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Pseudonym: Kempton, John

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John P. Kempton was possibly an alias used by senior CIA officer John Doherty, or Jack Stewart, who were involved in Project PBSUCCESS.
Doherty used the pseudonym George L. Tranger as COS, Guatemala, and probably used the pseudonym Earle N. Bannister, in Guatemala as well.

A memo from William D. Playdon (Tracy Barnes) in late May of 1954 stated that John P. Kempton had been delayed on May 6th, probably at an airport, with twelve tapes in his flight bag. Kempton was allowed to leave the unknown place after his suitcase was thoroughly searched by a customs official.

Kempton produced two CIA Field Information Reports from Havana in November, 1956, and June, 1957, which were approved by Sherwood P. Rochon.

A Report Cover Sheet from Havana in March, 1960, stated that the Reporting Officer was Nelson L. Raynock (Henry Hecksher), the Reports Officer was John P. Kempton, and the Approving Officer was Woodrow C. Olien (James Noel).

A Report Cover Sheet from JMWAVE in October of 1962 stated that the Reporting Officer was Henry J. Sloman (probably Tony Sforza), the Reports Officer was John P. Kempton, and the Approving Officer was Andrew K. Reuteman (Theodore Shackley).

Jack Stewart participated in Operation PBSUCCESS, and later worked in Havana. Stewart could possibly have spent a short time working at JMWAVE.


04/20/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala to LINCOLN: Subject: General: Operational: Specific: K Program Progress: "FROM PAGE...2. I had a first meeting with Bannister on 17 April in which we ranged over matters of common operational interest. A system of meetings affording maximum security has been laid on and all business is being transacted on the premises of Bannister's private residence. This, however, is a temporary arrangement, pending rental of operational quarters both in Guatemala City and at Lake Amatitlan...4. The contents of a cable from LINCOLN, instructing me to stay clear of all entanglements with ODACID (U.S. State Department), were conveyed to me by Bannister...11. My talks with Bannister convince me that it will be necessary to give this station a great deal more briefing regarding our KUHOOK (CIA Paramilitary Operations Staff) planning, particularly insofar as it may bear on the local situation I am convinced that the station can render substantial support to KUHOOK over and beyond satisfying its EEI's...Bannister has some very interesting ideas on the subject which he will communicate to you...13. As regards my 'priming' assignment, Bannister is casting about for a suitable indigenous assistant and has already come up with one individual who - at least on paper - strikes me as well equipped to do the job. He is the subject of GUAT 366...18. ESPERANCE is emerging as one of our major supports and I am in full agreement with Bannister that he is much too valuable a man to let go at this stage...19. It may interest Cadick (William Robertson) that Bannister considers it possible to make an attempt at defecting Air Force pilots with their planes...21. I discussed with Bannister the collection of reliable data on President Arbenz' movements and on the floorplan of his residence...Graham L. Page (probably Henry Hecksher)."


05/16/54: Air dispatch from LINCOLN to COS, Guatemala: Subject: Operational Notes for Graham L. Page: "1. Attached please find sterile notes for Graham L. Page (probably Henry Hecksher)...They are to be returned to Station files as soon as Page has studied them...3. For the information of Guatemala Station and Page, Headquarters was informed by cable on 14 May of the agreements reached on the K-Program at the 11 May meeting between Bannister, Clower (Joseph G. Sancho), Page and Nutting. It was pointed out in the cable that the K-Program originally comprised intelligence, defection, 'priming' and labor defection, but that it would now, for purposes of security and concentration on key issues, be restricted to intelligence and military defection. Page's assumption of control over ESQUIRE and his high regard for ESQUIRE's ability were noted. (REDACTION)'s threefold duties, intelligence, KUGOWN (Psychological and Paramilitary Staff) appeals to the Army and recruitment in Guatemala City garrisons-were listed. It was explained that Burnette would handle the backstopping and commo for Page, and that Burnette's diplomatic status provided Page more protection than Clower, as a bodyguard, could provide. A separate cable was sent on the use of Clower as the case officer on ESCOBILLA, SEMANTIC and SECANT (Major Enrique Trinidad Oliva). 4. LINCOLN would appreciate cabled confirmation that Burnette has taken over the backstopping and commo responsibilities for Page. 5. Bannister is hereby informed that the responsibility for coordinating CE information in Guatemala, regarding government knowledge of and counter-plans to PBSUCCESS, devolves on him. He is to coordinate and evaluate both the intelligence reports procured by Page from (REDACTION) and the information obtained by regular Station assets. (REDACTION). Jerome C. Dunbar."


05/23/54: Memo from William D. Playdon (Tracy Barnes), LINCOLN to PBSUCCESS Headquarters: Subject: Operational John P. Kempton's Visit to (REDACTION): "1. When John P. Kempton arrived at (REDACTION) at 0030 hours on 6 May 1954, he was met by a representative (REDACTION). The latter took Kempton's flight bag, containing twelve tapes, and accompanied him to the waiting room. From there the (REDACTION) representative carried the bag (REDACTION) out to his automobile. 2. When Kempton's suitcase was brought in and he approached the (REDACTION) the customs official, the latter asked, 'Where is the bag you were carrying when you got off the plane?' Knowing that the customs official must have seen the bag, Kempton replied that a friend had it. The 'friend' was then questioned. He stated that he had merely carried the bag to the car to assist his friend. The customs official asked him to bring the bag in from the car. 3. Before bringing the bag to the customs official, the (REDACTION) representative dumped the tapes on the floor of the front seat of the car. The customs official, upon seeing the bag, stated that the contents must have been removed since he had observed that the bag was well filled out when it was taken from the plane and now had only a few items of lingerie and magazines in it. 4. The customs official then stated that he wished to search the car. The (REDACTION) representative refused to permit that. The customs official said that, in that case, he would have to call in the police. 5. Three policemen who were on duty at the airport then entered. They agreed with the (REDACTION) man that they had no right to search his car, stating that it was a matter that would have to be settled by the customs officials...7. The customs official then proceeded to examine Kempton's suitcase thoroughly, and he departed from the airport around 0200 hours." Below William D. Playdon's name is the name N. R. Conniff.


11/19/56: Field Information Report from Habana: Report No.: HKH-1376. Report Made By: John P. Kempton. Approved By: Sherwood P. Rochon. Source Cryptonym: AMBULL. On page 4 source was described as a "Cuban with good contacts in labor circles (C)."


06/11/57: Field Information Report from Habana: "Report No.: HKH-1502. Report Made By: John P. Kempton. Approved By: Sherwood P. Rochon...Subject: Communism in the Tobacco Industry. Source: Paragraphs 1 and 2 - AMBULL from Justo Quijano Martinez, director of the tobacco group of the Asociacion Cubana pro-Democracia. Paragraph 3 - AMBULL. Paragraph 4 - Samuel Powell."


03/25/60: Report Cover Sheet from Habana: Reporting Officer: Nelson L. Raynock (Henry Hecksher). Reports Officer: John P. Kempton. Approving Officer: Woodrow C. Olien (James Noel): Source: Pablo Ubides Diaz: "Operational Comment: On 18 March 1960 Ubides came into the Consulate to apply for a United States visa. He said that he had been released from prison on 17 March and showed the reported judicial record from which the names of the cited agents were taken."


10/29/62: Report Cover Sheet from JMWAVE: Reporting Officer: Henry J. Sloman (probably Tony Sforza). Reports Officer: John P. Kempton. Approving Officer: Andrew K. Reuteman (Theodore Shackley): "GYROSE: AMOT-12 in AA 906, dated 5 October 1962, based on debriefing of Joaquin Luis Barroso Gomez, A 12 853 861, DPOB: Manguito, Matanzas, 5 June 1928, who was a legal solicitor in Camaguey. He obtained the information from the MRP's chief of action and sabotage, now of Camaguey." - - - Page 3: Field Information Report: COUNTRY: Cuba. PLACE & DATE ACQ.: Cuba (9 October 1962). SUBJECT: Arrest of Insurgents near Mayajigua, Las Villas. "SOURCE: Cuban businessman (F) from legal solicitor in Camaguey Province. Appraisal of Content: 3..."


Nicholas Cullather: Operation PBSUCCESS: The United States and Guatemala 1952-54 (1994): Page 47: ..."Field officers also felt LINCOLN's schemes aimed at the wrong audience, targeting intellectuals, a constituency unlikely to be of much help. (REDACTION) aimed to 'attack the theoretical foundations of the enemy' on the grounds that 'the present state of things in the country is largely determined by intellectuals.' Tranger disparaged such appeals. The objective, he told (REDACTION) was to scare the Communists, not debate them. Propaganda 'should be designed to (1) intensify anti-Communist, anti-government sentiment and create a disposition to act; and (2) create dissension, confusion, and FEAR in the enemy camp.' With the backing of (REDACTION) Tranger won his point. Abandoning the 'lofty, lengthy tomes that appeal to the intellectual minority,' psychological efforts aimed, in his words, at 'the heart, the stomach and the liver (fear)'"... - - - Page 50: ..."By May (note: 1954), (REDACTION) political program was in crisis...Reluctantly, he instructed (REDACTION) who replaced Tranger as Chief of Station in Guatemala in April) to look for an opportunity to make a cold approach..." https://archive.org/stream/GuatemalaCoup/Guat01#page/n57/mode/2up - - - _Page 64: ..."The Invasion...He had replaced Tranger as Chief of Guatemala Station in early May, right at the beginning of the rainy season..." https://archive.org/stream/GuatemalaCoup/Guat01#page/n71/mode/2up

John Prados, Safe for Democracy, The Secret Wars of the CIA (Ivan Dee, Chicago, 2006)

Page 110: ..."For Guatemala the CIA preferred a strong ambassador to work with the agency. Some also thought CIA station chief Birch O'Neil too cautious for a swashbuckling covert action, so pressure developed to transfer him also. Criticized as too ready to accept the ambassador's dictates, objecting to the use of propaganda created elsewhere, deficient in reporting on labor, and tolerating poor security, O'Neil's days were numbered. He would be replaced by John Doherty, cryptonym 'Tranger'..."

Gavin McDonald • Bill Simpich • John Prados • Nicholas Cullather

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