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Cryptonym: GRIP

Definition:
Dr. Benedotte Regnetta, an Italian, and Director of the Latin American Delegation of the FIAT Company. A memorandum in December, 1961, stated that Regnetta held a constructive meeting with a delegation of anti-Castro Cubans in Miami. Regnetta was also an old resident of Mexico, and he offered to make available his financial and diplomatic contacts to the Cuban POW committee. The memo also mentioned that Regnetta was conducting negotiations with the Government of Cuba at that time.
Status:
Speculative
Discussion:
DEGRIP-1 was a Western European business executive of proven reliability, had business inside Cuba and was involved in a variety of operations, including an AMLASH operation to deliver pills to poison or otherwise kill Fidel Castro in a Vedado restaurant between 1962-1964. DEGRIP's identity is so sensitive that his digraph was concealed even after the ARRB dissolved. DEGRIP, Choaden/David Phillips and Merton/Jack Stewart were all involved during 1963 with asking for Mexican transit visas for Cubans of interest to the CIA as part of the LITEMPO program. 104-10098-10218. 104-10092-10136 points out that DEGRIP is sending dispatches as well as Choaden and Merton as of 7/30/63: http://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/jfk/NARA-July2017/JFK-July_2017_Release-Formerly_released_in_part/DOCID-32422276.PDF Also see 10/19/63, 104-10290-10270: Shipping 38 Special Wadcutter ammo to DEGRIP, following a pistol shipped earlier to him.
Sources:

1994.05.19.10:01:40:220005: Reel 63, Folder B - CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL (CRC) - POLICY.

12/22/61, Memorandum from The Cuban Families Committee for Liberation of Prisoners of War to Dr. Jose Miro Cardona: Subject: Guarantee of the Tractor Operation: "1. This memorandum added to the former of December 20th, is furnished in consequence of having had a meeting yesterday, December 21, 1961, at 2 p.m. with Dr. Bendadotte Regnetta, Director of the Latin American Delegation of the FIAT Company, enroute for New York and Rome, at the Miami airport. 2. Dr. Regnetta, at the airport, had an informative interview, which was agreeable and satisfactory, with Virginia Betancourt, Ernesto Freyre, Jose I. de la Calana, Marcelo Hernandez, Eudaldo A. Suarez and Salvador Miranda, of the Families Committee, on the present situation of the negotiations of the tractors, which is being conducted under the direction of Dr. Regnetta and Mr. Julio Mendelo, in the name of FIAT, in Havana, with the Government of Cuba, which is summarized as follows...6. Dr. Regnetta advised that the guarantee preferably be that provided by the InterAmerican Development Bank, which has much flexibility for such operations through its statues, or through a Canadian bank which also could do it, besides there being an enterprise of that country in the conscrcio, in which also could participate North American firms, which have factories abroad, as one that is in England...8. Dr. Regnetta, who is Italian and an old resident of Mexico, kindly offered to the Committee to make available the relations which the FIAT Company has, and also his personal relationships in any country in diplomat and financial circles, and cooperation for the obtaining of the proposed guarantee; and that as soon as he returns from Italy about the middle of January, he would inform us of his proposals with the enterprise..."

104-10528-10075: CABLE RE LOCATION OF SOURCE

DIR 72903, 10/1/63, D. Ronis memo to Mexico City: "Re (unknown) subject, wish know nature and extent GRIP relationship with subject at this point and reasons why GRIP feels subject is convinced Cubano. HQs interested in establishing s/w link with subject because of ties with target military personalities. Request MEXI review subject with GRIP as thoroughly as possible including likelihood subject would accept clandestine role and with what group or organization he would most likely cooperate. Would appreciate views on how we can recruit subject and establish secure communication link with minimum exposure GRIP...Chief of station comment: GRIP finally located subject."

104-10528-10077 CABLE RE TRAVEL PLANS

DIR 72904, 10/1/63, D. Ronis memo to Mexico City: The (Cuban) Council of Ministers announced that it had accepted the resignation of ZORILLA as a Deputy Minister of Industry..."Request GRIP comment on significance of this change and how ZORILLA resignation will affect GRIP position and access. Might be useful for GRIP to write ZORILLA a letter advising had heard of resignation and interested in knowing what new job Z has. Response might be revealing. When does GRIP plan next trip (Havana)?" - - DIR 72857, 10/2/63, D. Ronis memo to Mexico City: French engineer cited by GRIP in 26 July contact report as person who might be willing (to) cooperate in sabotage (of) Havana tunnels...in view (of) priority interest in denial or sabotage electric power equipment being sold (to) Cubans by REDACTED, it is possible (engineer) might be able (to) make useful contribution (to CIA) efforts." https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=45017&search=#relPageId=2&tab=page

104-10529-10298: CABLE-SUBJECT IS DOCTOR RENE VALLEJO ORTIZ, PERSONAL PHYSICAN OF FIDEL CASTRO

DIR 74539, 10/8/63, D. Ronis memo to Mexico City and JMWAVE: Subject is Doctor Rene Vallejo Ortiz, personal physician to Fidel Castro...Subject reported to be one of Fidel's closest companions in work, sports and play...key man in Castro entourage. Suggest Station brief GRIP and determine if GRIP can feasibly cultivate subject while in course of GRIP's normal activities... WAVE: Subject in contact with AMCRAG-1 and with Armando Corina Subirat, __ Fourth Street, Miami. Request these two be queried...

104-10308-10274: CABLE: FOLLOWING FROM [ ]GRIP WITH ACCOMPANYING REMARK YOU CAN DRAW OWN CONCLUSIONS ON POSSIBILITIES

11/18/63, MEXI 6844, slugline GRIP AMTHUG: Handwriting shows this is one of "()GRIP ops". Discussion of Vasco Cecchi's Montecatini Restaurant, Italian, "good cook". Castro "arrives with only one escort car...always enters with two companions who eat with him. Escort remains outside. AMTHUG visits kitchen alone, chats with employees. Other patrons are not ejected or disturbed. While inside, AMTHUG is a "sitting duck". ()GRIP comments, "You can draw own conclusions on possibilities." Bill Harvey was originally tipped off about this Montecatini restaurant at Calle 15, Corner K, Vedado, Havana and its owner Vasco Cecchi in August 1962 when he was chief of Task Force W and charged with killing Castro. For more see the AMRANGE crypt and this memo in particular: http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=17026&relPageId=2

104-10101-10243: CABLE:PLS ASK ( ) WHETHER HE ABLE MAKE TRIP HAVANA COVERING - DELIVER S/W MATERIALS

12/19/63, slugline RYBAT PBRUMEN GRIP AMLASH MHAPRON from HQ to Mexico City: "Ask GRIP whether he able (to) make trip to Havana covering some period between 5-14 Jan 64. If so, whether he could logically go Calle 25, Corner H, Vedado. If he believes this feasible, explain to him that we would like particularly to have him deliver some materials to a letter box to an apartment in this area. This is for important, sensitive op. Package will be s/w materials REDACTED."

104-10216-10140: CABLE: ( )GRIP( ) HAS RETURNED MEXI. WAS NOT ABLE DELIVER S/W MATERIALS

2/10/64, It looks like GRIP tried to deliver some pills, unable to meet his contact, left the pills in Cuba. Eventually, he did get them to "Ernestina", who said these medicines are urgently needed: http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=108535&search=ERNESTINA#relPageId=2&tab=page By August 1964, the Castro government had got wind of the plot against Castro's life, and imprisoned Cecchi, the restaurant's owner. http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=17025&search=cecchi#relPageId=3&tab=page

104-10308-10272: WITHHELD

8/28/62, Memo from DC/FI/TFW William Tyng to C/TFW William Harvey: Cecchi's Montecatini restaurant in the Vedado quarter of Havana. Cecchi comes from Italy, and his entire family still lives there. Fidel Castro's friend Lt. Ramos lives in the neighborhood. Castro's 20 bodyguards usually arrive 10-15 minutes before he does. Closet partly under the stairs, but a man could be hidden under there comfortably. Last page shows a map of the restaurant and even the closet.

104-10308-10274: CABLE: FOLLOWING FROM [ ]GRIP WITH ACCOMPANYING REMARK YOU CAN DRAW OWN CONCLUSIONS ON POSSIBILITIES

11/10/63, cable from Mexico City to Director, MEXI 6844: GRIP states that AMTHUG-1 again visiting Cecchi's restaurant once a month. While inside Cecchi's restaurant, AMTHUG-1 (Fidel Castro) is a "sitting duck". GRIP writes, "You can draw your own conclusions on possibilities."

104-10216-10233: WITHHELD

This document reveals that the second letter of the redacted digraph is "E".

1994.06.17.11:36:40:380005 Reel 47, Folder J - MEXI 6742 - 6899 CABLES.

11/7/63 cable, MEXI 6833, from Mexico City to Director: The source (and digraph) is DEGRIP, a Western European businessman of proven reliability whose business was inside Cuba.

104-10093-10370: CABLE RE SUBJECT ACTIVITIES AFTER RETURNING FROM HOME LEAVE.

11/19/63 cable MEXI-6849, from Mexico City to Director: "Following from ()GRIP: Yevgeniy I. Pronskiy (201-353883) returned from USSR home leave about Oct 10 with wife and son...no longer pub crawling or active with Cuban girls in presence (of) wife. Is in charge meeting ad taking care all Soviet officials and delegations, arranges lodging, press conferences, etc."

Contributors:
Bill Simpich • Gavin McDonald

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