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.

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:18 am

The Invisible Government
by David Wise and Thomas B. Ross
© Copyright 1964, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ross



Table of Contents

1. The Invisible Government
2. 48 Hours
3. Build-Up
4. Invasion
5. The Case of the Birmingham Widows
6. A History
7. Burma: The Innocent Ambassador
8. Indonesia: "Soldiers of Fortune"
9. Laos: The Pacifist Warriors
10. Vietnam: The Secret War
11. Guatemala: CIA's Banana Revolt
12. The Kennedy Shake-up
13. The Secret Elite
14. The National Security Agency
15. The Defense Intelligence Agency
16. CIA: "It's Well Hidden"
17. CIA: The Inner Workings
18. The Search for Control
19. Purity in the Peace Corps
20. A Gray Operation
21. Missile Crisis
22. Electronic Spies
23. Black Radio
24. CIA's Guano Paradise
25. The 1960 Campaign -- And Now
26. A Conclusion
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:18 am

The Invisible Government

THERE ARE two governments in the United States today. One is visible. The other is invisible.

The first is the government that citizens read about in their newspapers and children study about in their civics books. The second is the interlocking, hidden machinery that carries out the policies of the United States in the Cold War.

This second, invisible government gathers intelligence, conducts espionage, and plans and executes secret operations all over the globe.

The Invisible Government is not a formal body. It is a loose, amorphous grouping of individuals and agencies drawn from many parts of the visible government. It is not limited to the Central Intelligence Agency, although the CIA is at its heart. Nor is it confined to the nine other agencies which comprise what is known as the intelligence community: the National Security Council, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, Army Intelligence, Navy Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Invisible Government includes, also, many other units and agencies, as well as individuals, that appear outwardly to be a normal part of the conventional government. It even encompasses business firms and institutions that are seemingly private.

To an extent that is only beginning to be perceived, this shadow government is shaping the lives of 190,000,000 Americans. Major decisions involving peace or war are taking place out of public view. An informed citizen might come to suspect that the foreign policy of the United States often works publicly in one direction and secretly through the Invisible Government in just the opposite direction.

This Invisible Government is a relatively new institution. It came into being as a result of two related factors: the rise of the United States after World War II to a position of pre-eminent world power, and the challenge to that power by Soviet Communism.

It was a much graver challenge than any which had previously confronted the Republic. The Soviet world strategy threatened the very survival of the nation. It employed an espionage network that was dedicated to the subversion of the power and ideals of the United States. To meet that challenge the United States began constructing a vast intelligence and espionage system of its own. This has mushroomed to extraordinary proportions out of public view and quite apart from the traditional political process.

By 1964 the intelligence network had grown into a massive, hidden apparatus, secretly employing about 200,000 persons and spending several billion dollars a year.

"The Nationa1 Security Act of 1947," in the words of Allen W. Dulles, ". . . has given Intelligence a more influential position in our government than Intelligence enjoys in any other government of the world." [1]

Because of its massive size and pervasive secrecy, the Invisible Government became the inevitable target of suspicion and criticism. It has been accused by some knowledgeable congressmen and other influential citizens, including a former President, Harry S. Truman, of conducting a foreign policy of its own, and of meddling deep1y in the affairs of other countries without presidential authority.

The American people have not been in a position to assess these charges. They know virtually nothing about the Invisible Government. Its employment rolls are classified. Its activities are top- secret. Its budget is concealed in other appropriations. Congress provides money for the Invisible Government without knowing how much it has appropriated or how it will be spent. A handful of congressmen are supposed to be kept informed by the Invisible Government, but they know relatively little about how it works.

Overseas, in foreign capitals, American ambassadors are supposed to act as the supreme civilian representatives of the President of the United States. They are told they have control over the agents of the Invisible Government. But do they? The agents maintain communications and codes of their own. And the ambassador's authority has been judged by a committee of the United States Senate to be a "polite fiction."

At home, the intelligence men are directed by law to leave matters to the FBI. But the CIA maintains more than a score of offices in major cities throughout the United States; it is deeply involved in many domestic activities, from broadcasting stations and a steamship company to the university campus.

The Invisible Government is also generally thought to be under the direct control of the National Security Council. But, in fact, many of its major decisions are never discussed in the Council. These decisions are handled by a small directorate, the name of which is only whispered. How many Americans have ever heard of the "Special Group"? (Also known as the "54/12 Group.") The name of this group, even its existence, is unknown outside the innermost circle of the Invisible Government.

The Vice-President is by law a member of the National Security Council, but he does not participate in the discussions of the Special Group. As Vice-President, Lyndon B. Johnson was privy to more government secrets than any of his predecessors. But he was not truly involved with the Invisible Government until he was sworn in as the thirty-sixth President of the United States.

On November 23, 1963, during the first hour of his first full day in office, Johnson was taken by McGeorge Bundy -- who had been President Kennedy's personal link with the Special Group -- to the Situation Room, a restricted command post deep in the White House basement.

There, surrounded by top-secret maps, electronic equipment and communications outlets, the new President was briefed by the head of the Invisible Government, John Alex McCone, [i] Director of Central Intelligence and a member of the Special Group. Although Johnson knew the men who ran the Invisible Government and was aware of much of its workings, it was not until that morning that he began to see the full scope of its organization and secrets.

This book is an attempt, within the bounds of national security, to reveal the nature, size and power of the Invisible Government. It is not intended to be an expose, although much of the material has never been printed anywhere else before. It is an attempt to describe a hidden American institution which the American people, who finance it, have a right to know about.

The premise of this book is that even in a time of Cold War, the United States Government must rest, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, on "the consent of the governed." And there can be no meaningful consent where those who are governed do not know to what they are consenting.

In the harsh conditions of the mid-twentieth century, the nation's leaders have increasingly come to feel that certain decisions must be made by them alone without popular consent, and in secret, if the nation is to survive. The area of this secret decision-making has grown rapidly, and the size of the Invisible Government has increased proportionately.

To what extent is this secret government compatible with the American system, or necessary to preserve it? Will it gradually change the character of the institutions it seeks to preserve? If the American people are to try to answer these questions they must first achieve a greater level of understanding about the secret government itself.

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves," said Thomas Jefferson, "and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion."

This book is an effort to thus inform the American people. It traces the history of the Invisible Government: how it was created by President Truman and how it has functioned under President Eisenhower, President Kennedy and President Johnson. It discloses how the Invisible Government has operated in Washington to expand and consolidate its power, and how it has operated overseas in attempts to bolster or undermine foreign governments. For beyond the mere gathering of intelligence, the secret government has engaged in "special operations," ranging from political warfare to paramilitary activities and full-scale invasion.

Under certain conditions, and on a limited, controlled basis, such special operations may sometimes prove necessary. But they cannot become so unwieldy that they are irreconcilable with the kind of society that has launched them. When that happens, the result is disaster. This was nowhere better illustrated than on the beaches of Cuba.

Because it has now passed into history and because it is a deeply revealing example of how the Invisible Government works, we shall begin with the story of the Bay of Pigs.



i. On April 11, 1965, President Johnson replaced McCone with retired Vice-Admiral William F. Raborn, who served only 14 months as CIA director and was in turn replaced, on June 18, 1966, by Deputy Director Richard M. Helms, a career CIA operator.
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:19 am

48 Hours

THE STARS sparkled against the blue-black tropical sky overhead and the warm night air carried as yet no hint of dawn. Mario Zuniga edged his B-26 bomber onto the runway at the edge of the Caribbean Sea.

Only the sound of the twin engines broke the stillness of the darkened airfield at Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. The tall, thirty-five-year-old Cuban exile pilot sat alone in the cockpit of the big bomber. He would have no co-pilot for this mission. On the nose of his plane the number 933 had been painted in black letters. On the tail, the letters FAR -- the markings of Fidel Castro's air force, the "Fuerza Aerea Revolucionaria."

But Mario Zuniga was not a Castro pilot. He was flying on an extraordinary top-secret mission for the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States Government.

Earlier, the CIA had trundled the bomber out onto the runway and fired a machine gun at it. There were bullet holes in the fuselage now. These were some of the stage props for Zuniga's masquerade. In his pocket he carried a pack of Cuban cigarettes, borrowed from a fellow pilot at the last moment to lend a final authentic touch. In his mind was a carefully memorized story. His destination was Miami International Airport, 834 miles and more than four hours to the northeast.

At a signal, Zuniga took off, his bomber roaring down the 6,000-foot runway. It was April 15, 1961, and perfect flying weather. His mission, upon which hinged the success or failure of the most ambitious operation in the history of the Central Intelligence Agency, was underway.


Beginning at 1:40 A.M., shortly before Zuniga's take-off, eight other CIA B-26s had roared into the night from the same airstrip, their engines straining with the weight of extra fuel and the ten 260- pound bombs they each carried. Their pilots were Cuban exiles, trained and employed by the CIA. Their target was Cuba, and their mission -- to smash Castro's air force before it could get off the ground.

These planes, too, bore a replica of the FAR insignia of Castro's air force. Flying in three formations, under the code names of "Linda," "Puma" and "Gorilla," the eight B-26s were to strike at dawn in a surprise raid. It was to be the first of two strikes at Castro's air bases, to pave the way for the secret invasion of Cuba scheduled to take place forty-eight hours later at the Bahia de Cochinos, the Bay of Pigs. The operation had the approval of the CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President of the United States.

Zuniga was to land in Miami shortly after the bombing raid. He was to announce to the world that the attack had been carried out from bases inside Cuba by himself and other pilots who had defected from Castro's air force. In reality, of course, all nine planes had left from Happy Valley, the CIA code name for the air base at Puerto Cabezas. The Nicaraguan Government had secretly agreed to let the United States use the air base and port as a staging area for the invasion.

As he flew northward through the night to Miami, Zuniga had time to go over the prepared story once more in his mind. He had been especially selected by the CIA's American instructors from among the Cuban exile pilots. A CIA agent known simply as "George" had asked for volunteers for a special mission. Three men offered to go. The CIA fired questions at them to test their reactions under stress. Mario was then selected for his intelligence and quick thinking. There followed endless rehearsals of the cover story that Zuniga came to know almost in his sleep. He was instructed not to reveal the truth about his mission, even years afterward.

As his plane carried him toward Florida, Zuniga was flying also toward his wife Georgina, his two young sons, Eduardo and Enrique, and his daughters, Beatriz and Maria Cristina. He had left them behind in the safety of Miami, in an apartment on South West 20th Avenue when he had joined the exiles who were training in Central America to invade their homeland.

To the southeast, the strike force droned onward toward Cuba and the new day. The attack was to be led by Luis Cosme, a wiry, crew-cut former Cuban Air Force and Cubana Airlines pilot who had fled Cuba eight months before. At the controls of the other two planes in Cosme's "Linda" wing were Alfredo Caballero, a stocky twenty-five-year-old, and Rene Garcia. They, too, were Cuban Air Force veterans. Their target was San Antonio de los Banos, the vital military airfield twenty-five miles southwest of Havana.

Jose Crespo, short and handsome, led the "Puma" flight that was to strike at Camp Libertad airfield on the outskirts of Havana. The other two B-26s in Crespo's wing were flown by Daniel Fernandez Mon, Spanish-born and the only bachelor in the flight, and "Chirrino" Piedra, at twenty-five one of the youngest and best-liked of the exile pilots. None of these three pilots or their co-pilots survived the Bay of Pigs. All six men in the "Puma" wing had less than forty-eight hours to live.

Two planes comprised the third, "Gorilla," wing. They were flown by Gustavo Ponzoa and Gonzalo Herrera. Their target was the airport at Santiago de Cuba, in Oriente Province, where Castro had begun his climb to power in the Sierra Maestra five years earlier.


The invasion fleet of half a dozen ships was already steaming toward Cuba under the escort of U.S. warships. Unable to sleep on the crowded deck of the Houston, nineteen-year-old Mario Abril, a private in E Company, 2nd Infantry Battalion of the exile brigade, heard the drone of the bomber fleet overhead.

He looked up and saw the B-26 formation against the night sky. Two months before he had been in Miami, preparing to leave for the training camp in Guatemala. He had told no one of his decision. And yet, when his mother had awakened him on February 26, his nineteenth birthday, instead of the present he expected she gave him a rosary. She had said it was all she could give him.

Now, aboard the Houston in battle dress, the slender youth switched on his transistor radio to hear whether Havana would describe the bombing raids. Tomorrow he would still be at sea. The day after he would face his first trial in battle.


In Washington, Richard M. Bissell, Jr., an urbane, six-foot-four former economics professor, waited anxiously for word of the bombing strike and for news of Zuniga's arrival in Miami. Bissell was the CIA's deputy director for plans (DDP), "plans" being a cover name for covert foreign operations. In intelligence parlance, "black" means secret, and Bissell directed the blackest of the black operators. He was the CIA man in charge of the clandestine Bay of Pigs operation from the beginning. From a secret office near the Lincoln Memorial, across the reflecting pool from the White House, he was linked by high-speed coded teletype circuits to Happy Valley.

On this Saturday, April 15, Bissell's boss, the CIA director, Allen W. Dulles, was in Puerto Rico. He had gone there that day to keep a long-standing engagement to speak at a convention of young businessmen Monday morning. The CIA chief decided that to cancel it would look peculiar and might attract attention. Moreover, Dulles reasoned, his presence in Puerto Rico would be good cover. The public appearance of the head of the CIA in San Juan, rather than in Washington, might divert any suspicion that the CIA was directing the drama which was now unfolding.

Partly for similar reasons, President John F. Kennedy had decided to spend the weekend as usual at Glen Ora, his rented estate in Middleburg, Virginia. At 11: 37 A.M. he spoke at an African Freedom Day celebration at the State Department. Early in the afternoon he got into a helicopter and flew to Middleburg.

The largest secret operation in American history was already beginning. But neither the President of the United States nor the director of the Central Intelligence Agency was in Washington.


At 6:00 A.M. in Havana, it sounded at first like thunder. But then anti-aircraft guns opened up and the sleepy residents of the Cuban capital realized that an air raid was in progress. From their windows and balconies, Cubans could see tracers from the anti-aircraft shells shooting in great arcs across the sky. In Miramar, a suburb near Camp Libertad, early risers watched as the three B-26s in Jose Crespo's "Puma" wing attacked with bombs, machine guns and rockets. Some of the bombs struck an ammunition dump and flames leaped skyward. A series of explosions followed and continued intermittently for forty minutes. Bomb fragments hit the administration building and gouged huge holes in the airport runways. The attack lasted only fifteen minutes, but the guns kept firing for an hour.

Simultaneously, Luis Cosme's "Linda" flight of three B-26s was bombing San Antonio de los Banos. One of Castro's T-33 American-made jet trainers sitting on the end of Runway 11 blew up and some Castro B-26s were caught on the ground.

At Antonio Maceo Airport in Santiago de Cuba, on the eastern end of the island, the "Gorilla" wing destroyed a hangar containing one British-built Sea Fury and two smaller planes. A Cubana Airlines C-47 parked in front of the administration building was also demolished.

Less actual damage to aircraft was inflicted at Camp Libertad by the "Puma" flight. And the exile air force lost its first plane. The B-26 piloted by Daniel Fernandez Mon, mortally crippled in the raid over Havana, wheeled out to sea north of the city and burst into flames. It crashed into the ocean within sight of Havana's Commodoro Hotel. The red-haired bachelor pilot had pleaded for five days to be allowed to take part in the first raid. He was twenty-nine when he died. His co-pilot, Gaston Perez, perished with him. Perez would have celebrated his twenty-sixth birthday in thirteen days.

Now a tiny crack, the first of several things that went wrong, appeared in the carefully polished CIA plans. Jose Crespo, leader of the "Puma" wing, developed engine trouble. He decided he could not make it back to Happy Valley, and nosed his bomber north to Key West.

At 7:00 A.M. Crespo and his co-pilot, Lorenzo Perez, made an emergency landing at the Boca Chica Naval Air Station in Key West, to the consternation of Navy officials there. Key West high schools were to have held an Olympics Day at Boca Chica, with track events, bands and parades, and the public invited. The Navy hastily closed the field without explanation. Olympics Day was canceled. In "Linda" flight, Alfredo Caballero discovered, after dropping his bombs on San Antonio de los Banos, that one fuel tank was not feeding. He headed south and landed on Grand Cayman Island with his co-pilot, Alfredo Maza. It caused another small complication for the CIA. Grand Cayman was British territory.


Shortly after 8:00 A.M. the Federal Aviation Agency control tower at Miami International Airport picked up a mayday distress signal from a B-26 bomber. Mario Zuniga was on the last leg of his cover mission. He called the tower at a point twenty-five miles south of Homestead, Florida, or about twelve minutes from Miami. At 8:21 A.M. he landed, his right engine feathered as if it had been put out of action by gunfire. Zuniga, wearing a white T-shirt and green fatigue trousers, climbed out.

Whisked into Immigration Headquarters and "questioned" for four hours, Zuniga was successfully kept from reporters. Edward Ahrens, the district director of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, solemnly announced that the pilot's name was being withheld to prevent reprisals against his family still in Cuba.

But, oddly, in view of the tight security measures that surrounded Zuniga's arrival, photographers were allowed to take pictures of the unidentified pilot and of his bullet-pocked bomber. Across the nation the next morning, newspapers carried photographs of the mysterious pilot, a tall, mustached man wearing dark glasses and a baseball cap.

Ahrens released a statement from the nameless pilot. Now the CIA's cover story was clattering out over the news wires around the world:


"I am one of the twelve B-26 pilots who remained in the Castro air force after the defection of Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz [i] and the purges that followed.

"Three of my fellow pilots and I have planned for months how we could escape from Castro's Cuba.

"Day before yesterday I heard that one of the three, Lieutenant Alvara Galo, who is the pilot of the B-26 No. FAR915, had been seen talking to an agent of Ramiro Valdes, the G-2 chief.

"I alerted the other two and we decided that probably Alvara Galo, who had always acted like somewhat of a coward, had betrayed us. We decided to take action at once.

"Yesterday morning I was assigned the routine patrol from my base, San Antonio de los Banos, over a section of Pinar del Rio and around the Isle of Pines.

"I told my friends at Campo Libertad and they agreed that we must act. One of them was to fly to Santiago. The other made the excuse that he wished to check out his altimeter. They were to take off from Campo Libertad at 06:00. I was airborne at 06:05.

"Because of Alvara Galo's treachery, we had agreed to give him a lesson, so I flew back over San Antonio, where his plane is stationed, and made two strafing runs at his plane and three others parked nearby.

"On the way out I was hit by some small-arms fire and took evasive action. My comrades had broken off earlier, to hit airfields which we agreed they would strike. Then, because I was low on gas, I had to go into Miami, because I could not reach our agreed destination.

"It may be that they went on to strafe another field before leaving, such as Playa Baracoa, where Fidel keeps his helicopter."


In New York, Dr. Jose Miro Cardona, the professorial, soft-spoken president of the Cuban Revolutionary Council, could not resist issuing a flowery Latin statement. From his headquarters at the Hotel Lexington, Cardona hailed the "heroic blow for Cuban freedom ... struck this morning by certain members of the Cuban Air Force." He said it came as no surprise because "the Council has been in contact with and has encouraged these brave pilots." Cardona's announcement was a bad move, as events later proved.

Not until 9:00 A.M., three hours after the attack, did the Cuban radio in Havana announce the bombings. But at 7:00 A.M. the Soviet Ambassador to Cuba, Sergei M. Kudryavtsev, an old hand in the KGB, the Soviet intelligence network, was seen hurriedly leaving his official residence in a Cuban military car with two Cuban Army officers. Newsmen were unable to find out where he was going. But at noon, with militiamen armed with Czechoslovak automatic weapons stalking the streets of Havana, and others posted on roofs, the foreign diplomatic corps was summoned to the Foreign Ministry and told that Cuba had proof that the United States had "directed" the attack. Fidel Castro issued a communique saying he had ordered his United Nations delegation "to accuse the United States government directly of aggression ... If this air attack is a prelude to an invasion, the country, on a war basis, will resist ... the fatherland or death!" He called on U.S. news agencies to "report the truth."

That was no easy task. At Key West, Rear Admiral Rhodam Y. McElroy, the commander of the Boca Chica Naval Air Station, announced: "One of the stolen B-26 bombers that was involved in the blasts against Havana this morning landed here."

At the White House, presidential press secretary Pierre Salinger denied any knowledge of the bombing. He said the United States was seeking information.


Alongside the East River in New York, in the United Nations Building, the drama that had begun at the jungle airstrip in Nicaragua before daylight now moved into the full glare of the world stage.

Raul Roa, the excitable Cuban representative, marched to the speaker's rostrum at the start of the General Assembly session that was meeting on the Congo crisis.

Roa began: "At 6:30 A.M. in the morning, North American aircraft --"

The sharp rap of a gavel, wielded by the Assembly's president, Frederick H. Boland of Ireland, cut off the bespectacled Cuban. Boland reminded Roa that the item was not on the Assembly's agenda. Valerian Zorin, the Soviet representative, then proposed an emergency session of the Assembly's political committee to hear the Cuban complaint. The meeting was scheduled for that afternoon.

At 3:00 P.M. Roa rose to charge the United States with launching a "cowardly, surprise attack" on Cuba with "mercenaries" trained on United States territory, and in Guatemala, by "experts of the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency." Seven persons had been killed and many wounded, he said. The United States, he added, was "cynically attempting" to assert the attack was carried out by Cuban Air Force defectors. Dr. Cardona's statement that he had been in touch with those who did the bombing was in itself a violation of United States neutrality laws, Roa said.

It was an awkward moment for Adlai E. Stevenson, the United States representative to the U.N. (The man who had run twice as the Democratic candidate for President, only to see John F. Kennedy win in 1960, now rose to defend the administration.) Only his closest advisers were aware of exactly how delicate and difficult a position Stevenson was in. Although the idea later gained currency that Stevenson had been totally unaware of the Bay of Pigs operation, they knew the real background:

Initially, Stevenson had become aware of Cuban exile training from newspaper stories. Some time before the invasion, he had expressed some misgivings about these published reports in an informal conversation with President Kennedy, which took place in the White House living quarters. Kennedy assured Stevenson on that occasion that whatever happened, United States armed forces would not be used in any Cuban operation.

A couple of days before the April 15 raid, a high CIA official had come to see Stevenson in New York. He was Tracy Barnes, the CIA man assigned to keep the State Department informed of the Bay of Pigs plans as they progressed.

Barnes, in briefing Stevenson, indicated vaguely that the United States would not be involved in any Cuban exile operation. Barnes talked on about how the Cubans were operating from abandoned airfields; he mentioned the exile (CIA) radio on Swan Island in the Caribbean. Stevenson was aware that Barnes was from the CIA; and the more he listened to Barnes's ambiguous assurances, the more convinced he became that the United States was involved.

Barnes did not mention that an invasion was about to begin over the weekend. Nor did he indicate that one was imminent. As a result, it is possible that Stevenson did not immediately connect the April 15 bombings with the CIA man's briefing of two days earlier. Nevertheless, he chose his words carefully:

Two aircraft had landed in Florida that morning. "These pilots, and certain other crew members," said Stevenson, "have apparently defected from Castro's tyranny."

"No United States personnel participated. No United States Government airplanes of any kind participated. These two planes, to the best of our knowledge, were Castro's own airforce planes, and according to the pilots, they took off from Castro's own airforce fields."

Stevenson then held aloft a UPI photograph of Zuniga's plane. "I have here a picture of one of these planes. It has the markings of the Castro air force right on the tail, which everyone can see for himself. The Cuban star and the initials FAR -- Fuerza Aerea Revolucionaria -- are clearly visible."

"Let me read the statement which has just arrived over the wire from the pilot who landed in Miami," Stevenson said. He then repeated Zuniga's cover story in its entirety.

Steps had been taken to impound the Cuban planes that had landed in Florida, he added; they would not be permitted to take off.

The UN meeting broke up at 4:05 P.M.


Spring is in many ways the loveliest time of the year in the rolling hills of the Virginia hunt country. But on Sunday, April 16, President Kennedy had little time to appreciate it. At his Glen Ora estate in Middleburg, the President was deeply worried. And he did not like what he saw in his Sunday New York Times.

He and his advisers had not anticipated the volume and nature of the publicity that was being given to the bombing raids and to the story of the mysterious "defecting" pilot who had landed in Miami.

Across the nation, the morning papers had played the story of the bombing raids with varying degrees of caution.

Many papers ran the Associated Press lead out of Cuba, which said flatly:

HAVANA, April 15 -- Pilots of Prime Minister Fidel Castro's air force revolted today and attacked three of the Castro regime's key air bases with bombs and rockets.

But the influential New York Times was not buying the story completely. Tad Szulc's lead story from Miami was carefully qualified. He wondered, for example, how the Cuban Revolutionary Council had advance notice of the flier's defection, since the pilot who landed in Miami said their escape was hasty. Ruby Hart Phillips filed a similar carefully worded story from Havana.

And the Times Washington Bureau this Sunday was trying to reach administration officials at their homes. The bureau was busily putting together a story pointing out "puzzling circumstances." Besides the question of how Cardona knew about the defections in advance, the Times wanted to know why the pilot's name had been withheld in Miami, since pictures were allowed which clearly showed his face and the number 933 on the nose of his bomber. [ii] Furthermore, the Times asked whether Havana would not quickly know the identity of a Cuban Air Force pilot who waltzed off with a B-26 bomber.

Other newsmen in Washington and Miami were asking where the third plane was if three pilots had defected. A reporter in Miami saw the bullet holes but noted that dust and grease covered the bomb-bay fittings of B-26 933 and that the plane's guns did not appear to have been fired. Further, while the B-26s in Castro's air force had plexiglass transparent noses and guns in the wing pods, this B-26 had eight .50-caliber machine guns in a solid nose.

The Bay of Pigs operation was already foundering. What bad occurred was the inevitable collision between the secret machinery of the government and a free press. It was at this point of contact between the Invisible Government and the outside, real world, that the Bay of Pigs plan began to deteriorate. As President Eisenhower had discovered during the U-2 fiasco a year earlier, and as President Kennedy was now finding out, it is an extremely difficult and precarious business for the government to try to deceive the press and the country to protect a covert operation.

In Havana, Fidel Castro exploited the situation for all it was worth. At a military funeral for the "Cuban heroes" killed by the bombing raids, he compared the attack to the raid on Pearl Harbor. He said the Japanese had at least assumed full responsibility for their raid, but "the President of the United States is like a cat ... which throws a rock and hides its hand." Of the pilot's tale, he said, "even Hollywood would not try to film such a story."


But in Miami, Immigration Director Ahrens was sticking to the scenario. He announced that the three fliers who had landed in Florida had been granted political asylum. Ahrens was still silent about their identities, however. "These men don't want their names released," he told UPI, "or any other information about them." [iii]


Nine B-26s had left Nicaragua. One was shot down, and three had landed, respectively, at Key West, Grand Cayman and Miami. Two pilots were dead. But five of the bombers returned to Happy Valley.

Despite the heavy air losses, the trouble over Zuniga's cover story and the UN debate, Richard Bissell was encouraged by the partial success of the April 15 raid. From the beginning the CIA understood the rather elementary military principle that no amphibious landing can take place without either (1) air cover at the beaches or (2) complete destruction of the opposing air force on the ground.

In the case of the Bay of Pigs, the latter course was chosen. Castro's air force would be destroyed on the ground by the exile B-26 force, so that air cover at the beaches would be unnecessary. Originally, three full-strength strikes by the B-26s were planned. This was cut down to two strikes of moderate strength. The second strike was scheduled to take place at dawn, Monday, April 17, as the 1,400-man exile invasion force fought its way ashore.

The CIA had estimated before the first raid that Castro's air force included at least four T-33 jet trainers, six to eight B-26s and several British Sea Furies, fast propeller-driven fighters. Estimates by the returning exile fliers of how many of Castro's planes were destroyed varied. They claimed they had destroyed twenty-two to twenty-four planes. Pilot claims are often inflated, but Bissell knew that at least a number of Castro's B-26s were destroyed. Hopefully, the next raid, on Monday, would finish the job of demolishing Castro's air force.

But political and foreign policy considerations began to outweigh the tactical plan. The cover story crumbled as Sunday wore on. United States participation was surfacing rapidly. The CIA plan had hinged on the assumption that Zuniga's cover story would hold for at least forty-eight hours. In that event, the second air strike would either seem like the work of the rebelling Castro pilots, or would be overlooked in the general confusion of the invasion.

The CIA reasoned that if the airstrip at the Bay of Pigs could be captured and held, photographs could be released by Tuesday, April 18, showing exile B-26s operating from inside Cuba. This, the CIA assumed, would divert attention from the question of where the bombers had taken off from on April 15 and 17. The problem was to get by with the "defecting" pilots' tale from Saturday to Tuesday. After that, the cover story told by Zuniga would not matter; it would be overtaken by events.

Now the situation had changed radically. All had hinged on the Zuniga story. With that story fast unraveling at the edges, could the President permit another B-26 strike on Monday and still convince the world that somehow a new covey of Castro pilots had defected from the Cuban Air Force? The President decided he could not.


With Allen Dulles in Puerto Rico, Bissell was the CIA's man in charge. At 9:00 P.M. on Sunday, April 16, his telephone rang. It was McGeorge Bundy, the patrician Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Bundy had been a student of Bissell's at Yale. [iv] Now he was calling to instruct Bissell that the President had decided to cancel tomorrow's D-Day B-26 strike against Castro's air bases.

Alarmed by the President's eleventh-hour decision, Bissell and General Charles P. Cabell, the CIA's deputy director, hurried to the State Department to appeal to Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

The air strike was vital to the invasion plan and should be reinstated, Bissell and Cabell argued, otherwise Castro would have jets and other planes to attack the invaders. It was now 10:00 P.M. From his office at the State Department, Rusk telephoned Kennedy at Glen Ora. He told him that Cabell and Bissell were there and believed the strike should go ahead as planned. The President said no. Rusk asked whether Cabell wished to say anything to the President directly, but Cabell declined. Bissell did not talk to Kennedy either. Twelve hundred miles away, the invasion fleet was already approaching the beaches.

In retrospect, some CIA officials felt Bissell should have hopped into a car and driven to Glen Ora to plead with the President; because the operation was secret he would have been able to speak more freely in person than he could have over a telephone wire, and he might have been able to present his case more fully. But it would have been close to midnight before he could have arrived at Middleburg, and D-Day would then have been at hand.

Or Bissell and Cabell might have gotten on the telephone in Rusk's office and pleaded with the President directly at this point. They did not.

Bissell returned to his office from the State Department, and about 11 :00 P.M. he flashed the word to Happy Valley that the B-26s were not to strike at Castro's air bases. Messages flowed back and forth between Nicaragua and Washington, and as it was finally resolved, the bombers were only to try to fly support missions over the beaches. At Happy Valley the change in orders caused dismay and considerable confusion.


So secret was the Bay of Pigs operation that many high officials of the government were not let in on it. Robert Amory, Jr., the CIA's deputy director for intelligence (DDI ), had not been officially informed of the plan even though on this Sunday he was the senior staff duty officer at the CIA. Roger Hilsman, the director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, had also been kept in the dark. But the Joint Chiefs of Staff, headed by General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, had been consulted and had given their qualified approval. The second as a vital part of the plan that had been approved by the Joint Chiefs. Now that element was being removed by the President, acting in the isolation of Glen Ora; and Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, whose ships were deployed off the Bay of Pigs, did not learn of the cancellation of the second air strike until ten hours later, at 7:00 A.M. Monday.

As the first tense hours of April 17 slipped by, Bissell and Cabell remained in touch with Happy Valley and waited uncertainty for the dawn. At 4:00 A.M. Cabell could stand it no longer. He decided to appeal again to Rusk.

Cabell drove through the darkened capital to Rusk's hotel. (Rusk, Secretary of State for less than three months, had not yet moved into a home in Washington; he had an apartment at the Sheraton Park Hotel on upper Connecticut Avenue.) In Rusk's apartment he again expressed his fears over the cancellation of the air strike. Despite the hour the Secretary of State called the President once more in Middleburg. This time Cabell did speak directly to him. In answer to the CIA official's pleadings, the President's reply was still negative.

The light burned late in Rusk's suite K-608 in the otherwise quiet Sheraton Park. Outside, the capital's streets were deserted as the city slept. A light spring breeze caressed the pale, new green leaves on the trees. In the Bahia de Cochinos the men were now going ashore. But Castro still had planes, and they were about to raise havoc with the exile brigade on the beaches.

It was forty-eight hours since Mario Zuniga had taken off from Happy Valley. The invasion was just beginning. In reality, it was already over.



i. Former head of the Cuban Air Force.

ii. When the Times story appeared the next day, it particularly irritated President Kennedy. He was angered because he felt it had systematically listed flaws in the CIA cover.

iii. The names of Mario Zuniga, Jose Crespo and Lorenzo Perez, the three pilots who landed in Florida, April 15, 1961, had not been released by the government as of the beginning of 1964. In actual fact, the pilots flew back to Happy Valley in a C-54 on April 16, and participated in the air operations during the invasion. Zuniga survived, but Crespo and Perez died on April 17. Alfredo Caballero, who had landed on Grand Cayman Island, was flown to Miami, and then to Retalhuleu, the CIA's Guatemalan air base. Through a mix-up, he remained there until April 19, out of action.

iv. He had also worked for Bissell in the Marshall Plan from April-September, 1948.
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

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IT HAD BEGUN one day early in April, 1960, when two visitors walked into the office of Roberto Alejos in the Edificio Townson in Guatemala City.

Alejos, a handsome, athletic businessman, was one of the wealthiest coffee-growers in Guatemala. His brother, Carlos, was Guatemala's Ambassador to Washington. But there were two other facts about Roberto Alejos that interested his visitors this day: He owned two huge fincas, plantations, in Guatemala, both in remote areas. And he was the closest friend, backer and adviser of Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes, the highly individualistic and unpredictable President of that Central American Republic.

The visitors were Americans. One was Robert Kendall Davis, a close friend of Alejos. Davis bore the title of First Secretary of the American Embassy in Guatemala City. A charming Californian of forty-three, graying at the temples, he looked the part of a diplomat. But it was an open secret in sophisticated political and diplomatic circles in Guatemala City that Davis was the CIA station chief in Guatemala. The CIA agent who accompanied him was less well known; he had recently returned to Guatemala after a three-year absence.

Davis and his companion had no small request. They wanted to know if Alejos would help arrange secret training sites in Guatemala for Cuban anti-Castro exiles. They also wanted to know whether Alejos could fix it for them to talk to President Ydigoras.

The CIA had good reason to approach Ydigoras gingerly. They were aware that he felt the United States regarded him as politically erratic. His election two years before had been greeted by Washington with less than enthusiasm, and Ydigoras knew it. Late in January, 1958, according to Ydigoras, a mysterious visiting American had called on him at his suite at the Maya Excelsior Hotel in Guatemala City. At this point, the Guatemalan Congress had not yet chosen him to be President.

As Ydigoras later related the story on nation-wide television, the visitor, who gave his name as "Mr. Karr," opened a suitcase containing $500,000 in United States currency and offered it to Ydigoras if he would withdraw. The CIA knew that rightly or wrongly Ydigoras, who declined the money, became convinced that "Mr. Karr" was a CIA agent, although he possessed no evidence of that.

Now the CIA was asking Ydigoras to risk his political career by permitting the United States to establish secret training camps in Guatemala. Nevertheless, when Alejos approached him, Ydigoras agreed to meet discreetly with Davis at the President's private residence, the Casa Crema, located on the grounds of a military school. (Ydigoras, understandably, had declined to live in the Presidential House where President Carlos Castillo-Armas had been murdered on July 26, 1957. Castillo-Armas had come to power in 1954 in a CIA-engineered coup that overthrew President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, whose regime was honeycombed with Communists.)

When Davis, Alejos and Ydigoras got together, the Guatemalan President, who had no use for Communism or Castro, agreed to allow the Cuban exiles to train in his country, He designated Roberto Alejos to handle the details of the project for him.

Now Guatemala was to become the staging area for the overthrow of Fidel Castro's regime in Cuba.

The CIA told Alejos that it would like to find privately owned land, with trustworthy owners, for use as training sites. Alejos suggested his own plantations. CIA, after looking over several other possible sites, selected as its main base Helvetia, the Alejos coffee ranch in the Boca Costa, the Pacific slope region of southwestern Guatemala.

Helvetia was particularly suitable for the CIA's purpose. It had no access roads, and was a self- contained city with 100 kilometers of private roads winding through 5,000 acres. The estate rose to 8,000 feet along the slopes of Santiago Volcano, which had erupted in 1928 and was still active. The training area, or "Trax Base," as the camp came to be known, was at 4,000 feet. It was well above and out of view of the main ranch building. The nearest habitation was the remote village of San Felipe. Retalhuleu, the other town in the area, was twenty-five kilometers from Helvetia. Guns could be fired and military maneuvers held at the ranch with complete security and safety.

The entire plantation was heavily guarded, so there was little chance that any curious outsider would stumble into the Cuban exile camp, or penetrate its secrets. If the volcano behaved, the CIA would have an ideal mountain hideaway to begin training the exiles who would topple Fidel Castro. It would be Guatemala, 1954 all over again.

The Americans who called on Roberto Alejos in the Edificio Townson that day in April, 1960, were acting on the authority of the President of the United States. Their visit was a direct result of an order given by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on March 17, 1960. [i] On that day Eisenhower authorized the secret training and arming of the Cuban rebels.

The President turned over the task of arming and training the Cuban exiles to Allen Dulles. Dulles in turn placed the project in the hands of Bissell.

A highly articulate, highly intelligent man, Richard-Mervin Bissell did not fit the popular conception of a master spy, any more than did Dulles. Bissell liked to refer to himself as a "high risk man," and it was he who ran the U-2 spy plane program.

Bissell was graduated from Groton, Yale and the London School of Economics. He took his Ph.D. at Yale in 1939, taught economics there and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and worked in the War Shipping Administration during World War II. In 1948 he joined the Marshall Plan, rising to the post of Acting Administrator. He entered the CIA in 1954.

The CIA's original plan, as it evolved under Bissell's direction, was to build up the underground within Cuba through a long, slow period of guerrilla infiltration by exiles trained in Guatemala.

The CIA designated one of its most energetic agents, with the cover name of Frank Bender, to be the top agency representative in dealing with the fragmented Cuban exile groups. Bender, whose real identity was carefully protected, became an almost mythical figure to the Cuban refugees. He was rumored to be everywhere -- in New York, Miami and Guatemala -- during the months that followed. After the Bay of Pigs, he was said to have been spotted in the Congo.

Most of the exiles believed Bender was a European who had fought with the French Maquis during World War II. Another account had Bender as an assistant to top Allied planners during the North African invasion in 1942.

Those who met him described the CIA field chief as a man in his fifties, perhaps 185 pounds, of medium build. He smoked a pipe, wore glasses, was well mannered and displayed a good knowledge of history. Bender established headquarters in New York, which with Washington, Miami and Retalhuleu became the four key centers of the operation.

The CIA's first task was to try to weld the squabbling and emotional exile groups into some semblance of cohesion, and to select promising leaders. The Cuban who looked most promising was Manuel Artime Buesa, a young firebrand orator who had fought in the hills with Castro in 1958. Artime accepted a job with the Institute of Agrarian Reform when Castro overthrew Dictator Fulgencio Batista on New Years day, 1959, and became Premier. But Artime broke with Castro later that year and fled Cuba in a boat. Now, at twenty-eight and violently anti-Castro, he was the secretary general in Miami of the Movimiento de Recuperacion Revolucionario, the MRR.

Another Cuban leader contacted by the CIA early in the planning stage was Manuel Antonio de Varona, former Premier of Cuba under President Carlos Prio Socarras, the man Batista had overthrown.

By the end of May, 1960, five exile groups had been organized as a revolutionary frente, or front, with Varona as coordinator. [ii]

At a meeting in New York, the CIA promised financial support to the newly formed frente. Bender dispatched agents into Miami. The CIA began pumping what eventually became millions of dollars into the frente and its successor, the Cuban Revolutionary Council. The CIA funds were deposited in a Miami bank and drawn by the frente through checks signed by an accountant named Juan Paula.

The first exiles were being recruited for the training camps. In the back streets of downtown Miami, in the bars, hotels, old rooming houses and apartments of the Cuban refugee community, the exciting word began to spread that something big was afoot.

Sometimes their leaders flew to New York for conferences with the CIA. When there was a crisis, Bender would fly to Miami.

The news would pass among the exile community: "Mr. B. is coming."


In May of 1960, less than a month after Davis had approached Alejos, the first Cubans arrived at Helvetia. The detachment of thirty-two men had entered Guatemala as "surveying engineers." At Helvetia they were trained as communications experts.

Alejos already had radio facilities for communication with the rest of the ranch; these were now greatly expanded by the CIA and installed in a warehouse near the main building.

The first group of Cubans lived comfortably in the Alejos guest house. But as more trainees flowed into Helvetia, the Trax Base was built on the mountainside, with barracks completed in June. The base was also known by its code name, "Vaquero," which means cowboy in Spanish. As cover for the entire operation, the Guatemalan Army allowed Alejos to train 400 Guatemalan troops at the ranch. They doubled as armed guards to keep potential snoopers and the 1,300 coffee workers out of the Trax area. CIA instructors, as well as logistics and accounting officials from the agency, were also housed at the base.

In addition to Helvetia, training took place at two other sites. Alejos owned a sugar plantation at San Jose Buena Vista, halfway between Retalhuleu and Guatemala City. The terrain proved excellent for parachute jump training and mass maneuvers. Amphibious landings were practiced on the Pacific coast below Retalhuleu.

In July the CIA began construction of a secret airstrip at Retalhuleu. The existing strip there was inadequate for the C-46s, C-54s and B-26s that would be brought in. The airstrip contract was awarded to Thompson-Cornwall, Inc., a big American construction firm with offices in the Chrysler Building in New York. The firm, already in operation in Guatemala, had the necessary heavy equipment available in the area.

Alejos fronted for CIA on all financial transactions in Guatemala, and it was he who signed the airstrip contract. [iii] The initial payment for paving was $450,000. Before it was over, the airstrip and air-base facilities at Retalhuleu cost the CIA $1,200,000.

In August the crash job of constructing the airstrip was completed. Since there had to be some explanation for the existence of a modem airstrip in the middle of nowhere, foreign diplomats in Guatemala were told it had been built for exporting "fruit and frozen shrimp." President Ydigoras, his son and adviser, Miguelito Ydigoras, and the foreign diplomatic corps journeyed to Retalhuleu to cut the ribbon.

But the CIA overlooked one detail. A few of the more observant diplomats noticed that, curiously, there were no markings at all on the planes that were to transport the fruit and seafood delicacies. Miguelito had to talk fast. "The planes," he explained soothingly, "are waiting here to have markings painted on them."

The training of exiles also moved forward in the United States. In Miami the CIA instructed them in weapons handling and guerrilla tactics. The training took place in the Everglades and even in Miami hotels. In Louisiana one group trained under the leadership of Higinio "Nina" Diaz, an MRR leader.

Once the airstrip had been completed at Retalhuleu, the airlift of trainees from Florida to Guatemala could begin in earnest. The routine was always the same. A Cuban would make contact with the CIA through the exile groups. If he passed preliminary screening, he would be picked up, brought to a CIA "safe house" at night, and from there, with elaborate hocus-pocus, flown from the mysterious, guarded Opa-locka Airport in Miami to Retalhuleu. Sometimes other airstrips in Florida were used for the clandestine flights, and the CIA had occasional troubles with overzealous local police officers. The Hendry County sheriff's office once investigated a report that unmarked, unlighted planes were picking up groups of men at night from an abandoned airstrip at Clewiston, Florida, near Lake Okeechobee. After the sheriff began poking around, the men disappeared. The CIA had another narrow brush with local guardians of the law shortly before midnight on October 27, 1960, when a plane without lights landed at Opa-locka. Since the place had not been used as an airfield by the Navy for five years, a Miami patrolman radioed Opa-locka police to investigate. They did, but were waved away by a sentry who explained it was "just a plane low on gas."


Meanwhile, the CIA was not overlooking the propaganda front.

In August, 1960, the frente hired Lem Jones, veteran New York public-relations man and former press secretary to Wendell Willkie. Jones had once worked for Twentieth Century-Fox and Spyros P. Skouras, but nothing had prepared him for the production he was about to get into now.

Jones had a friend in the CIA. He decided to call him to make sure that his representation of the Cuban exiles would be in the national interest. He gave him the names of some of the Cubans in the frente.

A half-hour later the CIA man called back. He seemed surprised. Do you realize, he asked Jones, what you have gotten into? Then he lowered his voice: A man would call in a half-hour and say he was a mutual friend and would meet Jones alone.

It was the beginning of a series of cloak-and-dagger meetings between Jones and the CIA men. Sometimes the meetings took place in hotel rooms; the CIA also favored Grand Central Terminal. Thus Jones, at the request of the CIA, reported to the agency on his activities for the frente, which in turn was being financed by the CIA.

Jones went through a harrowing escapade in September, 1960. That was the month Castro arrived in New York for the United Nations session and staged his famous chicken-plucking episode in the Shelburne Hotel in Manhattan. To counter Castro's appearance in New York, the CIA decided to dispatch two busloads of Cuban mothers from Miami to Manhattan in a "Caravan of Sorrow."

The CIA financed and organized the caravan, which was to end with the mothers praying in Saint Patrick's Cathedral. But when the chartered Greyhound buses left Miami, the CIA did not have a man aboard. Jones had made elaborate preparations for television and newspaper coverage along the way, but somehow the two busloads of mothers got lost for two days. Only one woman on the bus spoke English, and she had her problems as the caravan inched northward. Four of the women were pregnant and the buses had to stop every few miles for them. Finally the caravan got to Washington, off schedule. The CIA, which could not publicly show its hand, hurriedly called Jones in New York and asked for his help in arranging publicity in the capital. Jones called a Washington press agent he knew, who did his best.

The next day the "Caravan of Sorrow" reached Philadelphia, where Jones had it halted. He had visions of the buses pulling into New York in the dead of night sans press coverage. In the morning the Greyhounds limped into Manhattan; much to Jones' relief, a picture of the mothers praying in Saint Patrick's made the New York papers.


In Washington, there were more momentous activities at hand. As Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy battled across the autumn landscape for the presidency, [iv] the CIA plan, under Bissell's guidance, was undergoing a gradual metamorphosis. From the original concept of isolated guerrilla landings, it moved toward the idea of a larger operation that really amounted to a pocket-sized invasion.

By October it was decided that a force of perhaps four hundred men would make a landing in Cuba in the late autumn. This group would be a major, well-trained and well-supplied guerrilla unit within Cuba. It would serve as a focal point for other guerrillas to rally around. At the same time, there would be a large-scale program of air drops to resupply and strengthen the guerrillas in the Escambray, the Sierra Maestra and other areas inside Cuba. Supplies would also be brought in by the CIA in small boats.

To fly the clandestine air-drop missions over Cuba, the CIA needed pilots. The story of Sergio Garcia, one of the men who flew these missions, is fairly typical.

In August, 1960, Garcia managed to smuggle his wife and newborn son out of Havana into Miami. He was screened by Americans, who also gave him a lie-detector test in a motel on Segovia Street in Coral Gables. Two nights later he was flown to Guatemala by the CIA.

For a time Garcia practiced dropping paratroops and cargo near Retalhuleu. In November he began flying a C-46 over Cuba, dropping supplies in the Escambray. The C-46s had no guns and there were Castro air force markings on them. At that time the air operations at Retalhuleu were under the supervision of an American CIA man known as "Colonel Billy Carpenter," a cover name similar to his real one. In all, dozens of overflights of Cuba were carried out by the exile pilots between November, 1960, and March, 1961.

The men flying these missions over Cuban territory were told that if they were captured they were to say they worked for an air transport company owned by the Alejos brothers and had strayed off-course. They were also told to destroy all documents beforehand. The pilots were given the telephone number of a Mr. G. in Miami. If forced down outside of Cuba, they were to call him at once.

When Garcia was briefed at Retalhuleu by the American CIA advisers, he was told to look for lights that would shine at a designated place and time for about ten minutes. As a result, the missions had to be timed to the second.

The flights would come in over the sea at fifty to a hundred feet to avoid Castro's radar. Garcia climbed to 1,000 for the drop, then zoomed back down to sea level and headed for home, chasing the wavetops. Since he frequently encountered anti-aircraft fire in areas supposed to be friendly, Garcia concluded that the CIA's contacts with the underground were not as good as they might be.

He was right. Back in Washington, Bissell and the other CIA operators were dismayed at the lack of success of the air drops. Almost without exception they were flown properly, but the guns and ammunition seldom reached their targets.

Bissell had continual difficulties in organizing the drops. He realized that unless the guerrillas had radios, small beacons and one or two trained people on the spot, the drops would miss their targets. To make an air drop successful, a guerrilla unit has to be able to communicate in code ten to twelve hours before a drop, in order to notify the senders of any change in location. But the guerrillas inside Cuba were communicating by runners back to Havana, a slow, ineffective means.

The CIA was unable to get radios, beacons and trained experts into Cuba, partly because Castro moved much more rapidly than had been anticipated in creating an effective counter-intelligence and counter-guerrilla network.

As Castro had learned when he fought against Batista in the Sierra Maestra, militiamen sent into the mountains in small groups tended to defect to the guerrillas when they made contact. Instead of sending his troops in small groups into the Escambray, Castro deployed them in large numbers around the mountains. He cordoned off the area and prevented the movement of couriers and food into the hills.

The CIA's troubles were compounded by what the Americans considered to be the impossibility of organizing a clandestine operation among "talkative" Cubans. There were leaks, and as a result, agents were being picked up by Castro's intelligence men. Messages went astray and nothing seemed to go right.

In the late fall, bad weather set in and prevented small boats from landing with equipment for the guerrillas. Later, tons of supplies were landed by boat, but the CIA was never sure they were being properly distributed once inside Cuba.

In short, for a variety of reasons, the CIA never succeeded in getting a secure and effective underground operating inside Cuba, equivalent to that inside Europe during World War II.

This was a vitally important factor, because it led directly to the decision by the CIA to abandon the guerrilla concept and to invade Cuba in strength.

On November 13, 1960, a portion of the Guatemalan Army rebelled against President Ydigoras and captured Puerto Barrios, a banana port on the Caribbean. The Cuban exile pilots at Retalhuleu were enlisted to help put down the rebellion. Apparently, the CIA reasoned that if Ydigoras were overthrown, the new government might shut down the training camps.

One Cuban pilot flew a C-46 loaded with troops to Puerto Barrios, as the CIA's B-26s bombarded the rebel stronghold. He actually touched down at the airport in Puerto Barrios, in the mistaken belief that it was in government hands. When his plane drew gunfire, the pilot immediately took off again without unloading any troops. Cuban and American pilots flew the B-26s in this secret sidelight to the Bay of Pigs operation.

The Guatemalan Army rebellion quickly collapsed and the potential threat to the CIA camps was averted. But some Guatemalan politicians later blamed the uprising on the existence of the training camps. And, unknown to the world, CIA aircraft and pilots had been used to put down an internal uprising in Guatemala.


On November 18, 1960, ten days after his victory, President-elect Kennedy summoned Dulles and Bissell to Palm Beach and received a briefing on the state of the Cuban operation.

Already, reports of the training had begun to seep into public print. It started in Guatemala on October 30, when La Hora, a Guatemala City daily, carried a front-page article by its editor, Clemente Marroquin Rojas, stating flatly that "in Guatemala an invasion of Cuba is well under way, prepared not by our own country ..."

Guatemalans were soon gossiping about the CIA's operation at the Alejos ranch. In November, also, the Hispanic American Report, edited by Ronald Hilton of Stanford University, published a story about the Retalhuleu base. The academic journal has limited circulation, but the Nation magazine, with a wider audience, picked up the Hilton disclosures in its November 19 issue, under a headline that asked: "Are We Training Cuban Guerrillas?"

The cocoon of secrecy in which the CIA had, of necessity, wrapped the Cuban operation, was beginning to unwind dangerously.

In January, as the change-over from the Eisenhower to the Kennedy Administration was taking place, things began to happen all at once, on several levels. On January 3, as one of his last diplomatic moves, President Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations with Castro. In its January 7 issue the Nation unveiled a detailed story about the Retalhuleu base by Don Dwiggins, the aviation editor of the Los Angeles Mirror. Then, on January 10, real trouble came to the CIA in the form of a front-page story by Paul P. Kennedy in the New York Times, datelined Retalhuleu. It didn't mention CIA, but it told of training going on at the base under the instruction of "foreign personnel, mostly from the United States."

Hasty denials were issued in Guatemala and Washington. State Department spokesman Lincoln White said: "... As to the report of a specific base, I know absolutely nothing about it."

The exile training posed an extremely knotty problem for those newspapers which had learned something about it. The Miami papers, for example, were not unaware of what was going on under their noses. What was their responsibility to a free society, during peacetime? Was it to report the truth to their readers, or to suppress the truth for the government?

Once the Times story had run, Miami editors decided there was no further point to playing the game with the CIA. John S. Knight, the president of the Knight newspapers and owner of the Miami Herald, had withheld stories about the Guatemala and Florida training camps at the request of the highest level of the United States Government. The day after the Times broke the Retalhuleu story, the Miami Herald published a story on the Guatemalan camp, and another on the Opa-locka air traffic. A box alongside the story explained:

Publication of the accompanying story on the Miami-Guatemala airlift was withheld for more than two months by the Herald. Its release was decided upon only after U.S. aid to anti-Castro fighters in Guatemala was first revealed elsewhere.

The lid was off now, but despite the Times and Miami Herald stories, the fact that the United States was training Cuban exiles for a return to their homeland did not penetrate the mainstream of news. Most Americans remained quite unaware that an invasion was in the making.

January was the month of Kennedy's inauguration. Official Washington ignored the deep snow that blanketed the capital and attended a round of gay parties ushering in the New Frontier. In Cuba the guerrilla movement in the Escambray collapsed. With this collapse, any lingering thoughts of guerrilla infiltration disappeared. There would be a full-scale invasion. Where the landing force had been contemplated at 400 in October, it was now progressively and slowly increased in size. Recruiting was stepped up and more men and material began to flow into Retalhuleu.

Parallel to this development, pressures began to operate on President Kennedy to approve the invasion as soon as possible. The CIA warned him that the rainy season would hamper the landing and make the Guatemala camps unusable if the invasion was postponed much beyond the spring; the CIA also felt that the exiles could not be held together much longer because of morale factors.

The operation was surfacing in the press, and President Ydigoras was urging that a decision of some sort be made. Most important of all, the CIA concluded that between six months and a year from January, 1961, Russian-trained Cuban pilots would be returning to Cuba, and that that alone would make this invasion impossible.

President Kennedy and his advisers were tasting the wine of victory and of power. The young, energetic administration suffered from a bad case of overconfidence; virtually no one at the White House stopped to think about possible failure. And deep inside the secret bureaucracy, the exile operation had acquired something of a life of its own.

In Washington it is not simple to stop a project, overt or covert, once it is under way. Politically, if President Kennedy had halted the invasion plan, he would have risked criticism for abandoning a project started by President Eisenhower, a project designed to overthrow Castro and rid the hemisphere of Communism.

But beyond all that, the President relied on the strong assurances of the CIA and the less enthusiastic assurances of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the operation could succeed. He was not an expert, so he would have to take the word of the experts.

By the end of January, the CIA had selected the invasion site. It was to be the town of Trinidad, in Las Villas Province, on the southern coast of Cuba. Bissell and his advisers had selected Trinidad for tactical reasons. A landing on the south coast was mandatory, since the jumping off point for the invasion would be Central America. The north coast of Cuba would have been too far away for the invading planes and ships to operate effectively.

But along the south coast of Cuba the charts showed a barrier reef, except at the mouths of rivers. Trinidad was located at such a river mouth, and it also had a small port which could be made usable. The terrain near Trinidad offered a good chance of sealing off and securing the beachhead. In addition, Trinidad was near the Escambray. If something went wrong, it was thought, the invaders could melt into the hills to carry on the fight.

There were some drawbacks, however. The airstrip at Trinidad was not large enough to take B- 26s. And there was a detachment of Castro's militia at Trinidad, which could offer immediate resistance. On the other hand, the CIA hoped that shortly after the landing, it could recruit about 1,000 troops from the local population of approximately 5,000.

Under Eisenhower. there had never been any plan to use United States armed forces in the Cuban operation. Kennedy reached the same decision, even though the operation had changed in scope and size.

Because it was later to become a point of confusion and controversy, it should be understood that Kennedy's decision was that the formal, overt armed forces of the United States -- the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps -- would not be used in the invasion. His decision, of course, did not apply to covert forces, including the B-26s, guns, ships and Cubans under the control of the CIA. These could and would be used.

Since the operation was secret, or was supposed to be, it remained under Bissell's and the CIA's direction and control. The Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon, the nation's top military commanders, were consulted as the plans developed, but they did not have primary responsibility.

The Joint Chiefs were briefed on the operation for the first time in January, 1961, although the Office of Naval Intelligence had earlier stumbled on the fact that some kind of CIA operation was under way. The ONI did not know exactly what the CIA was up to, however.

The CIA's proposal for a landing at Trinidad was sent to the Joint Chiefs for their consideration. After studying it, they submitted an opinion signed by General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, saying that the plan for a landing at Trinidad would have an even chance of success. [v]


Among the Cubans sent to Guatemala after the decision to increase the size of the invasion force was Mario Abril, the private in E Company who on April 15 was to watch the B-26s droning overhead from the deck of the Houston.

He and his family had fled Cuba in 1960. A sensitive youth of nineteen, Mario had soft brown eyes and a quiet nature. But he was determined to join the fight against Castro. His experience was typical:

"I met a CIA man named Roger at La Moderne Hotel, South West 8th Street on the [Tamiami] Trail. Many of my friends from Cuba were getting training and I heard about it and that's how I got into it. Roger gave us training in explosives and in underground propaganda. Sometimes he did it right in the hotel, and sometimes he took us to the Everglades to shoot with .45-caliber guns. He was about forty years old and he was good, he knew his stuff.

"In January [1961] I heard about the training camps. I went to the recruiting office for those camps at 27th Avenue and 10th Street, South West."

"One night, March 13, they took us to an old house in Coconut Grove and we put on khaki uniforms there with blue baseball caps, boots and duffel bags. It was at night, about 8:00 P.M. We got taken into a truck and we went to Opa-locka. There was about a hundred of us and we waited there for a while. Two Americans joined us. They were dressed just like the rest of us, khaki uniforms and blue baseball caps. So they took us to a DC-4. It had no seats, you know, just seats along the side, and we were packed in on the sides. When there was no more room, they put the rest of them on the floor of the plane.

"When we arrived at Retalhuleu, it was around dawn on March 14. We had a real good breakfast there, bacon, ham, everything we wanted. That felt real good, so I began to like the looks of this place, you know, because we had such a good breakfast."
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Re: The Invisible Government, by David Wise and Thomas B. Ro

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:21 am


"About noon we reached camp and we got field mess, dishes and jackets, and I thought, well, we traveled all night, so maybe we rest today. But no, the same day we started shooting with M-1 rifles and they took us up eight, nine thousand feet to practice. There were clouds all around us. So that night I thought we were going to bed, because we started out the whole day before with no rest, but we had lessons in machine guns. So finally they let us go to bed and we slept a long time."

"We were in Trax Base. After about five days they gave us a choice of battalions we could join and I chose the Second Battalion because I had a couple of friends there in E Company. There were about 175 men in the battalion and 40 in E Company. Each battalion had an American instructor. Bob was the second battalion instructor. Another was Jim and another was Juan, who was the only one who spoke Spanish. The chief of the whole place was Colonel Frank. [vi] He was strong, very strong, like a bull. He wore the same uniform we did. But he had a .38-caliber revolver on his hip, like all the American instructors. They all had a revolver. We took hikes and learned to shoot .50-caliber machine guns and mortars and Browning automatic rifles and bazookas."

"When it rained there, you couldn't walk, the roads were covered with water and mud. Every afternoon it rained, and it was some mess, I tell you."

"Every day the American instructors told us that we would have air cover, and that no tanks are going to fight against us. When I was training in bazookas I asked our instructor, Bob, 'What is this for? If we are not going to fight against tanks, what do you need bazookas for?' 'Just in case,' he said. And they told us that the B-26 bombers would give us control of the air."

Almost to a man, members of the brigade say that their CIA advisers promised the invaders would have "control of the air" or "air cover." Few of the Cubans claim that there was any clear promise that U.S. Air Force or Navy planes would provide this control or protection. Rather, this was the conclusion many of the exiles drew. Possibly, some of the CIA advisers wanted to leave this impression.

Under the plan, of course, it was the exile air force, specifically the B-26 bombers, that was to provide "control of the air." It would do so by knocking out Castro's air force on the ground, thus making air cover over the beaches, during the landing operations, unnecessary.

To accomplish this key objective, the CIA created a sizable air force. It had sixteen B-26s initially. During the invasion eight more were added, making a total of twenty-four. In addition, the rebels had six C-46s and six C-54s. These transports were used in the air drops over Cuba prior to the invasion, and would drop paratroops during the invasion.

To head the Cuban pilots, the CIA selected Manuel Villafana Martinez, an ex-Cuban Air Force pilot who spent three years in jail on a conspiracy charge against Batista. Luis Cosme, the ex-Cuban Air Force fighter pilot who led the April 15 B-26 strike, was named deputy chief.

There were sixty-one Cuban pilots at Retalhuleu, plus navigators, radio operators and maintenance men. Six American instructors stayed with these pilots throughout the months of training and the invasion. Others were rotated in and out.

"Billy Carpenter," the Air Force colonel who was the chief American adviser at first, was replaced by "Lou," who was in turn replaced by "Gar," the top CIA air operations adviser during the actual invasion. Other American advisers included "Billy Belt," a young blond instructor; "Stevens," who told Cubans he had false teeth because the Chinese Communists had pulled out his real ones during the Korean War; and "Seig Simpson," a tall, ruddy-faced man who had a Japanese wife.

None of the CIA advisers used their real names, although several used correct first names. General G. Reid Doster, the chief of staff of the Alabama National Guard, at Birmingham, used the name "Reid" when he was at Retalhuleu as a CIA adviser. Many of the CIA instructors were from the Birmingham area. Several of the Americans were recruited by the CIA through a Miami front from among National Guard pilots who had flown B-26s in World War II.

The B-26s had two-man crews and no tail gunners or guns. These were eliminated to make room for extra fuel to increase the range of the bombers. Each bomber that took off from Happy Valley normally carried ten 2600 pound bombs or six 500-pounders. In addition, each was armed with eight five-inch rockets and eight 50-caliber machine guns, each with 360 rounds of ammunition. Although the normal take-off weight for a B-26 is 36,000 pounds, these bombers lumbered off the runways at 40,000 pounds. They were formidable machines of war, but Castro's jets could fly higher and faster. And without tail guns, the bombers were defenseless from the rear.

By now the training camps had become a sensitive politica1 issue in Guatemala. Early in February, President Ydigoras wrote a letter to President Kennedy, saying that morale in the camps was high and the troops ready for action. He urged that the invasion take place immediately. Behind his move was the private alarm of the Guatemalan Government over the unrest in the camps. From their viewpoint, the sooner the invasion, the sooner the camps could be closed and the whole thorny issue removed.

Roberto Alejos flew to Washington with the Ydigoras letter. He called on President Kennedy at the White House and also met with Allen Dulles.

As the pressure mounted, in late February and early March, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs were having trouble behind the scenes in agreeing on a landing site for the invasion. About two weeks after the Joint Chiefs had given a landing at Trinidad a fifty-fifty chance, three alternative sites were submitted to them by the CIA, which had decided it no longer favored Trinidad, partly because the airstrip there was too small for B-26s.

The Joint Chiefs studied the three alternate sites overnight, then held one meeting. They then said the best of the alternate sites would be the Bay of Pigs, but that there would be less chance of ultimate success at the Bay of Pigs than at Trinidad to the east. Nevertheless, they advised that the invasion go ahead in any event.

The Chiefs selected the Bay of Pigs mainly because there were only two access roads leading to the beach. These highways were flanked by swamps. Castro's forces would have to come this way, and the roads could be bombed by the invaders. By the same token, the Chiefs warned that it would be more difficult for the invaders to break out of the beachhead at the Bay of Pigs than at Trinidad. The CIA's military experts, however, felt the Bay of Pigs was at least as good a site as Trinidad, or better.

While this was going on in Washington, in Guatemala the CIA was having trouble with a group of Cubans who objected to Artime and Captain Jose Perez San Roman, the CIA's hand-picked leaders. The dissidents received rough treatment from the CIA. They were flown to a remote jungle airstrip at Sayaxche, in Peten Province, and then spirited upriver in canoes to a point where the CIA maintained what was euphemistically called a "reindoctrination camp." Actually, it was a CIA prison from which the bitter Cubans were released only after the Bay of Pigs.

From the beginning the CIA had taken political as well as operational control of the exile movement, and it tended to favor the more conservative elements in the community. Now a rival group appeared on the scene.

In May, 1960, Manolo Ray, the Minister of Public Works under Castro, broke with the regime and went underground. In November he escaped to the United States. Ray maintained that he believed in the original social aims of Castro's revolution, but he took the position that Castro had betrayed those aims by leading Cuba down the Communist path. Ray and his followers belonged to the Movimiento Revolucionario del Pueblo, the MRP. It presented a strong competitor on the left to the CIA's frente on the right.

With the target date for the invasion fast approaching, something had to be done to prevent a political split in the exile ranks. Under CIA prodding, the frente and the MRP were tenuously patched together in a new organization, the Cuban Revolutionary Council. Selected to head the Council was Dr. Jose Miro Cardona, a colorless but dignified fifty-nine-year-old former Havana attorney. The son of a Spanish general who fought for Cuban independence, he was Premier of Cuba for the first six weeks of Castro's regime. He had resigned as Premier but was named Ambassador to the United States by Castro in July, 1960. Instead of taking the job, Cardona went into asylum in the Argentine Embassy. He came to the United States three months later on a safe- conduct pass.

The formation of the Council was announced in New York on March 22 at a press conference arranged by Lem Jones. On April 3 the State Department released a White Paper on Cuba. It was not generally realized at the time, but the document was designed to prepare public opinion at home and abroad for the secret invasion now only two weeks away. The White Paper said the Castro regime "offers a clear and present danger" to genuine social, economic and political reform in the Americas. Castro had betrayed the revolution, it said, and Cuba had become "a Soviet satellite." Clearly, it was an attempt to provide a form of philosophical underpinning for the imminent clandestine invasion.

Behind the scenes in Washington, a few voices were raised in opposition to the invasion. Senator J. William Fulbright, the outspoken Arkansas Democrat who headed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was invited by the President to ride with him to Palm Beach on March 30. Fulbright, who had heard rumors of the invasion plans, handed a memorandum to the President when he boarded Air Force One, the presidential jet.

It is worth quoting from, because Fulbright displayed an almost uncanny clairvoyance about what was to come:

Millions of people still think the United States instigated the Castillo-Armas invasion of Guatemala in 1954; but the U.S. hand in that enterprise was far better covered than it is today with regard to the Cuban exiles. Furthermore, as the Cuban exiles intensify their activities aimed at overthrowing Castro, the more difficult it will become to conceal the U.S. hand ...

Consideration must also be given to the nature and composition of the government which succeeds Castro ... The Front ... is without the kind of leadership necessary to provide a strong, vigorous liberal government ...

The prospect must also be faced that an invasion of Cuba by exiles would encounter formidable resistance which the exiles, by themselves, might not be able to overcome. The question would then arise of whether the United States would be willing to let the enterprise fail (in the probably futile hope of concealing the U.S. role) or whether the United States would respond with progressive assistance as necessary to insure success. This would include ultimately the use of armed force; and if we came to that, even under the paper cover of legitimacy, we would have undone the work of thirty years in trying to live down earlier interventions. We would also have assumed the responsibility for public order in Cuba, and in the circumstances this would unquestionably be an endless can of worms. 1

Fulbright also suggested that "even covert support of a Castro overthrow" probably violated the treaty of the Organization of American States as well as United States neutrality laws.

On April 4 the President met with his top advisers at the State Department. He went around the table asking their opinion on the invasion plan. Only Fulbright, who had been invited by the President to attend, spoke up firmly against the operation.

From the start the CIA had established liaison with the State Department to keep the tight circle of officials privy to the plan informed of its progress. Late in 1960, when Christian A. Herter was still Secretary of State, he had named Whiting Willauer, former Ambassador to Honduras, as his special assistant for the Cuban operation.

The CIA assigned Tracy Barnes [vii] to maintain liaison with Willauer. Previously, Barnes had been under cover in the embassy in London. After the Kennedy Administration took over, Willauer was dropped, but Barnes continued to report to the State Department. Principally, he spoke to Adolf A. Berle, a Latin American adviser to the President, and Thomas C. Mann, then Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American affairs. They were among the few department officials besides Dean Rusk who knew about the invasion.

Late in March, Under Secretary of State Chester Bowles, during a period as Acting Secretary, learned of the invasion plan. On March 31 he wrote a memo to Rusk opposing it. He also asked Rusk to guarantee him half an hour to present his opposition to President Kennedy in the event the plan was approved. However, Bowles came away from his talk with Rusk with the belief that there would be no large-scale invasion. In the remaining two and a half weeks Bowles paid little attention to the matter; he had formed the impression it would be, at most, a small guerrilla landing.


Early in April the Cuban pilots at Retalhuleu were handed sealed envelopes and told to open them only after they were in the air. They obeyed. The orders were to proceed to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, the misnamed Happy Valley that was to be their home for the next few weeks. The entire air operation, including the American advisers, moved from Guatemala to Happy Valley. The exile brigade was airlifted to Puerto Cabezas, their port of embarkation. There, a CIA fleet had been assembled. What amounted to a sizable secret navy had been put together by the CIA chiefly under cover of the Garcia Line Corporation, of 17 Battery Place, New York.

The steamship line was Cuba's biggest. The twenty-five-year-old company, headed by Alfredo Garcia, owned half a dozen vessels. It had main offices in New York and Havana. It also had branch offices in Houston, Texas, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, cities for which two of its ships were named. In the pre-Castro era it plied between East Coast ports, Havana and Central America, carrying rice and sugar.

After Castro, Alfredo Garcia's five sons, Eduardo, Marcos, Alfredo Jr., Lisardo and Francisco, came to the United States. The CIA needed a navy, and the Garcia Line, since it was Cuban-owned and the only Cuban shipping company still operating from Havana, was perfect cover. And the Garcias wanted to help, despite the risks.

The CIA secretly leased the ships. Working chiefly with Eduardo, the agency then mapped out a complex plan to get the vessels to Puerto Cabezas at the last possible moment. The line continued to serve Castro right up to the invasion. Alfredo remained behind in Cuba, which further served to divert suspicion. (He didn't leave there until March 21.) [viii]

As D-Day approached, one by one the Houston, Lake Charles, Rio Escondido, Caribe and Atlantico sailed for Puerto Cabezas. Their crews were told nothing at first, and believed they were on a normal voyage to Central America. At Puerto Cabezas they were informed about the invasion and given the choice of leaving. A few did -- they were held by the CIA at Puerto Cabezas until the invasion was over.

Each of the ships had about twenty-five crewmen, so there were more than a hundred seamen in all who suddenly found themselves in the middle of a shooting war. The ships were 2,400 tons, except for the smaller Rio Escondido. The CIA also purchased two World War II LCIs, the Blagar and Barbara J., and added them to the invasion fleet.

The Garcia Line provided cover as well as transportation; some of the exiles recruited by the CIA were handed papers to fill out that led them to believe they were signing up, technically at least, as able-bodied hands with the Garcia Line.

While the CIA assembled its secret navy, there were important political moves back in the United States. On April 8 Miro Cardona, in a press conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, issued a call to arms urging Cubans to rise up and overthrow Fidel Castro. The same day Federal Immigration agents in Miami arrested Rolando Masferrer, a notorious Batista henchman who, under the dictator, had run a much-feared and much-hated private army known as "The Tigers."

Masferrer, who had fled Cuba the same day as Batista, was spirited to Jackson Memorial Hospital after his arrest and placed under guard. A "No Visitors" sign was posted on the door. The hospital listed Masferrer as a "possible coronary," but an attending physician told newsmen: There seems to be some misrepresentation. No coronary is evident."

Masferrer, it was announced, had been picked up as the result of a letter from Dean Rusk to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, which said in part: "The continued presence at large of Rolando Masferrer in the United States and particularly in Florida is prejudicial to our national interest from the point of view of our foreign relations." Two days later a Federal grand jury indicted Masferrer on charges of conspiring to outfit and send a military expedition against Cuba, a violation of the United States neutrality laws. [ix]

Masferrer was charged with breaking the law for mounting an invasion of Cuba -- ten days before the government mounted its own secret invasion. Masferrer's character and reputation are irrelevant to the cynical manner of his arrest.

Ten days after the Bay of Pigs disaster Federal Judge Emmett C. Choate ordered Masferrer released and accused the Federal Government of having shipped him off to a "government concentration camp" in Texas. Assistant United States Attorney Paul Gifford said the Immigration Service acted on direct orders from President Kennedy. "The President," said Judge Choate, "has no authority to direct anyone to disobey the law." Seven months later, on November 9, 1961, the government quietly dropped the case against Masferrer without explanation.

One possible reason for Masferrer's arrest is that the administration believed that charging him with invading Cuba would divert suspicion from the government's own invasion plans, then in the final stage of preparation. It was a case of a straight political arrest, something not normally associated with life in the United States.

In addition, the President believed that Masferrer's arrest would demonstrate to the exiles and the world that the United States had no sympathy for Batista supporters. This became clear on April 12, when the President told his news conference: "The Justice Department's recent indictment of Mr. Masferrer, of Florida, on the grounds that he was plotting an invasion of Cuba, from Florida, in order to establish a Batista-like regime, should indicate the feelings of this country towards those who wish to re-establish that kind of an administration inside Cuba."


On April 10, at a White House meeting, the final decision was made to change the landing site from Trinidad to the Bay of Pigs. President Kennedy personally approved the change. The CIA believed that this was a political and foreign-policy decision by the President, prompted by concern over potential world reaction. There would be no shooting of civilians at the Bay of Pigs because hardly anyone lived there, while at Trinidad there was a sizable local population.

It was also thought that the landing at the Bay of Pigs would be virtually unopposed and would have the appearance of an effort to resupply guerrillas, of being a smaller and more spontaneous operation. In short, that it would have better cover.

Despite the fact that the Joint Chiefs predicted the invasion would have less than an even chance at the Bay of Pigs, they went along with the choice.

The Chiefs normally make a distinction between the initial chances of success and ultimate success. In this case, they pointed out that success after the establishment of a beachhead depended upon certain psychological factors inside Cuba, factors which it was not the responsibility of the military to assess. What the Joint Chiefs meant, of course, was that the question of whether the militia and people of Cuba would rise up if sparked by an invasion was an intelligence problem that fell within the purview of the CIA.

The CIA predicted there would be such an uprising if the beachhead could be established and held. The intelligence agency forecast no immediate uprising inside Cuba. Rather, it argued that all would depend on the success of the operation. If the landing was successful, Bissell expected defections among Cubans, although he did not expect them for at least a week after the invasion. The plan was to establish a beachhead; then use the Bay of Pigs airstrip to strike at Castro's communications, and other vital installations. A new Cuban government would be declared at the beachhead by the Council members, and it would then be recognized by the United States. If all this could be done, the CIA argued, Cuba would break wide open. [x]

The final week before D-Day, the Joint Chiefs were, by and large, an unhappy group. Some of them were irritated by the continual changes in the invasion plan. Accustomed to the strict discipline of an Eisenhower, they were bewildered by what they considered the informality and lack of procedures of the new administration.

Although Admiral Arleigh Burke has declined to comment on the Bay of Pigs, he was disturbed at the way the plan was being constantly modified. At one point Burke was told that the Navy would have to stay outside the three-mile limit off Cuba. Then it became the twelve-mile limit; then the twenty-mile limit. He was first told that the Navy would not make contact with the invasion fleet at all; then that three destroyers could escort the ships, then two destroyers. At one point the Navy was told that submarines could be deployed in the area, then it was told: "No submarines."

The Chiefs were told that the invasion was not a Pentagon operation and that they could give advice only when called upon. Because of the secrecy involved, they were not allowed to take their staffs into their confidence; this, of course, cut down on their overall effectiveness.

It was made crystal-clear to the Pentagon that no United States armed forces were to be used in the actual invasion; however, Burke's destroyers could escort the exile fleet to a point offshore. If the ships were spotted en route to Cuba from Puerto Cabezas, they were to turn around and head back to port. In this event, United States ships and aircraft had the authority to protect the fleet against attack as it returned to Nicaragua.

In April, Burke was acting as the executive agent for the Joint Chiefs. In that role, and in his capacity as Chief of Naval Operations, he ordered elements of the Atlantic Fleet to move into position off Cuba. Moving with the fleet was a battalion of Marines from their base at Vieques Island, off the eastern end of Puerto Rico.

The President had made it clear the Navy was not to take part in the invasion itself. But it was possible that if the landing ran into trouble the President would change his mind and order the Navy and Marines to help. For this reason Burke moved his ships into position off Cuba; he informed both Allen Dulles and the President of his action.

Now the President stated publicly what he had privately decided: On April 12, at his news conference, he served notice that no United States forces would invade Cuba. He was asked how far the United States would go in helping "an anti-Castro uprising or invasion of Cuba." He replied: "First, I want to say that there will not be, under any conditions, an intervention in Cuba by the United States armed forces. 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."

The next day Cuban crew members of the eight B-26s that were to fly in the April 15 raid went into security isolation at Happy Valley. If forced down outside of Cuba, the pilots were instructed to say they were defecting FAR pilots. This was so that their statements would dovetail with Zuniga's cover story in Miami. They were warned not to land at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo.

Now, four days before D-Day, the CIA 's fleet sailed from Puerto Cabezas. The second and fifth battalions were crammed aboard the Houston, along with large quantities of ammunition. Their target was Playa Larga, at the upper end of the Bay of Pigs. The third and fourth battalions, both heavy-weapons detachments, and the sixth infantry battalion were aboard the Rio Escondido and the other ships. Their objective was Giron Beach, on the eastern edge of the wide bay, which pokes like a finger into the southern coast of Cuba. The first battalion, the paratroopers, would be going in by air behind the beaches.

On Saturday, April 15, as the fleet steamed for Cuba, the B-26 bombers struck. Zuniga landed in Miami, and Roa and Stevenson clashed in the UN. Now, on Sunday, April 16, at Happy Valley, the CIA assembled the Cuban pilots. The American advisers told the Cubans that Castro's planes had been destroyed by the raid the previous day. They displayed a blowup of a U-2 photo to support their contention.

Actually, one of the U-2 photos taken in these final hours before the landing alarmed the CIA. It showed gravel piled on the runways of the airstrip at the Bay of Pigs.


Aboard the Houston this Sunday, Private Mario Abril and the other men of E Company attended briefings by their commanders. They were shown aerial photographs to help them memorize landmarks.

"They gave us whiskey in little cans, real bad, yeah, black. I didn't wait, I drank mine right there. I got my ammunition. I got a whole metal can of cartridges, and six hand grenades. My gun, I cleaned up. I tied the bandoleers around my chest and I got ready. That was 5:00 P.M. At six, we got a speech by the boss. He told us not to smoke, not to light a light or anything, because we were getting near Cuba.

"So I couldn't smoke, I thought the best thing to do was rest. I knew we were going to have a hard time, so I lay down on the deck. It was 6:30. The next thing I know, they woke me up. It was dark. My squad leader woke me up, and when I got up, I saw the coast over there. We were really there then. I saw, on my right, some lights, like a storm, you know, and they told me those were the other guys. They were on Giron Beach. They were already fighting.

"I looked at my watch and it was around 1:30 in the morning. The ship started to slow down. We were there. We were in the Bay of Pigs."



i. The date was revealed by Eisenhower at a Cincinnati press conference June 13, 1961, following the Bay of Pigs disaster. The former chief executive said he had issued orders when President to "take measures to help these people organize and to help train them and equip them."

ii. Besides Artime's MRR and Varona, who headed the Movimiento de Rescate Revolucionario, the frente members were Jose Ignacio Rasco of the Movimiento Democratico Cristiano; Justo Carrillo of the Asociacion Montecristi; and Aureliano Sanchez Arango, former Foreign Minister of Cuba and head of the Triple A, which later pulled out of the frente.

iii. Davis continued to coordinate the Cuban operation for CIA from the embassy at Guatemala City. U.S. Ambassador John J. Muccio was generally aware of what was going on at Helvetia but did not become officially involved, since the operation was "black."

iv. As will be shown in a later chapter, the invasion preparations played a major part in the secret behind-the-scenes calculations of both the Nixon and Kennedy camps during the 1960 presidential campaign.

v. Lemnitzer acted for himself, Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations; General Thomas D. White, Chief of Staff of the Air Force; General George H. Decker, Army Chief of Staff; and General David M. Shoup, Commandant of the Marine Corps. Later, some of the chief's papers were signed by Burke, in the absence of Lemnitzer.

vi. An ex-Marine who had fought at Iwo Jima in World War II. Later some CIA analysts concluded it would have been wiser to choose a commander with experience in battalion-strength landings rather than a massive assault like Iwo Jima. The first commander of Trax Base was "Colonel Vallejo," a high ex-Philippine Army officer who had fought the Huks. He was replaced by "Colonel Frank" when the CIA shifted from a guenilla operation to a larger amphibious landing.

vii. The CIA man who briefed Stevenson in April.

viii. The day after the invasion Castro seized the company, but of course, Alfredo had already fled. Later, disheartened by the failure of the invasion, he sold the ships that weren't sunk and liquidated the steamship line.

ix. However, after the Bay of Pigs, Attorney General Robert Kennedy disagreed with a legal brief submitted by 132 lawyers charging that the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion violated United States and international law. "The neutrality laws," said the Attorney General, "are among the oldest laws in our statute books ... Clearly they were not designed for the kind of situation which exists in the world today ... No activities engaged in by Cuban patriots which have been brought to our attention appear to be violations of our neutrality laws."

x. After the invasion failed, the CIA was accused of making a faulty prediction that there would be an uprising. Allen Dulles responded in his book, The Craft of Intelligence, by stating: "I know of no estimate that a spontaneous uprising of the unarmed population of Cuba would be touched off by the landing." Dulles clearly chose his words with great care. His statement amounted only to a denial that the CIA had forecast a "spontaneous" uprising at the moment of the "landing."
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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

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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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