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

Pseudonym: Middlecott, John

Definition:
Unknown identity. John F. Middlecott was an instructor at SCRANTON (training base for radio operators near Nicaragua).
Category:
pseudonym
Status:
Unknown
Discussion:
Middlecott and Andrew F. Merton (probably Jack Stewart) activated the first SCRANTON site at Tamarindo on 29 January 1954. Moreover, Middlecott suffered from appendicitis and required an operation in May of 1954. Middlecott was based at SHERWOOD (CIA radio broadcasting program based in Nicaragua begun on May 1, 1954) for the duration of PBSUCCESS, working on a voluntary basis, assisting the training net to SCRANTON. Also, a cable on January 24, 1954, described Middlecott as "five feet seven inches, 170 pounds, red hair."
Sources:

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914069.pdf

01/24/54: Cable from Lincoln to Director: Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: FOR SEEKFORD: "1. SCRANTON instructors Merton and Middlecott arriving Managua 25 Jan. Staying Lido Palace or Grand Hotel under cover tourists using aliases (IDEN A) (IDEN B). 2. Will reside hotel until contacted by Calligeris man. 3. Calligeris man is to 'recruit' and escort destination. 4. Merton will recognize proper contact when contact reports 'Chico sent me' by replying 'it has been a long time.' 5. Merton's description: Five feet seven inches, 160 pounds, dark brown hair, mustache, wearing long sleeve green sport shirt. Middlecott: Five feet seven inches, 170 pounds, red hair. Wearing short sleeve blue sport shirt. 6. Confirm receipt this cable priority, providing date of contact."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 90. 1/30/54-Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida

01/30/54: Telegram to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida: "36511. 1. Persons with ultimate KUBARK (CIA) authority have agreed that decision re future of PBSUCCESS will be made on Monday 1 February 1954. Between now and Monday forward all available information in detail re status of operation regardless of how unimportant it may seem. Include with information the following: A. Exact location SCRANTON and SARAMAC. B. Details of current cover situation Seekford, Lugton, Merton, and Middlecott. C. Estimate of extent of compromise and disclosure of KUBARK interest from Delgado’s intercepts while acting as courier. D. Any other information of value not covered in A, B, and C. 2. Urge that Calligeris write up an appreciation of the situation to include the extent and details that may be in hands of the Arbenz forces. 3. Recall Iden A to LINC immediately. Imperative he not travel through WSBURNT (Guatemala) or even chance flying over country. He should proceed direct from KMFLUSH (Nicaragua) to Iden B and thence directly to LINCOLN. No exception may be taken to that pattern of travel. 4. Consider seriously the advisability of withdrawing Iden C from WSBURNT if his position appears to be in any danger of compromise. 5. Telecon 30 January 1954 will serve no purpose. Decisions cannot be made. Will advise you 1 February 1954 as to future actions. (2).."

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000136402.pdf

01/31/54: Cable from Director to Lincoln: Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: "1. Because we cannot discount possibility of penetration within project at this time Merton should leave KMFLUSH (Nicaragua) soonest in order to preclude possibility his identification by WSBURNTS (Guatemalans). Such identification would probably connect project with KUBARK (CIA) because of Merton's (REDACTION). 2. Pivall and Middlecott may remain as recommended Ref (B) para 7."

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000913409.pdf

02/05/54: Memorandum for the SCRANTON file: Subject: Report on SCRANTON Operation - 25 January to 3 February 1954: Frequent mentions of Middlecott and Merton in this report. - - - Page 14 (15 of PDF): ..."and that (REDACTION) had inquired as to the disposition of the three instructors, meaning Merton, Middlecott and Pivall, and had indicated his approval of the actions taken by them..." - - - Page 15 (Page 16 of PDF): ..."13. The following is a synopsis of important unfavorable and favorable factors presently affecting SCRANTON operation as result of flaps...(3) Number of contacts by Middlecott and Merton (as of Merton's departure): (REDACTION): Merton 8: Middlecott 6. Seekford: Merton 4: Middlecott 3. Seekford's landlord: Merton 1: Middlecott 1. Pivall: Merton 1: Middlecott 1. Sierra: Merton 9: Middlecott 7..." - - - Page 18: Attachment I: Communications Diagram: There was a line between "Lincoln Hqtrs" and "Taptap." Then one line went to "Raul Sierra and (REDACTION), Pivall." Another went to "Middlecott and Merton." The last two both went to "Magoffin (ps)." "Note: Field cryptos have been assigned to Middlecott, Merton, Pivall and Seekford for use in 'company' business. These are recorded in Memo for the Scranton File, 9 February 1954."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 274. 7/8/54-Memorandum From William Robertson of Operation PBSUCCESS to the Chief of the Project

07/08/54: Memorandum from William Robertson of Operation PBSUCCESS to the Chief of the Project: Subject: PM Operation..."II. Staging and Pre-Operation Preparations: A. The Background of the Situation Prior to the Staging: 1. Approximately 85 Calligeris personnel had received training in Nicaragua, 75 of these under the guidance of Pivall. Pivall graduated 30 sabotage leaders, 6 shock troop leaders, 16 organizers, 4 staff personnel and 19 incompetents. Exactly 13 radio operators graduated under the guidance of Dunavant and Middlecott. 2. Eighty-nine tons of equipment were prepared in three forms at FJHOPEFUL. Forty-three tons were waterproofed for burial. Fifteen tons were packed for drop. Thirty-one tons were prepared for shock troop use. Prior to the staging period the entire burial and shock troop equipment had been moved to Honduras..."

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000920194.pdf

Undated: CIA document: SCRANTON Final Report: Page 4 (Page 7 of PDF): Mention of Seekford, Merton and John F. Middlecott as pseudonyms. - - - Pages 18-19 (Pages 21-22 of PDF): "VI. Staff Personnel: A. Staff instructors included John F. Middlecott, (REDACTION) and Andrew F. Merton. The bulk of the instruction was carried by the former two and too much credit cannot be given them. Middlecott spoke no Spanish although training was not delayed on this account. (REDACTION) Spanish was more than adequate for the job, while Merton's Spanish may be classified as adequate. Difficulty was experienced in getting (REDACTION) into KMFLUSH (Nicaragua), which may have contributed to overall problems in meeting deadlines. B. Merton and Middlecott activated the first SCRANTON site at Tamarindo on 29 January 1954. Following the expose of this site, Merton returned to Lincoln since his service in WSBURNT (Guatemala) would have exposed PBPRIME (U.S.) interests, should he have been blown. Middlecott carried on with the aid of Vincent Pivall (ps), Spanish speaking SARANAC instructor, and began training on 6 March. (REDACTION) arrived on 3 April to share the instruction load. Middlecott was recalled to Lincoln over 23 April - 3 May for consultation and briefing. After Middlecott's return to SCRANTON, he was stricken by appendicitis on 21 May, and, following a successful operation, remained thereafter at SHERWOOD where he assisted the training net to SCRANTON. It should be remarked that Middlecott's service following his operation was on a volunteer basis, a tribute to his professionalism. He was unable to serve further at SCRANTON since road communications were too rough for his safe convalescence. Following 21 May, (REDACTION) was aided by Merton who returned from Lincoln to SCRANTON for the short time remaining. (REDACTION) departed for Headquarters on 5 June, leaving Merton to finish training alone and close SCRANTON on 9 June..."

Contributors:
Gavin McDonald

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