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Pseudonym: Ponchay, Anthony

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CIA officer Jacob (Jake) Esterline.
Esterline also used the aliases Jake Engler and Jacob England.

1994.04.11.11:54:29:500005: Reel 16, Folder P - ALEXANDER RORKE

7/6/60 from Jake Esterline, C/WH/4 to Chief, WHD re Alexander H. Rorke, Jr.: "Mr. Rorke came to his major point which was that the most capable Cuban exiled military leader, and the one who is most deserving of US support is Pedro Diaz Lanz/AMOT-5...Mr. Rorke considers Mr. Diaz Lanz superior to General Pedraza, Francisco Cajigas and Anthony Varona, all of whom he claims to know...Mr. Rorke said that the Somozas have agreed to give Diaz Lanz a military base in Nicaragua. Mr. Rorke himself plans to form an American committee to back Diaz Lanz...Mr. Rorke claims that Spruille Braden (note: prominent CFR member) has tentatively agreed to support this committee..." See page 86, mentioning that 65 of Pedraza's men were held by Trujillo, but only 20 of them still in custody. The list (at page 87) includes AMSALON-1 and many other naval men.

John Newman, Countdown to Darkness, The Assassination of President Kennedy, Volume 2, p. 82

On 6 March 1961, the FI Chief in WH/4, Clark W. Simmons, wrote a memo for Chief WH / 4, Jake Esterline, about the potential damage to WH / 4 operations operations resulting from the arrest of Emilio Rodriguez/AMIRE-1.


Pre-4/61, WH Division History by David R. McLean and approved by WH chief David Phillips in 1973: "Although the separate Task Force W (TFW) was not officially established until 8 March 1962, the planning and execution of the Bay of Pigs operation was for all practical purposes conducted independently of WH Division and therefore not covered in this history. There was an informal but understood shortcut in the chain of command; basic decisions were made at the DDP, DCI or presidential level. Although some of the key personnel were detailed from WH Division, the Cuban Headquarters unit was in another building and no one pretended that J. C. King was running the show. "Jacob D. Esterline, a veteran WH Division officer who later became deputy chief of the division, was chief of the Cuban unit during the buildup and invasion attempt, and took his orders from the DDP. When the Cuban unit was made officially autonomous as TFW and later as the Special Affairs Staff (SAS), it was headed first by William K. Harvey and then by Desmond FitzGerald, Bruce B. Cheever and John L. Hart, none of whom had previous service in WH Division. It was not until 1965 that the Cuban unit really lost its autonomy and again came firmly under WH Division."

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume I: Air Operations, March 1960 - April 1961 Current Section: C. The Stevenson Story and the Second Strike

April 1961: "Esterline...holds (Charles) Cabell principally responsible for the failure of the Bay of PIgs operation...: '(Cabell)...was the guy, he was the Air Force general that the people would have listened to and...he was the equivocator that the let the thing get away from him that night...I'll never forget him coming in with a cigar, and he said, "Well, we are going to have to rationalize a little bit here."...Hawkins and I looked at each other, and I said, "General, are you saying that we are not going to get that airstrike," and he said "Yes." Hawkins said, "Well, we are lost. We are going to lose every ship." Cabell said, "Colonel," he said, "I don't know that that's right, I don't think I agree with that." That's when I wrote out a resignation to the Agency. That's before the first shot had ever been fired.'" Esterline further states: "We (Hawkins and Esterline) were the only ones who really knew, at that point, the total details of the operation and knew what the risks were in detail and what further diminishment of capacity would be. When the equity became so great, I don't think just because a person was GS-18, or because he had four stars on his shoulder that he should have gone himself...He should have at least had one of the principal lieutenants charged with the operation -- that would have been Hawkins or myself..." ...In a very emotional phone conversation with William Pawley on 21 April 1961, Jake stated that he had resigned 'last Sunday (16 April)" and that "I have quit the Agency." Esterline also indicated that the resignation hadn't been accepted because he was being sent to Florida for R&R. Dave Phillips has a more colorful description of the scene with Jake sitting at "a typewriter, a bottle of whisky at his elbow, and wrote out his resignation several times. Bill tore them up as soon as they were typed." "Esterline also blames Bissell...(continually pleading) that we had to destroy all those planes on the ground."

104-10307-10000: CABLE: PONCHAY MET WITH ( )SAGE-1 AT HER REQUEST 1300 NOV 22.

11/23/63, Cable from Panama City to Director: Slugline RYBAT HYSAGE: "1. Ponchay met with HYSAGE-1 at her request 1300 Nov 22. Purpose meeting HYSAGE-1 explained was to tell Ponchay she was in fact going to Red China for a period in excess of one year to study international relations and related subjects. She said was seeding assurance Ponchay would keep HYIF-1 interested in her son's welfare. 2. During her discussion of pending trip word was received of President Kennedy's assassination. H-1 was deeply moved and at HYIF-1 request wrote speech to be delivered in national assembly praising the president. 3. On HYIF-1 departure from HYSAGE-1 took her KLM tickets out of her handbag and tore them up and burned them stating she would not be making the trip."


08/06/98, CIA letter from Horace to Barry: "Barry, Per our conversation of this morning, and per Tenet's recent instruction to search once again for information relevant to JFK's assassination, I think we need to call up the entire HYSAGE-1 (Panamanian leading leftist, Thelma King) file. According to Jake Esterline, in a photo conversation on the afternoon of 5 August, he (Jake) was debriefing her and the meeting was interrupted by Sammy Boyd (Panamanian business leader) announcing JFK's assassination. King immediately broke down, began crying and said something to the effect of they said they would not do it. Jake tried to obtain more information but King regained her composure and added nothing more. Jake is convinced that as they had been talking about Fidel, Che, Raul and Piniero (head of Cuban intelligence), King was referring to them. Further, according to Jake, King at one time or another talked of meeting Oswald, possibly in Cuba or elsewhere. Jake had reported the above information, but it was very closely held at the time so it may not have moved into the JFK material. Horace." Handwritten note: "9-6-98: Note for Record: Per Michelle Combs, reviewed 201 file at HQ - found no additional material relevant to JFK assassination. No further action required. Barry Harrelson."


Re letter 3/17/72 from COS/WH Jake Esterline to C/WH/COG Lawrence Sternfield: Eugenio Martinez/AMSNAP-3 had told Esterline that Howard Hunt was back in Miami contacting old friends like Manuel Artime/AMBIDDY-1 and Bernard Barker/AMCLATTER-1 - Hunt was telling Barker and Martinez that he was a "White House counselor". Esterline was told on 3/27/72 that on the advice of Cord Meyer, Hunt no doubt was on domestic White House business of no interest to the Agency, and that Esterline should not concern himself with Hunt's activities in the Miami area. Esterline was stunned by the tone of this reply. Esterline asked Martinez to write up Hunt's recent activities in the Miami area, which Esterline then filed away in his Miami safe.

John Newman • MFF

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