The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB

By Christopher Andrew; Vasili Mitrokhin | Go to book overview

TEN
THE MAIN ADVERSARY
Part I: North American Illegals in the 1950s

One of the most remarkable public appearances ever made by a Soviet illegal took place on November 6, 1951, when "Teodoro B. Castro" attended the opening in Paris of the Sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly as an adviser to the Costa Rican delegation. Castro was, in reality, Iosif Romualdovich Grigulevich (variously codenamed MAKS, ARTUR and DAKS),1 a Lithuanian Jew whose main previous expertise had been in sabotage and assassination. He had trained saboteurs during the Spanish Civil War, taken a leading role in the operations to kill Trotsky in Mexico and had run a wartime illegal residency in Argentina which specialized in the sabotage of ships and cargoes bound for Germany.2 While in Argentina, Grigulevich" had begun to develop an elaborate Latin American legend for use after the war.3

Late in 1949, Grigulevich and his wife, Laura Araujo Aguilar (a Mexican illegal agent codenamed LUIZA), set up an illegal residency in Rome. Posing as Teodoro Castro, the illegitimate son of a dead (and childless) Costa Rican notable, Grigulevich established a small import--export business to provide cover for his intelligence work. In the autumn of 1950 he made the acquaintance of a visiting delegation from Costa Rica which included the leading Costa Rican politician of his generation, José Figueres Ferrer, head of the founding junta of the Second Republic which had restored constitutional government and later President of the Republic in 1953-5 and 1970-4. Grigulevich's success in winning Figueres's confidence must have exceeded his wildest expectations. Hoodwinked by Grigulevich's fraudulent account of his illegitimate birth, Figueres told him they were distant relatives. Thereafter, according to Grigulevich's file, he became the friend and confidant of the future president, using the Centre's money to invest with him in an Italian firm importing Costa Rican coffee.4

In October 1951, under his cover name Teodoro Castro, Grigulevich was appointed Costa Rica's chargé d'affaires in Rome. A month later he was chosen as an adviser to the Costa Rican delegation to the Sixth Session of the UN General Assembly at its meeting in Paris. During the assembly he was introduced to the US Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, and the British Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden--but not, apparently, to the Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Vyshinsky.5 Vyshinsky's usual oratorical style at international gatherings was tedious and long- winded. On this occasion, however, he arrived with a caged dove, intended to repre-

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