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Cryptonym: ESCONSON-1

Definition:
Unknown identity. A memo from J. C. King in September of 1953 mentioned that "ESCONSON I will write a 'psychological barometer' report on local conditions, PW activities. This report will be sent Headquarters each week."
Status:
Unknown
Discussion:
A report in December of 1953 stated that ESOTROPE (who was formerly ESCONSON-1 - see below) was born in Guatemala, and became a U.S. citizen following her marriage to ESOTERIC, an American citizen.

A dispatch in March, 1954, stated that George L. Tranger (John Doherty) was the case officer of ESOTROPE. ESOTERIC was formerly known as ESCONSON, and ESOTROPE was ESCONSON-1 before they withdrew from the ESCONSON project in July of 1953.

A dispatch on April 9, 1954, stated that "ESOTROPE has yet to produce any significant PI reports relating to pro-government, pro-Communist women's groups." However, it also noted "that ESOTROPE is a shrewd operator who plans her activities carefully and generally can produce valuable information once she has established the necessary contacts."

A dispatch on May 6, 1954, stated that ESOTROPE had been terminated effective April 30, 1954.

It might be worth researching whether LICOOKY/June Cobb was ESOTROPE - she helped Arevalo write his book "The Shark and the Sardines" during this era - and ESOTROPE was described as someone who could not get too deeply into the culture of "the enemy" due to her economic and social background.
Sources:

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 55. 9/25/53-Memorandum

09/25/53: Memorandum from J. C. King, Chief, WHD (Seen and Approved by: REDACTION): Subject: Tasks for Chief of Station, Guatemala: "1. Your priorities for development of KUFIRE (Intelligence) assets are as follows: a. Controlled penetration of the Communist Party. b. Controlled penetrations of the major labor unions. c. Controlled penetrations in the major anti-Communist organizations. d. Controlled penetrations in the armed forces, or controlled agents with access to current planning both in senior and junior officer groups. e. Controlled agents with access to high-level Guatemalan Government political propaganda planning. 2. The Station will transmit any rumors re: Arbenz government officials, actions taken or to be taken by the Army, government-army relationships, revolutionary activities, relationships among the Communists and any bad morale factors among the ruling clique to Headquarters. The rumors will be accompanied by Station comments re plausibility, where rumor was overheard and any suggested restrictions on re-use in other countries throughout the Hemisphere. (Weekly report, unless no rumors are overheard.) 3. The Station will clip and send, with appropriate comments, the column, 'Boqueras' to Headquarters whenever it contains rumors of value to the anti-Guatemalan campaign. 4. ESCONSON I will write a 'psychological barometer' report on local conditions, PW activities. (2) This report will be sent Headquarters each week..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914745.pdf

10/23/53: Dispatch from COS, Guatemala to Chief, WHD: Subject: General - KUGOWN Priority Assessments. Specific - 'Psychological Barometer': Page 3: ..."2. The information contained in this report is not exclusively the contribution of ESOTROPE, as originally envisaged in the priority assignments established by headquarters. Since ESOTROPE does not have unlimited social mobility it was deemed advisable to include data collected from other sources in order to prepare a report which more nearly reflects the attitudes of all segments of the public..."

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

12/15/53: CIA document: Stage One Report: Annex B: Friendly Assets and Potential: Page 12: "A. GUATEMALA...2...b. Of the agents mentioned above, ESCROW is of outstanding value from the standpoint of psychological barometer work. In addition to ESCROW, however, Station Guatemala is utilizing the services of: 1) ESOTROPE, who was born in Guatemala and became a U.S. citizen following her marriage to ESOTERIC, an American citizen. At present ESOTROPE is being used to prepare a psychological barometer report which can be used as a guide for PP activities..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000913787.pdf

02/01/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala to Chief, LINCOLN: Subject: General - PBSUCCESS. Specific - Carlos Manuel Pellecer: "1. As a matter of possible interest for KUGOWN (Psychological and Paramilitary Staff) purposes there are quoted below portions of a report from ESOTROPE regarding the subject: 'A reliable informant who had opportunity to attend a party at the home of Carlos Manuel Pellecer states that the party wound up in a séance with an unidentified woman acting as medium. 'Pellecer appears to be very interested in spiritualism and gave the informant the impression of taking the matter very seriously. 'Two principal spirits were summoned: (a) Josef Stalin and (b) Pellecer's mother. 'According to the informant, Stalin told Pellecer that he is well satisfied with Pellecer's actions and the general outlook of the communist party in Guatemala. It was apparent that Pellecer was pleased. 'The writer is trying to find out two interesting points: (a) Does the medium speak Russian when speaking for Stalin and how do they go about translating for the audience; (b) Is spiritualism frequently practised or attended by Pellecer.' 2. Although the first four paragraphs of the above-quoted report undoubtedly constitute a factual account from a reliable informant, it is believed ESOTROPE may have added the concluding statement of intentions with tongue in cheek. Nonetheless the material as presented appears to have possible KUGOWN utility, especially humorous ridicule types of material. George L. Tranger (John Doherty)."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000923850.pdf

03/10/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala to LINCOLN: Subject: Operational KUFIRE Tasks, PBSUCCESS: "1. In compliance with the instructions set forth in reference dispatch, there is being transmitted herewith in duplicate the first in a series of the 'Weekly KUFIRE (Intelligence) Operational Reports'...Cyrus E. Burnette." - - - Page 3: FT/3: ESOTROPE: Responsible Officer - George L. Tranger (John Doherty)...ESOTERIC was formerly known as ESCONSON and ESOTROPE was ESCONSON-1 before they withdrew from the ESCONSON project in July 1953 (HGG-A-357, not sent to LINCOLN). HGG-A-357 noted that both would continue to cooperate with this station on a voluntary basis as unpaid informants, and ESOTROPE would assist in the preparation of KUGOWN (Psychological and Paramilitary Staff) materials, translation work, etc., and would be reimbursed at the rate of (REDACTION) per month from ESPLANADE project funds. The newly assigned FT/3 tasks therefore represent increased activity on the part of ESOTROPE, but she has agreed to undertake the desired coverage...Except for such prominent organizations as the communist-like Alianza Femenina Guatemlateca (AFG), our coverage of women's activities and organizations has not been complete in the past. As instructed, ESOTROPE will concentrate on the development of psych/intelligence relating to major women's groups. At the same time she will begin a study of the entire target area to provide basic information essential to evaluating current reports and possibly to plan future action...It is doubtful that ESOTERIC will make an appreciable contribution in the collection of economic intelligence. Since his withdrawal from the ESCONSON operation he has helpfully served as a channel of communications with ESOTROPE and has occasionally volunteered information regarding economic matters..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000917373.pdf

03/12/54: Cable from Guatemala to Director: RE: DIR 40193 (OUT 73915): ..."2. (REDACTION), owner (REDACTION), stated Concha Estevez arrested for placing order for leaflets containing Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) manifesto to people of Guatemala. Govt considers manifesto subversive incitement of rebellion. Guardia Judicial agents visited Imprenta Gutenberg, destroying plate and 2,000 copies of manifesto. (Source: ESOTROPE)..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916678.pdf

04/06/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala (REDACTION) to Chief, LINCOLN: Subject: General - KUGOWN Operations. Specific - Comedores y Guarderias Infantiles: "1. Enclosed is a copy of the most recent official (1950) report covering the activities of the subject organization. 2. Also enclosed is a three-page report regarding the organization as written by ESOTROPE. 3. It appears that both enclosures may contain exploitable information from PBSUCCESS/KUGOWN purposes. Certain items that may lend themselves to such exploitation are underlined. Example: page 3 of ESOTROPE's report - while hospital facilities suffer from lack of supplies the subject organization (the pet project of the 'First Lady') enjoys special support from the government. 4. If this material is exploited in any way, the information supplied by ESOTROPE should be paraphrased. George L. Tranger (John Doherty)."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916559.pdf

04/09/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala (REDACTION) to LINCOLN (Info: Chief, WHD): Subject: General - Operational. Specific - KUFIRE Tasks, PBSUCCESS: "Attached hereto is the fourth in a series of weekly KUFIRE (Intelligence) Operational Reports. This particular report covers the period from 26 March through 5 April 1954. Cyrus E. Burnette." - - - Page 3: ..."FT/3: ESOTROPE: Responsible Officer: George L. Tranger (John Doherty): Initial coverage of assigned tasks has been fairly good, but ESOTROPE has yet to produce any significant PI reports relating to pro-government, pro-Communist women's groups. Probably that temerity which caused her to withdraw from the ESCONSON project in 1953 has contributed to what appears to be a reluctance to extend herself too far into enemy circles, an area with which she cannot easily identify herself by reason of family, social, and religious background. On the other hand, we know from past experience that ESOTROPE is a shrewd operator who plans her activities carefully and generally can produce valuable information once she has established the necessary contacts. Her efforts are being closely watched and we presume that she will make the desired contribution. If not we will not hesitate to recommend that she be dropped..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000923572.pdf

05/06/54: Dispatch from COS, Guatemala to LINCOLN: Subject: General - Operational. Specific - KUFIRE Tasks, PBSUCCESS: "Attached hereto is the fifth in a series of weekly KUFIRE (Intelligence) Operational Reports. This particular report covers the period from 6 April through 5 May 1954...Cyrus E. Burnette." - - - Page 3: ..."FT/3: ESOTROPE: Responsible Officer: George L. Tranger (John Doherty): After a careful evaluation of the potential worth and results achieved to date, it was decided that ESOTROPE had not and probably would not develop the desired coverage anticipated under this KUFIRE task and she was terminated effective 30 April 1954. Termination proceedings were cordial and it is expected that Tranger will continue to have occasional social contacts with her and ESOTERIC. Both have offered to channel matters of interest to Tranger on a voluntary basis but no further efforts will be made to contact them regularly or develop them for PBSUCCESS (project to overthrow - "without bloodshed, if possible" - the Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954) purposes..."

Contributors:
Gavin McDonald

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