Home/ Resources / Projects / CIA Pseudonyms / pseudonym: AMERICANO_EL

Pseudonym: Americano, El

Definition:
William Alexander Morgan. After fighting with Fidel Castro in the July 26 Brigade and overthrowing Batista, he was a triple agent by 1959 - an agent of Trujillo in 1959 who then was doubled by Fidel Castro, and then reported all this to the American Embassy. Suspect in 3/4/60 bombing of the La Coubre. He was executed by the Cuban government on 3/11/61.
Category:
alias
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
See David Grann, "The Yankee Comandante - https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/05/28/the-yankee-comandante In Ohio, "Morgan...became associated with a local crime boss named Dominick Bartone...a hulking man with thick black hair and dark eyes—a “typical hoodlum appearance..his F.B.I. file (said) he was closely allied with the head of the Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa...some scholars...speculate that he was sent to the Escambray by the C.I.A. But, as declassified documents reveal, Hoover and his agents had discovered something more unsettling. Morgan was not working for the agency or a foreign intelligence outfit or the Mob. He was out there on his own." The writer describes both "The Americano" and Fidel Castro as "superannuated juvenile delinquents". On 8/13/59 he stalled Trujillo's attempted coup. See 1994.05.03.10:40:20:690005, p. 10 - Morgan was 201-251145. 12/7/59: Described as double agent. 104-10130-10074, p. 4: Morgan was with an outfit known as the 308 Battle Group. 104-10400-10180: Morgan was suspected of involved with the DR's Johnny Abbes in the 3/4/60 explosion of the French munitions ship "La Coubre" (sometimes spelled "La Couvre" in Havana harbor. A former CIA agent told Paul Meskil/NY Daily News the explosion was the work of Cubans acting as "CIA frogmen". Another copy at 157-10014-10242, p. 18. See 104-10177-10339: On 3/18/60, Major C. O. Meyer of ACSI contacted Esterline and told him his office was considering the recruitment of Morgan. Meyer's superior was Col. Stewart McKenney. Esterline said CIA had no operational interest in him. (On Col. Stewart McKenney - see 104-10182-10188) See 124-90089-10005, 9/28/60. Major C. O. Meyer, ACSI, obtained information about the three boatloads of arms from a "source" that may have been Morgan. When Morgan was outfoxing Trujillo, he used the code name "Henry", and received three boatloads of arms from him: 1994.05.03.10:47:24:570005 Reel 13, Folder H - WILLIAM ALEXANDER MORGAN, p. 49.
Sources:

124-90136-10231: No Title

1958: From FBI correlation file on William Alexander Morgan: "CIA advised that on June 18-20, 1958 it was learned that the leaders of the 26 of July Revolutionary Forces of the Sierra Escambray Mountains of Las Villas, Cuba included a man identified only as 'El Americano'. This man, reputed to be a veteran of either WW II or the Korean War, had an important part in planning and carrying out guerrilla activities of the rebels. The Apr. 8 and 17, 1958 issues of "Diario de les Americas" identified one William Alexander Morgan as a rebel leader in the Escambray Mountains. It was noted that this individual was possibly identical with 'El Americano', mentioned above...

104-10177-10436: MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD: MORGAN, WILLIAM ALEXANDER

3/20/59, Memorandum for the Record by FI/PL/ISR Elinor Goodwin, Subject: Morgan, William Alexander - Army, Source Register - Went to WH3/Cuba this date re above Subject. Talked with Mr. MacAuley, Room 1017, Barton Hall, Ext. 2971. Mr. M. found a card on Subject with information not listed in RID files, as follows...(6/25/58): Suspected to be identical with 'El Americano' reported to be the leader of a rebel group in the Sierra Escambray Mountains, Las Villas...10/29/58, Subject was Chief of Organization in SFNE with rank of Major...(1/6/59): Subject is US citizen, native of Minnesota, paratrooper in Normandy, fighting in WW II, heading 2000 rebel troops in Cienfuegos...In response to a direct query, Mr. MacAuley stated that his office has No Operational Interest in Subject."

104-10177-10430: FORM: RESPONSE TO GREEN LIST REQUEST/MORGAN, WILLIAM ALEXANDER

3/24/59 Response to Green List Request from originating officer WH/3/Carib Tim Cobb x2056: "(William Alexander Morgan) rests and contemplates life from atop a penthouse in Vedado. Formerly fought with the Segundo Frente Nacional del Escambray (Second National Front of the Escambray - SFNE), Cuba. Ex-electronics engineer from Toledo, Ohio...instructor in hand-to-hand fighting (in Japan - WW II)...spouse Olga Rodriguez Farinas..." Also see 104-10267-10119: 3/24/59 Request for Approval or Investigative Action from originating officer WH/3/Carib Tim Cobb, re El Americano, 201-251145: "Covert Use of Individual or action requested...Habana, Cuba...Request POA for contact and debriefing..." Signed by case officer Tim Cobb and branch chief H. Dahlgren.

Fabian Escalante, The Secret War, pages 13-14

The CIA knew of the planned uprising from the beginning. ...should Batista's army be swept away..Gutierrez Menoyo's men could serve as a kind of retaining wall. ...the CIA appointed several agents to occupy leadership _positions in Gutierrez Menoyo's band, among them, William Alexander Morgan, a US mercenary...(J.C. King sent John Spiritto, recruited in 50s to infiltrate Castro's forces in Mexico in pre-Granma era.) Spiritto was called to CIA headquarters...sent to Cuba, where he waited for his contacts to take him to the mountain range in the center of the island. The encounter between the two Americans in the Escambray was a stormy one. Morgan didn't want to be controlled. He had recruited Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo (& more)...and he didn't want to share the glory of victory. He was set on becoming an important political figure after they triumphed, and then selling the favors of his government. Finally, Spiritto won him over, threatening to inform the CIA station in Havana of his behavior. Morgan introduced him to Gutierrez Menoyo and he was given the rank of captain on his very first day in camp. The Second Front situation was sobering, even for someone with as few political scruples as Spiritto... (Spiritto) informed the U.S. embassy that they could expect little military success from those forces...(but) their stance was anticommunist and they formed part of the barrier that could impede the advance of the troops under Camilo Cienfuegos and Che Guevara toward the western part of the country. The CIA's appraisal of the Second Front of the Escambray coincided with Spiritto's evaluation. Everything depended on the right propaganda, so that the people of Cuba might learn of these "liberators" and give them their support should the dictatorship be overthrown by insurrection. A public relations agency in the United States was hired for this purpose and David Atlee Phillips received precise instructions for his collaborators to follow in the mass media in Havana."

124-90136-10231: No Title

June-August 1959: Francisco Rodriguez Cauciero (note: Couciero) (105-81502) advised that "in June 1959, Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo and William Alexander Morgan, Commandero in the Cuban Army, were contacting the Movimento Revolucionario Democratica (MRD) in Havana, and this was known to the Crusade of Revolutionaries against Communism (CRAC) in Miami...in August 1959, they deceived (all sides) which resulted in the death and imprisonment of some members of the Castro-movement from the Dominican Republic and large-scales arrests of leaders in Cuba and of the MRD." (p. 31): "On 11/3/59 Pedro Diaz Lanz (105-72630) (protect identity) advised that Menoyo propositioned him on 10/30/59 regarding aligning himself with General Jose Pedraza of the Dominican Republic, a militant anti-Castro personality; also, to cooperate with Menoyo in an attempt to kidnap Esteban Ventura, the 'most wanted' war criminal of the Cuban government. Diaz said he considered Menoyo dishonest and did not trust him because of his close association with William Alexander Morgan." (p. 34): (Jack LeRoy Evans) (109-612) "resided in Morgan's home and was a bodyguard for Morgan...While there, Evans associated primarily with Morgan, Michael Colin and Frank Emmick, US citizens...Morgan was mentioned in connection with the explosion of the French freighter 'Le Coubre' on 3/4/60." (p. 40): 5/6/60, Raul Egberto Ros Gonzalez was "arrested for shipping arms to Major William Morgan, Angel Bano and Gutierrez Menoyo...completely different from the Castro forces...Castro was suspicious that Morgan was not in agreement with the Castro government and that Morgan was being watched at all times by DIER. Ros stated that Morgan had been arrested by the Castro government the week before last and held at Cabana Fortress for a week. (Morgan) was questioned about counter-revolutionary activities before he was released."

104-10177-10423: CABLE: ON EVENING 29 JUNE AT MORGAN'S REQUEST PAUL BETHEL

Late June 1959: "On evening 29 June (1959) at Morgan's request Paul Bethel emb press attache called Morgan's home. Morgan told Bethel he involved in counter-revolutionary activities. Claimed have 4200 men in Las Villas, to be tied in with Dominican Republic consul (in) Miami and with Nick Bartone. This only Morgan (State Dept) contact known to Station...no direct or indirect (CIA) contact with Morgan. However see DIR 18371 (OUT REDACTED). Embassy recently cabled Department full account (of) Bethel-Morgan contact." (Memo from Havana to Director, 8/14/59). Between 6/29-7/6, Paul Bethel (MM T-4) said "Emilio Nunez Portunado is the leader" of their plan against Castro - 124-90136-10159, p. 26. Also see 124-90136-10098 6/30/59 letter from Paul Bethel, State Dept. to Jim Noel (Chief, Havana Station), re Wm. Morgan: "...Morgan feels he may have to leave the country fast if the counter-revolution fails. I asked for no dates, and received none, on when the counter-revolution is to begin...He gave me the name of Dr. Francisco Rodriguez, abogado/lawyer, who wants to talk to somebody in the Embassy, but not at the Embassy. He is at Morgan's house...Morgan is attempting to trade information for a clean bill of health on his citizenship and help in paving the way for his wife to enter the United States... " "Fidel told off Pedro Diaz Lanz and said he is not about to turn over so powerful an organization as the air force to anyone but himself. 'I have the only pair of gonads around here', Fidel is quoted to have said." See John Newman, Where Angels Tread Lightly, p. 220: "Morgan might have been thinking that about himself. He was an agent of Trujillo who had become a double agent for Castro. By telling the American Embassy he was with the conspiracy after he had betrayed his own role to Castro, Morgan was in fact working as a triple agent. Triple agents often end up playing both ends against the middle, and that, Morgan would discover, is as risky as it gets."

104-10177-10036: IN TWO CONVERSATIONS WITH AMBOAR IN MIAMI TALKS ABOUT PLOT TO ASSASSINATE FIDEL CASTRO

8/1/59 memo by WH/III/Carib, x2056: "In two conversations with AMBOAR/Mitchell WerBell III in Miami between 28 and 30 July William Alexander Morgan said he was leader of a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro sometime between 31 July and 3 August. Simultaneous with assassination will be uprising of 5000 Cuban Army troops, according to Morgan. He also said 40-50 man nucleus of conspiring group is living in his home in Cuba. These are all 26 of July members, according to Morgan. AMBOAR inferred from Morgan's statements that while his group may fail (to) overthrow government by 3 August they will probably try something before Santiago foreign ministers conference 13 August. Morgan's apparent purpose in revealing plot to AMBOAR was to get financial support. AMBOAR did not encourage or contribute funds to conspiracy. Morgan said ODENVY/FBI had interrogated him for over three hours 28 July and then sent word to Castro that (FBI) would not aid any anti-Castro group. Morgan planned return Cuba 30 July with wife who was with him in Miami. AMBOAR believes Trujillo has sent arms to Morgan and that latter has been mentioned in Dominican propaganda broadcasts as anti-Castro leader called 'Harry'. Foregoing ILLEGIBLE confirms ref. Request you continue close coverage." Also see 124-90136-10231, p. 41, an FBI memo re "Anti-Fidel Castro Activities": "Morgan admittedly acted as a double agent in favor of Fidel Castro against the Dominican Republic in August 1959, which resulted in the seizure of a large quantity of arms and ammunition and the arrest of certain counter revolutionary figures who were of the belief that Morgan would create a counter revolutionary drive against Castro."

124-90136-10265 No Title

3/11/60 Army Intelligence and Security Command memo to FBI and DOJ re US Citizens in Cuban government positions: (Note this memo is one week after the La Coubre explosion which killed 70 or more people - Morgan and his housemate Jack Evans remain suspects in the blast). "...Comandante William A. Morgan is presently Director of the Department of Restocking Rivers, Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Cuba. One of his assistants is a US citizen named Michael S. Colin, age 41, of Toledo, Ohio...An American girl, June Cobb/AMUPAS-1, who is secretary to Prime Minister Castro, resides in the same house; as does another American, Jack Evans, a 'cotton expert', about 27 years old, from Oklahoma." This was part of a memo focusing on American citizens with Cuban governmental posts, and included Jack Ossorio, an American serving as Chief of the Office of Diplomatic Affairs, who reported directly to Fidel. See 104-10177-10161, 3/19/60: see the 3/19/60 cable that leads up to the 3/21/60 cable below: Like the ACSI letter, it also mentions June Cobb and Gerry Hemming. Martha Tharpe reported that Evans' story, according to the Miami Herald, was that Evans had a close association with Colin, Morgan's frog farmer buddy from Toledo, Frank Emmick and Morgan. "On March 2 Emmick offered Evans $5000 to deliver dynamite aboard La Coubre, which Evans refused, but Colin accepted Emmick's offer and paid a Cuban longeshoreman $300 to do to the job." Colin fled to the Dominican Republic. Also see 3/28/60, 124-90136-10163: Morgan sent Gerry Hemming to Colin's house to see what he could learn. Colin claimed Morgan was working with Mafia people who he named. Jack Lee Evans stole ministerial stamps from Cobb to create his own paperwork, spent his last two days at Morgan's house, and then disappeared.

104-10177-10158: CABLE, STATION FEELS STRONGLY WOULD BE SERIOUS MISTAKE FOR ODIBEX OR ANY ODYOKE AGENCY RECRUIT MORGAN FOR OPERATIONAL PURPOSES

3/21/60 cable from Havana to Director: "Station feels strongly it would be a serious mistake for ODIBEX/Army or any ODYOKE/US agency (to) recruit Morgan for operational purposes...Morgan...is perfectly capable (of) betraying his own mother if it would advance his personal interests. Thanks to Morgan Dr. Gustavo de los Reyes and a great many decent Cubans are now serving long prison terms. AMPAN-1, whose brother works in Castro's office, reports June Cobb (marginalia: sec'y in Fidel Castro's office) is in trouble due (to) her association with Jack Lee Evans...local (FBI) informed Chief of Station informally some time ago that Jack Lee Evans confessed to (FBI) officials that his story of sabotage of La Coubre was complete fabrication." Also see redacted version in folder: 1994.05.03.10:47:24:570005 Reel 13, Folder H - WILLIAM ALEXANDER MORGAN, p. 63. Note: see 3/14/60, 124-90136-10160: Jack Lee Evans was in the papers describing himself as William Morgan's bodyguard and that he and Morgan had visited La Coubre shortly before it was blown up. Morgan and Evans remain suspects in the La Coubre bombing to this day. Also see 6/13/60 Routing Sheet: C/WE/FI John Whitten writes to Cal Tenney: "UNBOUND/SDECE believes Subject may be coming to France." (Jane Roman) receives this message on the 14th, passes it on to C/CI/OPS W? on the 14th. who passes it to CI Michael Roman on the 15th. For the redacted version in a Morgan folder, see 1994.05.03.10:47:24:570005 - Reel 13, Folder H - WILLIAM ALEXANDER MORGAN - p. 39.

1994.03.09.09:05:37:810007: Reel 11, Folder F - CIA DO/LA FILE ON VIOLA JUNE COBB AS REVIEWED BY ED LOPEZ. Document View

Re: Sept. 1960 - June Cobb's Parade manuscript: "Just before I left Cuba I learned that the G-2 secret police had despised the existence of an American girl in Fidel's offices. On more than one occasion, unbeknownst to me, they had been ready to arrest me. But Fidel and Celia always protected me. Celia had a pat phrase, 'June is as clear as a glass of water.' Only one did G-2 agents ever bother me for questioning...A picturesque young cowboy dressed American boy had been hanging around my office while he has been looking, supposedly, for a job at one of the INRA cotton plantations. One day he filched official stationery from my desk, used my typewriter to write an outlandish letter, stamped it with an official seal he found handy, and forged Fidel's signature to his masterpiece. The next day the letter was on the front page of the Miami Herald with a picture of the lad and wild declarations about Who Blew Up La Coubre (the ship loaded with ammunition that blew up in Havana Harbor in March 1960)...I never gave up trying to get Fidel to talk with those who, I considered, might be able to help avoid the situation that exists today in Cuba." At p. 33 - During Sept. 1960, she saw on a Havana elevator only two Americans were authorized to use it - herself and William Morgan. She indicates that she left Havana that day for good and returned to New York. (see p. 31 - Published in Parade, 5/17/62) At p. 4: Cobb states she returned to the US in Oct 1960 "for a leave of absence I had declared for myself, and I simply did not return."

1993.07.20.08:05:37:460530: DEBRIEFING OF SAL MORGAN

September 1960-March 1961: Working "for the government of Cuba in INRA and in the anti-guerrilla forces in the Escambray. He was openly arrested on 19 September 1960 and accused of aiding a foreign conspiracy. He was executed by firing squad on 11 March 1961." 3/11/61 FBI memo from SAC, WFO to Director: "On 3/10/61, SA Kenneth J. Haser was advised that the Passport Office, Dept. of State, had received a telegram this date from the subject's mother. In the telegram the mother indicated that the subject would be executed within the next 24 hours and asked if there was anything the State Dept. would do about it. Robert D. Johnson, General Counsel, Passport Office, U.S. Department of State, advised SA Haser that the State Dept. was unable to take any action in this matter inasmuch the subject had repatriated himself in the past."

124-90136-10192: No Title

10/6/60 memo from Army Intelligence and Security Command, Chief, Collections Div. to FBI: "...19 June 1960, MORGAN held a meeting in his home with a group of five persons. Comandante Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo was the only member of the group identified by name; one other was identified as a Naval Warrant Officer. The group, identified as members of the 'Escambray Group'...Morgan said that the time for revolt would be in about 6-12 weeks and for that reason he refused an offer from an unidentified Cuban officer of keys to a warehouse that contains arms, ammunition and trucks...the group discussed guerrilla warfare but in the end favored ILLEGIBLE to attack within the cities and to seize leaders, armed posts, and communication centers. The 'Escambray Group' believes that a financial crisis plus internal unrest will cause Castro's downfall within 90 days from date of information...The following information was received from a controlled source in Cuba...on 9/23/60...prior to the recent widespread arrests of Cuban naval officers, MORGAN was being visited at his home by a naval warrant officer who was a former member of the 2nd Front Escambray (B-2). MORGAN stated that the Naval Warrant Officer was involved in counter-revolutionary (anti-Castro) activities (D-6)...MORGAN stated the Naval Warrant officer was not arrested with the other Cuban naval officers. (D-6)...In the counter-revolution, the chiefs will be Comandante GUTIERREZ Menoyo, who has returned from Spain; (FNU) ASCENCIO, a lawyer; Comandante William A. MORGAN; and (FNU) FLEITES...On 9/9/60, MORGAN stated that Comandante GUTIERREZ Menoyo has 'backed out' and has refused participation in any counter-revolutionary plot...MORGAN stated that he himself therefore will be the immediate chief of the counter-revolutionary forces...Aurelio Nazario SARGENT (aka SARGEN) will defect to the US and will contact Felipe ILLEGIBLE, Tony Varona, and Miro Cardona to ask them to accept the leadership of the counter-revolution."

Contributors:
Bill Simpich

Search Pseudonyms

 

Search tips and techniques

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