Home/ Resources / Projects / CIA Cryptonyms / bigram: PB / cryptonym: PBFORTUNE

Cryptonym: PBFORTUNE

Return to Main Crypts Page

The initial covert action program approved by Truman in 1952, designed to oust Jacob Arbenz and his government in Guatemala. Succeeded by PBSUCCESS in 1953-54.

Larry Hancock, Nexus (JFK Lancer, 2011), pp. 18-19

"In general, Agency and intelligence community reports supported the view that the Arbenz regime was coming more and more under Communist influence, a view supported by CIA director Walter Bedell Smith. They began lobbying for a sanctioned support program to assist the anti-Communist elements in the country (the Catholic Church hierarchy, landowners and business interests as well as certain university groups and the Army)...the Truman administration was persuaded by the CIA and eventually approved a covert action program designed to oust Arbenz and his government. The new covert action project was designated by the CIA with the cryptonym, PBFORTUNE. The PBFORTUNE Guatemala project (and its successor PBSUCCESS) seem to have been heavily influenced by Nicaraguan president Anastasio Somoza. In April of 1952, during a visit to Washington, he proposed that if provided with arms and support, he and Guatemalan exile Carlos Castillo Armas could overthrow the Arbenz government...planning began, only to be terminated after barely a month due to the fact that Its security had been blown (a common occurrence in virtually every major Agency Latin American project during the following two decades)."

Gerald K. Haines, CIA and Guatemala Assassination Proposals: 1952–1954 CIA History Staff Analysis, June 1995 https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/CIA_and_Guatemala_Assassination_Proposals:_CIA_History_Staff_Analysis

Throughout planning for PBFORTUNE there were proposals for assassination. Even months before the official approval of PBFORTUNE, Directorate of Plans (DP) officers compiled a "hit list." Working from an old 1949 Guatemalan Army list of Communists and information supplied by the Directorate of Intelligence, in January 1952 DP officers compiled a list of "top flight Communists whom the new government would desire to eliminate immediately in event of successful anti-Communist coup." Headquarters asked [ ] to verify the list and recommend any additions or deletions.10 Headquarters also requested [ ] to verify a list of an additional 16 Communists and/or sympathizers whom the new government would desire to incarcerate immediately if the coup succeeded.11 [ ] in Guatemala City added three names to the list in his reply.12 Nine months later, SEEKFORD, the CIA agent in touch with Castillo Armas, forwarded to Headquarters a disposal list compiled by Castillo Armas. That list called for the execution through executive action of 58 Guatemalans (Category I) and the imprisonment or exile of 74 additional Guatemalans (Category II).13 SEEKFORD also reported at the same time, 18 SEptember 1952, that General Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic, had agreed to aid Castillo Armas in return for the "killing of four Santo Dominicans at present residing in Guatemala a few days prior to D-Day." According to SEEKFORD, Castillo Armas readily agreed, but cautioned that it could not be done prior to D-day because of security reasons. Castillo Armas further added that his own plans included similar action and that special squads were already being trained.14 There is no record that Headquarters took any action regarding Castillo Armas' list. After the PBFORTUNE operation was officially terminated, the Agency continued to pick up reports of assassination planning on the part of the Guatemalan opposition..."


October, 1997: Guatemala 1954 Covert Action Declassification Project: "The main bulk of the collection is approximately 120,000 pages of hard copy materials spanning the period of 1951-1957. These comprise primarily Directorate of Operations records, but also include a small number of State Department documents as well as isolated equities of other components, both Agency internal and Department of Defense. There are also 22 archival (gray Hollinger) boxes with magnetic tape recordings, a few maps, and some press clippings. Scope: To release to the public as much information as possible relating to the build-up of early 1950s-era policymaker attention to the 'Guatemala problem'; the three main phases of the covert operation codeworded PBFORTUNE, PBSUCCESS, and PBHISTORY; and the immediate aftermath of these operations."

Bill Simpich • Larry Hancock

© Mary Ferrell Foundation. All Rights Reserved. |Site Map |MFF Policies |Contact Us