate committee. One of the members said afterward that Hillenkoetter had read a series of reports on troop and tank concentrations in North Korea. The CIA reports covered a period of a year. The last one was dated June 20, four days before the attack. "If I had received those reports," said the senator, who asked that his name not be used, "I certainly would have been alerted to the danger." 6

Five years later Truman, in his memoirs, supported in part the position Hillenkoetter had taken. He wrote:

"The intelligence reports from Korea in the spring of 1950 indicated that the North Koreans were steadily continuing their build-up of forces and that they were continuing to send guerrilla groups into South Korea.

"There were continuing incidents along the 38th parallel, where armed units faced each other.

"Throughout the spring the Central Intelligence reports said that the North Koreans might at any time decide to change from isolated raids to a full-scale attack. The North Koreans were capable of such an attack at any time, according to the intelligence, but there was no information to give any clue as to whether an attack was certain or when it was likely to come." 7

As the UN forces regained the initiative in Korea, the next major question faced by the CIA (and MacArthur) was whether Communist China would intervene if UN troops pushed north to the Yalu River. The question became crucial just about the time Truman replaced Hillenkoetter with Walter Bedell Smith.

In his memoirs, Truman, again, has shed some light on this:

"On October 20 [viii] the CIA delivered a memorandum to me which said that they had reports that the Chinese Communists would move in far enough to safeguard the Suiho electric plant and other installations along the Yalu River which provided them with power." 8

Truman's account was backed up by Allen Dulles eight years later: "I can speak with detachment about the 1950 Yalu estimates, for they were made just before I joined the CIA. The conclusions of the estimators were that it was a toss-up, but they leaned to the side that under certain circumstances the Chinese probably would not intervene. In fact, we just did not know what the Chinese Communists would do, and we did not know how far the Soviet Union would press them or agree to support them if they moved." 9

It seems reasonably clear, therefore, that the CIA did not, initially, predict the massive Chinese intervention that occurred.

However, some two weeks later, in November, according to Truman, the CIA did warn that Communist China had 200,000 troops in Manchuria and that their entry into Korea might push the UN forces back. Truman also wrote that MacArthur had launched his ill-fated home-by-Christmas offensive on November 24 despite the CIA summary made available to the general that very day. The summary, Truman went on to say, had warned that the Chinese were strong enough to force the UN armies back into defensive positions.

Truman, who had been gingerly dealing with MacArthur almost as with another chief of state, at last fired the general on April 9, 1951. Testifying at the Senate inquiry into his dismissal, MacArthur cast new confusion over the CIA's role by saying that "in November" the CIA said "there was little chance of any major intervention on the part of the Chinese forces." If the CIA ever made any such optimistic report in November, replied Truman, it was news to him.

Bogota and Korea raised, but did not answer, the fundamental question of how much should be expected of the CIA in its forecasting role. They also set a pattern that has since become familiar -- when trouble came, the overt, political officers of the visible government almost invariably would say they had no advance warning. The CIA in turn would say it had provided adequate warning. The public would be left to take its choice, provided it could weave its way through the maze of self-serving semantics from both sides.


1952: Air-Drops Over Red China

During the Korean War, another war was waged in secret against Communist China. On November 23, 1954, a broadcast from Peking announced the capture and sentencing of two Americans, John Thomas Downey and Richard George Fecteau.

At Yale, John Thomas Downey was liked and respected for his strength, moral and physical. He was a quiet, clean-living, athletic lad, an honor student as well as a varsity football player and the captain of the wrestling team. He spent a good deal of time at home, in nearby New Britain, Connecticut, where his mother taught school. He was the type of young man the CIA was looking for.

Richard George Fecteau, of Lynn, Massachusetts, had less of an academic background. He was three years older than Downey. He once enrolled at Boston University with the idea of becoming a football coach, but he decided there was little future or money in it. Instead, he went to work for the government. So did Downey, who was recruited off the Yale campus in 1951, at age twenty- one. Both men later turned up in Japan. That did not seem unusual; with the Korean War on, thousands of young men were being shipped to the Far East.

On November 9, 1952, Jack Downey and Richard Fecteau were captured by the Communist Chinese. This was not revealed by Peking, however, until the announcement more than two years later. The broadcast on that day said that Downey, "alias Jack Donovan," and Fecteau, were "special agents of the Central Intelligence Agency, a United States espionage organization." They were charged with having helped to organize and train two teams of Chinese agents. The men, Peking said, had been air-dropped into Kirin and Liaoning Provinces for "subversive activities," and both Downey and Fecteau were captured when their plane was downed as they attempted to drop supplies and contact agents inside Communist China. It was also claimed that nine Chinese working for the CIA men were taken prisoner with them.

Downey was sentenced to life. Fecteau got twenty years.

That same day, Peking announced it had sentenced eleven American airmen as "spies," charging that the plane carrying these men was shot down January 12, 1953, over Liaoning Province, while on a mission which had as its purpose the "air-drop of special agents into China and the Soviet Union."

Communist China claimed that, all told, it had killed 106 American and Chinese agents parachuted into China between 1951 and 1954 and had captured 124 others. They also said these agents were trained in "secret codes, invisible writing, secret messages, telephone tapping, forging documents, psychological warfare, guerrilla tactics and demolition."

The State Department immediately branded the charges against Downey, Fecteau and the eleven airmen "trumped up." The Defense Department called the accusations against all thirteen men "utterly false."

The American consul general at Geneva was instructed by the State Department to make the "strongest possible protest" to Peking. [ix] The charges against the "two civilians," Downey and Fecteau, were "a most flagrant violation of justice," the State Department said. "These men, John Thomas Downey and Richard George Fecteau, were civilian personnel employed by the Department of the Army in Japan. They were believed to have been lost in a flight from Korea to Japan in November, 1952.

"How they came into the hands of the Chinese Communists is unknown to the United States ... the continued wrongful detention of these American citizens furnishes further proof of the Chinese Communist regime's disregard for accepted practices of international conduct."

The Pentagon was equally indignant. "Messrs. Downey and Fecteau," the Defense Department declared, "were Department of the Army civilian employees. They were authorized passengers on a routine flight from Seoul to Japan in a plane which was under military contract to the Far East Air Force. A search instituted at the time failed to produce any trace of the plane, and Messrs. Downey and Fecteau were presumed to have been lost. It is now apparent that they were captured ..."

In September, 1957, a group of forty-one young Americans on an unauthorized trip to Red China visited Downey and Fecteau in prison. Afterward they reported that during the interview, Fecteau was asked whether he worked "for the Central Intelligence Agency."

"Yes," Fecteau replied, according to a Reuters account of the report issued by the visiting Americans. The same Reuters dispatch reported that Downey, suntanned and crew-cut, said he had received 680 letters in prison, including some from "lonely hearts." He said he spent a lot of time reading books.

The following month Charles Edmundson, a former USIA official in Korea, who left the government in a dispute over foreign policy, wrote an article for the Nation, in which he indicated that Downey and Fecteau were CIA operatives.

At this writing, both men are still in a Chinese prison. The government has never acknowledged them to be CIA agents. As far as Washington is concerned, they are still officially listed as "civilian personnel employed by the Department of the Army."


1950-1954: Formosa and Western Enterprises, Inc.

During these years the CIA operated on Formosa as Western Enterprises, Inc. This cover was so thin it became a source of some merriment on the island. The experience of one State Department employee who arrived on Formosa in 1953 is typical.

A fellow employee was showing her the sights as they drove in from the airport. Pointing to one building, her guide said: "And that's Western Enterprises."

"What's that?" she asked innocently.

"Oh, you'll find out," her friend replied.

A few days later, at a party with Chinese government officials, she asked one of them: "By the way, what is Western Enterprises?"

"Oh, that," said the Chinese, with a inscrutable oriental smile, "is your CIA."

State Department employees on Formosa did not get along very well with their counterparts in Western Enterprises, Inc. For one thing, the State Department workers felt that the CIA people were being paid far too well and had special privileges.

One of the CIA operatives who turned up on Formosa in 1953 was Campbell "Zup" James, a Yale graduate who affected an English accent, mustache and fancy walking stick. To anyone who asked, he told the outrageously phony story that he was a wealthy Englishman managing a family tea plantation on Formosa. By continuing to maintain this pose, even though almost everyone knew he worked for the CIA, James became a legend throughout Southeast Asia. He turned up later in Laos, still masquerading as a pukka Englishman straight out of the pages of Kipling. He was spotted in Bangkok as recently as the summer of 1963, mustache, cane and Mayfair accent intact. Despite his unlikely cover, some observers said he was an effective agent.

By 1954 the CIA's cover on Formosa was so threadbare that the agency changed its name to "Department of the Navy."

There is reason to believe that at least in the past, the CIA trained, equipped and financed Chinese Nationalist commando raids on the mainland, launched from the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu.

Early in 1963 a spate of interesting stories appeared from Formosa about renewed Nationalist guerrilla raids on the mainland. The Chiang Kai-shek government announced that the frogmen and commando teams were most active in Kwangtung Province, near Formosa. The chief of the Nationalist Intelligence Bureau estimated that 873 guerrilla agents had infiltrated into the mainland between March and December of 1962.

1953: Iran

But guerrilla raids are small actions compared to an operation that changes a government. There is no doubt at all that the CIA organized and directed the 1953 coup that overthrew Premier Mohammed Mossadegh and kept Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi on his throne. But few Americans know that the coup that toppled the government of Iran was led by a CIA agent who was the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Kermit "Kim" Roosevelt, also a seventh cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is still known as "Mr. Iran" around the CIA for his spectacular operation in Teheran more than a decade ago. He later left the CIA and joined the Gulf Oil Corporation as "government relations" director in its Washington office. Gulf named him a vice-president in 1960.

One legend that grew up inside the CIA had it that Roosevelt, in the grand Rough Rider tradition, led the revolt against the weeping Mossadegh with a gun at the head of an Iranian tank commander as the column rolled into Teheran.

A CIA man familiar with the Iran story characterized this as "a bit romantic" but said: "Kim did run the operation from a basement in Teheran -- not from our embassy." He added admiringly: "It was a real James Bond operation."

General Fazollah Zahedi, [x] the man the CIA chose to replace Mossadegh, was also a character worthy of spy fiction. A six-foot-two, handsome ladies' man, he fought the Bolsheviks, was captured by the Kurds, and, in 1942, was kidnapped by the British, who suspected him of Nazi intrigues. During World War II the British and the Russians jointly occupied Iran. British agents, after snatching Zahedi, claimed they found the following items in his bedroom: a collection of German automatic weapons, silk underwear, some opium, letters, from German parachutists operating in the hills; and an illustrated register of Teheran's most exquisite prostitutes.

After the war Zahedi rapidly moved back into public life. He was Minister of Interior when Mossadegh became Premier in 1951. Mossadegh nationalized the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in April and seized the huge Abadan refinery on the Persian Gulf.

The refinery was shut down; thousands of workers were idled and Iran faced a financial crisis. The British, with the backing of Western governments, boycotted Iran's oil and the local workers were unable to run the refineries at capacity without British technicians.

Mossadegh connived with the Tudeh, Iran's Communist party, and London and Washington feared that the Russians would end up with Iran's vast oil reserves flowing into the Soviet Union, which shares a common border with Iran. Mossadegh, running the crisis from his bed -- he claimed he was a very sick man -- had broken with Zahedi, who balked at tolerating the Tudeh party.

It was against this background that the CIA and Kim Roosevelt moved in to oust Mossadegh and install Zahedi. At the time of the coup Roosevelt, then thirty-seven, was already a veteran intelligence man. He was born in Buenos Aires. His father, the President's second son, was also named Kermit. Kim was graduated from Harvard just before World War II, and he taught history there and later at the California Institute of Technology. He had married while still at Harvard. He left the academic life to serve in the OSS, then joined the CIA after the war as a Middle East specialist. His father had died in Alaska during the war; his uncle, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, died on the beaches of Normandy a year later.

The British and American governments had together decided to mount an operation to overthrow Mossadegh. The CIA's estimate was that it would succeed because the conditions were right; in a showdown the people of Iran would be loyal to the Shah. The task of running the operation went to Kim Roosevelt, then the CIA's top operator in the Middle East.

Roosevelt entered Iran legally. He drove across the border, reached Teheran, and then dropped out of sight. He had to, since he had been in Iran before and his face was known. Shifting his headquarters several times to keep one step ahead of Mossadegh's agents, Roosevelt operated outside of the protection of the American Embassy. He did have the help of about five Americans, including some of the CIA men stationed in the embassy.

In addition, there were seven local agents, including two top Iranian intelligence operatives. These two men communicated with Roosevelt through cutouts -- intermediaries -- and he never saw them during the entire operation.
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:28 am


As the plan for revolt was hatched, Brigadier General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who used to appear on radio's "Gang Busters," turned up in Teheran. He had reorganized the Shah's police force there in the 1940s. He was best known for his investigation of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case when he headed the New Jersey State Police in 1932. Schwarzkopf, an old friend of Zahedi's, claimed he was in town "just to see old friends again." But he was part of the operation.

On August 13 the Shah signed a decree dismissing Mossadegh and naming Zahedi as Premier. The uncooperative Mossadegh arrested the unfortunate colonel who brought in his notice of dismissal. Mobs rioted in the streets; the thirty-three-year-old Shah and his queen (at that time the beautiful Soraya) fled to Baghdad by plane from their palace on the Caspian Sea.

For two chaotic days, Roosevelt lost communication with his two chief Iranian agents. Meanwhile, the Shah had made his way to Rome; Allen Dulles flew there to confer with him. Princess Ashraf, the Shah's attractive twin sister, tried to play a part in the international intrigue, but the Shah refused to talk to her.

In Teheran, Communist mobs controlled the streets; they destroyed statues of the Shah to celebrate his departure. Suddenly, the opposition to Mossadegh consolidated. The Army began rounding up demonstrators. Early on August 19 Roosevelt, from his hiding place, gave orders to his Iranian agents to get everyone they could find into the streets.

The agents went into the athletic clubs of Teheran and rounded up a strange assortment of weight- lifters, muscle-men and gymnasts. The odd procession made its way through the bazaars shouting pro-Shah slogans. The crowd grew rapidly in size. By mid-morning it was clear the tide had turned against Mossadegh and nothing could stop it.

Zahedi came out of hiding and took over. The Shah returned from exile. Mossadegh went to jail and the leaders of the Tudeh were executed.

In the aftermath, the British lost their monopoly on Iran's oil. In August, 1958, an international consortium of Western oil companies signed a twenty-five-year pact with Iran for its oil. Under it, the former Anglo-Iranian Oil Company got 40 percent, a group of American companies [xi] got 40 percent, Royal Dutch Shell got 14 percent, and the Compagnie Francaise des Petroles 6 percent. Iran got half of the multimillion-dollar income from the oil fields under the deal, and Anglo-Iranian was assured a compensation payment of $70,000,000.

The United States, of course, has never officially admitted the CIA's role. The closest Dulles came to doing so was in a CBS television show in 1962, after his retirement from the CIA. He was asked whether it was true that "the CIA people spent literally millions of dollars hiring people to riot in the streets and do other things, to get rid of Mossadegh. Is there anything you can say about that?"

"Well," Dulles replied, "I can say that the statement that we spent many dollars doing that is utterly false."

The former CIA chief also hinted at the CIA's Iran role in his book The Craft of Intelligence. " ... support from the outside was given ... to the Shah's supporters," 11 he wrote, without directly saying it came from the CIA.

Although Iran remained pro-West after the 1953 coup, little was done to alleviate the terrible poverty in that ancient land. Somehow, the oil wealth of Iran never trickled down to the people. A total of $1,300,000,000 in United States aid poured in during twelve years since 1951, but much of it appeared to stick to the fingers of the hopelessly corrupt officialdom. In 1957 a report of the House Committee on Government Operations said that American aid to Iran was so badly handled that "it is now impossible -- with any accuracy -- to tell what became of these funds."

A typical Iranian scandal involved a close friend of Princess Ashraf, Ehsan Davaloo, the "Caviar Queen," who earned the sobriquet by paying officials to get a $450,000-a-year caviar monopoly.

With this stark contrast -- caviar and utter poverty side by side -- Iran remained a ripe breeding ground for Communism. With the help of a President's swashbuckling grandson, the Invisible Government had brought about a political coup d'etat. It had bought time. But the United States seemed unable to follow this up with badly needed social and economic reforms.


1955: Mr. X Goes to Cairo

Two years after his operation in Iran, Kim Roosevelt turned up across the Red Sea in a mysterious episode in a new setting.

On September 27, 1955, Egyptian Premier Gamal Abdel Nasser announced to the world that he had concluded an arms deal with the Soviet bloc. Washington had been unwilling to sell weapons to Egypt on Nasser's terms, and the Arab leader turned to the East.

The news threw Washington into a turmoil, although the deal had been predicted beforehand by the CIA. It was one case, however, where John Foster Dulles had not been inclined to take too seriously the reports coming from his brother.

The State Department and the CIA had agreed to send Roosevelt to Cairo for a first-hand look. Roosevelt, by now the assistant director of the CIA for the Middle East, did so, and reported back that the negotiations were about to be completed. Foster Dulles sent him a long telegram reiterating his skepticism. Roosevelt fired back a pointed message advising the Secretary of State to read his morning papers, which would carry Nasser's announcement.

Roosevelt was right. On September 28, the day after Nasser's defiant disclosure, George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, was summoned to the office of Herbert Hoover, Jr., Under Secretary of State. Hoover was Acting Secretary that day because Dulles was in New York. In George Allen's presence, Hoover telephoned the Secretary of State; it was agreed that George Allen should be sent to see Nasser right away.

It was now 2:00 P.M. By five o'clock Allen was leaving New York on a Paris-bound plane. His hasty departure was announced by the State Department only three minutes before he took off from New York. Secretary Dulles, who returned to Washington the same day, termed George Allen's trip "only a more or less routine visit." It was far from that. With him, George Allen carried a letter from Secretary Dulles, warning that the arms deal could hand Egypt over to the Communists. Dulles had signed the quickly drafted letter in New York just before Allen departed. While Allen was winging his way to the land of the Sphinx the United States wire services sent out dispatches speculating that he took with him an "ultimatum" to Nasser.

At this point, the CIA's "Mr. Iran" became the central figure in some shadowy backstage maneuvering in the Egyptian capital. British newspaper accounts of the episode later referred to a "Mr. X", a mysterious American official. In reality, he was Kim Roosevelt.

One version of the affair that became widely accepted was given by Nasser himself in a blood-and- thunder speech at Alexandria on July 26, 1956, the same day he seized the Suez Canal.

"After the arms deal was announced," Nasser told a crowd already worked up by his oratory, "Washington sent a representative to Egypt, Mr. George Allen ...

"An American official contacted me and sought a special interview. He said that ... Allen has a strong note from the U.S. Government which might prejudice Egyptian nationality and prestige. I assure you that this note will have no effect because we shall be able to remove its effect. I advise you to accept this message.

"I asked him: 'What is the insult to Egyptian nationality and prestige about?' He said: 'This is a message from Mr. Dulles and is strongly worded. We are astonished how it was sent. We ask you to have cool nerves. You always had cool nerves. Accept this message with cool nerves ...'

"He said that no practical outcome would emanate from this message and guaranteed this. I told him: 'Look ... if your representative comes to my offices and says something unpleasant, I shall throw him out.' [Applause]

"This happened at the beginning of October. Then he came again and told me that he had told this to Mr. Allen and that Mr. Allen was wondering whether he would be thrown out when he came to convey his message to me, and also whether Mr. Dulles would throw him out if he went back without conveying this message." [Applause]

George Allen did see Nasser, and he was not thrown out. But the disturbing story circulated in Washington that a certain "Mr. X," a high CIA official, had undercut the official foreign policy of the United States by getting in ahead of George Allen and telling Nasser to forget whatever the special envoy told him. [xii]

What had happened, as best it can be pieced together, was this:

When Allen's plane landed in Cairo, he was unaware of the storm kicked up there by reports that he was bringing an ultimatum from the Eisenhower Administration. A mob of Western and Egyptian newsmen were waiting at the airport. Ambassador Henry A. Byroade sprinted aboard the plane to warn George Allen of the situation.

Forearmed, the Assistant Secretary of State was cautiously noncommittal to newsmen who surrounded him when he stepped off the plane. In the crowd, Allen spotted Kim Roosevelt. He nodded to the CIA man, but they kept their distance from each other in public.

Before Allen's arrival, Byroade and Roosevelt had agreed that it would be an intolerable loss of face if the envoy were refused an interview with Nasser. So, in the seclusion of the embassy, Roosevelt, Byroade and Eric H. Johnston, who was there negotiating a water agreement, sat down with Allen and went over the letter from Secretary Dulles. They told Allen it was so patronizing that Nasser would take it as an insult and throw him out of the office. They urged that at the very least, he read the letter instead of handing it to Nasser formally.

As result of this, George Allen sent a cable to Secretary Dulles recommending that he deliver the tough message orally. That way, Nasser would not have a letter to make public afterward. Dulles cabled back, telling Allen to use his best judgment.

Meanwhile Kim Roosevelt, who knew Nasser well, had gone to see him. Roosevelt's defenders insist he did so to ease the way for Allen. They maintain that he joshed Nasser, told him to act like a grown man and not blow up, and asked him to listen politely when George Allen read his letter. Roosevelt did not, they say, ask Nasser to disregard Allen's message, as Nasser indicated later.

At his own meeting with Nasser on October 1, Allen was accompanied by Byroade. Allen told Nasser that the United States recognized Egypt's right to buy arms where it wanted, but pointed out that the United States had refused to sell jets to Israel and was anxious not to escalate the arms race in the Middle East.

"You wouldn't sell me arms," said Nasser. "I had to buy where I could."

Nasser was vague when Allen pressed to find out whether the arms deal was a prelude to something bigger. Finally, Allen pulled out the letter and formally read its text to Nasser. There was no translation, since the Egyptian Premier's English was entirely adequate. However, Allen did not leave the letter with Nasser.

What is clear, at any rate, is that the assistant director of the CIA saw Nasser ahead of the Assistant Secretary of State.

Eisenhower could not have known of this at the time, because he was under an oxygen tent in Denver, having suffered his heart attack there on September 25. On October 4 Secretary Dulles told a news conference that as a result of the talks between Allen and Nasser there had been achieved a "better understanding."

If by this the Secretary of State meant that through the intervention of "Mr. X," the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs had not been thrown out of the office of the Premier of Egypt, he was correct.


1956: Suez

With Soviet arms flowing into Egypt, relations between Nasser and Washington deteriorated rapidly. On July 19, 1956, Secretary of State Dulles pulled the rug out from under the fiery Arab leader. The United States withdrew its offer to help Egypt harness the Nile by constructing a high dam at Aswan (a task which the Russians happily moved in to perform).

Nasser, driven into a rage, seized the Suez Canal a week later. Israel invaded Egypt on October 29 and Britain and France joined in with a Halloween Day attack. The United States condemned the invasion, Moscow threatened to rain missiles on London and Paris, and the assault was called off. All of this happened in the midst of the Hungarian revolt and the windup of the presidential campaign in the United States.

When the sands had settled in the Middle East, Allen Dulles was in a difficult position; the question, once again, was whether the CIA had failed to predict an event -- in this case, the Suez invasion. Foster Dulles undercut the CIA's position by telling a Senate committee: "We had no advance information of any kind." 12

Seven years later Allen Dulles offered an explanation of this. There were many times, said Allen Dulles, when intelligence had guessed correctly, but could not advertise the fact. He added:

"This was true of the Suez invasion of 1956. Here intelligence was well alerted as to both the possibility and later the probability of the actions taken by Israel and then by Britain and France. The public received the impression that there had been an intelligence failure; statements were issued by U.S. officials to the effect that the country had not been given advance warning of the action. Our officials, of course, intended to imply only that the British and French and Israelis had failed to tell us what they were doing. In fact, United States intelligence had kept the government informed without, as usual, advertising its achievement." 13

The difficulty with this explanation is that it is not what Foster Dulles told the Senate.

On February 1, 1957, Secretary Dulles was being questioned by Senator Mansfield before a joint meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees. He was asked whether Washington had knowledge of the Israeli attack on Egypt or of the British and French participation. "We had no advance information of any kind," he said. "... The British-French participation also came as a complete surprise to us."

It is true that this testimony, if taken alone, could be interpreted to mean simply that there had been no advance warning to Washington by the invaders. But two weeks earlier, on January 15, testifying before the same Senate committees, Secretary Dulles was more specific under questioning by Senator Henry M. Jackson, of Washington, who asked whether "the people within the executive branch of the government" knew of the impending Israeli attack on Suez.

"No," Dulles replied, "we had no such knowledge."

"At the appropriate time, Mr. Chairman," said Jackson, "I would like to go into that question when we get into executive session. I will not pursue it any further here now ... the reason I am not pursuing further questioning along this line is obvious."

What was obvious, of course, was that Jackson was referring to the CIA. (Later questions and answers about whether the CIA had advance knowledge were so heavily censored in the published transcript of the executive session as to be meaningless.)

The questioning took place against a background of continuing domestic and international controversy over Suez. In England, France and the United States, there had been suggestions that the Eisenhower Administration had known in advance of the invasion plans, and had been hypocritical in its outraged reaction and intervention. Democrats felt the pre-election crisis had helped defeat Adlai Stevenson and re-elect Eisenhower. Jackson's questions seemed designed to explore whether the CIA had known all along that the invasion was coming. If this had been the case, Secretary Dulles could ill afford, for political reasons, to say so.

But Jackson's question and the Secretary of State's answer are on the record. Dulles was clearly saying that "the executive branch of the government" -- which of course includes the CIA -- had "no knowledge" in advance of the Israeli attack which began the Suez invasion.

The truth is always elusive; the truth about a secret agency doubly so. Future historians of the Cold War will have an unenviable task.


1956: Costa Rica

The Invisible Government's activities have not been restricted to chaotic countries, dominated or threatened by Communism. In the mid-1950s CIA agents intruded deeply into the political affairs of Costa Rica, the most stable and democratic republic in Latin America. Knowledgeable Costa Ricans were aware of the CIA's role. The CIA's purpose was to promote the ouster of Jose (Pepe) Figueres, the moderate socialist who became President in a fair and open election in 1953.

In March of 1954, in the course of a Senate speech, Senator Mansfield cited a newspaper report 14 to the effect that "a CIA man was caught red-handed" in the "tapping of the telephone of Jose Figueres ... I do not need to point out the tremendous impact which this sort of activity could have in our foreign policy," he said, in calling for tighter Congressional control over the CIA. His warning had no noticeable effect on the CIA's anti-Figueres activities, however.

Figueres had risen to national prominence as the leader of a guerrilla movement organized to install Otilio Ulate as President in 1948. Ulate had won the election, but a right-wing government (with Communist support) and a packed legislature had refused to recognize him. In April of 1948, however, Figueres forced them to back down and the following year Ulate was installed.

Figueres' success vaulted him into the presidency in 1953. But Ulate organized an opposition movement against his former political ally.

Local CIA agents joined in the efforts to unseat Figueres. Their major grievance was that Figueres had scrupulously recognized the right of asylum in Costa Rica -- for non-Communists and Communists alike. The large influx of questionable characters complicated the agency's job of surveillance and forced it to increase its staff.

The CIA's strategy was twofold: to stir up embarrassing trouble within the Communist Party in Costa Rica, and to attempt to link Figueres [xiii] with the Communists. An effort to produce evidence that Figueres had been in contact with leading Communists during a trip to Mexico was unsuccessful. But CIA agents had better luck with the first part of their strategy -- stirring up trouble for the Communists. They succeeded in planting a letter in a Communist newspaper. The letter, purportedly from a leading Costa Rican Communist, put him on record in opposition to the Party line on the Hungarian revolution.

Unaware that the letter was a CIA plant, the leading officials in the American Embassy held an urgent meeting to ponder its meaning. The political officer then dispatched a long classified report to Washington, alerting top policy makers to the possibility of a startling turn in Latin American Communist politics.

No one bothered to tell the embassy or the State Department that the newspaper article was written by the CIA.


1956: The Khrushchev Speech

The CIA's manufacture of bogus Communist material has not always led to a happy result. But the agency has had one noteworthy success in obtaining a real Communist document.

When Khrushchev delivered his historic secret speech attacking Stalin's crimes at the 20th Communist Party Congress in Moscow in February, 1956, Allen Dulles ordered a vast and intensive hunt for the text. He assumed there had to be one, because Khrushchev had spoken for seven hours.

The word went out inside the CIA: whoever could deliver the document would be amply recognized by Dulles as an intelligence ace. At whatever price, the CIA was determined to obtain the secret speech.

First, analysts determined what individuals and what Communist nations might have been given a copy -- in other words, where to go looking for it. Then agents fanned out all over the Communist world to find it.

One top CIA operator turned up in Belgrade with an intriguing scheme -- he would make a direct pitch to the Yugoslav Government to bootleg him a copy. Tito and Stalin, after all, had split in 1948. With the permission of Ambassador James W. Riddleberger, the CIA man called on a certain high Yugoslav official.

For nearly two hours he argued his case, listing the reasons why Washington deserved a copy of the top-secret document. The sales talk must have been convincing, for at one point the Yugoslav seemed ready to hand over a copy. But then he thought better of it, and backed off.

The CIA did finally get its hands on a text -- but not in Moscow. Money and other considerations changed hands. The man who made the deal to deliver the speech claimed he needed the money, not for himself, but to make arrangements to protect others who might be involved. At least that is what he told the CIA.

With the speech in Dulles' hands, a new problem had to be faced. Dulles did not want to release the 26,000-word text unless he could be sure it was genuine. For several weeks during May, 1956, the CIA had the text in hand, but said nothing.

CIA analysts pored over the text, examining every word, each phrase in an attempt to authenticate it. The experts finally decided that the document contained information that only Khrushchev could have been in a position to know. Together with other clues buried in the text, this convinced the analysts the document was bona fide. Dulles gave his approval, and on June 4 the State Department released the text.

To this day the CIA does not know precisely what document it obtained: whether it was the speech that Khrushchev prepared for delivery at the Congress, or the verbatim speech he did deliver, or possibly a slightly altered version for distribution to certain satellite nations. The CIA does not know which it is because the text-as-delivered was never published by Khrushchev. On the other hand, Moscow has not flatly denied its authenticity. [xiv]

"There is no fatal inevitability of war," Khrushchev said in the speech, in rejecting one of the basic tenets of Lenin. The CIA felt a deserved sense of satisfaction in having run the speech to ground. For it was the first tangible evidence of the historic split between Communist China and the Soviet Union.


1960: The U-2

The U-2 spy plane was developed by Richard Bissell, Trevor Gardner of the Air Force and Clarence L. (Kelly) Johnson of Lockheed, after initially being turned down by the Pentagon on June 7, 1954. The Defense Department finally did approve the ultra-secret espionage project in December of that year. The first model was flying by August, 1955. During the four years, starting in 1956, that the spy plane flew over Russia, it brought back invaluable data on Russian "airfields, aircraft, missiles, missile testing and training, special weapons storage, submarine production, atomic production and aircraft deployments." 15 It flew so high (well over 80,000 feet) that the Russians were unable to shoot it down at first.

The summit conference of Eisenhower, Macmillan, De Gaulle and Khrushchev was scheduled to take place on May 16, 1960. As the date approached, the intelligence technicians who ran the U-2 program decided to get one last U-2 flight in under the wire before the conference. They feared the Paris meeting might result in a detente that would ground the spy plane indefinitely. The feeling within the intelligence community was that a successful conference, followed by Eisenhower's planned trip to Moscow, would make flying the U-2 impossible.

Eisenhower approved each general series of U-2 flights. These groupings allowed considerable flexibility for a set number of missions to be flown within a given time span. Eisenhower did not suspend the program as the summit date approached.

On May 1, 1960, Francis Gary Powers, a CIA pilot from the hill country of Virginia, was downed in his U-2 over Sverdlovsk, [xv] in the Urals. Khrushchev announced on May 5 that a plane had been shot down. This set off an incredible period of confusion in the highest councils of the United States Government.

At first, Washington insisted it was a NASA weather plane that had drifted over the border from Turkey when its pilot had oxygen trouble. After waiting two days for this explanation to sink in, Khrushchev triumphantly revealed he had the pilot and the plane. At that, the State Department admitted the spy flight, but said it had not been authorized in Washington. Two days later Eisenhower reversed this position, took responsibility for the U-2 program and issued a statement widely interpreted to mean that the flights over Soviet territory would continue.

That did it. Khrushchev stormed and demanded an apology at Paris. Eisenhower finally announced at the summit table that no more U-2s would be sent over Russia. But the 1960 summit meeting collapsed.

Why had the CIA and the Eisenhower Administration so confidently issued its original "cover story" about a "weather" plane? One important reason was that Powers had been instructed to blow up his plane in the event of trouble over Russia. This, the CIA expected, would destroy evidence.

The U-2 contained a destructor unit with a three-pound charge of cyclonite -- enough to blow it up. U-2 pilots were instructed in the event of trouble to activate a timing device and eject from the plane. It would then explode, so they were told. But Allen Dulles was aware that some of the U-2 pilots were worried about the workings of this intriguing and delicate destructor mechanism. They were not really sure how many seconds they had to get out.

At a Senate hearing 17 after his release by the Russians, Powers testified: "My first reaction was to reach for the destruct switches ... but I thought that I had better see if I can get out of here before using this. I knew that there was a seventy-second time delay between the time of the actuation of the switches and the time that the explosion would occur." [xvi]

Powers testified that he was unable to use the automatic ejection seat because he had been thrown forward in the cockpit. He said he then decided just to climb out. But after he did, he testified, he was unable to reach back into the U-2 "so that I could actuate these destructor switches."

A CIA report issued after Powers had been held for twenty-four days and secretly interrogated by the agency, set forth substantially the same story and stated that "the destruct switches ... take four separate manipulations to set." The CIA report said Powers lived up to his contract and his "obligations as an American" and would get his back pay. 18

At the friendly Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, no one asked Powers whether he had been under a mandatory order to destroy his plane. It was obvious that the CIA did not relish any close scrutiny of the fascinating workings of the destructor mechanism.

Some of the weightier political analyses of the confusion in Washington during the U-2 affair have failed to pay enough attention to the vital business of the destructor unit. The cover stories were based on the assumption that Francis Gary Powers had actuated those destructor switches. He had not.

Only the CIA knows what would have happened had he done so.


1963: Trouble for General Gehlen

Any casual newspaper reader knows that 1963 was a banner year for spy cases, but one of the most significant received the least attention in the United States, considering that it deeply involved the CIA. On July 11, in a Karlsruhe courtroom, Judge Kurt Weber sentenced three former West German intelligence agents to prison terms for spying for the Soviet Union.

Heinz Felfe, forty-five, drew fourteen years. Hans Clemens, sixty-one, got ten years. Erwin Tiebel, sixty, their courier, got off with three years. The trio had confessed to delivering 15,000 photographs of top-secret West German intelligence files and twenty spools of tape recordings to Soviet agents in East Berlin.

All three had been employed by the West German Federal Intelligence Agency (FIA), better known as the "Gehlen organization" for its founder and chief, the mysterious ex-Nazi general, Reinhard Gehlen. The defendants confessed they had systematically betrayed state secrets from 1950 until their arrest in 1961.

Ironically, their work was so pleasing to both sides, that shortly before their arrest Felfe and Clemens received citations for ten years of meritorious service from both of their employers. From General Gehlen they received a plaque bearing an illustration of St. George slaying the dragon. From Alexander N. Shelepin, then Chairman of the Soviet KGB, [xvii] they got a letter of commendation and a cash bonus.

As Judge Weber summed it up succinctly: "For ten years the Soviet intelligence service had two experienced spies sitting right in the center of the enemy's organization."

Since the Gehlen organization was financed and controlled by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the Felfe-Clemens Tiebel case meant nothing less than that the CIA's most vital European subsidiary had been penetrated at the top, virtually from its inception.

The CIA poured millions into the Gehlen apparatus, but the 1963 case raised grave questions about the effectiveness and worth of the whole operation. It also raised moral and political questions in West Germany, where some newspapers were asking why ex-Nazis were running the Bundesrepublik's intelligence service in the first place.

Gehlen, a member of the German General Staff under Hitler, was placed in charge of wartime intelligence for Foreign Armies East. This meant that he ran Germany's espionage against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He is said to have surrendered his organization and files to the United States Army Counter Intelligence Corps when the Nazi empire collapsed in 1945.

With his knowledge of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, it was not long before Gehlen was back in business, this time for the United States. When the CIA was casting about for a network in West Germany, it decided to look into the possibility of using Gehlen's talents. And while they were making up their mind about the ex-general, Henry Pleasants, the CIA station chief in Bonn for many years, moved in and lived with Gehlen for several months.

Pleasants, once the chief music critic of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and a contributor to the music pages of the New York Times, was a highly literate and respected musicologist. His wife Virginia was one of the world's leading harpsichordists. He also probably had the distinction of being the only top U.S. spy to become the center of a literary storm. He had continued to write books after joining the CIA, and in 1955 his Agony of Modern Music (Simon & Schuster, New York) caused considerable controversy for its attacks on all contemporary music except jazz. [xviii]

Gehlen had named his price and his terms, but it took some months before the CIA said yes. After that Gehlen consolidated an intelligence network that operated in utter secrecy -- as far as the West German public was concerned -- from a heavily guarded villa in Pullach, outside of Munich. Officially, the Gehlen network was not part of the Bonn Government.

The mystery general reportedly lived in a two-story lakeside villa at Starnberg, Bavaria (fifteen miles southwest of Munich); a sign on the fence surrounding the house said: Warnung vor dem Hunde (Beware the Dog). No outsider has ever seen Gehlen. No picture of Gehlen has been taken since 1944 -- and that one shows him bemedaled in his Wehrmacht uniform.

The evidence indicates that Gehlen staffed his organization with many former SS and Wehrmacht intelligence officers. During the war Felfe ran the Swiss department of the Reich security service, and Clemens and Tiebel were his assistants.

Felfe, while awaiting possible war crimes prosecution, suddenly was given a clean bill of health by a British Zone court and was hired by the Gehlen organization in 1951. He testified he had been approached by a former SS colonel who asked if he was interested in returning to his "old trade."

That trade was also being plied by Dr. Otto John, head of West Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Dr. John disappeared into East Berlin on July 20, 1954. Since John was the head of West Germany's official counter-intelligence organization, it was as astounding as if J. Edgar Hoover had suddenly turned up in Minsk. Otto John chose the tenth anniversary of the unsuccessful bomb plot against Hitler to do his vanishing act. He had been active in the plot himself and managed to escape afterwards; his brother Hans was executed. On the day of his disappearance he had attended memorial services at the site of the executions.

Washington, stunned by the news, described John as one of the "two or three best-informed persons in West Germany" on intelligence operations. But the tail end of a New York Times dispatch from Berlin gave the most tantalizing reason for John's action:

"Dr. John's organization also was believed to have been in serious competition and difficulties with a more extensive German organization headed by Reinhard Gehlen, a former high-ranking Wehrmacht intelligence officer." 19

On July 20, 1955, again on the anniversary of the bomb plot, West Germany announced that it was taking over the Gehlen organization, henceforth to be known as the Bundesnachrichtendienst, [xix] or Federal Intelligence Agency (FIA).

With John's defection and the official recognition of the FIA by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Gehlen was the unchallenged spymaster of West Germany. [xx] The Gehlen Apparat was now part of the Bonn Government (although it nowhere appears in any official government table of organization). The relationship between the CIA and the FIA remained intimate. That is why the 1963 trial meant, not only trouble for Gehlen, but trouble for the CIA.

During the trial the three defendants admitted that they supplied the Soviet Union with the names of West German agents of the FIA (ninety-five in all ) as well as other secret information that was smuggled out in canned baby food, trick suitcases and on special writing paper. Felfe and Clemens testified they were paid about $40,000 each during the ten-year period.

At the time of his arrest, Felfe was the director of the East Division of the Gehlen agency, in charge of spying in Eastern Europe.

In asking for long prison terms for the trio, the West German prosecutor said it was "without doubt the worst espionage case ever experienced in the Federal Republic." Felfe and Clemens, he said, had done "serious damage to the Federal Republic and to American organizations."

He did not have to spell out the initials CIA to make his meaning clear.


The extraordinary growth of the clandestine activities of the United States in all parts of the world has been pointed up in this brief review of the important operations of the Invisible Government in Germany, as well as in Bogota, Korea, Communist China, Formosa, Iran, Egypt, Costa Rica and the Soviet Union. Other operations, even more fascinating and sometimes disturbing, have been conducted in Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Guatemala.



i. As constituted in 1964 the NSC was composed of the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Office of Emergency Planning.

ii. The 1949 Act also allowed the CIA director to bring in 100 aliens a year secretly and outside of normal immigration laws.

iii. The other two members were William H. Jackson, New York investment banker, a wartime intelligence officer and the managing director of J. H. Whitney & Co.; and Mathias F. Correa, a former OSS man and a special assistant to Forrestal. Jackson later became the deputy director of the CIA.

iv. Some evidence of the closeness of Foster and Allen Dulles was provided even after the Secretary of State had died. President Kennedy had been thinking of changing the name of Washington's new jetport from Dulles, so designated in honor of Foster, to Chantilly, which is the name of the Virginia community where it is located. Under this plan the main building would still have been called the "Dulles Terminal." Allen Dulles and his sister, Eleanor Lansing Dulles, a former official in the German section of the State Department, heard about it and raised hob with the President. Kennedy called it Dulles Airport.

v. And later a private adviser to the Empress of China, Tz'u Hsi.

vi. Welsh earned this ministerial plum in an odd way. President Hayes had assured Senator Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania (who had been in Lincoln's Cabinet during the Civil War) that he would appoint anyone Pennsylvania wanted to the London post. Cameron promptly named his father. Hayes, annoyed, appointed Welsh instead.

vii. Fidel Castro, then an unknown Cuban student, participated in the Bogota riots with a group of his friends.

viii. Actually, the Chinese had begun crossing the Yalu four days earlier.

ix. The protest apparently had some effect. On August 2, 1955, Communist China notified the United States at Geneva that the eleven airmen had been released on July 31.

x. He died September 1, 1963, at age sixty-seven.

xi. Gulf Oil, Standard Oil of New Jersey and California, The Texas Company and Socony-Mobil.

xii. The story was sufficiently upsetting to Senator Paul H. Douglas, the Illinois Democrat, so that he quietly investigated it later during a trip to the Middle East.

xiii. While the CIA was plotting to get rid of Figueres during this period, Ambassador Robert F. Woodward was urging President Eisenhower to lend his prestige to the Costa Rican President by inviting him to Washington. Figueres stepped down in 1958 when his candidate lost the Presidential election.

xiv. Although Dulles had hinted previously at the CIA's role, he publicly and unequivocally disclosed the CIA's tour de force in a speech in Washington in June, 1963, and in a television interview two months later. It was a startling statement, because it was one of the few times that the CIA had openly taken credit for an espionage feat. Dulles said: "You remember ... Khrushchev's famous speech in 1956, which we got, the CIA got that speech, and I thought it was one of the main coups of the time I was there ..." 16

xv. By a Russian SA-2 missile, the CIA concluded.

xvi. A few days after his Senate testimony, however, Powers seemed less certain of this. In a radio interview at his home in Pound, Virginia, with James Clarke, then of WGH, Norfolk, he said he thought he had seventy seconds on that particular U-2. It was an uncertainty shared by other U-2 pilots. The fact is the pilots did not know precisely how much time they had before the explosion.

xvii. KGB stands for Komitat Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti (Committee for State Security). It is one arm of the Soviet espionage apparatus, the other being the GRU, or Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie, the Soviet Military Intelligence. The KGB is the successor to the Cheka, OGPU, NKVD, MVD and other initials used over the years to designate the often reorganized, purged and renamed Soviet secret police and espionage network.

xviii. As recently as April 15, 1962, while he was still the CIA station chief in Bonn, Pleasants had a byline article in the New York Herald Tribune, filed from Zurich. It told of the state theater's production of Meyerbeer's Le Prophete.

xix. Literally, Federal news service.

xx. John returned to West Berlin on December 13, 1955. He was tried, convicted of treasonable conspiracy and served nineteen months of his four-year sentence.
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:28 am

Burma: The Innocent Ambassador

As he prepared to leave Japan in 1952, at the end of a seven-year assignment, William J. Sebald developed misgivings about his new post as Ambassador to Burma.

Sebald's worries centered on a band of 12,000 Nationalist Chinese troops who were squatting on Burmese territory in defiance of the Burmese Government. The Nationalist troops had fled to Burma in 1949 as the Chinese Communists advanced toward victory. The troops made one concerted effort to return by force to Yunnan, their native province in China. But they were easily turned back, and settled down in Burma to a life of banditry and opium-running.

The Burmese Government demanded that they lay down their arms, but the Nationalist troops repulsed the sporadic efforts of the Burmese Army to subdue them. In the more recent fighting they had displayed new equipment and a greater sense of discipline. And they had just acquired a new commander, General Li Mi, an intelligence officer who was spotted commuting between Formosa and Burma by way of a landing strip in Thailand. just across Burma's southeastern border.

To the Burmese Government, burdened by catastrophic World War II destruction and continuous domestic rebellions, the Nationalist troops had long been an intolerable foreign nuisance. Now, revived as a military force, they became a menace to Burmese independence. The troops might easily provide a pretext for an invasion by the Communist Chinese or a coup by the 300,000 Burmese Communists.

Officially, Burma pleaded with the United States to apply pressure on Formosa to withdraw the troops. Unofficially, Burmese officials accused the CIA of supporting the troops as a force that could conduct raids into China or threaten military retaliation if Burma adopted a more conciliatory policy toward Peking.

Ambassador Sebald had spent more than a third of his fifty years as a naval officer and diplomat in the Far East. He knew he would have trouble enough with a touchy new nation of ancient oriental ways without being undermined by another agency of his own government.

On home-leave in Washington, Sebald demanded assurances from his superiors that the CIA was not supporting the Nationalist troops. He was told emphatically that the United States was in no way involved.

From the very first days of his two-year assignment in Rangoon, Sebald regularly warned Washington that the troops threatened Burma's very existence as a parliamentary democracy which was friendly to the West. If United States relations were not to turn completely sour, he insisted, the Nationalists would have to be removed. Each time, the State Department responded that the United States was not involved and that Burma should logically complain to Taipeh.

Dutifully, Sebald passed along these assurances to the Burmese Foreign Office. But he never succeeded in convincing the Burmese of American innocence. The most determined of the skeptics was General Ne Win, who as Chief of Staff of the Army was leading the battle against the guerrillas. Fresh from a meeting with his field commanders, Ne Win confronted Sebald at a diplomatic gathering and angrily demanded action on the Nationalist troops. When Sebald started to launch into his standard disclaimer of United States involvement the general cut him short.

"Mr. Ambassador," he asserted firmly in his best colonial English, "I have it cold. If I were you, I'd just keep quiet."

As Sebald was to learn, and as high United States officials now frankly admit, Ne Win was indeed correct. The CIA was intimately involved with the Nationalist troops, but Sebald's superiors -- men just below John Foster Dulles -- were officially ignorant of the fact. Knowledge of the project was so closely held within the CIA, that it even escaped the notice of Robert Amory, the deputy director for intelligence. He was not normally informed about the covert side of the agency's operations but he usually received some information about major projects on an unofficial basis. Yet on Burma he could honestly protest to his colleagues in other branches of the government that the CIA was innocent.

Though Sebald was never able to secure an official admission from Washington, he discovered through personal investigation on the scene that the CIA's involvement was an open secret in sophisticated circles in Bangkok, Thailand. There, he learned, the CIA planned and directed the operation under the guise of running Sea Supply, a trading company with the cable address "Hatchet."

In Rangoon public resentment at the CIA's role became so pervasive that the most irrelevant incidents -- an isolated shooting, a power failure -- were routinely ascribed to American meddling. Sebald persisted in his denials, but by March, 1953, they had turned so threadbare that Burma threw the issue into the United Nations.

In New Delhi, Chester Bowles, finishing his first tour as Ambassador to India, had also been beset by the rumors. To silence the anti-American rumbling, Bowles, like Sebald, sought assurances from Washington. The response was the same: the United States was not involved in any way. Bowles conveyed this message to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who stated publicly that, on Bowles' word, he had convinced himself that the United States was not supporting the Nationalist guerrillas.

At the UN, Burma produced captured directives from Taipeh to the Chinese guerrillas, but Nationalist China insisted it had "no control over the Yunnan Anti-Communist and National Salvation Army." At the same time, it conceded paradoxically that Taipeh did have "some influence over General Li Mi" and would exercise its "moral influence" to resolve the problem.

With the UN on the verge of an embarrassing inquest and the Nationalist Chinese in a more conciliatory mood, Sebald's pleas finally began to be heard in Washington. He was instructed to offer the services of the United States in mediating the issue between Burma and Taipeh.

In May the United States suggested that Burma, Nationalist China and Thailand join with it in a four-power conference to discuss the problem. After first balking at sitting down with Nationalist China, Burma finally agreed. A four-nation joint military commission convened in Bangkok on May 22. Full accord on an evacuation plan was reached on June 22. The procedure called for the Nationalist guerrillas to cross over into Thailand for removal to Formosa within three or four weeks.

But the guerrillas refused to leave unless ordered to do so by Li Mi. When the commission demanded his presence in Bangkok, the general pleaded illness, then announced he would under no condition order his troops out.

Negotiations and fighting continued inconclusively throughout the summer of 1953, and Burma again brought the issue before the UN in September.

"Without meaning to be ungrateful," said the chief Burma delegate, U Myint Thein, "I venture to state that in dealing with authorities on Formosa, moral pressure is not enough. If something more than that, such as the threat of an ouster from their seat in the United Nations, were conveyed to the authorities on Formosa, or if the United States would go a step further and threaten to suspend aid, I assure you the Kuomintang army would disappear overnight."

Nevertheless, Burma agreed reluctantly to a cease-fire when Nationalist China pledged to disavow the guerrillas and cut off all aid to them after those willing to be evacuated had started out by way of Thailand. The withdrawal, which began on November 5, was disturbing to the Burmese from the start. The Thai police were under the control of General Pao, the Interior Minister, who was involved with the guerrillas' in the opium trade. And he refused to allow Burmese representatives to accompany other members of the joint military commission to the staging areas.

The suspicions of the Burmese were stirred anew when "Wild Bill" Donovan, the wartime boss of the OSS and then Ambassador to Thailand, arrived on the scene, flags waving, to lead out the Nationalist troops.

The evacuation dragged on through the winter of 1953-1954. It was largely bungled, in the view of U.S. officials in Rangoon, mainly because Washington failed to exert enough pressure on Taipeh. About 7,000 persons were flown to Formosa, but a high percentage of them were women, children and crippled noncombatants.

On May 30, 1954, Li Mi announced from Taipeh the dissolution of the Yunnan Anti-Communist and National Salvation Army, but by July fighting had resumed between the guerrillas and the Burmese Army.

Burma returned to the UN but soon realized that the evacuation of the previous winter "represented the limit of what could be accomplished by international action." On October 15 the issue was discussed in the UN for the last time.

Sebald resigned as ambassador on November 1, citing the ill health of his wife, and returned to Washington as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs. He was to spend the next three years struggling to open lines of communication between the State Department and the CIA so that the left hand of the United States might know what the right hand was up to in its international dealings.

But the repercussions of the CIA's operation remained to complicate United States relations in Burma. Despite the long and painful negotiations, half of the Nationalist guerrillas, and the best of them, were still deployed in Burma. They joined with other rebel factions and skirmished repeatedly with the Burmese Army. It was not until January of 1961 that they were driven into Thailand and Laos.

They left behind them, however, a new source of embarrassment to the incoming administration of President Kennedy. As the Burmese advanced, they discovered a cache of U.S.-made equipment, and the following month they shot down a U.S. World War II Liberator bomber en route from Formosa with supplies for the guerrillas.

The captured arms included five tons of ammunition packed in crates which bore the handclasp label of the "United States aid program. The discovery sent 10,000 demonstrators into the streets outside the American Embassy in Rangoon. Three persons were killed and sixty seriously injured before troops brought the situation under control. Premier U Nu called a press conference and blamed the United States for the continued support of the guerrillas.

Three U.S. military attaches were quickly dispatched to inspect the captured equipment. They reported that the ammunition crates bore coded markings, which were forwarded to Washington for scrutiny.

"If we can trace these weapons back," said an embassy official, "and show that they were given to Taiwan, the United States will have a strong case against Chiang Kai-shek for violating our aid agreement."

Taipeh refused to accept responsibility. It insisted the weapons had been supplied by the "Free China Relief Association" and flown to the guerrillas in private planes. The United States filed no formal charges against Nationalist China.

Behind the scenes, however, W. Averell Harriman, the new Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, moved quickly and forcefully. He was a bitter opponent of the United States policy in Asia during the Eisenhower years, particularly John Foster Dulles' decision to "unleash Chiang."

Harriman considered the Dulles decision a form of theatrics. Harriman felt that there was no hope of returning Chiang to the mainland but that Dulles was forced, nonetheless, to commit the United States to a policy of rolling back the Bamboo Curtain in order to redeem his pledges to Nationalist China and the domestic right wing. In Harriman's view, Dulles' decision led inevitably to the transfer of responsibility for Southeast Asian affairs from the traditional diplomatists in the State Department to the more militant operatives in the Pentagon and the CIA.

With the full backing of President Kennedy, Harriman set out to reverse the situation without delay. When informed of the new guerrilla incident in Burma, he directed that Taipeh be firmly impressed with the fact that such ventures were no longer to be tolerated by the United States.

The Nationalist Chinese quickly announced on March 5 that they would do their utmost to evacuate the remaining guerrillas.

But Harriman's forceful action had little effect in dispelling Burma's suspicions about United States policy. And conditions took a turn for the worse on March 2, 1962, when General Ne Win seized the government in a bloodless army coup. Ne Win had intervened briefly in 1958 to restore order and assure a fair election (the government was returned to civilian control early in 1960). In 1962, however, the general came to power with a determination to move the nation to the Left and to reduce its traditional ties of friendship with the West.

Burma's economy was rapidly becoming more socialistic: the rice industry, source of 70 percent of the nation's foreign exchange earnings, was nationalized; private banks, domestic and foreign, were turned into "peoples' banks"; and most Western aid projects were rejected. Communist China was invited in with 300 economic experts, an $84,000,000 development loan and technical assistance for twenty-five projects.

Burma, which had been created in the image of the Western democracies in 1948, was, a decade and a half later, turning toward Peking. In 1952, when Ne Win rebuked Sebald for the CIA's role in support of the guerrillas, Burma was struggling to maintain its neutrality despite the ominous closeness of a powerful and aggressive Communist neighbor, Now, with Ne Win in control, Burma found its independence increasingly threatened.

The leftward turn of Burma's policy might have baffled the American people, but it should not have puzzled the American Government.
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:29 am

Indonesia: "Soldiers of Fortune"

THE INDONESIAN anti-aircraft fire hit the rebel B-26 and the two-engine bomber plunged toward the sea, its right wing aflame. The pilot, an American named Allen Lawrence Pope, jumped clear and his parachute opened cleanly. But as he drifted down onto a small coral reef, the chute caught a coconut tree and Pope's right leg was broken.

It was May 18, 1958, and the twenty-nine-year-old pilot had just completed a bombing and strafing run on the Ambon Island airstrip in the Moluccas, 1,500 miles from Indonesia's capital at Jakarta. It was a dangerous mission and Pope had carried it off successfully. But when the Indonesians announced his capture, Ambassador Howard P. Jones promptly dismissed him as "a private American citizen involved as a paid soldier of fortune."

The ambassador was echoing the words of the President of the United States. Three weeks before Pope was shot down, Dwight D. Eisenhower had emphatically denied charges that the United States was supporting the rebellion against President Sukarno.

"Our policy," he said, at a press conference on April 30, "is one of careful neutrality and proper deportment all the way through so as not to be taking sides where it is none of our business.

"Now on the other hand, every rebellion that I have ever heard of has its soldiers of fortune. You can start even back to reading your Richard Harding Davis. People were going out looking for a good fight and getting into it, sometimes in the hope of pay, and sometimes just for the heck of the thing. That is probably going to happen every time you have a rebellion."

But Pope was no freebooting soldier of fortune. He was flying for the CIA, which was secretly supporting the rebels who were trying to overthrow Sukarno.

Neither Pope nor the United States was ever to admit any of this -- even after his release from an Indonesian jail in the summer of 1962. But Sukarno and the Indonesian Government were fully aware of what had happened. And that awareness fundamentally influenced their official and private attitude toward the United States. Many high-ranking American officials -- including President Kennedy -- admitted it within the inner circles of the government, but it is not something that they were ever likely to give public voice to.


Allen Pope, a six-foot-one, 195-pound Korean War ace, was the son of a moderately prosperous fruit grower in Perrine, just south of Miami. From boyhood he was active and aggressive, much attracted by the challenge of physical danger. He attended the University of Florida for two years but left to bust broncos in Texas. He volunteered early for the Korean War, flew fifty-five night missions over Communist lines as a first lieutenant in the Air Force, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war Pope returned to Texas, got married, had a daughter, and was divorced. He worked for a local airline but found it dull stuff compared with the excitement he had experienced as a combat pilot in the Far East. And so in March of 1954 Pope signed on with Civil Air Transport, an avowedly civilian airline based on Formosa. He spent two months flying through Communist flak to drop supplies to the French at Dienbienphu. CAT grew out of the Flying Tigers and inherited much of its technique and swagger.

Pope found the outfit congenial. After Dienbienphu he renewed his contract, rising in three years to the rank of captain with a salary of $1,000 a month. He met his second wife, Yvonne, a Pan American stewardess, in Hong Kong. They settled down in a small French villa outside Saigon and had two boys.

Big-game hunting in the jungles of South Vietnam was their most daring diversion. Pope was ready for an even more dangerous challenge when the CIA approached him in December, 1957. The proposition was that he would fly a B-26 for the Indonesian rebels, who were seeking to topple Sukarno. A half-dozen planes were to be ferried in and out of the rebel airstrip at Menado in the North Celebes from the U.S. Air Force Base at Clark Field near Manila. In the Philippines the planes would be safe from counterattack by Sukarno's air force.

The idea of returning to combat intrigued Pope, and he signed up. His first mission, a ferrying hop from the Philippines to the North Celebes, took place on April 28, 1958. That was two days before President Eisenhower offered his comments about "soldiers of fortune" and promised "careful neutrality ... We will unquestionably assure [the Indonesian Government] through the State Department," he declared, "that our deportment will continue to be correct."

But Sukarno was not to be easily convinced. A shrewd, fifty-six-year-old politician, he was a revolutionary socialist who led his predominantly Moslem people to independence after 350 years of Dutch rule. Sukarno knew he was deeply distrusted by the conservative, businesslike administration in Washington. A mercurial leader, he was spellbinding on the stump but erratic in the affairs of state. He was also a ladies' man (official Indonesian publications spoke openly of his "partiality for feminine charm" and quoted movie-magazine gossip linking him with such film stars as Gina Lollobrigida and Joan Crawford) and has had four wives.

In particular, Sukarno was aware of Washington's understandable annoyance with his sudden turn toward the Left: he had just expropriated most of the private holdings of the Dutch and had vowed to drive them out of West lrian (New Guinea); he had requested Russian arms; and he had brought the Communists into his new coalition government.

From the start of its independence in 1949 until 1951 Indonesia was a parliamentary democracy. The power of the central government was balanced and diffused by the local powers of Indonesia's six major and 3,000 minor islands stretching in a 3,000-mile arc from the Malayan peninsula. But in February, 1957, on his return from a tour of Russia and the satellites, Sukarno declared parliamentary democracy to be a failure in Indonesia. He said it did not suit a sharply divided nation of close to 100,000,-000 people. Besides, the government could not successfully exclude a Communist Party with over 1,000,000 members.

"I can't and won't ride a three-legged horse," Sukarno declared. His solution was to decree the creation of a "Guided Democracy," It gave him semi-dictatorial powers while granting major concessions to the Communists and the Army.

The Eisenhower Administration feared that Sukarno would fall completely under Communist domination. And that, of course, would be a genuine disaster for the United States. Although its per capita income of $60 was one of the lowest in the world, Indonesia's bountiful supply of rubber, oil and tin made it potentially the third richest nation in the world. And located between the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Asia and Australia, it commanded one of the world's principal lines of communication.

Many of Indonesia's political leaders, particularly those outside of Java, shared Washington's apprehensions about Sukarno's compromises with the Communists. And many in the CIA and the State Department saw merit in supporting these dissident elements. Even if Sukarno were not overthrown, they argued, it might be possible for Sumatra, Indonesia's big oil producer, to secede, thereby protecting private American and Dutch holdings. At the very least, the pressures of rebellion might loosen Sukarno's ties with the Communists and force him to move to the Right. At best, the Army, headed by General Abdul Haris Nasution, an anti-Communist, might come over to the rebels and force wholesale changes to the liking of the United States.

On February 15, 1958, a Revolutionary Council at Padang, Sumatra, proclaimed a new government under the leadership of Dr. Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, a forty-seven-year-old Moslem party leader and former governor of the Bank of Indonesia. A multi-party cabinet was established, with representation from Java, Sumatra and Celebes.

Sukarno declared: "There is no cause for alarm or anxiety. Like other countries, Indonesia has its ups and downs."

General Nasution promptly asserted his allegiance by dishonorably discharging six high-ranking officers who had sided with the rebels. A week later Indonesian Air Force planes bombed and strafed two radio broadcasting stations in Padang and another in Bukittinggi, the revolutionary capital forty-five miles inland. The attack, carried out by four old U.S. planes, succeeded in silencing the rebel radios.

In testimony to Congress early in March, John Foster Dulles reiterated the United States pledge of strict neutrality. "We are pursuing what I trust is a correct course from the point of international law," he said. "And we are not intervening in the internal affairs of this country ..."

On March 12 Jakarta announced that it had launched a paratroop invasion of Sumatra, and the next week the rebels formally appealed for American arms. They also asked the United States and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization to recognize the revolutionary government.

On April 1 Dulles declared: "The United States views this trouble in Sumatra as an internal matter. We try to be absolutely correct in our international proceedings and attitude toward it. And I would not want to say anything which might be looked upon as a departure from that high standard."

A week later, commenting on Indonesia's announcement that it was purchasing a hundred planes and other weapons from Communist Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslavakia, State Department spokesman Lincoln White declared: "We regret that Indonesia turned to the Communist bloc to buy arms for possible use in killing Indonesians who openly opposed the growing influence of Communism in Indonesia."

Jakarta responded angrily that it had turned to the Communists only after the United States had refused to allow Indonesia to buy $120,000,000 worth of American weapons. Dulles confirmed the fact the same day but claimed the Indonesians were rebuffed because they apparently intended to use the weapons to oust the Dutch from West Irian.

"Later, when the Sumatra revolt broke out," Dulles added, "it did not seem wise to the United States to be in the position of supplying arms to either side of that revolution ...

"It is still our view that the situation there is primarily an internal one and we intend to conform scrupulously to the principles of international law that apply to such a situation."

During the night of April 11, some 2,000 Indonesian Army troops launched an offensive against the rebels in northwest Sumatra, and at sunrise on April 18 a paratroop and amphibious attack was hurled against Padang. Twelve hours later, after modest resistance, the rebel city fell. Turning his troops inland toward Bukittinggi, Nasution declared he was "in the final stage of crushing the armed rebellious movement."

Throughout that month Jakarta reported a series of rebel air attacks against the central government, but it was not until April 30 that the United States was implicated. Premier Djuanda Kartawidjaja then asserted that he had proof of "overt foreign assistance" to the rebels in the form of planes and automatic weapons.

"As a consequence of the actions taken by the United States and Taiwan adventurers," Djuanda commented, "there has emerged a strong feeling of indignation amongst the armed forces and the people of Indonesia against the United States and Taiwan. And if this is permitted to develop it will only have a disastrous effect in the relationships between Indonesia and the United States."

Sukarno accused the United States of direct intervention and warned Washington "not to play with fire in Indonesia ... let not a lack of understanding by America lead to a third war ...

"We could easily have asked for volunteers from outside," he declared in a slightly veiled allusion to a secret offer of pilots by Peking. "We could wink an eye and they would come. We could have thousands of volunteers, but we will meet the rebels with our own strength."

On May 7, three days after the fall of Bukittinggi, [i] the Indonesian military command charged that the rebels had been supplied weapons and ammunition with the knowledge and direction of the United States. The military command cited an April 3 telegram to the Revolutionary Government from the "American Sales Company" of San Francisco. Robert Hirsch, head of the company, confirmed that he had offered to sell the arms to the rebels but said he had done so without clearing it with the State Department. In any case, he said, the arms were of Italian make and none had been delivered.

The State Department flatly denied the accusation, and the New York Times editorialized indignantly on May 9:

"It is unfortunate that high officials of the Indonesian Government have given further circulation to the false report that the United States Government was sanctioning aid to Indonesia's rebels. The position of the United States Government has been made plain, again and again. Our Secretary of State was emphatic in his declaration that this country would not deviate from a correct neutrality. The President himself, in a news conference, reiterated this position but reminded his auditors, and presumably the Indonesians, that this government has no control over soldiers of fortune ...

"It is always convenient for a self-consciously nationalistic government to cry out against 'outside interference' when anything goes wrong. Jakarta ... may have an unusually sensitive conscience. But its cause is not promoted by charges that are manifestly false ...

"It is no secret that most Americans have little sympathy for President Sukarno's 'guided democracy' and his enthusiasm to have Communist participation in his government ...

"But the United States is not ready ... to step in to help overthrow a constituted government. Those are the hard facts. Jakarta does not help its case, here, by ignoring them."

The following week, one day after the United States officially proposed a cease-fire, Allen Pope was shot down while flying for the rebels and the CIA. However, the Indonesian Government withheld for nine days the fact that an American pilot had been captured. On May 18 it announced only that a rebel B-26 had been shot down.

Nevertheless, with Pope in Indonesian hands things began to move rapidly in Washington. Within five days: (1) the State Department approved the sale to Indonesia for local currency of 37,000 tons of sorely needed rice; (2) the United States lifted an embargo on $1,000,000 in small arms, aircraft parts and radio equipment -- destined for Indonesia but frozen since the start of the rebellion; and (3) Dulles called in the Indonesian ambassador, Dr. Mukarto Notowidigdo, for a twenty-minute meeting.

"I am definitely convinced," said the ambassador with a big smile as he emerged, "that relations are improving."

But the Indonesian Army was not prepared to remain permanently silent about Pope. On May 27 a news conference was called in Jakarta by Lieutenant Colonel Herman Pieters, Commander of the Moluccas and West Irian Military Command at Ambon. He announced that Pope had been shot down on May 18 while flying a bombing mission for the rebels under a $10,000 contract.

Pieters displayed documents and identification papers showing Pope had served in the U.S. Air Force and as a pilot for CAT. He said Philippine pesos, 28,000 Indonesian rupiahs, and U.S. scrip for use at American military installations were also found on the American pilot. Pieters said 300 to 400 Americans, Filipinos and Nationalist Chinese were aiding the rebels, but he did not mention the CIA.

Many Indonesian officials were outraged by Pope's activities, and accused him of bombing the marketplace in Ambon on May 15. A large number of civilians, church bound on Ascension Thursday, were killed in the raid on the predominantly Christian community. But the government did its best to suppress public demonstrations.

Pope was given good medical treatment, and he could be seen sunning himself on the porch of a private, blue bungalow in the mountains of Central Java. Although the Communists were urging a speedy trial, Sukarno also saw advantages in sunning himself -- in the growing warmth of United States policy. Pope's trial was delayed for nineteen months while Sukarno kept him a hostage to continued American friendliness.

Late the next year, however, Sukarno found himself in a quarrel with Peking over his decision to bar Chinese aliens from doing business outside of the main cities of Indonesia. The powerful Indonesian Communist Party was aroused over the issue and Sukarno may have felt the need to placate them.

Pope was brought to trial before a military court on December 28, 1959. He was accused of flying six bombing raids for the rebels and killing twenty-three Indonesians, seventeen of them members of the armed forces. The maximum penalty was death.

During the trial, which dragged on for four months, Pope pleaded not guilty. He admitted to flying only one combat mission, that of May 18, 1958. The other flights, he testified, were of a reconnaissance or non-combat nature. Contrary to the assertion that he had signed a $10,000 contract, Pope insisted he got only $200 a flight.

The court introduced a diary taken from Pope after his capture. It contained detailed entries of various bombing missions. Pope contended it listed the activities of all the rebel pilots, not just his. He replied to the same effect when confronted with a pre-trial confession, noting that he had refused to sign it.

Asked what his "real motive" had been in joining the rebels, Pope replied: "Your honor, I have been fighting the Communists since I was twenty-two years old -- first in Korea and later Dienbienphu ...

"I am not responsible for the death of one Indonesian-armed or unarmed," he asserted in his closing plea. "I have served long enough as a target of the Communist press, which has been demanding the death sentence for me."

On April 29, 1960, the court handed down the death sentence, but it seemed unlikely that the penalty would be imposed. It had not once been invoked since Indonesia gained its independence eleven years before.

Pope appealed the sentence the following November, and when it was upheld by the Appeals Court, he took the case to the Military Supreme Court. Mrs. Pope made a personal appeal to Sukarno on December 28 during the first of two trips to Indonesia, but she was offered no great encouragement despite the prospect of improved relations between Sukarno and President-elect Kennedy.

Sukarno received an invitation to visit Washington a month after Kennedy took office. The Indonesian leader had been feted by President Eisenhower during a state visit to the United States in 1956; and he had more or less forced a second meeting with Eisenhower at the United Nations in the fall of 1960. But on most of his trips to the United States, Sukarno felt snubbed. Kennedy's invitation clearly flattered and pleased him.

The two men sat down together at the White House the week after the Bay of Pigs. The meeting went well enough, but Kennedy was preoccupied with the CIA's latest failure at attempted revolution.

During the visit Kennedy commented to one of his aides: No wonder Sukarno doesn't like us very much. He has to sit down with people who tried to overthrow him.

Still Sukarno seemed favorably disposed toward the new Kennedy Administration. The following February, during a good-will tour of Indonesia, Robert Kennedy asked Sukarno to release Pope. (Secret negotiations were then far advanced for the exchange the next week of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers and Soviet spy Rudolph I. Abel. And the White House was favorably impressed with the tight-lipped Mr. Pope as contrasted with Powers, a CIA pilot who talked freely about his employer.)

Sukarno's first reaction to Robert Kennedy's request was to reject it out of hand, but when the Attorney General persisted, he agreed to take it under consideration. Six months later, on July 2, 1962, Pope was freed from prison without prior notice and taken to the American Embassy for interrogation by Ambassador Jones and other officials. Then he was put aboard a Military Air Transport Service plane and flown back to the United States.

Pope was hidden away for seven weeks and the State Department did not reveal his release until August 22. Pope insisted there had been no secret questioning (such as that to which Powers was subjected by the CIA on his return from Russia). The State Department's explanation of the long silence was that Pope had asked that the release be kept secret so he could have a quiet rendezvous with his family.

Back in Miami, Pope settled down to what outwardly seemed to be a happy relationship with his family; but in December, Mrs. Pope filed for divorce, charging him with "extreme cruelty" and "habitual indulgence in a violent and ungovernable temper."

At the divorce hearing on July 2, 1963, Mrs. Pope testified that on his return from Indonesia, her husband insisted upon keeping a loaded .38-caliber pistol by their bedside, despite the potential danger to their two young boys. She also asserted that Pope had sent her only $450 since he had left her seven months before.

Mrs. Pope made no mention in the proceedings of her husband's work for the CIA. A security agent of the government had warned her that it would be detrimental to her case if she talked about her husband's missions. She did not, and Pope did not contest the divorce.

"There's an awful lot of cloak-and-dagger mixed up in this," said her Miami lawyer, Louis M. Jepeway, who otherwise refused to talk about the case. "I can understand it, but I don't have to like it."

Mrs. Pope won the divorce and custody of the children on grounds of cruelty. But she received no financial settlement because Pope was declared outside the jurisdiction of the court.

On December 4, 1962, Pope had put his things in storage -- some personal items, ten stuffed birds, four animal heads, one stuffed animal, antelope antlers and water-buffalo horns. Then he left the country to go to work for Southern Air Transport. The Pentagon described this airline as a civilian operation holding a $3,718,433 Air Force contract to move "mixed cargo and passenger loads on Far East inter-island routes." Its home address was listed as PO Box 48-1260, Miami International Airport. Its overseas address was PO Box 12124, Taipeh, Formosa.

However, when asked what sort of work Southern Air Transport did, the company's Miami attorney explained that it was a small cargo line which simply "flies chickens from the Virgin Islands."

The attorney was Alex E. Carlson, the lawyer for the Double-Chek Corporation that had hired the American pilots who flew at the Bay of Pigs.



1. The rebels then moved their capital to Menado, which fell late in June.
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:29 am

Laos: The Pacifist Warriors

Winthrop G. Brown had been Ambassador to Laos for less than three weeks when the right-wing military government, created by the CIA and the Pentagon at a cost of $300,000,000, was overthrown without a shot by a twenty-six-year-old Army captain named Kong Le.

Brown, a tall, thin, gray-haired Yankee, had been transferred from New Delhi on short notice with only a superficial knowledge of the long, tortured and expensive history of the United States experiment in Laos. Yet even a quick look convinced him that the CIA and its Pentagon allies were wrong in their assessment of the captain.

The young paratrooper and his battalion of 300 men had taken over the capital city of Vientiane in a pre-dawn coup on August 9, 1960. They had not been paid in three months and were tired of being the only fighting unit in the quasi-pacifist army of 25,000. Kong Le was personally outraged by the high-living, CIA-backed regime of General Phoumi Nosavan. He decided to strike while Phoumi and his cabinet were out of town inspecting a sandalwood tree that was to be turned into a burial urn for the late king.

The CIA and the American military mission viewed the coup with horror. They considered Kong Le to be Communist-inspired, despite his many battles against the pro-Communist Pathet Lao. But Ambassador Brown, a fifty-three-year-old former Wall Street lawyer who tried to see things with detachment and a fresh eye, was inclined to accept the American-trained paratrooper for what he purported to be: a fine troop commander who lived with his men and shared their rations; a patriot weary of civil war.

"I have fought for many years," Kong Le said. "I have killed many men. I have never seen a foreigner die."

Laos is a pastoral land, blessed with magnificent scenery -- soaring mountains, swift rivers, verdant valleys -- and populated by a strange mixture of isolated tribes alike only in their distaste for physical labor. It is the "Land of the Million Elephants," whose only cash crop is opium, and whose people are 85 percent illiterate.

Almost all Laotians are Buddhists, peace-loving by instinct and precept. In battle, to the dismay of their American advisers, they were accustomed to aiming high in the expectation that the enemy would respond in kind.

In 1960 the principal attraction of Phoumi's royal army to a recruit was the pay -- $130 a year, twice the average national income. Although United States aid had amounted to about $25 a head for the two million Laotians, military pay was about all that filtered down to the average citizen. More than three fourths of the money went to equip a modern, motorized army in a nation all but devoid of paved roads. All of this, as formulated by John Foster Dulles, was meant to convert Laos from a neutral nation, vulnerable to left-wing pressures, into a military bastion against Communism.

When the French withdrew in 1954, after a futile eight-year war with the Vietnamese Communists, a neutralist government had been organized under Prince Souvanna Phouma, a cheerful, pipe-smoking, French-educated engineer. He held power for four years, unsuccessfully struggling to integrate the two Communist Pathet Lao provinces into the central government. Then, in 1958, after Communist election gains and signs of military infiltration by the North Vietnamese, he resigned.

Souvanna was followed by a series of right-wing governments in which General Phoumi emerged as the strong-man. Finally, Phoumi succeeded in easing out Premier Phoui Sananikone, an able man with advanced ideas about grass-roots aid and Village development; he was also firmly non- Communist but he had too many independent notions for the CIA. He was replaced by Tiao Somsanith, a thoroughly pliable politician.

Phoumi then rigged the 1960 elections -- not one Pathet Lao was elected -- and settled in for a long, U.S.-financed tenure. Even Kong Le's coup failed to dim his vision of permanent affluence. He still had his army intact with him at Savannakhet in the south. And he was unshakably convinced that the United States would put him back in power. As tangible support for that conviction, Phoumi could point to the personal contact man the CIA kept by his side.

He was Jack Hazey, an ex-OSS man and former French Legionnaire whose face was half shot away during World War II. Occasionally, Hazey would be challenged for being out of step with public statements of U.S. policy. Clearly implying that he was under higher, secret orders, Hazey would retort: "I don't give a damn what they say."

The conflict between the public and secret definitions of United States policy on Laos was particularly pronounced in the summer of 1960. Shortly after Phoumi and his puppet Premier were ousted, Kong Le called back Souvanna Phouma to form a coalition government. To reduce the chances of discord, Souvanna then asked Phoumi to join the government as Vice-Premier and Minister of Defense.

Ambassador Brown dashed off a cable to Washington urging unqualified support for Souvanna's new government. [i] But the CIA and the State Department decided to hedge: they announced formal recognition of Souvanna but continued substantive support for Phoumi. The decision served to reinforce Phoumi's conviction that the CIA and the American military mission would in the end put him back in power.

Brown persuaded himself that he had the complete backing of the CIA station chief, Gordon L. Jorgensen, and the leaders of the military mission; but Washington's ambivalent policy put the ambassador in an embarrassing predicament. He tried to make the best of it by seeking out Souvanna and asking him if he had any objections to the continued support of Phoumi by the United States. No, the princely Premier replied, provided the equipment was not used against him; he would need Phoumi's army to fend off the Pathet Lao.

Brown then sent emissaries to Phoumi, assuring him that Souvanna was not scheming to deprive him of his U.S. aid and pleading with him at least to return to Vientiane and negotiate. But this man who had been highly regarded by the CIA and the Pentagon for his fighting qualities was afraid of venturing beyond his closely guarded stronghold. He had a broken line in the palm of his hand and a fortuneteller had once warned him that he would die violently. Even under maximum security he wore a bullet-proof vest during all his diplomatic dealings.

Confronted by Phoumi's intransigence, Souvanna began to despair of his ability to carry on. He called in the Western ambassadors in mid-September and warned them that he urgently needed the support of the royal army. "I am at the end of my capacity to lead," he told them.

Souvanna's government was also in dire need of rice and oil, which had been cut off by a blockade imposed by Thailand's military strongman, Prime Minister Sarit Thanarat, a close friend of Phoumi. Washington said it was entreating Sarit to lift the blockade, but the vise continued to tighten around Souvanna.

Early in October, J. Graham Parsons, former Ambassador to Laos and then Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, flew to Vientiane and demanded that Souvanna sever his relations with the Pathet Lao. This amounted to a demand that the neutralist government abandon its neutrality. Souvanna refused.

Then a high-level mission from the Pentagon, including John N. Irwin, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs, arrived for secret talks with Phoumi.

Souvanna concluded that the United States was in the process of withdrawing all support from the neutralist government and again throwing its full power behind Phoumi. Early in December he made a final and unsuccessful appeal to Brown for rice and oil. In desperation, Souvanna turned to the Russians, who saw an irresistible opportunity: to achieve political dominance in Laos at a cut rate and, at the same time, to replace the Chinese as the principal Communist influence in Southeast Asia. Without delay the Soviets started an airlift from Hanoi on December 11, 1960. [ii]

Two days earlier Phoumi had ordered his troops northward; and on December 18 the royal army recaptured Vientiane. Souvanna fled to Cambodia and Kong Le retreated to the north, distributing close to 10,000 American rifles to the Pathet Lao along the way.

Phoumi quickly established a government, naming Prince Boun Oum, a middle-aged playboy, as Premier. But despite his recent military success, Phoumi failed to pursue Kong Le. Instead, he settled back into his old ways. He had never been within fifty miles of the front lines and he saw no need to break with this tradition.

The Russians, meantime, were moving in substantial amounts of weapons by air and truck. And the North Vietnamese began to infiltrate crack guerrilla troops in support of the Pathet Lao. Kong Le joined forces with them, and by early 1961 he had captured the strategic Plain of Jars with its key airstrip fifty miles from North Vietnam.

By the time President Kennedy was inaugurated, on January 20, it seemed as if only the introduction of U.S. troops could keep the Pathet Lao from overrunning Vientiane and the Mekong River Valley separating Laos from Thailand. Kennedy was so informed by President Eisenhower and Defense Secretary Thomas S. Gates, Jr., in his first Laos briefing on January 19. Eisenhower apologized for leaving such a "mess."

One of Kennedy's first official acts was to ask his military advisers to draw up a plan for saving Laos. They recommended that an Allied force, including U.S. troops, take over the defense of Vientiane under the sanction of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization. The idea was to free Phoumi's army for a full-fledged campaign in the Plain of Jars.

While weighing the advice, Kennedy ordered the Seventh Fleet within striking distance of Laos and promised Phoumi substantial new support if his troops would show some determination to fight.

Early in March, however, a royal army detachment was easily routed from a key position commanding the principal highway in northern Laos. The new administration became skeptical of Phoumi at the outset.

The Allied occupation plan was further undermined when the British, French and other SEATO powers (with the exception of Thailand) balked at providing troops. In addition, the President could not obtain assurances from the Joint Chiefs of Staff that U.S. forces would be able to save Laos without resort to tactical nuclear weapons.

In a nationally televised news conference on March 23 Kennedy warned that the Western powers would "have to consider their response" if the Communist attack continued in Laos. The clear implication was that the United States was prepared to intervene with military force. But, privately, the President told Harriman that he decidedly did not want to be faced with the prospect of using troops, that he wanted a political settlement.

On April 1 the Russians, apparently wary of a direct confrontation with the United States, agreed in principle to a British proposal for a cease-fire. The next month a fourteen-nation conference on Laos was convened in Geneva. And in the only meeting of minds at their talk in Vienna in June, Kennedy and Khrushchev promised to work for a neutral and independent Laos.

By November the outlines of an agreement had been reached at Geneva: Souvanna Phouma was to be recalled to create a neutralist government including the three Laotian factions, the pro-Western royalists, the neutrals and the pro-Communist Pathet Lao.

But once again Phoumi balked. He refused to relinquish the Defense and Interior Ministries, as was decreed at Geneva. If he held out long enough, he reasoned, the CIA and the Pentagon would again come to his rescue.

President Kennedy rebuked him in private messages, but Phoumi steadfastly refused to submit. Had he not been told in 1960 that the United States was determined to have him join Souvanna's coalition? And in the end had not the CIA and the Pentagon supported him in his return to power? And, as in 1960, were not the CIA representatives still with him?

Washington was reluctant to yank out the CIA men abruptly. Precipitate action could only diminish the agency's prestige and usefulness. But Phoumi was proving so intractable that McCone, acting on Harriman's recommendation, ordered Hazey out of the country early in 1962. [iii]

Nevertheless, Phoumi's reliance on the CIA had become so firmly ingrained that he could not be budged, even after the United States cut off its $3,000,000-a-month budgetary assistance to his government in February of 1962.

That spring Phoumi began a large-scale reinforcement of Nam Tha, an outpost deep in Pathet Lao territory, twenty miles from the Chinese border. Ambassador Brown warned him personally that the reinforcement was provocative and that the royal troops were so badly deployed that they would be an easy mark for the Pathet Lao. In May, Brown's admonition proved accurate. The Communists retaliated against the build-up, smashed into Nam Tha and sent Phoumi's troops in wild retreat. Two of his front-line generals commandeered the only two jeeps in the area and fled into Thailand.

The Nam Tha rout finally convinced Phoumi that he could not go it alone; and the Pathet Lao, verging on a complete take-over, halted when President Kennedy ordered 5,000 U .S. troops to take up positions in Thailand near the Laos border on May 15.

The three Laotian factions finally agreed to the coalition government on June 11 and the Geneva Accords were signed on July 23. In October the United States withdrew the 666 military advisers assigned to Phoumi's army.

But Communist North Vietnam failed to comply with the Geneva agreement. It refused to withdraw about 5,000 troops stationed in Laos in support of the Pathet Lao. On March 30, 1963, the Communists launched a new offensive which brought much of the Plain of Jars under their control.

The United States responded predictably: the Seventh Fleet took up position in the South China Sea off Vietnam; some 3,000 troops were sent to Thailand for much-publicized war games; and Harriman flew to Moscow to confer with Khrushchev. The Russian leader reaffirmed his support for a neutral and independent Laos. He also seemed to agree with Harriman that the Pathet Lao was responsible for the renewed fighting. It was clear that Moscow had lost control of the situation in Laos to Peking and Hanoi.

At the same time, United States policy makers were becoming increasingly convinced that Laos was not the right place to take a stand in Southeast Asia. The assessment of the Kennedy Administration was that most of the country, particularly the northern regions, would never be of much use to anyone. Administration officials were fond of debunking the Dulles policy with the quip: "Laos will never be a bastion of anything." The administration felt, nonetheless, that certain areas would have to be retained at all cost: Vientiane and the Mekong Valley. But it opposed the use of U.S. troops on any large scale.

In the event the neutralist government was about to be completely overwhelmed, the official plan, as it was outlined at a briefing of Pentagon officials by Dean Rusk, called for the movement of a modest American force into Vientiane. This would be designed to provoke a diplomatic test of the Geneva Accords. Failing in that, the United States was prepared to strike against North Vietnam as dramatic evidence that the Communist forces in Laos could advance farther only at the risk of a major war.

So it was that by the start of 1964 after a decade of humiliating reverses and the expenditure of close to half a billion dollars, United States policy had come full circle: during the 1950s Souvanna Phouma and his plan for a neutral Laos had been opposed with all the power of the Invisible Government; now the United States was ready to settle for even less than it could have had five years earlier at a fraction of the cost.



i. Later, Brown's only regret was that, restrained by a newcomer's caution, he did not make the recommendation even more strong. A key diplomat agreed: "Now we'd gladly pay $100,000,000 for that government."

ii. Deputy Foreign Minister Georgi M. Pushkin told Harriman at the Laotian talks in Geneva in 1961 that the airlift had been organized and executed on the highest priority of any peacetime operation since the Russian Revolution.

iii. Hazey was then stationed in Bangkok, where he could be called upon quickly in a crisis.
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:30 am

Vietnam: The Secret War

WHEN NGO DINH DIEM was deposed and assassinated in an Army coup on November 1, 1963, a bloody, frustrating decade came to a close for the Invisible Government.

For nearly ten years the intelligence and espionage operatives of the Pentagon, the CIA and the State Department had been intimately involved with Diem, attempting at every turn to shore him up as a buffer against Communism in Vietnam. But in his last months the Buddhist majority rose against the repressive policies of Diem, a Roman Catholic, and the Invisible Government was forced to reconsider its single-minded support. Now, with Diem dead, those very American agencies which had helped him stay in power for so long were accused by his supporters of having directed his downfall.

At the beginning, the Invisible Government had high hopes for Diem. In 1954, at the age of fifty- three, the pudgy five-foot, five-inch aristocrat returned to Vietnam from a self-imposed exile to become Emperor Bao Dai's Premier. He had served under Bao Dai in the early 1930s, but quit as Minister of the Interior when he discovered the government was a puppet for the French. The Japanese twice offered Diem the premiership during World War II, but he refused.

When the French returned after the war, he resumed his anti-colonial activities. He left the country in 1950, eventually taking up residence at the Maryknoll Seminary in Lakewood, New Jersey (he had studied briefly for the priesthood as a boy). He lobbied against United States aid to the French in Indochina and warned against Ho Chi Minh, the North Vietnamese Communist guerrilla leader.

Shortly after Diem's return to Vietnam, the French Army was routed at Dienbienphu and the Communists seemed on the verge of total victory in Indochina. President Eisenhower, aware of Ho Chi Minh's popularity, [i] was looking for an anti-Communist who might stem the tide.

Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles were impressed by Ramon Magsaysay's successful campaign against the Communist Huk guerrillas in the Philippines. They thought the same tactics might work in Vietnam and requested a briefing by Edward Lansdale, an Air Force colonel who had been a key figure in the CIA-directed operation in support of Magsaysay.

Lansdale was called back from the Philippines to appear before a special panel of intelligence and foreign-policy officials, including Foster Dulles. He emerged from the meeting with a mandate from Dulles to find a popular leader in Vietnam and throw the support of the Invisible Government behind him.

Lansdale arrived in Saigon just after the fall of Dienbienphu and found political and military chaos. He canvassed the various factions in the city and the countryside and concluded that Diem alone had enough backing to salvage the situation. He met with Diem almost daily, working out elaborate plans for bolstering the regime. He operated more or less independently of the American mission assigned to Saigon, although he communicated with Washington through CIA channels (the agency maintained a separate operation with a station chief and a large staff).

Lansdale's free-wheeling activities in Vietnam provoked a mixed reaction. To some, he seemed the best type of American abroad, a man who understood the problems of the people and worked diligently to help them. He was so represented under a pseudonym in the book The Ugly American. To others, he was the naive American who, failing to appreciate the subtleties of a foreign culture, precipitated bloodshed and chaos. Graham Greene patterned the protagonist in The Quiet American after him.

Lansdale thrust himself into the middle of Vietnam's' many intrigues. In the fall of 1954 he got wind of a plan by several high-ranking Vietnamese Army officers to stage a coup against Diem. He alerted Washington, and General J. Lawton Collins, former Army Chief of Staff, was rushed to Saigon as Eisenhower's personal envoy to help Diem put down the uprising.

The coup failed, but Collins became skeptical of the stability of the Diem regime. He favored a proposal to create a coalition government, which would represent all the power elements and factions in the country. The proposal was sponsored by the French, who were maneuvering to salvage their waning influence in the affairs of Indochina.

In the spring of 1955 Diem moved against the Binh Xuyen, a quasi-criminal sect which controlled the Saigon police. He ordered his troops to take over the gambling, opium and prostitution quarter run by the Binh Xuyen. But elements of the French Army which had not yet been evacuated from the country intervened for the avowed purpose of preserving order and preventing bloodshed. Collins sided with the French and a truce was declared.

Lansdale fired off a message to Washington through the CIA channel, taking strong exception to Collins' decision. Lansdale argued that Diem's move against the Binh Xuyen had broad popular support. He also discounted the fears of Collins and U.S. Army Intelligence that Diem's troops would turn against the regime.

Collins returned to Washington for consultation, then flew back to Saigon with the impression that his views would be sustained. But in his absence Lansdale had obtained a reaffirmation of the policy of support for Diem. Furious, Collins accused Lansdale of "mutiny." But the die was cast. Assured of the complete backing of the United States Government, Diem crushed the Binh Xuyen and the other warlike sects.

Then, at Lansdale's urging, Diem agreed to hold a referendum designed to give the regime a popular legitimacy. The ballot presented a choice between Diem and Emperor Bao Dai, who had been discredited as a tool of the French. Diem polled 98 percent of the vote on October 23, 1955, and was declared President of Vietnam. His brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, was established as his official political strategist.

Some measure of stability had now been achieved in South Vietnam. But Diem and Nhu refused to grant political freedom to the opposition parties, despite Lansdale's warning that the country would be plagued by conspiracy if legitimate parties were not permitted to operate openly.

Lansdale made a special trip to Washington in an effort to induce the Dulles brothers to apply pressure on Diem to institute political reforms in South Vietnam. But Lansdale failed. He was told that it had been decided that Diem provided the only practical alternative to a Communist takeover, and that he was to be supported without qualification.

Overruled, Lansdale lost his influence as the unofficial emissary of the Invisible Government in Vietnam. Thereafter, the CIA took his place as the secret link with the Diem regime. A CIA man was ordered to establish liaison with Nhu. It was the start of an intimate relationship which was to last until 1963.

During the next few years the United States committed itself increasingly to the support of the regime. More than a billion dollars in military and economic aid was provided between 1955 and 1960. But it was not until 1961 that the commitment became complete.

In the early years of Diem's role the Communist Viet-Cong conducted only a hit-and-run guerrilla campaign against him. In 1959, however, the Vietcong operations were greatly expanded. Two theories have been advanced in explanation. The official theory of the State Department was that Diem was bringing off a political and economic "miracle" and the Communists could not bear the contrast to their bad showing in North Vietnam.

Diem's critics offered a conflicting theory. They claimed the populace had become so disaffected by Diem's repression that the Communists decided the time was ripe for action. In 1960 a group of young, discontented Army officers felt the same way. They attempted a coup but Diem put them down without serious difficulty. [ii]

In any event, conditions had so disintegrated by 1961 that Diem's government was master of only a third of the territory of South Vietnam. In May of that year President Kennedy sent Vice- President Johnson to Saigon.

On May 13 Johnson and Diem issued a joint communique stating that aid would be provided for Vietnam on an expanded and accelerated basis. The United States agreed to underwrite the cost of an increase in the Vietnamese Army from 150,000 to 170,000 men, and to equip and support the entire 68,000-man Civil Guard (armed police) and the 70,000-man Self-Defense Corps.

But the Vietcong continued to advance, and in October, 1961, Kennedy sent General Maxwell D. Taylor to make "an educated military guess" as to what would be needed to salvage the situation.

Taylor recommended a greatly increased program of military aid. He also saw an imperative need for reform within the Army. He cited the political activities of the top military, failure to delegate enough authority to field commanders, and discrimination against younger officers on political and religious grounds.

Diem balked at Taylor's reforms and implied he might turn elsewhere for aid. However, on December 7 he applied for assistance, and the United States again came to his support.

No limit was placed on the aid either in terms of money or of men. In effect, the United States committed itself to a massive build-up for an undeclared war. At the same time, the administration took great precautions to keep the build-up a secret, perhaps because it violated the letter of the Geneva Accords, [iii] perhaps because of the domestic political danger if Americans were sent into another Asian war.

When the new U.S. Military Assistance Command was created on February 8, 1962, about 4,000 American military men were already serving secretly in Vietnam. However, the Pentagon refused to comment on the troop level and attempted to imply that the 685-man Geneva ceiling was still in effect.

Additional thousands of troops poured into Vietnam, but the Defense Department continued the deception until June. Then Rear Admiral Luther C. (Pickles) Heinz, who was coordinating the operation for Defense Secretary McNamara at the Pentagon, permitted press spokesmen to say that "several thousand" U.S. military men were in Vietnam on "temporary duty."

In January, 1963, McNamara provided the first official figure. In testimony before Congress he confirmed that 11,000 troops were in Vietnam. But the Pentagon quickly reverted to generalities; asked in July to comment on reports from Saigon that the troop level had reached 14,000, it said that was "about the right order of magnitude."

The Pentagon also went to great lengths to obscure the fact that U.S. military men were involved in combat -- leading troops, and flying helicopters and planes. The official view was that the Americans were in Vietnam purely in "an advisory and training capacity." Despite eyewitness reports to the contrary, the Pentagon insisted that American troops were firing only in self-defense.

Military information officers were forced to ludicrous extremes in denying the obvious. When an aircraft carrier sailed up the Saigon River jammed with helicopters, a public information officer was compelled to say: "I don't see any aircraft carrier."

There was a great deal more that was not seen. In 1961 a campaign had been quietly started to put 90 percent of South Vietnam's 15,000,000 people into 11,000 strategic hamlets or fortified villages. The program, patterned after the successful "new villages" of the British anti-guerrilla campaign in Malaya, was designed to protect the peasants against Vietcong terror.

Many claimed credit for introducing the strategic-hamlet idea to Vietnam, including Nhu, who said he launched it with the blessing of the CIA (a former CIA man ran the program for the Agency for International Development). By 1964 more than three fourths of the Vietnamese were listed as being protected by the hamlets. But many of the peasants were forced into the program against their will and many of the forts were easily penetrated by the Communists.

The Communists had also been successful in keeping open a supply route from North Vietnam. Although the Vietcong's best weapons were captured U.S. equipment, they received some additional supplies by infiltration through Communist-held Laos, which borders on both halves of Vietnam.

To cut the supply routes, the CIA decided to train the Montagnards, primitive mountain tribesmen, as scouts and border guards. They were induced to exchange their spears and bows and arrows for modern weapons, including Swedish Schneisers (light machine guns).

Between 1961 and the start of 1963 the cost of the Montagnard program rose from $150,000 to $4,500,000. The CIA achieved considerable success in sealing the border, but in the process perhaps created a Trojan horse: ten percent of the trained Montagnards were judged to be Vietcong sympathizers, and the Vietnamese, who regarded the tribesmen as subhumans, were fearful that the weapons eventually would be used against them.

The Montagnard training was carried out by the Vietnamese Special Forces, an elite corps created by the CIA along the lines of the U.S. Army Special Forces. The CIA organized the Special Forces for the regime well before the 1961 build-up and supported them at the rate of $3,000,000 a year. They were chosen for their toughness and rugged appearance. They were trained in airborne and ranger tactics and were originally designed to be used in raids into Laos and North Vietnam. But inevitably they fell under the control of Nhu, who held the bulk of them in Saigon as storm troopers for the defense of the regime.

By 1963 more than 16,000 American military men were in Vietnam. United States aid had reached $3,000,000,000, and was running at an average of $1,500,000 a day. The government declared itself confident that victory was in sight despite the popular discontent with Diem's rule.

Two Vietnamese Air Force pilots had bombed Diem's palace in February, 1962. But the State Department discounted the significance of the attack: "The question of how much popular support Diem enjoys should be considered in terms of how much popular support his opponents command. Neither of the recent non-Communist attempts [1960 and 1962] to overthrow him appeared to have any significant degree of popular support." 1

Admiral Harry D. Felt, the commander of the U.S. forces in the Pacific, predicted the South Vietnamese would triumph over the Communists by 1966. And only a month before Diem was toppled, President Kennedy and the National Security Council stated that "the United States military task can be completed by the end of 1965." 2

But there were skeptics. In 1963 Senator Mike Mansfield returned from a tour of Vietnam and declared: "What is most disturbing is that Vietnam now appears to be, as it was [in 1955], only at the beginning of a beginning in coping with its grave inner problems. All of the current difficulties existed in 1955 along with hope and energy to meet them ... yet, substantially the same difficulties remain if indeed they have not been compounded." 3 The GIs in the rice paddies summed it up in a slogan: "We can't win, but it's not absolutely essential to pick today to lose."

This slogan reflected the awareness of many Americans in Vietnam that Diem's popular support, always tenuous, was rapidly disintegrating. The discontent broke into the open on May 8, 1963, in Hue, Diem's ancestral home, when the Buddhists staged a demonstration against the regime's ban on the flying of their flag.

Diem's troops opened fire, killing nine marchers. And in an effort to arouse world opinion, Buddhist monks responded by burning themselves to death in the streets in a series of spectacular public protests. Madame Nhu, Diem's sister-in-law, ridiculed the suicides as politically inspired "monk barbecue shows."

Diem was warned privately that the United States would condemn his treatment of the Buddhists unless he redressed their grievances. But to all outward appearances it seemed as if the United States might be supporting the Buddhist repressions. For on August 2 Nhu sent the Special Forces in a raid on the Buddhist pagodas. Hundreds of Buddhists were jailed and scores were killed and wounded in a brutal attack by forces which many Vietnamese knew were supported by CIA money.

Immediately after the raids, Henry Cabot Lodge, the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 1960, arrived in Saigon to be the new ambassador, replacing Frederick E. Nolting, Jr., who had been closely identified with the regime. Lodge quickly made it clear to Diem that the United States wanted his brother and Madame Nhu removed from power. After nearly a decade of support for the regime, the United States was reassessing its position.

Even though the CIA decided to continue its $250,000-a-month subsidy to the Special Forces during September, the funds were cut off in October. And on October 4 the CIA station chief in Saigon, John H. Richardson, was recalled to Washington at Lodge's request.

Richardson, a dapper, bald man with heavy horn-rimmed glasses, had served as the CIA's personal link with Nhu. He was also close to most of the regime's top officials, including those in the secret police. From his small second-floor office in the American Embassy, Richardson directed the agency's multifarious activities in Vietnam. A hard liner, he had little use for Diem's opponents, and was the very symbol of the Invisible Government's commitment to the regime. As long as he remained in Vietnam, it was all but impossible to convince either Diem or his enemies of any change in United States policy.

When Richardson was recalled, many took it as evidence that the CIA had been operating on its own in Vietnam in defiance of orders from Washington. But President Kennedy assured a news conference on October 9 that the "CIA has not carried out independent activities but has operated under close control." The implication was clear that Richardson's recall reflected a shift in policy, not displeasure with insubordination.

The implication was not lost on Nhu. He charged on October 17 that the CIA was plotting with the Buddhists to overthrow the regime. "Day and night," he declared, "these people came and urged the Buddhists to stage a coup. It is incomprehensible to me why the CIA, which had backed a winning program, should reverse itself."

The coup against the regime came on November 1, but it was by the Army, not the Buddhists. Diem and Nhu were assassinated. The United States denied any complicity in the coup or the deaths. But Madame Nhu, who had been in the United States bitterly attacking the Kennedy Administration, indicated her belief that her husband and brother-in-law had been "treacherously killed with either the official or unofficial blessing of the American Government ... No one," she said, "can seriously believe in the disclaimer that the Americans have nothing to do with the present situation in Vietnam."

The United States repeated its denial. But at least one distinguished American remained uneasy. President Eisenhower sought assurances on the assassinations before floating a trial balloon for Ambassador Lodge as the Republican nominee for President in 1964:

"General Eisenhower wanted to be assured on one paramount question," said Felix Belair in the New York Times on December 7, 1963. "He wanted to know of the ambassador whether anyone would ever be able to charge, with any hope of making it stick, that he had had any responsibility, even indirectly, in the assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam and of his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu.

"Mr. Lodge was emphatic on the point. He said he had feared for the personal safety of the two men if the military coup was successful in that country. He said there was irrefutable proof that he had twice offered them asylum in the United States Embassy and that President Diem had refused the offer for them both."

What was intriguing about this account was the statement that President Eisenhower found it necessary to make an inquiry of this nature. But the former President, after all, had an intimate understanding of the tactics and workings of the Invisible Government.



i. In his book, Mandate for Change, Eisenhower wrote: "I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indo-Chinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, possibly 80 percent of the population would have voted for Ho Chi Minh."

ii. In April, 1963. at the start of the CIA's reassessment of its links with the regime, Nhu accused the agency of being involved in the 1960 uprising. But the commander of the rebels, Colonel Nguyen Chanh Thi, who fled to Cambodia, said U.S. intelligence men tried to discourage the coup and persuaded the rebels not to kill Diem.

iii. The United States did not formally subscribe to the Geneva Accords, which divided Indochina into Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam after Dienbienphu. But Bedell Smith, the delegate to the negotiations, declared the United States would abide by them. The Accords set a limit of 685 on the number of U.S. military men permitted in Indochina.
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:30 am

Guatemala: CIA's Banana Revolt

WELL, BOYS," Ambassador John E. Peurifoy told his assembled staff, "tomorrow at this time we'll have ourselves a pig party."

The scene was the American Embassy on Octava Avenida in Guatemala City, and the unlikely ambassadorial quote was clearly recalled by one of the participants in the meeting. The date was June 18, 1954. The CIA's coup against the Communist-dominated regime of President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman had begun. That afternoon, Colonel Carlos Castillo-Armas, a U.S.-trained Guatemalan exile, had crossed the border from Honduras with about 150 men. Now the invasion was on. It had the full advance approval of President Eisenhower.

Peurifoy, a tough but soft-spoken South Carolinian, was overly optimistic. His party to celebrate Arbenz's downfall had to be postponed for two weeks. What the CIA had planned as an overnight coup dragged on for twelve difficult days. Before it had ended, Peurifoy was deeply involved in political cloak-and-dagger maneuvering. And the President of the United States, over the objections of the State Department, found it necessary, clandestinely, to send in three more fighter planes to bailout the CIA's banana revolt.

Unlike the Bay of Pigs, the 1954 Guatemalan operation succeeded. Like Iran the year before, Guatemala was one of the CIA's early triumphs in the field of overthrowing governments. Some of those who participated have begun to say so openly.

On June 10, 1963, in Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower made a little-reported but extraordinary speech. The former President for the first time conceded, for all practical purposes, that the United States had overthrown the government of Guatemala in 1954. "There was one time," he said, "when we had a very desperate situation, or we thought it was at least, in Central America, and we had to get rid of a Communist government which had taken over, and our early efforts were defeated by a bad accident and we had to help, send some help right away." 1

Eisenhower did not mention Guatemala by name, but his meaning was perfectly clear, particularly since he shared the speaker's platform with Allen Dulles, his Director of Central Intelligence.

What the ex-President was referring to was this: Four days after Peurifoy's ebullient prediction to the embassy staff in Guatemala City, Eisenhower was told that disaster had overtaken the CIA's modest air force, which consisted of a few World War II P-47 Thunderbolts. One had been shot up in action, and another had crashed. The Thunderbolts had been bombing Guatemala City to encourage Arbenz to vacate the Presidential Palace.

Allen Dulles wanted the planes replaced immediately. Henry F. Holland, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, was aghast. Providing the CIA with planes for Castillo-Armas was one thing before the invasion had actually started. But doing so now, Holland felt, would expose the United States to the hated charge of intervention in Latin American affairs. News of the President's action might leak out, Holland reasoned.

Allen Dulles, however, felt there could be no stopping now. Many months of careful preparation had gone into the Castillo-Armas invasion. Jerry Fred DeLarm, a World War II American fighter pilot who was flying one of the P-47s for the CIA, had enjoyed astonishing success in his raids on Guatemala so far.

A White House meeting was scheduled in the afternoon to discuss the question of the planes.

"Now different people, including Mr. Dulles and a member of the State Department and so on, came into my office to give their differing views," Eisenhower recalled in his 1963 speech.

"And the man [i] who opposed going any further was very vehement in his representation and he wanted no part. He thought we should stop right there, wash our hands of the thing and let it stand right there. Well, Mr. Dulles was on the other side. And when all of the views were presented, I decided we would go ahead and the orders went out [to send more planes].

"... I said to Mr. Dulles ... before I made this decision I said 'What are the chances that this will succeed?' Well, he said he thought about twenty percent. I told him later, 'If you'd have said ninety percent, I'd have said no, but you seemed to be honest.'

"He told me later, 'Well, you know, I knew that my opponent had lost the argument because he came in your office with three law books under his arm.'"

While campaigning in the 1960 and 1962 elections, Senator Thruston B. Morton, the Kentucky Republican, had spoken just as freely about Eisenhower's role in the Guatemala coup. Morton's remarks in Kentucky did not gain national attention, however, until he repeated them at a party dinner in Baltimore in February, 1963, and on a television program.

Whiting Willauer, Ambassador to Honduras during the Guatemala coup, had openly discussed the CIA's role as far back as 1961. In little-noticed testimony before a Senate Committee 2 Willauer said that after the Guatemala coup, "I received a telegram from Allen Dulles in which he stated in effect that the revolution could not have succeeded but for what I did. I am very proud of that telegram."

Then the questioning went as follows:

Q. Mr. Ambassador, was there something of a team in working to overthrow the Arbenz government in Guatemala, or were you alone in that operation?

A. There was a team.

Q. Jack Peurifoy was down there?

A. Yes, Jack was on the team over in Guatemala; that is the principal man, and we had Bob Hill, Ambassador Robert Hill, in Costa Rica ... and we had Ambassador Tom Whelan in Nicaragua, where a lot of the activities were going. And, of course, there were a number of CIA operatives in the picture.

Q. What was Mr. Dulles' involvement in that area?

A. Mr. Allen Dulles?

Q. Yes.

A. Well, the CIA was helping to equip and train the anti-Communist revolutionary forces.

Q. Would you say you were the man in charge in the field in this general area of all these operations?

A. I certainly was called upon to perform very important duties, particularly to keep the Honduran Government -- which was scared to death about the possibilities of themselves being overthrown -- keep them in line so they would allow this revolutionary activity to continue, based in Honduras.

The former ambassador was amazingly explicit in his testimony about the coup in Guatemala, a land best known to the outside world for coffee, bananas and the quetzal, which is both its national bird and the name of its monetary unit.

About 60 percent of Guatemala's population of 3,800,000 is Indian. The Indians are Mayas, descendants of the highly sophisticated culture that flourished a thousand years before the Spanish conquistadors came and ruled all of Central America from the Guatemalan city of Antigua. The rest of the population is of mixed Spanish and Indian descent. These are the ladinos. The Indians are largely illiterate; they provide a cheap labor force and have little communication with the ladinos.

Guatemala is a truly feudal state. About 2 percent of the population owns more than 70 percent of the land. For decades the most important two words in Guatemala have been la Frutera, the United Fruit Company. The American banana company owned and ran as a fiefdom hundreds of square miles of land in Bananera and Tiquisate. It was also a major stockholder in the country's railroad -- and a ready-made gringo political target.

When Arbenz took office in March, 1951, one of the first demands he faced came from coffee workers, who insisted that their minimum wages be doubled. This might seem unreasonable except for the fact that their pay was forty cents a day. The labor unions also demanded more for United Fruit's banana workers, who were paid $1.36 a day.

A bold student revolt had ousted Dictator Jorge Ubico in 1944. After that, President Juan Jose Arevalo, a socialist who turned violently anti-American, paved the way for Arbenz and the Communists.

Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, a professional Army officer, was the son of a Swiss father who migrated to Guatemala and became a druggist. (It was later rather widely whispered that Arbenz himself took drugs.) As President, Arbenz in 1952 tried to do something about the country's lopsided land ownership. He pushed through a land-reform program, but, predictably, it ended with small farmers, large finca owners and the United Fruit Company up in arms.

With his high-pitched voice and bad temper, Arbenz was no crowd-pleaser. And the students, always a powerful factor in Latin America, ridiculed him. The students had an annual lampooning parade, the Huelga de Dolores (grievance strike) of which Guatemalan officials lived in horror. Not long before Arbenz's fall from power, the students paraded by with a float that showed Uncle Sam poking a Guatemalan Indian lady with a banana; Arbenz and his hypodermic needle lurked behind a Russian bear, prodding the Guatemalan lady from the other direction. It about summed up the political situation.

For the bear was loose in the banana groves, all right. To maintain his power, Arbenz turned more and more to the Communists. Just as there is debate over whether Castro started out a Communist or became one later, there has been some dispute over the political evolution of Arbenz. But there is little dispute that by 1954 the Communists were running Guatemala. They had gained a foothold and a base in the hemisphere.

Arbenz made one fatal mistake, however. He trusted the Guatemalan Army, an essentially peace- loving organization little inclined to unnecessary strife and combat. Unlike Castro, Arbenz did not penetrate the Army politically, and when he needed it most, it turned on him. Late in the game he had placed spies, popularly known as orejas (the Ears), in various Army posts, but it was too late.

He made one other big mistake -- he expropriated 225,000 acres of United Fruit's best Pacific-slope holdings. Later the Arbenz regime charged that the United States had supported the Castillo-Armas invasion to protect la Frutera's $40,000,000 investment in Guatemala.

In the era of the Cold War, keeping Soviet power and influence out of the hemisphere, and particularly out of the Panama Canal area, was far more important to Washington than old-style banana diplomacy. But certainly the seizure of United Fruit's holdings without adequate compensation forced Eisenhower to take action. And it was one more indication of the direction things were taking in Guatemala.

Although a shipment of Czech arms to Guatemala in May, 1954, was later widely cited as the reason for the CIA-organized coup, the fact is that the machinery to topple Arbenz had been set in motion long before that.

Late in 1953 John Emil Peurifoy arrived on the scene. Peurifoy, known as "Smiling Jack" around the embassy in Guatemala (although not to his face), was a small-town boy from Walterboro, South Carolina, who had enjoyed a phenomenal rise in the State Department. This may not have been unrelated to the fact that his father was once an associate of the powerful James F. Byrnes, who was a senator at the time Peurifoy landed his first job with the State Department in 1938.

Peurifoy was proud of the fact that he once ran the Capitol elevator and equally proud of his small- town background. "Why, that town was so small," he was fond of saying, "you could drive right through it and not know you had been theah."

Beneath his courtly Old South exterior, Peurifoy was tough. He had been through hard times in the depression years. He quit West Point, knocked about the country for a while, became assistant manager and cashier of the Childs restaurant chain in New York, ran the elevator in Congress, watered plants at Washington's Botanical gardens and held a variety of other odd jobs before becoming a diplomat.

He never bothered to learn foreign languages, although in Guatemala he would occasionally wave to the crowd, smile and say "Amigo!" Fresh from Greece, where he had helped shore up that country after its war with the Communists, Peurifoy was just the man to have on the scene if there was to be trouble in the land of the quetzal bird.

And there was to be trouble. It was already brewing. Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes, who later became Guatemala's President, was in exile in El Salvador early in 1954. In his recent book, Ydigoras wrote:

"A former executive of the United Fruit Company, now retired, Mr. Walter Turnbull, came to see me with two gentlemen whom he introduced as agents of the CIA. They said that I was a popular figure in Guatemala and that they wanted to lend their assistance to overthrow Arbenz. When I asked their conditions for the assistance I found them unacceptable. Among other things, I was to promise to favor the United Fruit Company and the International Railways of Central America; to destroy the railroad workers labor union; ... to establish a strong-arm government, on the style of Ubico. Further, I was to pay back every cent that was invested in the undertaking." 3

By late 1953 Eisenhower had reached his decision: Arbenz must go. To implement this decision, he turned to the CIA and Allen Dulles. A plan was evolved.

Peurifoy's assignment to Guatemala was part of it. Eisenhower's election had left Peurifoy without any political backing. His diplomatic career seemed over. The CIA went to Peurifoy and persuaded him to join the operation as Ambassador to Guatemala. At first, Peurifoy was leery of the idea, but a persuasive CIA official convinced him that the operation offered him his big chance to revitalize his career. Peurifoy said yes; the CIA arranged his ambassadorial appointment. In February, 1954, Eisenhower called in a former high United States diplomat to serve as a secret civilian adviser to the operation. The President had also asked his brother, Dr. Milton Eisenhower, to join the clandestine operation, but Milton, pleading his wife's serious illness at the time, did not participate.

Henry Holland, as the State Department Latin Chief, was privy to the operation. So were the Joint Chiefs of Staff. So was Senator Thruston B. Morton, then Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations.

Although Dulles and his deputy, General Cabell, were in charge of the CIA's participation, the major immediate responsibility for carrying out the Guatemalan operation was placed in the hands of Frank G. Wisner, the Mississippi-born CIA deputy director for plans. (He was Bissell's predecessor.)

Wisner, a dedicated and hard-driving "black" operator, was an old hand in the intelligence business. In World War II he had been the OSS mission chief in Istanbul and Bucharest. He also worked for the OSS in Germany. After the war, commuting from his home in the suburbs to his Manhattan law firm, Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, seemed dull compared to the days of wartime intrigue along the Bosporus. On November 12, 1947, it was announced that Frank Wisner had been named Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

Now, in Guatemala in 1954, what Wisner and the CIA needed was someone to serve as a leader of the coup and a focal point around which anti-Arbenz Guatemalans could rally. The man chosen was Colonel Carlos Castillo-Armas, a dapper, dedicated and ascetic-looking career officer who had tunneled his way out of prison to freedom after leading an unsuccessful revolt against Arbenz in 1950.

Castillo-Armas set up headquarters in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and with the CIA's help, began plotting to return to his homeland. A onetime classmate of Arbenz at the Escuela Politecnica, Guatemala's military school, Castillo-Armas had spent two years just after World War II at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The first evidence that the plot was afoot came on January 29, 1954, when Guatemala released intercepted correspondence between Castillo-Armas and Ydigoras.

The Guatemalan charges had a basis in fact, because the two exile leaders had been in touch and had signed a Pacto de Caballeros (gentlemen's agreement) at the border between El Salvador and Honduras. The pact provided that there would be a coup, and then free elections.

Guatemala charged that the plot was centered in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, and enjoyed the support of President Anastasio Somoza and of General Rafael L. Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic. The Arbenz government also surmised that the "government of the North" had endorsed the plan.

It charged that the operation was known by the code name El Diablo (the Devil) and that training of rebels was going forward at El Tamarindo, President Somoza's plantation, at Puerto Cabezas (which became the air base for the Bay of Pigs operation seven years later) and on the island of Momotombito in Lake Managua.

The Guatemalan Government also charged that a "Colonel Carl T. Struder" who "was retired" from the U .S. Army, was training the sabotage teams. It said that arms were coming from H. F. Cordes & Company, in Hamburg, West Germany. State Department officials in Washington said they would not comment because that would "give the story a dignity it doesn't deserve."

But the training of Castillo-Armas' forces was in fact taking place on Momotombito, a volcanic island (actually the top of a volcano) which had earned its sonorous name from the sound the Indians thought it made when it rumbled. And "Tacho" Somoza, Nicaragua's President, was indeed heavily involved in the plans to overthrow Arbenz. In Nicaragua the training was directed by a CIA officer who went under the name of "Colonel Rutherford."

The most powerful military element in the coup was the CIA's air force. The handful of P-47 Thunderbolts and C-47 transports operated out of Managua International Airport. The pilots were Americans. The most dare-devil of these, as events later proved, was Jerry Fred DeLarm, a slim, short, hawk-featured man who liked to lay a .45 down on the table in front of him when talking to a stranger.

DeLarm, a native of San Francisco, was a barnstorming, adventurous flier well known in Central America. He had been flying in the area since he was nine, with his father, a pioneer pilot named Eddie DeLarm. Jerry DeLarm spoke Spanish fluently. When World War II broke out, he was flying in Panama City. During the war he shot down two Japanese Zeros over Saipan. He was discharged as a captain and shortly thereafter set up an airline in Costa Rica.

DeLarm's wife was related to Dr. Rafael Calderon-Guardia, the former President of Costa Rica. In 1948, when Otilio Ulate was elected President of that highly democratic nation, Calderon-Guardia tried to block him from taking office. In the revolt that followed, Jose Figueres battled Calderon- Guardia, and emerged as head of a victorious junta.

DeLarm fought on the losing side, for Calderon-Guardia. He flew a DC-3 rigged up with a machine gun in the co-pilot seat and another poking through the floor of the rear bathroom, for ground strafing.

After Costa Rica, DeLarm moved on to Guatemala. During the election of 1950 he took a job doing sky-writing and aerial broadcasts for Arbenz. He was promised $20,000 by the man he later helped to overthrow, and was understandably disturbed when the money did not come through after Arbenz won. That, DeLarm reflected later, was when he first began to suspect Arbenz was a Communist.

By 1954 DeLarm was flying for Castillo-Armas and the CIA. Until shortly before the invasion, he remained behind in Guatemala City, giving flying lessons and using this and an automobile dealership as cover. He had the code name "Rosebinda."

Meanwhile, events were moving in the public arena as well. John Foster Dulles and Henry Holland led the American delegation to the tenth Inter-American conference at Caracas in March. Dulles pushed for an anti-Communist resolution aimed squarely at Guatemala. Arbenz's foreign minister, Guillermo Toriello, angrily accused Foster Dulles of trying to create a "banana curtain." But the American resolution passed, seventeen to one, with Guatemala in opposition.

In May matters began moving to a climax. The CIA learned that a shipload of Czech arms, delivered through Poland, was on its way to Guatemala. The estimated 2,000 tons of rifles, machine guns and other armaments were aboard the Swedish freighter M/S Alfhem, en route from the Polish port of Stettin on the Baltic Sea.

The Alfhem operated out of Uddevalla, Sweden, and her owner was Angbats, Bohuslanska & Kusten, Inc. But Czech funds paid for a "straw charter" of the Alfhem, through the British firm of E. E. Dean in London. And the ship was taking a route to Guatemala as roundabout as its intricate charter arrangements. It sailed first to Dakar, then to Curacao, then to Honduras and finally to Puerto Barrios, on the east coast of Guatemala, where it docked on May 15.

The CIA had a difficult time tracking the arms ship across the vast Atlantic. At the time, it knew everything about the ship except its name: Alfhem. That made tracking difficult, since the freighter was playing hide-and-seek. Although the CIA had the help of the Navy, the agency lost the ship as it was going south along the African coast. It didn't catch up with the Alfhem until it turned up at dock side in Guatemala.

The State Department revealed the arms shipment on May 17. A week later the United States announced that as a countermeasure, it had begun shipping arms to Nicaragua in giant Globemaster planes. At least fifty tons of small arms and machine guns were flown in to "Tacho" Somoza.

But Eisenhower's efforts to get the Western Allies to join a quarantine on arms shipments to Guatemala met with less than a rousing success. The United States drew a protest from the Dutch when it searched the freighter Wulfbrook at San Juan, Puerto Rico. Britain refused to allow its ships to be searched.

On June 7, with the invasion date approaching rapidly, a strange event took place in Guatemala. It was disclosed that Ferdinand F. Schupp, identified as a "former deputy chief of the United States Air Force Mission" in Guatemala, had fled the country along with Colonel Rodolfo Mendoza Azurdia, the ex-chief of the Guatemalan Air Force.

The United States Embassy announced that Schupp had "resigned" his embassy post in 1952 to go into a "farming project" in southern Guatemala. Later, Schupp turned up in Guatemala City, like Jerry DeLarm, giving flying lessons. It is believed that Mendoza took off in a private plane on a seemingly routine flight and stopped off in a pasture to pick up Schupp. The two landed in El Salvador and asked for "asylum."

The CIA's air operation was drawing closer to readiness. Mendoza and Schupp had escaped to join it. A few days before Castillo-Armas crossed the border, DeLarm also slipped out of Guatemala, aboard a regular Pan American flight.

On June 8 Foster Dulles branded "totally false" Guatemalan charges that the United Fruit Company was at the heart of the dispute between Guatemala and Washington. Dulles said the Communist problem would remain even "if they gave a gold piece for every banana."

A couple of days before the invasion commenced the Secretary of State invited Thruston Morton to a White House meeting. As Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, Morton was aware of the CIA operation, since it had been his task to brief a few key senators about its true nature.

"You' d better come along," Secretary Dulles told Morton, "because if this thing blows up and goes wrong, you're going to have to straighten things out for us on the Hill."

Morton went along. The breakfast meeting with Eisenhower took place in the second-floor dining room of the White House. Eisenhower, the Dulles brothers, representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other aides were present, as Morton later recalled it. He said Eisenhower had asked the men around the table: "Are you sure this is going to succeed?" Told that it would, Eisenhower responded: "I'm prepared to take any steps that are necessary to see that it succeeds. For if it succeeds, it's the people of Guatemala throwing off the yoke of Communism. If it fails, the flag of the United States has failed."

It is generally agreed by the participants, however, that at no point in the invasion planning did Eisenhower ever discuss sending in United States armed forces should the CIA operation fail.

On June 18 Castillo-Armas and his small "Army of Liberation" crossed the border into Guatemala from Honduras. He drove in a battered station wagon, leading his men down the road to Esquipulas. Before dawn the P-47s had bombed San Jose, Guatemala's major port on the Pacific coast.

In Guatemala City the government announced the invasion had begun. In Washington the State Department said it had been in touch with Peurifoy. It added blandly: "The department has no evidence ... that this is anything other than a revolt of Guatemalans against the government."

Newsmen from all over the world converged on Guatemala and Honduras -- only to discover that there was no war to cover. Castillo-Armas and his Liberation Army settled down six miles over the border in Esquipulas, the site of the Church of the Black Christ, the country's major religious shrine. The strategy was to wait for the Arbenz regime to collapse. Then the invaders would march triumphantly into Guatemala City.

With the Army of Liberation bogged down just inside the Guatemalan border, "Tacho" Somoza decided to invite Ydigoras to lunch with him at the Presidential Palace in Managua to discuss the situation. "Tacho" introduced Ydigoras to "Colonel Rutherford," and added: "He is just back from Korea."

"Tacho" was standing in front of a map with pins in it showing the disposition of the Castillo-Armas columns. Four of the pins were in the shape of airplanes. The Nicaraguan President was bitterly complaining about how slowly the freedom forces were advancing.

"What kind of a crummy military school did Castillo Armas go to?" Somoza asked.

"The same one I did," Ydigoras replied mildly.

The most active of the planes represented by the pins on "Tacho's" map was that of DeLarm. On the first day of the invasion he dropped propaganda leaflets on Guatemala City, but had orders not to fire or drop any bombs. On subsequent raids on the capital, however, he bombed and strafed several targets, effectively demoralizing the government leaders.

The CIA's planes became known among the Guatemalan populace as Sulfatos -- the Guatemalan word for laxative -- because of the alleged effect their appearance had upon the Arbenz officials.

Then disaster struck the CIA's force of P-47s, when one was shot full of holes and another cracked up. On June 20 the Guatemalan Government charged in the UN that two American fliers had crash-landed in Tapachula, Mexico, after having bombed the Guatemalan city of Coban. [ii]

On the same day the Guatemalan Government was voicing its charge in the UN about American fliers, Henry Cabot Lodge, the United States Ambassador to the world organization, denied categorically that his government was behind the invasion. "The situation does not involve aggression but is a revolt of Guatemalans against Guatemalans," he stated.

It was about this time that Allen Dulles mafe an urgent appeal for more airplanes. This led to the meeting of Eisenhower, Allen Dulles and Henry Holland, whose legalistic objections were overruled.

What Eisenhower did not say in his speech relating to this incident, is that the planes had to be "sold" by the U.S. Air Force to the government of Nicaragua in order to mask United States participation, which was surfacing at the UN. As cover for the transaction, Nicaragua had to put down $150,000 in cash to purchase the planes. After some interesting financial legerdemain, Nicaraguan Ambassador to Washington Guillermo Sevilla-Sacasa managed to come up with cover payment, and the new planes were dispatched to Nicaragua. Ultimately, it was CIA money that paid for them. The planes were flown down unarmed, to be armed upon arrival.

At one point during the trouble over the airplanes, General Cabell, the CIA deputy director, learned that one of the P-47s had been shipped to Nicaragua minus a landing-gear wheel. The plane could not operate without it. The U.S. Air Force rushed the part down and the Thunderbolt flew in the invasion.

On June 24, two days after the secret White House meeting, a P-47 swooped over Guatemala City, strafed gasoline stores and knocked out a radio station. It was not, as luck would have it, the Communist station, but a Protestant missionary station operated by Harold Yon Broekhoven, an evangelist from Passaic, New Jersey.

In New York, a spokesman for the United Fruit Company said that banana harvesting was at a standstill because of the war. He said they were keeping in close touch with the company manager in Guatemala City, Mr. Almyr Bump. The spokesman added confidently: "It is classical in these revolutionary movements down there that they confine themselves to national versus national, and Americans who stand on the sidelines and keep out of the way should be in no great danger."

American newsmen were certainly in no great danger. Castillo-Armas, as New York Herald Tribune correspondent Homer Bigart reported, clearly did not want them hanging around Esquipulas. Bigart had to retreat across the frontier to Nueva Ocotepeque, Honduras, which the newsmen referred to more conveniently as "New Octopus."

Defying the Army of Liberation ban, Evelyn Irons, a correspondent for the London Evening Standard, rented a mule and loped down the road to Esquipulas. There, Castillo-Armas stopped her. He would not allow her to proceed to the front, which had by now moved to Chiquimula. Nevertheless, Miss Irons had scooped her competitors, and mule prices in Nueva Ocotepeque soared.

But under the air attack, Arbenz was losing his nerve. The defection of Mendoza, the Air Force chief, was proving to be a key factor, because it demoralized the Guatemalan Air Force. It became so unreliable that Arbenz grounded his own planes.

At the front, Arbenz' reluctant Army commanders sent back messages saying that their forces were being overwhelmed by the invaders. It wasn't true, but it had a psychological effect on Arbenz. The CIA was reading the traffic from the front, and it knew what messages Arbenz was receiving. CIA clandestine radio operators intercepted the military communications and fed back false messages on the same wave length to further confuse the situation.

On June 25 a P-47 raided Guatemala City again. On June 27 Arbenz capitulated, following a long day of maneuvering by Peurifoy. The American ambassador first met at the palace with Foreign Minister Toriello. Then he conferred with Colonel Carlos Enrique Diaz, the chief of the Guatemalan armed forces, and a group of ranking colonels. By nightfall Arbenz was on the air broadcasting his resignation. Colonel Diaz became head of the junta that took over. He made an immediate tactical error.

Diaz, whose nickname was Pollo Triste (Sad Chicken), went on the air and announced: "The struggle against the mercenary invaders of Guatemala will not abate. Colonel Arbenz had done what he thought was his duty. I shall carry on."

This would never do. Diaz was operating on the radical assumption that it was his duty to fight when his country was invaded.

Peurifoy instantly recognized that this would be a disaster. If the junta, to which the State Department's ambassador had given at least his tacit blessing, went out to fight the CIA's Army of Liberation, it would be a fine spectacle. What would Henry Holland and Frank Wisner say?

Peurifoy put on a "siren" suit, strapped a .45 to his belt, and began maneuvering to topple Diaz. The CIA, which of course wanted Diaz out, nevertheless felt that Peurifoy was making himself entirely too conspicuous for the good of the operation.

The next day Jerry DeLarm bombed Guatemala City in earnest. He knocked out the radio station (the right one) and then dropped two bombs right in the middle of Fort Matamoros, the major installation of the Guatemalan Army.

That did it. Diaz, President for one day, was ousted at the point of machine guns (according to one account) by Colonel Elfego Monzon. With two other colonels, Monzon took over as head of a new, less bellicose junta, acceptable to Peurifoy.

The war was over.

But the CIA and the State Department were worried that it might break out again at any moment. Peace talks between Monzon and Castillo-Armas were scheduled to take place in El Salvador. Washington gave Peurifoy carte blanche to bring the junta and the CIA's Castillo-Armas together.

"They want me to go over there to El Salvador," Peurifoy confided to an aide, "and knock heads together."

With the Papal Nuncio, Monsignor Gennaro Verolino, the American ambassador flew off to El Salvador for the talks. On July 2, with tearful if cautious embraces, Monzon and Castillo-Armas signed a peace pact. It left Monzon top man, but only until the junta voted formally on a chief. The deal was signed in the Hall of Honor in the Presidential Palace. Castillo-Armas then flew back to Chiquimula to convince his followers that it was not a sellout to Monzon.

The next day Castillo-Armas came home to a huge welcome in Guatemala City. He arrived not at the head of his conquering troops, however, but in Peurifoy's embassy plane.

Meanwhile John Foster Dulles addressed the United States on radio and television. He said the struggle in Guatemala exposed the "evil purpose of the Kremlin" to find "nesting places" in the Americas and added: "Led by Colonel Castillo-Armas, patriots arose in Guatemala to challenge the Communist leadership -- and to change it. Thus the situation is being cured by the Guatemalans themselves." 4

If the CIA's coup had routed Communism in Guatemala, democracy is not what followed in its wake. As its first act, the ruling junta canceled the right of illiterates to vote, thereby disenfranchising in one stroke about 70 percent of Guatemala's population -- almost all the Indians.

The junta elected Castillo-Armas as its President on July 8. In August the liberator suspended all constitutional guarantees. The ideological basis of the coup was further undercut when the chief CIA man in Guatemala quit the agency and went into the cement business there. The free election Castillo-Armas had promised when Arbenz fell turned out to be "si" or "no" vote on whether to continue Castillo-Armas as President. Castillo-Armas won.

In rapid succession, the new regime set up a Robespierre-like Committee for Defense Against Communism with sweeping police-state powers. The government took back 800,000 acres of land from the peasants, returned to United Fruit the land Arbenz had seized, and repealed amendments to a 1947 law that had guaranteed rights to workers and labor unions.

Within a week of Castillo-Arrnas' election as head of the junta, the new government announced it had arrested 4,000 persons on suspicion of Communist activity. By August it had passed the Preventive Penal Law Against Communism. This set up the Defense Committee, which met in secret and could declare anyone a Communist with no right of appeal.

Those registered by the committee could be arbitrarily arrested for periods up to six months; they could not own radios or hold public office. Within four months the new government had registered 72,000 persons as Communists or sympathizers. A committee official said it was aiming for 200,000.

Castillo-Armas was generally regarded as an honest, proud and rather simple man who genuinely loved his country. But he had a covey of advisers, and some of them were less dedicated than their chief. After the 1954 coup American gambler types began drifting into Guatemala, and certain of the liberator's lieutenants were cut in. Castillo-Armas could not bring himself to realize that some of his followers were treacherous. A gambling casino was built in which various Army officers shared a heavy financial interest with the Americans.

Castillo-Armas closed down the casino, and shortly afterward, on July 26, 1957, he was assassinated by a member of the palace guard. The crime was first blamed on Communists, then on Castillo-Armas' enemies within the government. It has never been solved.

The following year, Ydigoras was elected President and settled down for a term that was at least never dull. At one point, when rumors of official corruption were rife, he went on television with his ministers. Like a schoolteacher, Ydigoras went down the line, saying, "Now, Mr. Minister, you wouldn't steal from the treasury, would you?" One by one, the ministers said no, they certainly would not.

Another time, a newspaperman accused Ydigoras of being a viejo enclenque, or enfeebled old man. Ydigoras went on television again, repeated the charge and said: "I will show him." Then he proceeded to skip rope and juggle Indian clubs before the amazed Guatemalan audience.

Still, Ydigoras was nobody's fool. When the CIA came to him in 1960 asking for Guatemalan bases for the Bay of Pigs training, he said yes -- although fully aware that he was risking his political neck. In fact, the November, 1960, uprising (which CIA pilots helped to put down) was partly blamed on the issue of the Cuban training bases in Guatemala.

On March 31, 1963, Ydigoras was ousted by Colonel Enrique Peralta in one of the first of a series of military coups in Latin America that threatened to make a mockery of the political reforms at the base of the Alliance for Progress. Colonel Peralta's regime was recognized by Washington in less than three weeks.

If any efforts were made by Washington to save the legally elected Ydigoras government -- which had risked its future to provide bases for the CIA for the Cuban invasion -- they were certainly not effective. There is, in fact, no available evidence that any such efforts were made.

And so, a decade after the CIA's liberation of Guatemala from Communism in 1954, the lot of Guatemalans was about the same. The finca owners prospered. The 2,000,000 Indians, still largely illiterate, toiled on for wages still ridiculously low. (Eighty cents a day is considered generous in many areas of the country.) And another military junta was in the saddle.

As is so often the case, the Invisible Government had moved in, accomplished its task, and moved on. The yoke of Communism had been thrown off but in its place there remained the yoke of poverty and an indifferent oligarchy. The abysmal conditions that led to Arbenz in the first place were as apparent as ever.



i. Henry Holland, the State Department's representative at the meeting.

ii. That same day William A. Beall, a thirty-year-old American flier from Tyler, Texas, showed up in Mexico City saying he had crash-landed his plane in the Pacific Ocean off Guatemala two days before. He had flown to Mexico City from Tapachula. Beall said two other American fliers had crashed off Guatemala a few days earlier, but had been rescued "by the United States Navy."
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:31 am

The Kennedy Shake-Up

THE CIA emerged from the coup in Guatemala with a reputation in the Invisible Government as a clever and efficient operator in Latin American affairs. And despite the agency's subsequent difficulties in other areas of the world, that reputation was essentially untarnished when President Kennedy took office in January of 1961.

When the invasion failed, however, a sharp reaction set in. A few days after the Bay of Pigs, President Kennedy called in Clark M. Clifford, a Washington lawyer and close confidant who later became the chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Kennedy complained that he had been given bad information and bad advice by his intelligence and military advisers. "I was in the Pacific," said the ex-PT boat skipper. "I know something about these things. How could they have put all the ammunition in one ship or two ships?"

Referring to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President told another visitor: "They don't know any more about it than anyone else." He vowed to shake the intelligence community from top to bottom. He was determined that the Bay of Pigs would not happen again. "One more," he stated ruefully, "will sink me."

The President then set out to gain control of the intelligence establishment and to make it genuinely submissive to his ideas and purposes. As a first order of business, he decided to conduct an extensive investigation of the Cuban debacle.

"We intend to profit from this lesson," he told the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 20, the day after the invasion collapsed. "We intend to re-examine and reorient our forces of all kinds -- our tactics and our institutions here in this community. We intend to intensify our efforts for a struggle in many ways more difficult than war."

At his news conference the next day, the President declined to get into details about the Bay of Pigs on the grounds that it would not "aid the interest of the United States." But he denied any desire to "conceal responsibility ... I'm the responsible officer of the government," Kennedy declared, "and that is quite obvious."

But in this moment of extreme political vulnerability, high administration officials began to point out in private post-mortems with reporters that Kennedy had inherited the Bay of Pigs idea from President Eisenhower.

On April 23, Interior Secretary Stewart L. Udall made the mistake of giving public voice to the administration line, and the Republicans, predictably, pounced upon him.

"Here was a plan conceived by one administration," Udall declared. "This from all I can find out began over a year ago and President Eisenhower directed it."

"Cheap and vicious partisanship," retorted Richard M. Nixon.

Kennedy stepped in quickly the next day to prevent all-out political war. He told Pierre Salinger to issue a public statement.

"President Kennedy has stated from the beginning," Salinger declared, "that as President he bears sole responsibility for the events of the past days. He has stated on all occasions, and he restates it now, so it will be understood by all. The President is strongly opposed to anyone within or without the administration attempting to shift the responsibility."

Kennedy's full public acceptance of the blame seemed to be the Republicans' price for laying off the Cuban issue, at least temporarily. In the week after the invasion, the President discussed the operation at length with Eisenhower, Nixon, Senator Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona and Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York. Eisenhower set the Republican line on emerging from an eighty-five-minute conversation with Kennedy at Camp David on April 22.

"I am all in favor," Eisenhower declared, "of the United States supporting the man who has to carry the responsibility for our foreign affairs."

Kennedy used the momentary truce to set in motion a sweeping reorganization of the Invisible Government. Even before the Bay of Pigs, he had planned a major shake-up in the hierarchy of the CIA. He had indicated to several high-ranking officials that he would put Richard Bissell in charge of the agency when Dulles stepped down.

Now, in the shadow of the Cuban fiasco, it was clear that Bissell would have to go and that the shake-up would have to be deferred for a decent interval. Dulles' resignation was not accepted until September 27, 1961. He was succeeded on November 29, 1961 by John McCone. General Cabell retired as the deputy director on January 31, 1962. He was replaced by Army Major General Marshall Sylvester Carter, [i] fifty-two. Bissell resigned as the deputy director for plans on February 17, 1962. He was succeeded by his assistant, Richard M. Helms, forty-eight. Robert Amory, the deputy director for intelligence, was shifted to the Budget Bureau to become the director of its International Division. He was replaced on May 16, 1962 by Ray S. Cline, forty-four.

The top-level shake-up at the CIA was not completed until a full year had passed. But two days after the invasion Kennedy ordered General Maxwell Taylor to head an investigation and to make recommendations for the reform of the intelligence community.

Taylor was a World War II paratroop commander who quit as Army Chief of Staff in 1959 in protest against the refusal of the Eisenhower Administration to adopt his views on conventional warfare. After the Bay of Pigs investigation, he became Kennedy's personal military adviser and, finally, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Joining Taylor in the investigation were Robert Kennedy, Allen Dulles and Arleigh Burke. It was clear that the Attorney General was to become the untitled overseer of the intelligence apparatus in the Kennedy Administration. The appointment of Dulles and Burke, holdovers from the Eisenhower Administration, was designed to gather broad political support for the shake-up and to forestall suggestions that a whitewash operation was afoot.

Kennedy moved to take an even tighter grip on the Invisible Government on May 4 when he revived the President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities under a new title, the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. The original group had been set up by President Eisenhower on January 13, 1956, on a recommendation by the Hoover Commission. It was headed by James R. Killian, Jr., the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Joseph P. Kennedy, the President's father, served on it for the first six months.

The board had disbanded on January 7, 1961, when the entire membership resigned in anticipation of the new administration. But now Kennedy called it back into existence, again under the chairmanship of Killian. [ii]

The President's instructions to the new board were to investigate the entire intelligence community, to recommend detailed changes and to make sure that the changes were carried out. The original board had met just twice a year and had been only marginally informed about intelligence activities. Kennedy ordered the new board to meet six to eight times a year and, between times, to carry out specific assignments for him at home and abroad.

The Killian and Taylor groups had scarcely begun their secret inquiries before the tenuous political truce on the Bay of Pigs began to be breached. On June 11, 1961, William E. Miller, the New York congressman and the chairman of the Republican National Committee, charged that the invasion had failed because Kennedy "rescinded and revoked the Eisenhower plan to have the Cuban freedom fighters protected by American air power."

Miller said his accusation was based on comments by Eisenhower to a group of Republican leaders. But the former President corrected him the very next day. Eisenhower denied that American air power had been approved during his time in office. He had merely stated, the general explained, that an amphibious operation could not succeed without air support of some kind.

This was the first of many confusing exchanges during the following weeks and months on the issue of air cover. Republican and Cuban exile leaders charged repeatedly that the Bay of Pigs invasion failed because President Kennedy withdrew American air cover.

The Kennedy Administration held its tongue for close to two years. But finally, in January of 1963, Robert Kennedy denied the accusation in interviews with the Miami Herald and U.S. News & World Report.

"1 can say unequivocally," he declared, "that President Kennedy never withdrew U.S. air cover. ... There never were any plans made for U.S. air cover, so there was nothing to withdraw ..." 1

And again: "There never was any promise. Not even under Mr. Eisenhower was American air cover in the picture." 2

The air-cover controversy had grown out of a massive confusion over what was included in the original air plan for the Bay of Pigs. As we have seen in earlier chapters, the original plan envisioned no need for the direct intervention of U. S. Navy or Air Force planes. Castro's air force was to have been destroyed on the ground by the CIA's Cuban exile bombers. In that event, the Cuban invaders logically would not have required aerial protection against nonexistent planes. But the President canceled the second strike against Castro's air bases. Accordingly, Castro's planes were in the air to harass the invaders on the beach and to sink the ships carrying their equipment, ammunition, fuel and communications.

The real question in the controversy is whether the invasion could have succeeded if Kennedy had not canceled the second strike. The Taylor group grappled with this question but failed to reach agreement.

Taylor and Robert Kennedy concluded that the invasion plan had been thoroughly faulty and stood no chance of success in any event. "It simply cannot be said," the Attorney General later commented, "that the invasion failed because of any single factor. There were several major mistakes. It was just a bad plan. Victory was never close." 3

Burke, on the other hand, took the position that the invasion very nearly succeeded, and probably would have if the President had not canceled the second air strike. The invasion might have worked without air support of any kind, the admiral argued, if the first air strike had not been scheduled two days in advance of the landing eliminating the element of surprise.

Dulles took a position somewhere in between. He thought success could have been achieved if all had gone according to plan (he had left Washington for San Juan at the time of the invasion with no idea that the plan would be changed). But Dulles felt the CIA and the Joint Chiefs made a mistake in not arranging for alternatives in case the second strike failed or did not come off. He thought there should have been a contingency plan to make sure the invaders got ashore with their equipment.

The Taylor committee presented its views, secretly and orally, to President Kennedy in the summer of 1961. [iii] The committee had worked for about four months, meeting secretly at the Pentagon in an office close to the Joint Chiefs' area. The group interviewed virtually everyone of significance in the Bay of Pigs invasion, including the CIA man who directed the air operations and Mario Zuniga, the Cuban Pilot who told the cover story about defecting from Castro's air force.

The committee reached more than thirty conclusions, including findings that communications were very bad and that there was an overcentralization of the operation in Washington. They also reached a meeting of minds on another crucial point. After the Bay of Pigs, there was considerable pressure within and without the government to limit the CIA to intelligence-gathering alone. It was argued that the agency was inevitably tempted to warp its intelligence estimates to justify its pet projects; and that it would be better to transfer responsibility for all clandestine operations to some other agency, possibly the Pentagon.

This argument was strenuously opposed by Dulles and Cabell. They contended that a separation of intelligence-gathering from operations would result in expensive duplication of personnel and facilities, particularly at overseas posts. They also warned that foreign agents would tend to play off one branch of the spy apparatus against the other, bidding up the price of information and confusing the evidence.

Dulles pleaded that, contrary to popular belief, no intelligence agency in the world is split into separate information-gathering and operational units. When the British set up a Special Operations Executive in World War II, he maintained, they ran into serious difficulties and had to revert to a CIA-type system.

These pleadings proved persuasive to the Taylor committee, which declined to recommend that all clandestine operations be divorced from the CIA's responsibilities. The President agreed and the CIA continued to function essentially in its old ways.

However, the Taylor group did come to the conclusion that the Bay of Pigs operation was too large and too unwieldy to have been conducted by the CIA. In the future, the CIA was to be limited to operations requiring military equipment no larger or more complex than side arms -- weapons which could be carried by individuals. In other words, the CIA was never again to direct operations involving aircraft, tanks or amphibious ships. Operations of that size were to be conducted by the Pentagon.

Put another way, the CIA was henceforth to be restricted to paramilitary operations which would be "plausibly deniable." The Bay of Pigs invasion was not plausibly deniable because it was too large and pervasive to escape the notice of alert officials, newspapermen and private citizens in a free society.

It is clear from all this that the leaders of the government had finally come to the realization that certain types of clandestine operations are incompatible with the democratic system. In a totalitarian society, where the organs of communication are tightly controlled, secret ventures can be mounted on a large scale with minimum risk of disclosure. But this is extremely difficult in an open society in which freedom of speech and the press is constitutionally guaranteed.

As Robert Kennedy emphasized, President Kennedy canceled the second air strike because "U.S. participation in the matter was coming to the surface ... contrary to the pre-invasion plan." 4

It had been expected that Mario Zuniga would get away with the tale of defection he told in Miami on the Saturday before the invasion. But a few influential newspapers and UN delegates began to express skepticism and the President felt compelled to change the military plan in an effort to conceal the fact that the United States was behind the invasion.

Immediately after the invasion failed, the President revealed his concern about the limitations imposed upon the government by the institutions of free speech and a free press. He went before the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 27, 1961, with a plea for voluntary censorship.

"If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions," Kennedy remarked, "then I can only say that no war has ever posed a greater threat to our security."

But despite his chagrin and his momentary impatience with the workings of a democracy, the President had not lost perspective on the dangers of toying with fundamental freedoms.

"The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open republic," he declared, "and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it."



i. In the Spring of 1965, President Johnson shifted Carter to be director of the National Security Agency and named Helms his successor at CIA. In June, 1966, Helms moved up again to the top spot of director of CIA.

ii. The new members were Frank Pace, Jr., former Secretary of the Army; Dr. Edwin H. Land, president of the Polaroid Corporation; Dr. William O. Baker, vice-president for research of the Bell Telephone Laboratories; Lieutenant General James H. Doolittle, retired, board chairman of Space Technology Laboratories, Inc.; Dr. William L. Langer, professor of history, Harvard University; Robert D. Murphy, former Under Secretary of State and president of Corning Glass International; Gordon Gray, former head of the Office of Defense Mobilization; and Clark Clifford, who had been a leading adviser to President Truman. Clifford succeeded Killian as chairman on April 23, 1963.

iii. Late in 1962 the administration's findings were drawn up in a White Paper, prepared mainly by Roger Hilsman, then the State Department's director of intelligence and research. At the White House, Bundy and Salinger recommended that it be released to the public in January, 1963. But Robert Kennedy urged that it remain secret, and the White Paper was not released.
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