Home/ Resources / Projects / CIA Cryptonyms / bigram: OTHER / cryptonym: NEMON-1

Cryptonym: NEMON-1

Return to Main Crypts Page

Marvin Kantor, a Russian-speaking University of Copenhagen student between 1957-61 who made long visits to Minsk in 1958 and again in 1959, leaving in September 1959, shortly before Oswald's arrival. Like Oswald, he was the only American in Minsk at the time.
Kantor later became a University of Michigan and then Northwestern professor in the mid- and late sixties, some years after the fifties when t American consul Richard Snyder had been doing some "spotting" for the CIA of possible dangles at Harvard. Marvin Kantor was wrongly identified by Yuri Nosenko/SAMMY/NORMAN/AEDONOR as "Melvin Kantor" with the wrong birth year. These errors persisted in the file for many years afterwards.


Re 1952-1961: "For your file 105-7772, concerning (Marvin Kantor)...(a reliable source, an American citizen) reported (Kantor told him in November 1960 that) Kantor served in the United States Marine Corps as a jet aircraft mechanic from 1952-1955 in both North Carolina and the West Indies...In 1957 he came to Europe to tour the continent, and during the latter part of 1957 and 1958 he made two 3-month trips to the USSR, where he lived with his uncle's family in Minsk...(he will) probably return to the US to teach Russian on a college level. However, he would not be opposed to returning to the Soviet Union for further study..." The memo makes it clear Kantor feels loyalty to both the US and the USSR. 8/9/61 memo from Deputy Director of Plans (DDP) to FBI liaison S. J. Papich. Actual author who prepared the memo for the DDP was WE/1/CE Hal Granquist. See 104-10219-10120: Granquist is also seen communicating with Scotty Miler and Jane Roman in October 1959 about agent TIDRAMA-1 in the US; 104-10219-10117, p. 3: Bill Harvey and Anita Potocki report that Granquist holds the entire current file on TIDRAMA-1, and that he could not lend his entire file to them because it was in constant use, but a three volume operational file held by SR/CI/RED Gertrude Wecker was available. p. 5: TIDRAMA-1 was formerly known as AEMUSICAL.

1993.07.24.08:44:28:250310: SECURITY FILE ON MARVIN KANTON

While Kantor was studying Slovenic philology at the University of Copenhagen in 1959, William Dillingham, an American owner of Nema Company in Copenhagen, was involved in counterfeiting passports. This may have been one of the reasons Kantor/NEMON-1 was recruited. The name Nema is undoubtedly how Kantor was given the cryptonym of NEMON. At p. 51, Office of Security's E. Mendoza mentions that Marvin Kantor, 228803, was in Minsk 1958-59 and approached by Soviet intelligence. She also mentions that Nosenko/"Norman" referred to a Melvin Kantor and suggests that they may be the same person. Page 47 shows that Burt Turner reviewed case in 1969, and noted that the Soviets were trying to blackmail Kantor by photographing him with a known intelligence officer. Note: The title of "Marvin Kanton" appears to be a mere transcriber's error; p. 62: Kantor was also known as "KARP" to Nosenko; p. 54: "O - #539326 C - 228803", and was an aviation mechanic in the Marines; page 4: 539326 was Kantor's OS number (OS stands for Office of Security). page 8: OS number 539 326 may have been assigned on December 1960. page 11: Kantor was a student at the University of Copenhagen from 1957-1961, and visited his uncle in Minsk in 1958 and again during 1959.


After KANTOR refused to sign loyalty oath to Soviets at end of July 1959, he was told at beginning of Sept 1959 that he had to leave Minsk in three days. He returned to Copenhagen. Back at page 2 of this document see NORMAN - aka the Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko - reporting a "Melvin Kantor" born in 1937 with the cryptonym "KARP" (Marvin Kantor was born in 1934). May have been a simple mistake because NORMAN's source did not have first-hand knowledge of Kantor. Here, his SO number is described as "539 326", different than the 228803 at his approval work record, in the initial post above.


Marina Oswald arrived in Minsk shortly before Kantor left Minsk in Sept. 1959. Kantor described himself as the only American in Minsk. Oswald arrived in Minsk in January 1960. Back in the US during the 1964-1965 period, Kantor and Marina Oswald were enrolled at the University of Michigan at about the same time. He was studying Slavic languages, she was studying English.


Re Feb. 1961: The approval work record shows Marvin Kantor's cryptonym as NEMON-1, 201-279710, 228803, and C-89136. As of Feb. 1961, his case officer was WE/1/D Richard Walsh. A CI Project card was made for Kantor, which means that his international mail was probably monitored by Jim Angleton's CI division. See 104-10428-10001, p. 8: C-89136 is Kantor's CI/OA number.


5/2/61 cable re WE-1/Denmark to REDACTED: "(In) view of unresolved aspects...(of) NEMON-1's continued friendly relations (with) Soviets after his turndown of pitch, believe Ramey should interrogate further prior deciding use of LCFLUTTER. Based (station) and Ramey findings HQS will make final LCFLUTTER decision. In spite (of) plausibility (REDACTED) have reservations re break off regular contacts in Feb. Knowledge Soviet MO indicates reluctance break with 'assets' having any possible further utility. Could have served as witting or unwitting American student spotter. Break off possibly explained as security precaution for recruited agent whose REF A debriefing reflects Soviet ploy to deflect (American intelligence service) interest. PI requirements contingent establishment bona fides and complete details Minsk area knowledge. Forwarding maps." (Western Europe) comment: "Original debriefing of NEMON-1 by Ramey from REDACTED re Subject's (Russian intelligence service) connections REDACTED and Minsk and request for HQS comments prior to further debriefing beginning 3 May 1961."

104-10120-10515: KANTOR, MELVIN

5/20/64 memo from C/CI James Angleton to the Director, FBI: "Reference is made to your letters dated 23 April 1964 and 14 May 1964...subject Melvin Kantor, and (another memo) dated 28 February 1964, Subject, SAMMY. This Agency has no objection to the (FBI) providing to USIA the information received from SAMMY concerning captioned individual as possibly pertaining to the Marvin Kantor who is an applicant for employment with USIA...(Please repeat the) same source description used in (a previous document): 'The following information comes from a Soviet Intelligence defector whose bona fides have not been established.' Since USIA will presumably also request information on Marvin Kantor from this Agency, it is further requested that you provide us with a copy of your report to USIA so that we may refer to it in our answer to them."


3/2/65 letter from James Angleton (signed by John C. Mertz) to J. Edgar Hoover on similarities between Kantor and Lee Harvey Oswald. Mentions that Kantor was in Minsk between June to Sept 1959, and that Marina came to Minsk in late August 1959; that Kantor said in his May 3-4 1961 interviews with a "representative of American intelligence" that he was "something of an oddity in Minsk since he was the only American residing there at the time", as did Oswald; both men had served as enlisted men and technicians in the US Marines; Kantor was teaching Slavic languages at the University of Michigan at the same time that Marina Oswald was studying English there.

1994.04.13.14:58:27:500005: Reel 44, Folder J - LEE HARVEY OSWALD SOFT FILE.

3/2/65 - at p. 219 - same document as above - James Angleton letter (signed by John Mertz) to J. Edgar Hoover, entitled: "MARVIN KANTOR: Possible Connection to Investigation of Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald." Angleton writes "it may be of interest to your office to note the following coincidences in the backgrounds of KANTOR and Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald...KANTOR claimed to have been something of an oddity in Minsk since he was the only American residing there at the time...(Kantor recalls) Igor (LNU) whose father was a Soviet army general. It is interesting that Oswald also reportedly considered himself to be an oddity as the only American residing in Minsk and attracted more or less the same young Soviets (note: loved "girls, cars...listening to jazz music on the Voice of America) as did Kantor...Oswald listed among his close friends in Minsk a young Soviet named Pavel Golovachev, whose father ostensibly was a Soviet army general. Both Kantor and Oswald had served as enlisted men and technicians in the United States Marine Corps..." Also, Kantor was teaching languages at the University of Michigan and Marina Oswald was studying languages at the University of Michigan.

Bill Simpich

© Mary Ferrell Foundation. All Rights Reserved. |Site Map |MFF Policies |Contact Us