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Pseudonym: Razmara, Eliot

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Unknown identity. Eliot P. Razmara was a PP, Grade GS-9, Guatemala Operations officer in October of 1953.
A memo in August of 1952 mentioned that Jacob Seekford requested the assignment of Razmara for the local supervision of Psychological Warfare (PW). In addition, a dispatch from the Chief of Station (COS), Guatemala, on August 5, 1953, stated that Eliot P. Razmara had never reported to the Guatemala Station, despite having been sent out on a project where he would be under the supervision of the station. Furthermore, a document in November of 1953 mentioned that Razmara was being considered as a PP case officer for the job of working with the propaganda secretary of RUFUS (Carlos Castillo Armas) in Honduras. This may have been the individual assigned the cryptonym ESSENCE, whom Razmara worked with in 1954.

A dispatch in January, 1954, mentioned that Razmara arrived in Guatemala on January 15th, and had served in the country previously, possibly in 1950-1951. Also, a dispatch in February of 1954 stated that it was planned that Razmara would soon arrive to replace Donald Hediger as Principal Agent for PT/1 (ESSENCE). A dispatch in March, 1954, mentioned that Razmara worked for a company whose president was annoyed over the former's expenses and activity, and wanted to remove Razmara from the payroll. (REDACTION) and the Chief, WHD, wanted Razmara to resign on or about May 1, 1954. Graham L. Page (probably Henry Hecksher) was also mentioned in this document.

A dispatch in May, 1954, commended Eliot P. Razmara on behalf of LINCOLN and HQ, on his work "under increasingly difficult and dangerous conditions, for his very valuable reporting and for his proven ability to adjust himself quickly." Razmara was one of the identities named in the memorandum attached to HGG-A-724 (also ESPOUSER, ESCONSON-2, ESOTROPE, ESCROW): https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000913356.pdf A Progress Report on PBSUCCESS on June 15, 1954, mentioned that Razmara and ESSENCE were in hiding in Guatemala: https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000921914.pdf


08/04/52: Memorandum from Withheld to Deputy Director: Subject: Conference with Seekford: ..."2. Seekford has met with Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) on eight occasions, but has been very discreet in his meetings and is confident that his association is known only to (REDACTION). 3. Seekford has apparently gained Calligeris' complete confidence as the representative of an anti-Communist group in the United States. Calligeris has discussed his plans and problems frankly and seemingly without reservation...5. Seekford stresses necessity for…g. Assignment of Razmara for local supervision of PW..."


08/05/53: Air dispatch from Vincent B. Ogden, COS, Guatemala to Chief, WH: Subject: General - Operating: Specific - KUFIRE-KUGOWN Operating Conditions: ..."2. Wherein we mention the various personnel and activities we have not made reference to Eliot P. Razmara because we know nothing of his activities, he never having reported to this station although he was sent out on a project where in he would be under the supervision of this station. (See HGG-A-333)." - - - 08/29/53: Air dispatch from Vincent B. Ogden, COS, Guatemala to Chief, WHD: Subject: Covert Personnel in WSBURNT: "1...Eliot P. Razmara was expected to be able to do work for us in this country but for reasons known to Headquarters, he has not reported to us as yet..." https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914822.pdf

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 61. 10/29/53-Memorandum for the Record

10/29/53: Memorandum for the Record from Withheld: Subject: Status of PBSUCCESS: "1. The present status of PBSUCCESS is as noted below: a. Personnel. Present planning calls for utilization of the following field personnel: (REDACTION), Guatemala Chief of Station (REDACTION)—(REDACTION) GS–15 vice (REDACTION) GS–14 Operations Officer (REDACTION) PP—(REDACTION) GS–14 Operations Officer (REDACTION) FI—(REDACTION) GS–13 Operations Officer (REDACTION) FI—(REDACTION) GS–13 Reports Officer (REDACTION) PP—(REDACTION) GS–9 Admin. Asst.—(REDACTION) GS–7 Secty. Steno—(REDACTION) GS–5 Secty. Steno—(REDACTION) GS–5 Commo.—(REDACTION) GS–7 (REDACTION), Guatemala Operations officer, PP (REDACTION)—Donald O. Hediger GS–7 Operations Officer PP (REDACTION)—Eliot P. Razmara GS–9 (REDACTION), Honduras Operations Officer FI (REDACTION)—(REDACTION) GS–7 (REDACTION), Honduras Operations officer PP (REDACTION)—Jacob R. Seekford GS–12 (REDACTION)—Vincent C. Pivall (probably David Morales). [4 names not declassified], TDY replacement for Older, Heddiger and Razmara are in place and operating..." - - - In regards to the last line note that "Older" is redacted in the above passage but unredacted here (therefore it has been added): https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000924003.pdf


11/27/53: Contact Report: Place: Withheld Office: Persons Present: Col. King, Withheld..."Discussion...12. It was agreed that detailed information on RUFUS' (Carlos Castillo Armas) secretary of propaganda would have to be secured, and that a PP case officer would have to be put in Honduras to work closely with the propaganda secretary. The qualifications of Eliot P. Razmara for this job were discussed, but no discussion was reached..."


01/27/54: Dispatch from George L. Tranger, COS, Guatemala to Chief, LINCOLN: Subject: General - PBSUCCESS. Specific: Psychological Barometer Report (Period Ending 23 January 1954): Page 2: ..."In addition to the foregoing statement which reflects a significant attitude for psychological barometer purposes, it is deemed important to report on the experiences of Eliot P. Razmara since he returned to Guatemala. It will be recalled that Razmara previously served in this country. Since his arrival on 15 January 1954 he has unavoidably met numerous persons whom he knew during his previous tour of duty here. Many of these persons were students in 1950-51; now they are members of the professional classes, teachers, self-employed, etc. Also, according to Razmara, these persons were previously strongly anti-government; some reportedly participated in anti-government manifestations and activities. Now, however, these same persons are pro-government and strongly opposed to the elements that seek to overthrow the present regime. This does not mean that they are pro-communist, but it does mean, according to Razmara, that the opposition has failed to convince a considerable segment of the population that a change of government is necessary or desirable. These persons reportedly cited certain positive accomplishments of the Arbenz government, future plans for economic improvements, etc., and compare these facts with the negative program (or total lack of program) of the oppositionists which consists of nothing more than 'anti-communism.' According to Razmara, these persons strongly approve of the agrarian reform, highway and port construction, control of foreign enterprises, etc., as necessary to economic, political and social progress of Guatemala. Although basically anti-communist for ideological reasons, they have not responded to negativism (i.e., mere anti-communism which to them connotates a return to stagnant dictatorship)..."


02/09/54: Air dispatch from Jerome C. Dunbar (Albert Haney), Chief of Project, PBSUCCESS to COS, Guatemala City: Subject: Operational Matters/KUGOWN Tasks PBSUCCESS: ..."5. It is contemplated that Razmara will soon arrive to replace Hediger as Principal Agent for PT/1. Although the former may be accredited to ESSENCE (probably Lionel Sisniega Otero) by the latter prior to his departure, which is desirable, it is also desired that this be laid on between (REDACTION) and RUFUS (Carlos Castillo Armas) at a later date in order to ensure fullest cooperation on the part of ESSENCE. Pending more specific instructions, for your planning purposes it is desired that the P/A endeavor to split off the complex now manged entirely by ESSENCE into two or more separate operations with the P/A working more directly with the separate, major groups. In this manner ESSENCE will be freer to concentrate on his major assignments leaving the other groups to the P/A to handle as allegedly directed by (REDACTION). As this will require further study and careful development you will initially concentrate on establishing Razmara before proceeding further..."


03/15/54: Memorandum from Withheld to Chief, WH: Subject: Progress Report - PBSUCCESS for the Period 9 - 15 March 1954: "I. Operational - The following events of operational significance occurred during the reporting period...C. At the meeting referred to in paragraph B above, a decision was reached re the future disposition of Razmara. (REDACTION) through its President, had indicated that Razmara's inordinate activity and excessive expenses had created undue interest among his co-workers. The President of (REDACTION) expressed displeasure at this situation and had requested the early removal of Razmara from the Company's payroll. It was considered opinion of (REDACTION) and Chief, WHD, however, that Razmara should resign from the Company on or about 1 May 1954, which date would generally coincide with the end of his normal contract with the Company. Razmara will be informed accordingly through Chief of Station, LINCOLN (CIA's Guatemalan covert operations headquarters, a forward base in Florida)...E. Graham Page (probably Henry Hecksher) presented his defection program to Chief, WHD, and higher staff for approval. Generally, Page proposes to visit Guatemala and other key countries and effect the defection of one or more key officials of the encumbent government. He has placed priority importance upon the recruitment of a high-level figure in the Guatemalan government who possesses current information re the strength and capabilities of the Guatemalan army with particular emphasis on the garrison at Guatemala City. Page's plan was approved in principle after certain minor modifications..."


05/02/54: Dispatch from Jerome C. Dunbar (Albert Haney), LINCOLN to COS, Guatemala: Subject: KUGOWN Elliot P. Razmara; Commendation; Security: "1. You are hereby instructed, also in behalf of HQ, to express to Razmara our commendation for the work he has been doing under increasingly difficult and dangerous conditions, for his very valuable reporting and for his proven ability to adjust himself quickly to a different situation. 2. At the same time, we want you to know that we are very anxious to protect Razmara from any foreseeable danger, whether it may result from legal action or from physical assault upon his life. While it is understood that his uninterrupted activity with ESSENCE (probably Lionel Sisniega Otero) is of vital importance to PBSUCCESS (project to overthrow - "without bloodshed, if possible" - the Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954) and must continue as long as it is at all possible, you should nevertheless take all practicable steps for his protection and inform us as soon as possible about all the details of your 'disaster plan' for him. We expect you also to report any and all developments which may have a possible bearing on subject's security and physical safety."


06/08/54: Dispatch from George L. Tranger (John Doherty), COS, Guatemala to LINCOLN (Info: PBSUCCESS, HQS): Subject: Operational KUGOWN Operational Report (ESSENCE): ..."4. Attached is a self-explanatory contact report from Razmara relating to his meeting with ESSENCE (probably Lionel Sisniega Otero) on 6 June 1954. Note that the field pseudonym of Razmara has been changed from ALBERTO to DARIO. SEMANTIC (probably Domingo Goicolea Villacorta) reported that the name ALBERTO was included in some of the papers seized by government agents and Razmara was instructed to discontinue use of that pseudonym on his reports. Neither the government nor SEMANTIC were aware of the true identity of ALBERTO."

Gavin McDonald

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