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Cryptonym: ESPERANCE

Definition:
Unknown identity. A cable on 30 May, 1954, mentioned that ESPERANCE was a former U.S. Air Force officer.
Status:
Unknown
Discussion:
A KUFIRE (Intelligence) dispatch on 9 April, 1954, stated that ESPERANCE's case officer was Earle N. Bannister (probably John Doherty), and the former was "submitting valuable psych-intelligence/and operational information" and was "proving to be an excellent operator." A report from Paul D. Langevin (David Phillips) in April, 1954, stated that ESPERANCE was a pilot. A dispatch from Graham L. Page (probably Henry Hecksher) on 20 April, 1954, mentioned that "ESPERANCE is emerging as one of our major supports and I am in full agreement with Bannister that he is much too valuable a man to let go at this stage." A KUFIRE dispatch on May 6, 1954, stated that "during the period under review (Note: 6 April - 5 May, 1954), ESPERANCE continued to be the most valuable and versatile agent asset of this station. He contributed in the entirety or in part to the EEI information produced and pouched. His reporting has been excellent..." Bannister was still ESPERANCE's case officer. A memo in May of 1957 mentioned that ESPERANCE (still in Guatemala) reported on 17 December, 1956, that Maria de Arbenz had returned to El Salvador with her son so that she could renew her passport.
Sources:

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916559.pdf

04/09/54: Dispatch from COS, Guatemala to LINCOLN: Subject: General - Operational: Specific - KUFIRE Tasks, PBSUCCESS: "Attached hereto is the fourth in a series of weekly KUFIRE Operational Reports. This particular report covers the period from 26 March through 5 April 1954. Cyrus E. Burnette." - - - Page 5: ..."FT/24: ESPERANCE: Responsible Officer: Earle N. Bannister (probably John Docherty): ESPERANCE is submitting valuable psych-intelligence/and operational information. He is proving to be an excellent operator and the security of this operation presents no difficulty. Information submitted by ESPERANCE has been made the subject of several cables to headquarters." - - - A few days earlier, on 04/06/54, Earle Bannister mentioned ESPERANCE and he had made a personal study of the electrical system (page 4, number 5): https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916666.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000923787.pdf

04/20/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala to Lincoln: Subject: General: Operational: Specific: K Program Progress: "FROM PAGE...2. I had a first meeting with Bannister (probably John Doherty) on 17 April in which we ranged over matters of common operational interest. A system of meetings affording maximum security has been laid on and all business is being transacted on the premises of Bannister's private residence. This, however, is a temporary arrangement, pending rental of operational quarters both in Guatemala City and at Lake Amatitlan...4. The contents of a cable from Lincoln, instructing me to stay clear of all entanglements with ODACID (U.S. State Department), were conveyed to me by Bannister...11. My talks with Bannister convince me that it will be necessary to give this station a great deal more briefing regarding our KUHOOK (CIA Paramilitary Operations Staff) planning, particularly insofar as it may bear on the local situation I am convinced that the station can render substantial support to KUHOOK over and beyond satisfying its EEI's...Bannister has some very interesting ideas on the subject which he will communicate to you...13. As regards my 'priming' assignment, Bannister is casting about for a suitable indigenous assistant and has already come up with one individual who - at least on paper - strikes me as well equipped to do the job. He is the subject of GUAT 366...18. ESPERANCE is emerging as one of our major supports and I am in full agreement with Bannister that he is much too valuable a man to let go at this stage...19. It may interest Cadick (William Robertson) that Bannister considers it possible to make an attempt at defecting Air Force pilots with their planes...21. I discussed with Bannister the collection of reliable data on President Arbenz' movements and on the floorplan of his residence...Graham L. Page (probably Henry Hecksher)."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916250.pdf

04/21/54: Dispatch from LINCOLN to Chiefs of Station, Guatemala Withheld: Subject: General - Guatemalan Matters: Specific - Personal Observations Guatemala City: "1. There is attached for your information a copy of an informal report prepared by Paul D. Langevin (David Phillips) following a recent visit to Guatemala City. 2. This is the type of information that is desired at least weekly from Guatemala...Jerome C. Dunbar." - - - Pages 2-4: Informal Report by Paul Langevin of the Trip Made to the Factory (covering the period from Tuesday, 23 March until Saturday, 27 March): ..."4. In the residential area which lies between the Campo de Martes, roughly, and the air fields I noticed on three successive days troop manoeuvers. These usually consisted in platoons of approximately twenty-five men with one officer marching in single file to this area. My guide during this trip was ESPERANCE, who lives in this immediate area, and he said this is something entirely new, (REDACTION) that has only been taking place in the last few weeks...5...An incidental note here, ESPERANCE, who is a pilot, has been approached by individuals who queried on the possibility of his flying them out of the country in case of action. Around the perimeter of the airfield proper, the largest number of men is the group that is found on the airforce barracks at the field..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000915714.pdf

05/03/54: Dispatch from COS, Guatemala to LINCOLN: Subject: Unintelligible: Pages 3-4: "D. ESPERANCE, as previously reported in HGG-A-1005, encountered certain difficulties on his recent trip to Jutiapa. It is believed, however, that these difficulties were successfully overcome and that he is not regarded with suspicion. In line with our need for EEI data, ESPERANCE has been traveling extensively by jeep and passenger car, both of which belong to him. It is believed that this arrangement is favorable for the time being. E. Through ESPERANCE I arranged for the printing of 250 cards of the non-existent Weaver Lumber Company and ESPERANCE-1, by presenting one of these cards which always bears considerable weight locally, has been able to rent under a fake name the automobile which Razmara is currently using. This car was turned over to ESPERANCE by ESPERANCE-1 and was subsequently turned over to Razmara in a secure manner. I talked the matter over with Page and he agreed to the necessity of purchasing another vehicle, which can be done in the name of this non-existent Weaver Timber Company. At the time the original purchase was made, it appeared likely that the automobile in question would be needed for the King Program and therefore Page authorized that this vehicle be purchased with funds allotted to that program. It now turns out that the vehicle probably will not be needed for the King Program but will be made available to Razmara. F. ESPERANCE has also rented in a phony name a cottage on Lake Amatitlan. Still another cottage is being rented by Bannister in his own name and in that of Burnette and Tranger. Eventually we hope to have approximately 4 or 5 cottages on Lake Amatitlan since the surroundings and cover of this lake are such that surveillance of individuals going to some cottage and then taking off in a boat is extraordinarily difficult if not impossible...Earle N. Bannister." HGGA-1005: https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916063.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000923572.pdf

05/06/54: Dispatch from COS, Guatemala to LINCOLN: Subject: General - Operational: Specific - KUFIRE Tasks, PBSUCCESS: "Attached hereto is the fifth in a series of weekly KUFIRE (Intelligence) Operational Reports. This particular report covers the period from 6 April 1954 through 5 May 1954...Cyrus E. Burnette." - - - Page 3: "FT/24: ESPERANCE: Responsible Officer: Earle N. Bannister: During the period under review, ESPERANCE continued to be the most valuable and versatile agent asset of this station. He contributed in the entirety or in part to the EEI information produced and pouched. His reporting has been excellent...Besides his activities which resulted in the obtaining of reported information, ESPERANCE has also aided the station by arranging for the rental of an operational automobile in the name of a fake company - said automobile being used at present by Razmara without ESPERANCE's knowledge of Razmara or of his activities. ESPERANCE is also obtaining a safe house out of the city. An operational vehicle, to replace the rented automobile being used by Razmara, is also being purchased through ESPERANCE..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 156. 5/20/54-Telegram From the CIA Station in Guatemala to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida

05/20/54: Telegram from Guatemala Station to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida: "605. Re: DIR 01050. (2) 1. Available sources tending indicate many WSBURNT (Guatemala) army officers, though as soldiers glad receive arms, have grave misgivings about recent shipment. Among reasons for misgivings are: A. Has dramatically demonstrated closeness of govt to Soviet. B. Fear that present mission will be replaced by hordes of Soviet or satellite instructors who might do anything including displacing even the WSBURNT officers. C. That shipment is shocking evidence that Soviet and Commies intend completely take over WSBURNT. D. That ODYOKE (U.S. Government) cannot tolerate situation and will be forced take drastic action with terrible consequences to WSBURNT. 2. We will try exploit uneasiness by rumor, black propaganda, etc. 3. Indications are many officers would turn against govt if strong dramatic anti govt action starts. 4. (REDACTION) told ESQUIRE night 18 May that SMILAX (Colonel Enrique Parinello de Leon) now approachable. B–2. Sources para 1 and 3 ESPERANCE, ESPERANCE-1, ESPERANCE-3. Eval: B–3."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000922995.pdf

05/30/54: Cable from LINCOLN to Withheld: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: FOR LUGTON/CADICK: "1. FYI only: SUBJS ref MSG contacted Asst ODUNIT (U.S. Air Force) attaché requesting means contact Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) offering come out to serve latter's behalf. LINC directed break off ODUNIT and pick them up by cutout suggesting ESPERANCE a PBPRIME (U.S.) X-ODUNIT OFR. Will proceed to develop a separate group until status clarified then determining how best to utilize. Several are pilots thus have requested defection of at least one possibly more with aircraft as previously laid on. 2. View above inform Calligeris SKIMMER (Note: The "Group," CIA cover organization supporting Carlos Castillo Armas) is in contact with this group and attempting to tie them in with SYNCARP (Note: The "Junta", Castillo Armas' political organization headed by Cordova Cerna) and would be pleased relay any info or requests from him to them but prefer for present to keep separate from SEMANTIC. Also will try defect one or more with aircraft per above. 3. Aside from those mentioned ref MSG group includes: (REDACTION). 4. Request Calligeris comments re new names above adding SKIMMER is concerned over (REDACTION), former WSBURNT (Guatemala) AF pilot who is considered very slippery character. 5. This group using (REDACTION) and (REDACTION) as spokesmen stated they wanted join SYNCARP in WSHOOFS (Honduras). SKIMMER urges they defect in place except for pilots with aircraft. 6. Advise soonest."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 174. 6/8/54-Telegram From the CIA Station in Guatemala to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida

06/08/54: Telegram from Guatemala Station to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida: "780. 1. Govt declared suspension constitutional guarantees at 4 a.m. 8 June. 2. This most drastic step taken in recent times by WSBURNT (Guatemala) govt. 3. Morning edition Impacto seized. 4. Declaration curfew possible. 5. Plane reported dropped leaflets over Quetzaltenango night 7 June. 6. Fear panic spreading in government circles and offices. Constant meetings govt high command with Fortuny ranking Commies attending. Fortuny allegedly successfully recommending policy appeasement toward ODYOKE (U.S. Government). Bannister comment: Believe govt becoming desperate attempting shore up position. Suspension guarantees and subsequent activities repression may rebound govt detriment rather than benefit. Consider army key situation and believe army situation again becoming fluid. Flight ESODICS caused sensation showed army not whole heartedly supporting govt. Individual army officers griping at constant state alert and believed dissatisfaction could mount to point action if govt makes foolish moves in attempting keep afloat. Sources: ESPARTO, ESCHEL, ESPERANCE, ESCONSON–2."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 222. 6/22/54-Telegram From the CIA Station in Guatemala to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida

06/22/54: Telegram from Guatemala Station to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida: "929. Ref LINC 4165. (2) 1. No indication ref true at this moment. 2. Reports from ESCONSON 2 and 7 indicated Commies and Commie dominated workers claim they intend attack embassies of unfriendly govts and especially PBPRIME (U.S.) embassy where expect seize documentation proving ODYOKE (U.S. Government)–Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) collaboration. 3. Strafing attack morning 22 June described by competent PBPRIME observer as pathetic. One small oil tank on outskirts of city hit but fire out in 20 minutes. Flak not suppressed. Plane apparently did not come lower than thousand feet at anytime. ESAGE, ESPERANCE. 4. Public impression is that attacks show incredible weakness, lack of decision, and fainthearted effort. Calligeris efforts widely described as farce. Anti Commie anti govt morale near vanishing point. ESPERANCE, ESQUIRE, ESTIMATOR, ESCONSON. 5. One lone plane attacking half heartedly at this stage of game gives impression weakness. If Adam (Guatemala City) targets to be attacked, suggest some show real strength. Display this morning far more damaging our cause than to govt and Commies. Govt widely accusing ODYOKE of being involved in this insurrection and the people believe this to be so. Weakness and lack of decision is attributed to ODYOKE and will be reflected in attitude of people and especially of Commies and pro govt irregulars toward lives and property of PBPRIME residents in WSBURNT (Guatemala). Only force and decision will be respected. Words are useless."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000919960.pdf

05/15/57: Memorandum from J. C. King, Chief, Western Hemisphere Division to CI/ICD, PP/OPS: Subject: Jacobo Arbenz, Ex-President of Guatemala - Operations Against: "1. On 13 May 1957 a memorandum was sent to the DD/P recommending five operational uses of a chronological biography of ex-President Arbenz; this biography is comprised of INLUCK materials, Staff-D information, as well as data from other sources..." - - - Page 24: "17 December 1956: Maria de Arbenz returned to El Salvador with her son so that she could renew her passport. She is concerned about getting a passport for her son because she does not know how she can obtain a certified copy of his Guatemalan birth registration. ESPERANCE, Guatemala. COMMENT: This is not a sensitive source. The information can be portrayed as her cover story, implying that her real activities are much more sinister..."

Contributors:
Gavin McDonald

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