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Cryptonym: SOCCER

Definition:
SOCCER was probably Charles Siemon, brother-in-law of Guatemalan President Arbenz, and a former U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) officer. CIA HQs staff member, Daniel N. Gabowski, was probably SOCCER's cut-out and case officer.
Status:
Probable
Discussion:
A dispatch on 6 April, 1954, stated that Siemon was the brother-in-law of Jacobo Arbenz, was a former CIC officer or non-commissioned officer, who had practiced law in Kansas City for five years, and his father was reported to be a well-known banker in that city. It also commented that Graham Page (probably Henry Hecksher) might have an interest in Siemon being approached during the latter's visit to Kansas City, which would be in line with the K-Program. A cable on 10 April, 1954, mentioned that if a FBI check on Siemon was clear, then an approach could be made to see if he would serve as an informant. A memo on 30 April, 1954, appeared to be based on a debriefing of Siemon, as his career as a lawyer and the CIC in Latin America was mentioned. In terms of SOCCER, a K-Program document from Page on 6 April, 1954, mentioned that SOCCER served for three years in Guatemala, and "made some very close friends among the officers of its armed forces." SOCCER apparently left Guatemala in June, 1953. SOCCER believed that he would be the best person to serve as a intermediary to approach Guatemalan officers with a view to attempting to get them to defect. According to a dispatch on 9 April, 1954, SOCCER's cover status was to be that of an American tourist. Moreover, a telegram on 18 April, 1954, mentioned that only under maximum security conditions should Page contact SOCCER, and should completely avoid using SOCCER in operations. A memo on 11 May, 1954, stated that SOCCER had departed for Caracas, Venezuela, where he would attempt to obtain the defection of Colonel Carlos Enrique Diaz (STANDEL-1). The withheld cut-out and case officer for SOCCER mentioned in this memo was probably Daniel N. Gabowski (see 7 May, 1954, cable). A memo on 4 April, 1954, mentioned that (REDACTION) had agreed to establish contact with Colonel Diaz with a view to attempting his defection. He planned to met Diaz in Caracas, using a cover of being on an Air Route Survey trip.
Sources:

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000136061.pdf

04/02/54: Cable from LINCOLN to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: K-PROGRAM: "1. (REDACTION) found by Page (probably Henry Hecksher) to be highly knowledgeable regarding key military personnel targeted under K-Program and to have developed during his WSBURNT (Guatemala) tenure other valuable contacts which could be harnessed to PBSUCCESS. Showed sound appreciation of problems involved in a broad-gauged short term defection program. Understand from others, he enjoyed very high prestige among ranking WSBURNT military personnel whose mentality he comprehended and who confided in him. Was persona grata in WSBURNT and when he left there (REDACTION) was given uniquely cordial send off. 2. (REDACTION) assured Page he could take four to six weeks' leave in WSBURNT without arousing undue suspicion. Could enter WSBURNT (REDACTION). Described his wife as great asset in cultivating important WSBURNT citizens. Her going along on trip worth considering, also from viewpoint underscoring social nature of sojourn. 3. During period (REDACTION) under operational control of Page, he would renew old ties, make up-to-date estimate of situation, especially army morale and feeling among officers' corps, assess and spot defection candidates. 4. Understand Galbond (J.C. King) considering (REDACTION) for KUBARK (CIA) employment. Would appreciate HQs giving this matter priority consideration. Request arrangements be made to have (REDACTION) proceed with wife to WSBURNT ETA. 5. Approximately 8 April Page desires contact (REDACTION) at his present location for final briefing. In view important time element involved request immediate implementation. Please advise."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916679.pdf

04/06/54: K-Program document from Graham Page: Subject: Comments on a Military Defection Program: Source: SOCCER: Info Date: 1 April 1954: "1. During the three years that SOCCER served in Guatemala he made some very close friends among the officers of its armed forces. During the last year of his stay, many of his friends spoke in complete frankness about their stand toward the Arbenz government. They had the utmost confidence in SOCCER's discretion and were certain that he would not divulge their identity. They came to him because they were in need of guidance and a shoulder to cry on. 2. SOCCER believes that, at the time of his departure from Guatemala (June 1953) approximately 80% of the Guatemalan officers would have been willing to land a hand in an armed revolt against President Arbenz, in order to break the Communist stranglehold. 3. An intermediary, approaching ranking Guatemalan officers with a view toward defecting them, should be someone in whom they depose confidence and respect...SOCCER knows of no one in Guatemala besides himself who could do the job. 4. The officers selected as defection targets have to be convinced that they are going on the right track and that they are acting in the higher interests of the Guatemalan armed forces...6. The following officers may still be able to get close to President Arbenz and extricate him from the Communist embrace: Colonel Diaz, chief of the Armed Forces, Colonel Gerreda Asturias, and Colonel Funes, San Salvadorian Ambassador to Guatemala. By far the best solution would be to try and reach him through Colonel Diaz..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916685.pdf

04/06/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala to Chief of Project, LINCOLN: Subject: Charles Siemon, Brother-in-law of President Arbenz: "1. It has been ascertained that the subject and his family intend to depart for New Orleans by air on/about 10 April 1954. They plan to travel by train to Kansas City, Missouri, and remain there for approximately three weeks. 2. Siemon, a former CIC (ODOPAL) officer or non-commissioned officer, practiced law in Kansas City for five years, and his father is reported to be a well-known banker in that city. 3. Siemon's local reputation is that of an individual dedicated to his home and family and interested in farming and his hobbies in general. He is also reported to have little or no interest in politics. However, he is known to be involved in certain farm purchases being made by Arbenz, and his lack of interest in the political situation may be more apparent than real. 4. There are indications that Mrs. Siemon might have a hard time deciding between her loyalty to her brother and her husband in case she were put to such a test. 5. It is considered that Graham Page (probably Henry Hecksher) might have an interest in seeing that Siemon is approached during his visit to Kansas City; this being in line with the 'K' Program. (REDACTION) Earle N. Bannister." - - - 04/10/54: Cable from LINCOLN to Director: This cable on Siemon mentioned that if a FBI check on him was clear, then an approach could be made to see if he would serve as an informant: https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916512.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916519.pdf

04/09/54: Air dispatch from LINCOLN to Chief, Western Hemisphere: Subject: General - K-Program: Specific - SOCCER Briefing: "1. SOCCER's mission should, to the casual outsider, appear as a natural sequence to his three-year tenure in Guatemala. He is returning in the company of his wife (REDACTION). His status is that of an American tourist on leave of absence from the (REDACTION). He has a matter of course retained a lively interest in political developments and, although no longer in an official capacity, is desirous of bringing his knowledge of current affairs up-to-date...2. SOCCER's actual mission should be laid out along the following lines: a. (REDACTION) contacts with ranking Guatemalan Army and Air Force officers deemed defectable; b. He will elicit from them statements regarding their political leanings and views regarding the paramount issue of growing communist ascendancy; c. He will strive to determine whether and to what extent those individuals are prepared to translate into action their professed oppositional leanings (without implying that an overthrow of the regime would be accompanied by means other than indigenous); d. He will ask leading questions designed to ascertain whether they are already in league with some oppositional faction or resistance movement. Such questions can be asked within the context and subject to the limitations set forth on Sub-paragraph c...8. SOCCER should rest assured that Page will apply the operational responsibilities vested in him in a judicial manner...Jerome C. Dunbar."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 129. 4/18/54-Telegram From Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to the CIA Station in Guatemala

04/18/54: Telegram from Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to Guatemala Station: "1959. 1. HQs states ODACID (U.S. State Department) reluctant involve any their people operational aspects PBSUCCESS; therefore, you will instruct Page that until notified otherwise, he should not request assistance of JMBLUG (John S. Peurifoy). Whiting (Frank G. Wisner) letter re Page trip to WSBURNT (Guatemala) being held HQs pending complete clarification foregoing with ODACID. 2. Page should be advised that present ODACID position re participation ODYOKE (U.S. Government) persons in PBSUCCESS makes it even more necessary that he: A. Contact SOCCER only under maximum security conditions. B. Absolutely avoid SOCCER participation in operations."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000915799.pdf

04/30/54: Cable from Guatemala City to Director: Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: RE: LINC 2276 (IN 42168): "1. Inclined suspect entire matter plant for following reasons: A. (REDACTION) admitted sleeping with (REDACTION). B. He unerringly picked out SOCCER to confide in and Sanchez plus other government figures knew SOCCER here ostensibly on ODUNIT (U.S. Air Force) route survey and could be counted on to report matter. C. (REDACTION) states he distrusts Sanchez who ambitious and among those promised presidency by Arbenz as latter's successor. D. (REDACTION) believes Sanchez could not be counted on do anything against present regime. E. Sanchez previously reported furious because planes unattainable and probably willing try trickery obtain these. 2. Contrary to statement 5C of (REDACTION) (IN 42035), no indication Arbenz desires fire Sanchez nor reason fear latter's influence in army. To contrary (REDACTION) info indicates Arbenz has Sanchez sewed up. 3. Checking further will advise. 4. Suggest further checking questioning (REDACTION)."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916058.pdf

04/30/54: Memorandum for record from Withheld: Subject: (REDACTION) opinion of Guatemala situation: ..."4. (REDACTION) has the strong impression that: (REDACTION) likes and admires Arbenz, and would do nothing he did not feel was consistent with Arbenz's own real best interests...7. (REDACTION) close to Arbenz. Eog., he went on a (REDACTION) yacht cruise with him in February. 8. (REDACTION) assumes he is 'watched' in Guatemala, whether literally or figuratively. He is careful to keep his own counsel...11. (REDACTION) biography. Born (REDACTION). Father is respected (REDACTION). All American-born citizens. Not of Latin American extraction. Graduated from (REDACTION). Law degree from (REDACTION) law school, 1939. Practised law in (REDACTION) with reputation for integrity, until he entered Army. CIC work for Army in Latin America. Met (REDACTION) in Guatemala in 1943. Married her about 1945. Two children..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000136110.pdf

05/04/54: Cable from LINCOLN to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: SITREP WEEK 26 APRIL TO 3 MAY 1954: "1. Enemy: Govt uneasiness continues and threats made to impose censorship all radio programs. Arbenz injured when yacht overturned but not confined clinic. Diaz reaches Buenos Aires on tour and unconfirmed reports indicate he sought arms there. Commies release plans to seek more seats Congress November elections. Govt and commie leaders attack United States and foreign capital in May day speeches. WSBURNT (Guatemala) Govt offers provide 2000 DTFROGS (El Salvador) emigrants with free land and financing. 2. Friendly: Opposition forces continue to gather momentum. Agrees to remain junta and is laying plans for political committee. SEMANTIC directing opposition organization WSBURNT and SECANT (Major Enrique Trinidad Oliva) also reported back in WSBURNT. SHERWOOD started operations 1 May and programs clearly heard LINC. 3. Significant operational details: 2 black flights daily into WSHOOFS (Honduras). 60,000 pounds air lifted there 27 April through 3 May. First arms moved from storehouse with no difficulties. 5,000 pounds commo gear carried to SOMERSET. Three experienced RO's report for training SCRANTON. LCFLUTTER team completes work SCRANTON. Nica one: (REDACTION) in WASHTUB project. Ontrich (Nestor Sanchez) completes plans to return WSHOOFS. SOCCER leaves WSBURNT suddenly. Page suggest Pellecer as possible defector. Pages makes for approach to (REDACTION)."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000915732.pdf

05/04/54: Memorandum from Withheld to Colonel J.C. King: Subject: Approach to Colonel Diaz: "1. (REDACTION) has indicated his willingness to establish contact with Colonel Carlos Enrique Diaz (STANDEL-1) and make a defection approach under Agency direction. Diaz is presently on a tour of South America and could be contacted at several points on his itinerary where (REDACTION) would have both easier access than in Guatemala and the advantage of being on neutral ground...6. The cover to explain (REDACTION) presence in the area would be that he is on an Air Route Survey taking him to the Antilles and the northern part of South America after completion of a survey of Central America last month. (REDACTION) requests that a (REDACTION) aircraft be put at his disposal to lend authenticity to the survey nature of his work since his trip to Central America was made by (REDACTION) flights which partially hampered his freedom of movement...7. (REDACTION) estimates that the best place to intercept Diaz would be in Caracas where Diaz is scheduled to arrive on 10 May. If for some reason this does not prove feasible, (REDACTION) has a second choice, Panama, where Diaz is scheduled to arrive on 15 May prior to leaving for Guatemala the next day...Due to the short visit planned in Panama, (REDACTION) has suggested that he contact President Remon, an old friend, and request him to give a party for (REDACTION) and Diaz so that (REDACTION) will be assured of getting together with Diaz and have the opportunity to speak to him after the dinner. 8. (REDACTION) would leave for Panama on or about 7-8 May, and arrive in Caracas on or about 9-10 May..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000915596.pdf

05/07/54: Memorandum for the record from C. Tracy Barnes: Subject: Trip to Washington, D.C. on May 4-5: Page 2: "d. Page's activities: (1) with respect to (REDACTION) (2) with respect to a labor man to help him. As to (1) a report from SOCCER on his return was mentioned but detailed discussion was withheld pending receipt of the SOCCER report in writing plus Page's dispatches..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000141662.pdf

05/07/54: Cable from Director to Sr. Rep.: Slugline RYBAT/PBSUCCESS: "1. HQs has approved plan attempt defect Col. Carlos Enrique Diaz, chief GUAT armed forces, presently in Rio, during stay in CARA 10 to 13 May. Initial approach to be made by (REDACTION) who was friendly with Diaz in GUAT. He in turn will introduce local PBPRIME (U.S.) agent your mission as friend who represents PBPRIME private interest willing to contribute funds against overthrow present GUAT Communist regime...3. HQs staff member, Daniel N. Gabowski, (IDEN follows) proceeding to act as cut-out and case officer. Will arrive PANAM FLT (REDACTION) your time (REDACTION). Open contact between you and Gabowski barred, but request you arrange hotel reservations thru mutual ODACID (U.S. State Department) friend..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000915446.pdf

05/11/54: Memorandum from Withheld to Goodbourne: Subject: Progress Report - PBSUCCESS for the Period 4-10 May 1954: "I. Operational: The following events of operational significance occurred during the reporting period: A. (Handwritten: SOCCER) has departed for Caracas, Venezuela, where he will attempt to defect Col. Carlos Enrique Diaz (STANDEL-1), Chief of the Guatemalan Armed Forces. In connection with this operation, (REDACTION) departed for Caracas and will serve as case officer/cutout between SOCCER and (REDACTION)..."

Contributors:
Gavin McDonald

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