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Cryptonym: WASHTUB

Definition:
Phony arms cache planted by CIA in Nicaragua during 1954.
Status:
Documented
Sources:

198-10004-10020: No Title

Feb. 1954: The CIA Mexico City Station planted a story in "La Prensa" that Guatemalan arms were to be delivered by Soviet submarines.

See Gleijeses, Piero (1992). Shattered Hope: The Guatemalan Revolution and the United States, 1944–1954; and Max Holland (2004) "Operation PBHISTORY: The Aftermath of SUCCESS". International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence. 17 (2), p. 317.

On 19 February, 1954, the CIA, working through the Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua, planted a cache of Soviet-made arms on the Nicaraguan coast near the fishing village of Masachapa to be "discovered" weeks later by Rafael Lola, a lieutenant in the Nicaraguan army, and fishermen in the pay of Nicaraguan president Anastasio Somoza García.[2] The CIA also wished to dispose of the weapons, which were to have been used by Carlos Castillo Armas, and were therefore incriminating to the CIA.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 143. Editorial Note

"On May 6, 1954, President Somoza called a press conference to announce that a large arms cache had been discovered on Nicaragua's Pacific Coast after an unidentified submarine had been seen. According to Piero Gleijeses in Shattered Hope: 'For anyone who couldn't divine the source of the weapons and the neutrality of the submarine, a clue was obligingly provided: the arms were stamped with a hammer and sickle. The weapons, in fact, had been planted by the CIA, with Somoza's enthusiastic complicity. The ploy, however, was too crude to have much value as propaganda and received only limited attention at the time.' (page 294)"

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 146. 5/11/54-Telegram From Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to the CIA Station in [place not declassified]

5/11/54 "WASHTUB (when the news was) breaking was accepted completely by press, public and diplomatic corps. However, at present time approximately seventy per cent of public with whom discovery discussed discounting story and believe (name not declassified - probably Somoza) made (to) plant himself to gain sympathy of (US) and expedite implementation of Mutual Assistance pact. Believe discovery of new cache in another country followed by second discovery in KMFLUSH would be of greatest value in consolidating credibility of WASHTUB. Jules Dubois of Chicago Tribune cabled DELETED requesting negative of submarine photo. DELETED stalled by advising he has turned negative over to (State Department). Am telling (State Dept.) chief so he will not deny. Urgent that developed negative 620 size be furnished soonest."

Contributors:
Bill Simpich

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