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Cryptonym: TOPAZ

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In Leon Uris' book Topaz, this was the pseudonym for Phillipe Thyraud de Vosjoli, member of the French intelligence service SDECE.
The alleged defectors were referred to as the SAPPHIRE network. Since Uris' book came out in 1967, at least one CIA document and other sources have informally referred to Vosjoli as "Topaz".


According to Edward Epstein, American and French intelligence relations were damaged after Anatoly Golitsyn's defection in December 1961 - Golitsyn told Angleton that "some of de Gaulle's top advisers were working for the Soviets." Rodney Carlisle's book Brandy: Our Man in Acapulco, p. 215, claims that Vosjoli said just that to Army intelligence officer Frank Brandstetter in 1961: https://books.google.com/books?id=QLdqgDsVio4C&pg=PA214&lpg=PA214&dq=VOSJOLI+AND+ACAPULCO&source=bl&ots=_OHl-4wfbh&sig=IQsNTD-K5FG8cTs8nXqHLYyHucA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjMzv-5jLLKAhUQ7WMKHQnSBf0Q6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=VOSJOLI%20AND%20ACAPULCO&f=false This information was obtained on 2/27/78.

1994.04.28.14:31:55:970005: Reel 8, Folder B - ANATOLIY GOLITSYN

"In 1962 (following letters between JFK and de Gaulle) this Agency arranged secure access for selected French counterintelligence and security officers, who questioned in detail an unusually knowledgeable and experienced defector from the KGB...a somewhat popularized version of the agent in the Presidency appeared subsequently in the book "Topaz", based on information obtained by the author Leon Uris from Phillipe Thyraud de Vosjoli the official SDECE representative in Washington, who has refused to return to France."

Joan Mellen, Our Man in Haiti (Trine Day, 2012), p. 161

11/19/63: "...(de Vosjoli) had been in New York a month after he resigned from the SDECE. It was Nov. 19, 1963 and he was picking up mail at 535 Fifth Avenue, an old mail drop. Nearby, he spotted the French chief of station, a Monsieur Herve, walking down Fifth Avenue with Colonel George de Lannurien, the chief of counter intelligence for SDECE and its third in command. De Lannurien had been de Vosjoli's fiercest adversary in the SDECE, challenging Golitsyn's revelations...why, de Vosjoli wondered, was Colonel de Lannurien meeting with the SDECE in New York? Why was the Colonel even in the US at that moment? De Vosjoli recounted to the government investigators that he had followed Colonel de Lannurien to the Harvard Club. There, according to de Vosjoli, the Colonel 'had lunch with a group of right-wing extremists from Texas'. He believed that the meeting had something to do with the Kennedy assassination...The (3-page summary of de Vosjoli's HSCA interview) does not reveal how de Vosjoli figured out that the Colonel's companions were right-wing Texans, or that they were talking about the Kennedy assassination. The National Archives claims that it cannot locate a copy of the full transcript of the interview with de Vosjoli." Also see 104-10306-10012, p. 8, 11/26/63: de Lannurien, Michel la Porte, the DCI, Helms and Hunt had lunch together in the "small dining room" at CIA.

157-10014-10003 TESTIMONY OF JAMES ANGLETON, 6 FEB 1976

Angleton testified to the Church Committee: "I was being interrogated by the French that day (11/22/63)...There was some flap we had, so the day of the assassination we were closeted for about three or four days on an allegation of a penetration of their service." Also see 180-10147-10332, p. 84: In this deposition, Angleton appears to refer to de Vosjoli as the SDECE's chief's "number two man" and a "Soviet suspect" under active investigation as a penetration on 11/22/63 itself.

Tom Mangold, Cold Warrior, pp. 131-133.

On 11/22 de Vosjoli reportedly panicked on hearing of Kennedy’s death, packed a few clothes into a van, and departed Washington to join Army Intelligence officer Frank Brandstetter in Acapulco. Discussion of Vosjoli and the Sapphire network is at pp. 121-135. Brandstetter had previously worked as resident manager at the Hotel Havana-Hilton (see 124-90068-10122) and then as manager of the Las Brisas Hotel in Acapulco (see 124-10208-10119). de Vosjoli believed that Georges de Lannurien had come to the US to assassinate him. (p. 131) See Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much, p. 785: On Nov. 22, Mangold points out that de Lannurien was in Angleton's office when the assassination. happened. De Lannurien was among the 'mole' suspects. De Vosjoli feared his life was in danger and fled to Mexico. Also see 104-10431-10126, p. 42: "...the de Vosjoli story Mangold got partly from FBI sources, some from Walter Elder, former aide to Director John McCone (who asked Elder to speak for him), and from de Vosjoli himself, whom Mangold caught up with in Geneva, Switzerland. De Vosjoli threatened to sue Mangold's publisher for millions if the true story were told about him, thus the story in the book is considerably diluted to satisfy Simon and Schuster's legal experts."


(LIREALM-1 has)...maintained contact for some months with a wealthy Mexican businessman who is a good friend of "Devosjoly" (sic), the ex-French intelligence officer who provided the material for Leon Uris' best seller Topaz. LIREALM-1, in fact, had established (de Vosjoli's) identity as coauthor of the book long before this became known publicly. He was shown by (de Vosjoli's) friend a safe at the latter's house in Mexico City full of documents belonging to (de Vosjoli). This information was reported to Headquarters via 'special channels'."

1994.05.06.08:41:51:430005: Reel 25, Folder B - GARRISON INVESTIGATION - DCD 6 OF 6.

1/9/69 letter from author Harold Weisberg to unknown recipients, re James Hepburn, Herve Lamarre, Phillippe; Topaz: Weisberg discusses "taking the Hepburn story literally" - the book Farewell America and the movie that was also created, commonly attributed to Herve Lamarre of French intelligence using the nom de plume James Hepburn: "...if we take the doctrine and propaganda of the book and the movie at face value, (French intelligence is) in violent opposition to the official and resolutely-held position of the US government. I do not for one minute believe this is the purpose, for I do believe the operation may well be CIA...one of those credited in the book is Phillippe, identified by some of you who have met him as the former head of French intelligence in the US...one candidate comes immediately to mind - the central character of Topaz, the Leon Uris misrepresentation of the Cuban Missile Crisis...I considered it not less than semi-official and quite possibly inspired CIA propaganda...it is certainly tenable to hypothesize that 'Phillipe' is the hero of Topaz, that if this is the case, there is an entirely different perspective to 'Farewell America' in its various forms, and that it would be foolhardy to assume we have heard the last of it. Its by-far worst potential remains." At p. 142, also see HL Hunt's security officer Paul Rothermel letter to Bill Biggio of Dallas: "Weisberg tells me that Bill Wood, aka Bill Boxley, former CIA agent and former employee of Jim Garrison, is assisting a person named Rene Lamarre who is the author of a soon to be published book called Farewell America...(the book) will tend to show that HL Hunt masterminded the Kennedy Assassination."


1970: De Vosjoli wrote his memoirs from his refuge in Lighthouse Point, Florida, in English under the title Lamia. De Vosjoli had been aligned with Allen Dulles and James Angleton, and organized the stay in Washington of French Algerian leader Jacques Soustelle - a staunch adversary of de Gaulle.

1993.08.05.14:39:14:810028: Security File on Frank Sturgis

6/16/75: Vosjoli has 10 minute interview with ORTF reporter Michel Anfrol on the CIA and on "Assassination Attempts and the Kennedy Affair". Vosjoli is identified here as "(TOPAZ) (sic)".

Gloria Freeland, "Kansas Snapshots" - https://avedac.com/snapshots/2017/05-12-17.htm

After the war, (Philippe Thyraud de) Vosjoli joined the French Intelligence service. In 1951, he was stationed in Washington, D.C. as the French liaison to the Central Intelligence Agency... In 1961, Anatoliy Golitsyn, a high-ranking official of the KGB, the Soviet counterpart of the CIA, defected. De Vosjoli had access to the information Golitsyn was providing and heard that Soviet spies had infiltrated the French government to the highest level, including de Gaulle’s cabinet. De Vosjoli suspected Golitsyn was lying in the hope of making himself seem more valuable, but de Vosjoli passed the information along for his superiors to check. But the response struck him as curious. His reports were ignored and he was told to quit wasting his time. In late 1962 or early 1963, de Vosjoli was ordered to organize a spy network to obtain U.S. atomic bomb secrets. He refused. Not long after, he was ordered to return home...he was told by a friend that his reports were ignored because de Gaulle feared such revelations would be so embarrassing they might push him from power. The friend advised de Vosjoli not to return as he could be the victim of an assassination, something the French government had been doing quite a bit of. De Vosjoli resigned and stayed in the United States, fearing for his life. When President Kennedy was assassinated, de Vosjoli was worried it might be a part of a bigger plot. So he bought a car, and along with his family, fled to Mexico where they stayed with a friend. He began writing a book about his experiences. It was there he met author Leon Uris. De Vosjoli and his family then moved to south Florida. In 1967, Uris published “Topaz,” a thinly-disguised account of de Vosjoli’s life, and sold the movie rights to director Alfred Hitchcock. De Vosjoli met Greer as a member of a team of lawyers who pressed a successful suit against Uris over unpaid royalties. Greer and de Vosjoli became friends. De Vosjoli had kept some papers from his war years...

Gloria Freeland, "Kansas Snapshots" - https://avedac.com/snapshots/2017/05-12-17.htm

(continued from above)..He had been ordered to destroy them, but had not, owing to their historic nature. He decided to give them to Greer. De Vosjoli, who had become a U.S. citizen, died of cancer on April 25, 2000. When his father-in-law Richard Seitz, a man Greer greatly admired, decided to donate his papers to K-State (note: special collections area of Kansas State University’s Hale Library.), Greer began to think about doing the same with the de Vosjoli papers. After doing so, the course French 720: “Translating the ‘Freedom Papers’: Charles de Gaulle and WW2 Correspondence” was created. To date, seven undergraduate and three graduate students have worked on them, supervised by professors Melinda Cro and Kathleen Antonioli. Antonioli explained: There are 27 letters in the archive, 12 of which are in French. Several of the letters are unpublished, and do not appear in de Gaulle’s collected correspondence, and none of them have ever been translated into English. ... Antonioli said both students and teachers were unfamiliar with related war-time details. So it was necessary to study these aspects as well and pair them “with de Gaulle’s particular writing style, to ensure that they would be able to produce faithful, useful, readable translations of the letters.”

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Bill Simpich

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