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

Pseudonym: Pivall, Vincent

Definition:
A contract agent with military experience initially hired as a training instructor in the PBSUCCESS operation in Guatemala in the 1950s. The head of paramilitary operations training for the Guatemala operation in 1954.
Category:
pseudonym
Status:
Speculative
Discussion:
See 104-10121-10171, 3/4/54, re David Morales: "This individual has a relationship to a highly sensitive activity known as PBSUCCESS." See 104-10121-10152, 10/25/54: Morales was in the process of converting from a contract employee, WH Division to a staff employee. See https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000920194.pdf - below - it doesn't seem possible that Andrew Merton/Jack Stewart and Vincent Pivall are one and the same, for three reasons: The document refers to the two men separately, and states that "Merton's Spanish may be classified as adequate", while Pivall is described as a Spanish speaking SARANAC (note: paramilitary training site in Nicaragua) instructor. Thirdly, Merton is described as an officer in the documents, while Pivall is described as a contract employee with military experience.
Sources:

104-10194-10009: CIA FILE ON CROZIER ROSS.

01/05/53: Memo from Chief, FI/Plans/Cover to Chief, Special Contracting Allowances and Processing Staff: Subject: MPA and PSCA Protection for Vincent C. Pivall (p): "1. Cover Division approves MPA and PSCA protection for Vincent C. Pivall (p) since a logical plan for channeling any proceeds to his beneficiaries has been agreed upon. 2. We are not in a position at this time to approve such protection for Arthur G. Vaivada under Project PBSUCCESS, since it is our understanding he is not presently operating under that project and no cover plan has been devised for him as yet. 3. Cover Division approval will be contingent upon the cover plan developed and the feasibility of secure channeling of possible proceeds to Vaivada's beneficiaries."

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914726.pdf

11/16/53, Memorandum from Withheld to DD/TR (S) (Thru: PP Training Officer, WH): Subject: Covert Training, Vincent C. Pivall: "1. Reference is made to our conversation on 13 November, regarding the covert training of contract agent Vincent C. Pivall. 2. Pivall is to be trained for the purposes of a special project which is currently receiving internal approval. 3. Before commencement of training, Pivall will be employed under a holding contract. As soon as cover arrangements have been finalized, Pivall will receive a permanent contract. This is to assure you that the permanent contract will be made. 4. It is desired to have Pivall trained under secure conditions. Training is to begin on/about 23 November and is to last for approximately six weeks. Training is desired in approximately the following subjects: a. Sabotage (military equipment, electrical equipment, railroad equipment and agricultural goods). b. Guerrilla warfare (caching, night fighting, unit organization and command, etc). c. Resistance force activities. d. Weapons (foreign makes - to be specified). e. Demolitions. f. Black-border crossing (very brief training only). 5. It is understood that this memorandum will serve only as a basis for securing approval to have Pivall's training conducted at certain secure facilities of OTR. When this approval is granted by your office, a detailed training schedule will be submitted."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914585.pdf

12/30/53: Cable from Lincoln to Director: Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: RE: DIR 32389 (OUT 60013): "Items A and B obtained by Merton from Pivall in Nov 53 and placed in his files. Merton turned files over to Carla Latchford and Irving Cadick prior departing for Lincoln."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000923959.pdf

Circa 1954, Page 59: "Vincent C. Pivall, contract agent with military experience, KUHOOK/paramilitary operations training, and field experience in Europe. He is now receiving tradecraft training in the United States and and will be the head of KUHOOK training for Project PBSUCCESS. Also see 2/4/54, https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000913704.pdf - Cable from Vincent Pivall to (OPIM) SLINC: "Liaison with REDACTED is through personal contact with Major REDACTED. REDACTED assures Pivall that plane will be held physically secure until Calligeris/Carlos Castillo Armas notifies him as to its disposal...Pivall had personally trained three possible assistants for cadre. All turned out excellent. Can maintain activities for at least ten more days while Pivall in (REDACTED). Pivall has been commuting REDACTED early morning and late night...(Pivall) initially contracted as training instructor. Presently finds himself everything from intelligence specialist to chaplain."

Horst Schafer, The CIA Files on Guatemala: https://www.sopos.org/aufsaetze/41320c0be1576/1.phtml.html

Feb 1954-May 1954: "Exactly three months earlier, on February 19, 1954, the CIA headquarters for the US planned coup in Guatemala for mid-June 1954 had sent a telegram to the CIA headquarters in Washington with reference to (...a) story about an allegedly planned delivery of weapons by a Soviet submarine (that) developed the following plan: First, a picture of a Soviet submarine is obtained ("or what would pass as such ..."), which is said to be of poor quality, does not show any details and should have been recorded by an amateur with a box on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. Then the CIA agent Vincent Pivall sees to it that a warehouse is set up on the coast with weapons that were previously brought to Nicaragua on a "black flight" of the CIA and from there to the coast in a truck. According to the CIA, the photo then appears by chance - and after a search operation, the weapons are found...see https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1952-54Guat/d102 These details emerge from documents that have since been released by both the US State Department and the CIA after several lawsuits; they have not yet been mentioned in the German media. The State Department in Washington has 399 documents on the preparation and implementation of the bloody coup, 287 of them from the CIA (http://www.state.gov), and about 2000 pages from the CIA itself (http://www.foia. cia.gov). Both sources and research by the National Security Archive at George Washington University are also the basis for this article."

104-10121-10260: CABLE - RE SPECIAL PASSPORT IN POSSESSION OF PIVALL

02/24/54, Cable from Director to Lincoln: "Re para 5 ref is special passport in possession of Pivall..."

104-10121-10258: ROUTINE CABLE - PIVALL TOURIST CARD EXPIRES.

05/30/54, Cable from Tegucigalpa to Lincoln (Info: Director): Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: FROM ONTRICH: "1. Pivall tourist card expires 6 June. Must get him special documentation from SAFFRON-1 if he to remain in WSHOOFS. 2. To date Pivall unknown to authorities here. Advise soonest. 3. Obtain special documentation."

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

6/4/54: 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 (note: training base for radio operators near Nicaragua) 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 (note: paramilitary training site in Nicaragua) 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...other personnel, not assigned to SCRANTON but who worked closely therewith, were Vincent Pivall, and SHERWOOD personnel, particularly DUNNAVANT (ps) who was top commo man in tho araa and who was responsible for preparation of signal plans and equipment. It la regretted that time and space does not permit adequate description and recognition of the part played by each of these.

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, Department of State document, Subject: PM Operation: ..."II. Staging and Pre-Operation Preparations:..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..." - - Page 426: ..."VI. Recommendations for all field personnel considered as having performed in an efficient manner are being presented in separate reports. I wish at this time, however, to place in the body of this report my personal opinion that the key man to the success of this project is Vincent C. Pivall. Pivall's firm adherence to orders enabled Lincoln to rely on the fact that plans were being carried out within the realm of possibility and that Principal Agent attempts to alter these plans were minimized. The preservation of KUBARK (CIA) interests was considered a solemn duty by Pivall and it showed up the results of his work. His professional knowledge and direct manner of dealing with the indigenous personnel gained him, and CIA, their respect and spirit of camaraderie necessary to good guidance on operations of this type. In addition, Pivall's analytical and objective thinking and reporting, spotted for Lincoln many defects in the old Calligeris organization, useful in planning the operation. It is recommended that his services would be valuable in a KUHOOK (CIA Paramilitary Operations Staff) staff position within WHD if he is to remain in WHD. If released from WHD, it is recommended that KUHOOK staff consider him for training assignments or a field project assignment after completing a KUHOOK training course at (place not declassified). It would be a serious CIA/KUHOOK loss to lose this man through disinterest on the part of CIA or through allowing him to become de-motivated. (Signed) William Robertson, CPM/PBSUCCESS."

Contributors:
Bill Simpich • MFF • John Newman

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