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Pseudonym: Arville, Richard

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Unknown identity. Richard F. Arville was involved in Operation PBFORTUNE in Guatemala in 1953. Arville was probably Chief, DTROBALO (Fort Clayton, Panama), in July of 1953.
A dispatch from Ciudad Trujillo in September of 1959 on LIFAIL (Orlando Pedro Rodriguez Alvarez, nephew of Santiago Alvarez) was signed by Arville. Therefore, Richard F. Arville was either Chief of Station (COS), Ciudad Trujillo, at that time or was working under the COS.


01/08/53: Cable from SR REP, Withheld to Director: Slugline PBFORTUNE: IMMEDIATE ACTION: "1. Cady contacted Jacob B. Hurschwood, acting chief (REDACTION) 1645 hours 7 Jan asking if any further information received this subject. Hurschwood stated he had received communication today, but would not disclose source or channel, directing him not to discuss subject with Cady or anyone except Richard F. Arville or Seekford. He said he was further instructed to suggest Cady telephone Washington if he had any questions. 2. Please furnish instructions."


07/29/53: Air dispatch from Chief, DTROBALO to Chief, WH: Subject: General - Operational. Specific - PBFORTUNE: "Transmitted herewith in triplicate is a memorandum of understanding, made as a result of our discussions with Lawrence F. Sillence. Richard F. Arville." - - - Pages 2-3: "Conference in Richard F. Arville's office on 24 July 1953, at which time the following were present: For Headquarters, Lawrence F. Sillence, Stephen O. Brigford, Peter C. Knittel and Kenneth T. Offen; for DTROBALO, Richard F. Arville and Jacob B. Hirschwood. Discussions Resulting in the Following Understandings were Reached: 1. Arville stated that nothing stated by him, or his deputy, or anyone representing DTROBALO, would be intended to alter, change or deviate any Headquarters' instructions in any degree. 2. Each of the gentlemen from Headquarters stated he had received certain instructions, and understood his assigned duties and instructions. 3. The date and hour of the departure of the (REDACTION) was agreed upon as 0600 hours 25 July 1953, depending upon any difficulty encountered. 4. The condition of the engines was brought up and Offen stated the ship would be ready to depart in so far as he is able to determine at this time...6. The total complement, officers and men, was discussed and the total placed at 16. The list of officers and men was read and approved. 7. Communications: It was understood that the same Chief Communicator would be used on the present trip as we used on the last trip, and that Louis B. Solliday would not be needed as Assistant Communicator..." Oliver G. Galbond (J.C. King) and Seekford were mentioned in point 13. (Reconnoiter).


07/31/53: Cable from DTROBALO to Director: Slugline PBFORTUNE (Attn: Galbond): "1. Following message from Sillence received 1600 hours by DTROBALO from (REDACTION) request tug immediately, barely holding own. Four engines not operative. Answer immediately if and when available. Recommend consider sinking vessel here and rescue crew with navy P.B.M. No immediate danger to crew but vessel not navigable. 15-60 North 80-40 West. 2. Immediately notified navy and on navy advice messaged Sillence 'navy notified. Action being taken immediately by P.B.M's. Do everything save crew.' 3. Navy notified air sea rescue Albrook Field, confirmed by Arville. Albrook stated P.B.M's would arrive LCFANGLED position by day light but might not be able land in rough seas. All ships LCFANGLED area notified and requested report back to navy here. 4. Navy and Albrook given following information only: Name of LCFANGLED, position, number of men on board, extent of danger, classified project, no publicity. Request for assistance had to be official and in Arville's name as commander this post. 5. After telephone conversation with Galbond (J.C. King), Sillence reported through (REDACTION) 1830 hours 'ship not in immediate danger. Not navigable. If crew carried by P.B.M. believe operational security requires ship be sunk. Do you concur?' 6. Arville replied to Sillence 1845 hours 'scuttling of ship within your discretion.' 7. Will keep you informed."


08/07/53: Air dispatch from Withheld to Chief, WHD: Subject: General - Operational: Specific - PBFORTUNE: "1, Upon my return to Fort Amador from the interior the afternoon of 31 July 1953, I immediately called Richard F. Arville, asking what I could do or might have done to assist him regarding the trouble experienced by the LCFANGLED. Arville filled me in on the background and indicated quite frankly that he did not know. We agreed it would be wise for me to play this incident down as much as possible; and that it would be well for me to tell the interested officials in the Command, on a need-to-know basis if asked, that this was an empty LCFANGLED engaged in a routine training ship to check out the engines, etc...(REDACTION) Zachary T. Cady."


08/12/53: Air dispatch from Chief, DTROBALO to Chief, WH: Subject: Operational PBFORTUNE: "1. I furnish you herewith the following documents pertaining to the latest phase of the subject matter: A. Cable references (Attachment #1). B. Running log of chronologically arranged memoranda, (Attachment #2). C. Memoranda of seven (7) key questions by Arville to Lawrence F. Sillence and answers by Sillence, (Attachment #3). 2. Recommend you have someone review and analyze the memoranda for you. 3. This station would appreciate the benefit of any criticism or suggestions you may have, concerning its part in this phase. Richard F. Arville." - - - Page 4: ATTACHMENT #3: "Answers by Lawrence F. Sillence to Questions Stated by Richard F. Arville: 1. The failure of the operation can be accounted to the instability to maintain the necessary power needed to insure navigability in the vessel. The loss of power added to the inclement weather aborted the operation. 2. After the initial failure of the engines the engines were used to maintain steerage alone. They were not at any time pushed. 3. No islands were available. Those that were to the eastward and it was impossible to push into the weather. In addition, the islands we were concerned with were not topographically so to insure a safe anchorage. 4. The vessel and crew were without papers. There was a security hazard involved if no rescue was forthcoming and the vessel had to run to Nicaragua or Honduras. If the vessel could not be returned to (REDACTION) I felt it was safer on the bottom." (CONTINUED BELOW)


08/12/53: Air dispatch from Chief, DTROBALO to Chief, WH: Subject: Operational PBFORTUNE: "5. This decision was chiefly the C.O.S. I agreed because (1) I expected assistance from the Navy and (2) it would be costly to have a private vessel do the job. After 12 hours waiting for some Navy action I reconsidered and felt a private vessel could do the job as securely. Therefore I radioed our position to the Seaforth and told the Captain of the Pervis we could accept any assistance Navy or otherwise, that he could provide. He then contacted some merchant vessels but they never did appear. 6. Other than minor bruises, no. 7. The performance of every man aboard was exceptional and I would not hesitate for a moment to request anyone of them to sail with me again. 8. I would recommend against the use of the vessel if the operation is to be performed at such a great distance. I believe the vessel could operate within 60 to 100 miles but to go further especially now that the weather is entering the hurricane season, would be subjecting the crew to a perhaps insurmountable hazard."


09/16/53: Air dispatch from Withheld to Chief, WHD: Subject: General - Operational: Specific - PBFORTUNE: "1. Attached hereto is a self-explanatory memorandum addressed to me by the ACofS, J-2, relating to this subject. 2. This memorandum arrived at my desk marked EYES ONLY in a sealed envelope on 8 September 1953. On 9 September I personally reviewed the entire file in the office of the ACofS, J-2, and concluded that the attached memorandum is an accurate summary of the contents thereof. I cautioned the J-2 again regarding the sensitivity of this subject and thanked him for having pulled the file together under his custody. 3. On 9 September I personally took a copy of the attached memorandum to Richard F. Arville, informed him of the above, and stated this letter would be forwarded to Washington. I have also informed Arville and Jacob B. Hirschwood that they may examine the file in the J-2's office if they so desire. (REDACTION) Zachary T. Cady."

104-10074-10144: OPERATIONAL ((DELETION)).

09/28/59: Dispatch from COS, Ciudad Trujillo to Chief, WHD (Info: COS, Mexico City; COS, Havana): Subject: Operational LIFAIL: Page 6: "20. COMMENT: LIFAIL (Orlando Pedro Rodriguez Alvarez, nephew of Santiago Alvarez) is a bright young man who displayed culture and good manners. He was genuinely appreciative for the assistance given him. It should be understood however, that he is immature and, in the face of some element of danger, is like a frightened little boy. The Dominican Republic is cruel, conscienceless and extremely dangerous for old hands and such a novice has no chance. It has been the quick undoing of more seasoned men. It is believed that the theft of LIFAIL's passport can be considered advantageous. If he had stayed on in the Dominican Republic, without experiencing the loss of his passport, it is a safe assumption that he would have become suspect, arrested and whisked off to prison. Torture would have broken him quickly. He should not return to the Dominican Republic under any circumstances, and he was so informed emphatically. Richard F. Arville."

Gavin McDonald

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