Jump to content
The Education Forum

Gerry Droller/Frank Bender

John Simkin

Recommended Posts


Hey...I coulda been a contender......

[That was our "lame humor break" for THIS hour...we now return you to your regular programming.]

Great punchline, Mark.

Kinda took my breath away...

But seriously, Marlon, what do you think of my idea that Bender / Droller was "Charron"? --

Question: Would it have been logical for W.C. King to include Bender / Droller in the August 21,1959, brainstorming session which dealt with what Phillips should do if he were to be interrogated by the Cuban authorities?

And a new question: Could it have been Bender / Droller who, in mid-1960, sicced David Attlee Phillips on Antonio Veciana in Cuba, through Veciana's friend / Bender's contact, Rufo Lopez-Fresquet?

http://www.jfk-online.com/daphscavec.html (see footnotes 122, 144, and 162)



--Tommy :sun

Bumped for Bill Simpich or a comparable heavyweight.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Double post.


John and friends,

Here's my chrono on Gerry Droller that goes up to 1966, plus a Watergate tie-in:

Howard Hunt referred to him as “Frank Drecher” in Give Us this Day - see Last Investigation, p. 134.

Also known as Frank Bender

He was WH/4 political action chief, but Hunt had the forward assignment, Droller was stuck in HQ,

1960, John Prados, Safe for Democracy, p. 225

Louise Valentiner heard a lot of details during a 7/19/60 meeting


Her husband Clark Valentiner got OA to be a field agent in Cuba in 57


Artime was at the 7/19 meeting http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=31020&relPageId=4

After Louise Valentiner’s call, Albaugh phoned Bernie Reichhardt to inform him of her call.

Bernie said to tell her to keep quiet about what she heard. She heard Frank Bender say

“I was hired by the United States to do away with Castro”.http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?mode=searchResult&absPageId=442533

“Gerard Droller, alias Frank Bender” was interviewed on 26 July 1960 by Reporting Agent and by Joseph Langan, Director of Security, of Project JMARC. Droller has a German accent. John Simkin says he was born in Germany in 1905.


Bender, a political liberal, interviewed Castro (in New York?), convinced that “Castro is not only not a Communist - he is a strong anti-Communist fighter.” P. 30, Deadly Secrets.

Dr. Jose Miro Cardona is AMBUD-1, trying to unite exiles under his banner of PGCC


He was first PM of Cuba under Castro, then he left and formed CRC (cryptonym AMBUD)in 3/61

to unite the exiles and he was head of it as well


CRC was a shotgun wedding of FRD and MRP performed by insistence of Frank Bender


Covert action staff of four - headed by Jerry Droller - famous Mr. Bender of bay of pigs -

Philip Agee, inside the company: cia diary, p. 498

Bender was the CIA director of Bay of Pigs invasion plans, Haynes Johnson says he was ready to defy any Admin. Plans to halt the invasion. HSCA Vol X, p. 15


After Frank Bender briefed the provisional government for Cuba on April 13, they were placed under CIA guard. (P. 93, Bender put them under house arrest) Then, on eve of invasion, they were hustled aboard an agency C-46 with taped-over windows and flown to the Opa-Locka airfiedl outside Miami. When the brigade waded ashore at the Bay of Pigs, the provisional government was being held under house arrest in a clapboard house on the airfield’s border. Meanwhile, Tony Varona paced back and forth. Deadly Secrets, pp. 80-81.

Phillips met Bender in 61 around repair of plane with Hunt - Bender and Hunt weren’t getting along too well then


In May 62, Somoza is working with CIA on plans with Cuban exiles, and Ydigoas is presenting

JFK with similar plans for Cuban exiles in Guatemala


7/9/62, Shackley to Harvey, re Eduardo and Mr. B. (Frank Bender) meeting AMBUD-1


7/9/62 AMBUD-1 wants REDACTED as his Prime Minister in new government


Late 1963 - Droller and Venezuelan arms cache:

From Joseph B. Smith's Portrait of a Cold Warrior (Putnam, 1976), p. 373:

Between the Argentine elections in 1963 and the Chilean election of 1964, my attention was once again focused on Cuba. Gerry Droller had become branch chief of the countries of the "Cono Sur," the southern cone of Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile. He came down to Buenos Aires to remind us Cuba was more important than any of them.

"Listen, this guy Des is a genius and he's got the inside track to the Whit House," Gerry explained. "I also think J.C.'s going to retire soon and Des will run the whole division in name as well as in fact. Already we get dozens of old FE hands in the division and more guys from Germany too. WH Division is now all chopstick users and umlaut speakers. And we're all supposed to concentrate on Cuba."

The matter we all concentrated on from December, 1963, until the summer of 1964 was making the discovery of a small arms cache on the coast of Venezuela seem important enough proof of Castro's interventionist intentions that the OAS would declare Cuba an outlaw nation and refuse to allow OAS members to have political or economic relations with her. I initially paid little attention to the news of the discovery of these arms that came from Caracas just after John Kennedy's assassination. I still hadn't gotten over the terrible shock of the President's death when I received a cable saying headquarters wanted maximum press coverage given to the announcement on December 3, 1963, that the OAS had agreed to investigate Venezuelan charges the arms had been secretly delivered by Castro's forces for the use of Venezuelan leftist guerrillas....

....The new chief of covert action operations for WH came down to Buenos Aires just before Christmas to explain how important the Venezuelan arms cache discovery was considered. Dramatically, he related how much the discovery had meant to John Kennedy. "The President had been pressuring us for months before he was killed to come up with some solid proof that Castro was exporting his revolution. He wanted to make his anti-Castro crusade a Latin American cause not just a U.S. mission. He wanted to have some really convincing evidence of Castro's interference in the affairs of Latin countries so that we could get the OAS to take collective action against Castro. This discovery is what he was looking for."

Herb (Ray Herbert, J.C. King's deputy as chief of Western Hemisphere WH division CIA) explained that the news of the discovery had come in from Caracas just the day before President Kennedy left for Texas. He and another officer rushed over to see Bobby Kennedy with the cable. Bobby called the President and he ordered them to come immediately to the Oval Office. "President Kennedy was extremely pleased and excited about the prospects," Herb said. "It was very late in the evening when we left the White House. I think this was the last piece of business he took up before he left Washington. We all like to think we're running this operation for him."


Droller was chief of covert action in 1966 - Safe for Democracy, p. 331, John Prados

Frank Bender mentioned by Woodward and Bernstein in 6/19/72 Watergate article:

In Miami, Washington Post Staff Writer Kirk Schartenberg reported that two of the other suspects -- Sturgis and Barker -- are well known among Cuban exiles there. Both are known to have had extensive contracts with the Central Intelligence Agency, exile sources reported, and Barker was closely associated with Frank Bender, the CIA operative who recruited many members of Brigade 2506, the Bay of Pigs invasion force. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2002/05/31/AR2005111001228_4.html

[emphasis added by T. Graves]

Dear Members and Honored Lurkers,

I recently stumbled upon the following August 21, 1959, CIA document which talks about a meeting between J.C. King (Galbond), David Atlee Phillips (Choaden), and someone by the name of "Charron" in J.C. King's office. It describes the discussion they had regarding what would be the best strategy for Phillips to use if he were to be interrogated by the Cuban authorities about his associations and activities in Cuba. The meeting took place shortly before he (and David Sanchez Morales?) did have to leave Cuba. https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=36237&relPageId=2

Charron's full pseudonym was "Lawrence R. Charron."

I think "Charron" might have been "Frank Bender / Gerry Droller".

A May 13, 1964, CIA document sent from Santiago, Chile, to the CIA Director at Headquarters, says that "Charron" didn't know anything about the issue at hand (something to do with the CIA's boat "Tejana II") because he had already left his position at CIA headquarters and gone to his new CIA post in Santiago, Chile, when the event or incident had occurred. It's interesting to note that one of the people who were privy to this document was James Jesus Angleton ("C/CI") https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=35267&relPageId=2

It's also interesting to note that former CIA officer Joseph B. Smith wrote in his book Portrait of a Cold Warrior that "Gerry Droller" had already become, by 1963 or 1964, branch chief of the countries comprising the CIA's "southern cone" (Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile).

Could "Lawrence R. Charron" be the mysterious "Frank Bender / Gerry Droller" ( G. Drecher) ?

FWIW, most of the CIA documents that mention "Charron" at the Mary Ferrell Foundation website also mention "Choaden" (David Atlee Phillips), so it looks like those two "went back a ways"...

--Tommy :sun

Bumped in a probably vain attempt to attract the attention of a "heavyweight" like Larry Hancock, Bill Simpich, or...

Question: Would it have been logical for W.C. King to include Bender / Droller in the August 21,1959, brainstorming session regarding what Phillips should so if he were to be interrogated by the Cuban authorities?


Edited by Thomas Graves
Link to comment
Share on other sites


You are always very kind to me. I just have a minute, and I will come back here, it's all good stuff. I believe that Phillips is referred to on August 18 as a "non-KUBARK American embassy official", and they were worried

about Phillips' identity being compromised.

The next day he got re-signed as a contract agent for another year.

Here's a little more about Phillips and lack of a "trial date" as of August 21. He arrived in Cuba August 24.

Phillips' cover in Cuba was blown by September 1959. He left Cuba for good in 1960.

I did notice a response to the 8/21/59 post, dated 8/25/59. I'm trying to figure out who Lawrence R. Charron and everyone else is. Charron was continuing to work in these affairs in 60-61, that's clear.

A note says that "Charron" got moved from HQ to Santiago by early 64.

"De Los Reyes" appears to be Gustavo de los Reyes, according to Nelson Raynock who I believe is Hecksher.

Armando Cainas Milanes was identified by a source of attache Paul Bethel, one of David Morales' close pals at the American embassy. Both Cainas and de los Reyes wind up in Cuban jail pretty quickly as I recall.

Some of these documents are from Box 45, if you follow the RIF numbers back and forth sequentially much more of the story should be revealed. That technique may work for the other

docs as well. Stu Wexler and I find this works about 50% of the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...