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Andrew St. George


John Simkin
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I have just received this email in response to my page on Andrew St. George:

I am the widow of Andrew St. George. We were married for nearly 50 years. He never, ever was a officer or agent of the CIA. The quote in Warren Hinkle's book is a total and complete falsehood. My husband may have made a joke--about the suspicion's that he worked for the CIA--to Warren over a beer or two, but never said such a thing seriously. After the end of World War II, he did work for U.S. Army Intelligence in Austria. His family--parents and younger brother--depended on him for their survival after the War. He had been a newspaper reporter in Budapest, and got out of the Army as soon as was feasible, in order to get back to his true vocation, which was journalism.

The CIA in Cuba came to him and asked him to intervene wilth Che Guevara on behalf of Sr. Quevado. After the horrors of WW II--during which he had worked with Raoul Wallenberg and the Hungarian underground--he became a passionate anti-death-penalty advocate, and would have tried to save the life of any living creature if he could. (I could tell you stories about a mouse-in-the-bathtub, Canada geese in the park, spiders in the kitchen, etc.) It ended his friendship with Che, and they both felt badly about it. Che retaliated by accusing him of working for the FBI. The notion that the United States government would send a non-Spanish speaking Magyar to spy on Castro is pretty silly. The basis of the friendship between my husband and Che was the fact that they both spoke French. It was the only way my husband could communicate with the guerrillas on the occasion of his first trip into the Sierra Maestra. (The editor who assigned him to the story for Cavalier Magazine, thought he had a Spanish accent!)

The CIA disliked Andrew St. George intensely for the things that he wrote about them, and tried to discredit him by suggesting that he was "one of them." Miles Copeland wrote that this was a CIA tactic. As we all know, it is against the law for the CIA to identify the people who work for them.

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Jean St. George seems to be objecting to this passage on my page on Andrew St. George:

During this period St. George was denounced as a CIA agent. According to the authors, Warren Hinckle and William Turner (Deadly Secrets: The CIA-Mafia War Against Castro and the Assassination of JFK): "St. George's not infrequent rubbing of elbows with intelligence types led New Left conspiracy theorists to conclude that he worked for the CIA... The beleaguered St. George has spent so much time denying that he is a CIA agent that, naturally, a lot of people believe he is. Even his wife of some twenty years, Jean, sometimes thinks so... One day when St. George was suffering all the agonies of Christ because of acutely painful hemorrhoids, his wife suggested that he "go to Walter Reed (the government hospital). 'Those people in Washington must have some sort of medical plan for guys like you,' she said." (page 59)

I have now added Jean's comments to the page. It seems that Warren Hinckle and William Turner were guilty of misunderstanding a joke made by Jean.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKstgeorge.htm

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John,

I am wondering if Mrs. St. George would be in the position to confirm (or not) her husband ever using the name Andre Szentyorgi.

James

If I'm not mistaken, St. George is the writer who said Sturgis told him he'd known Hunt for years, suggesting that they'd lied when they said they'd only met in connection with the the plumbers. If Mrs. George knows anything about her husband's relationship with Sturgis, and if Sturgis had in fact told St. George he'd known Hunt for awhile, that could prove interesting. Did her husband keep any tapes or notes?

If I'm mixed-up, I apologize.

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Guest Gary Loughran

From a post by Chris Cox May 5th 04 in the "Someone would have talked" discussion of Larry Hancock's book [Page 2]

"Andrew St. George, photographer/writer told me once: “Life Magazine told us what to believe.” That stuck with me. St. George did a final article on my father Paul Hughes see my link. This was only one story of many on topic Cuba. And LIFE was there. http://members.cox.net/chc5000/

IMHO, Life Magazine truly was the omnipresent master of propaganda. Can’t blame them-- they found a need and filled it. "

Perhaps Chris could assist with some of the queries if he can still be contacted via the forum.

Hope this helps

Gary

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I asked Jean St George if her husband ever passed comment on the JFK assassination. She replied:

I don't think Andrew ever wrote very much about any of the US assassinations. We did attend the conference that Bernard Festerwald pulled together in Washington in the '70s, but just as guests. My recollection is that when I would ask Andrew what he thought about the JFK assassination, he would say that he thought that if there had been an elaborate plot someone, at some point, would have talked. It would have come out. He did work on it the night of the event. He was in Sargent Shriver's office to discuss a story he had done for Good Housekeeping Magazine about the Peace Corps in Chile when the word came out that President Kennedy had been shot. LIFE Magazine put every photographer in town to work. Andrew was assigned to cover Ethel Kennedy. Also, I think that he felt that Frank Sturgis was not involved.

As to other US assassinations, he was of the opinion--but never investigated it--that there was more to Martin Luther King's death than has ever been reported.

In regard to CIA-involvement in foreign assassination plots he did write some pieces for a sexy men's magazine, Swank--edited by his good friend, the late Bill Ryan--about that topic: How the C.I.A. Blew Away Trujillo, in October, 1975; and Why the CIA Will Win; Why the Rest of Us Will Lose, in February, 1976. I don't imagine that these articles were widely read, but we needed the money, and everything he wrote was passionately researched.

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Jean St. George seems to be objecting to this passage on my page on Andrew St. George:

During this period St. George was denounced as a CIA agent. According to the authors, Warren Hinckle and William Turner (Deadly Secrets: The CIA-Mafia War Against Castro and the Assassination of JFK): "St. George's not infrequent rubbing of elbows with intelligence types led New Left conspiracy theorists to conclude that he worked for the CIA... The beleaguered St. George has spent so much time denying that he is a CIA agent that, naturally, a lot of people believe he is. Even his wife of some twenty years, Jean, sometimes thinks so... One day when St. George was suffering all the agonies of Christ because of acutely painful hemorrhoids, his wife suggested that he "go to Walter Reed (the government hospital). 'Those people in Washington must have some sort of medical plan for guys like you,' she said." (page 59)

I have now added Jean's comments to the page. It seems that Warren Hinckle and William Turner were guilty of misunderstanding a joke made by Jean.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKstgeorge.htm

While his wife's comments are interesting, I don't find them very believable. He was on many 'o Life CIA approved trip/mission into Cuba where many of the operatives in the photos were spooks, black operatives under control of the Agency and their proprietaries, et al. He had the clearances and the connections....

St. George was of much interest to the Agency mainly because of his connections to the individuals Peter described. The Agency had a 201 file on him, #002705.

St. George's relationship with Alberto Fernandez Echevarria (AMDENIM/1) was a curious one. In the mid 1960's, St. George approached him regarding information and photographic material for a book he wanted to write. Fernandez declined saying that anyone who wrote about such stuff was opportunistic and potentially put the Agency at risk. Fernandez was also very critical of Haynes Johnson.

IMO, at best, St. George operated as a contract Type-P employee, the same way Tom Dunkin did.

James

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  • 1 year later...

I do appreciate your system for giving me the opportunity to address some of the inaccuracies about my husband's life and work. The ubiquitous reports that he worked for the CIA are very distressing to our family, as they were to him in his lifetime. A CIA mole posing as a journalist is not a journalist!!! His passion for his vocation--and loathing for the CIA and all its works--remained with him up to the very last days of his life.

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Mrs. Szentgyorgyi, Thank you for your participation here. It is rare and a pleasure to get to speak to family members of persons we often speak about and who, to us, are just names, details and photos - not a real person. Sorry about his death in 2001. Many of the men who went on the Life reported missions in Cuba or against Castro, etc. were CIA [or other intelligence] related or 'cleared'. Further, it is becoming clearer that many of these missions paid for by Luce (and others) and featured in Life, were designed to both undermine Castro and the Kennedys.

I can accept your claim that your husband was not working for the CIA. Certainly the CIA [and others] were, however, keeping a very close watch on and over the activities and the participants; and perhaps were satisfied by the fact that St. George had been a successful Military Intelligence asset during WW2 - and left it at that. I would think he must have been aware that many he was photographing and writing about in that 'Cuba Period' were in some way CIA connected, sponsored or approved - even if he was not. May I ask if he ever commented on this, or spoke of what he thought of Luce - and if he was aware that Luce was sponsoring some of these missions or that the Kennedys were apparently not aware nor wanting of (some of) them to occur?

Did he ever speak to this, either at the time or in later years? Thank you kindly, and please do not take any offense at my remarks or questions. We are only trying to get closer to the truth of the history involved.

I would also be most interested if you'd care to expand on your last remark - that he loathed the CIA and all of its works.

I'm leaving town to visit family tomorrow morning; and there simply isn't time just now to answer your questions today. I'll be home again next week and give your comments the attention it deserves. In the meantime, let me refer you to two articles by my husband:

How Does It Feel To Be Bugged, Watched, Followed, Hounded and Pestered by he C.I.A.?, Esquire Magazine, June 1975.

Girl Spy Against Castro, LOOK Magazine, December 29, 1964

The LOOK story was about the anti-Castro CIA's activities, so, of course, knew what he was reporting about. He believed at the time that he was doing a favorable piece about how the CIA functioned. As it turned out, they were absolutely furious about the story; and from that time on they went on a relentless campaign to destroy him as a journalist. We thought of suing publishers who reported that he worked for the CIA, and were told by a lawyer that: "It is not slander to say that a person works for the United States government!"

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  • 6 months later...
Hello Mr. Hougan,

I thought you might be amused to know that once, many years ago, our old mutual friend, Andrew St. George, spotted a copy of SPOOKS lying on my desk and shrieked, "Mike, vy do you have THAT book?" and then proceeded to throw it on the floor and quite dramatically stomped his foot on it. He muttered, "I don't pronounce zheeeem as zheeeem." What a character!

I once asked Andrew, point blank, if he was (as I had heard) part of the Life magazine team that, as I put it, gently, "covered" the Jim Garrison investigation in New Orleans. Andrew and I were sitting in the courtyard smoking cigars. He turned, with a flash of alarm in his eyes, and then, recovering, he said, "Mike, let me tell you a story. When I was a little boy in Hungary . . ." and then I heard an utterly fascinating reminiscence about some subject that I've long forgotten. But after a 20-minute exposition, in Andrew's own engaging style, I never got the answer to my question.

I miss him.

Cordially,

MICHAEL COLLINS PIPER

Andrew and I were great pals throughout the years that I was writing *Spooks*. We hung out together in Washington. We went down to Mitch WerBell's place (a/k/a "The Farm") in Powder Springs. And it was grand. Everything was hunky-dory between us - until *Spooks* came out. Andrew rushed came over to my office, flushed and out of breath, as soon as he heard that it had been published and asked for a copy. I gave him one and...that was it. I never saw him again.

Which was odd, because 1) I thought we were friends; and 2) we were both working for *Harper's*. It was like he did a duck-dive, or something. Later, someone told me that Andrew was writing under a nom de plume for Willis Carto's *Spotlight*. I thought that was bizarre, because I'd always assumed that he was a liberal. When I mentioned that, the person I was talking to laughed. Hysterically. "Andrew? A liberal?! You're kidding, right?"

To this day, I'm unsure why he disappeared the way he did. In my more paranoid moments, it occurs to me that maybe his "assignment" ended when the book was published. Or maybe he was unhappy that I'd written as much as I had about Mitch (on whom Andrew cast a proprietary eye). Or it might have been that he was upset about my account of his role in "Project Nassau," a CBS documentary (starring Mitch WerBell, plotting a coup d'etat in Haiti). The documentary was so flawed it became the subject of congressional hearings.

But, yeah. I miss him, too.

Jim Hougan

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  • 2 years later...

The name Andrew St. George is familiar to those that have studied these topics. The April 12, 1963 issue of Life Magazine contained an article and photographs by St. George that featured Tony Cuesta:

http://books.google.com/books?id=VkkEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA18&dq=tony+cuesta&hl=en&ei=tvptTsmSNKPL0QHqscXxBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CFAQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=tony%20cuesta&f=false

In January 1968 St. George would write an article for True Magazine that profiled Mitch WerBell. Years later, St. George gave Gaeton Fonzi and Hinckle and Turner a lot of information that appeared in their books.

St. George had actually participated in some of the Cuban raids. He was a very well-connected journalist, to put it mildly.

Here is a brief account of Cuesta's release from Cuban prison:

http://books.google.com/books?id=mbFtlVsHrtIC&pg=PA119&dq=tony+cuesta&hl=en&ei=tvptTsmSNKPL0QHqscXxBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CFoQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=tony%20cuesta&f=false

I agree about the importance of Andrew St. George. I am in contact with his widow who has been very helpful in the past.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKstgeorge.htm

Tim Gratz linked to a Smithsonian article about the Andrew St. George papers being housed at Yale. Here is a link to a description of what's there:

http://drs.library.yale.edu:8083/HLTransformer/HLTransServlet?stylename=yul.ead2002.xhtml.xsl&pid=mssa:ms.1912&query=&clear-stylesheet-cache=yes&hlon=yes&big=&adv=&filter=&hitPageStart=&sortFields=&view=dsc#dsc

The posts on this thread are few, but they are very interesting. I would like to know what Andrew St. George knew about William Morgan.

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In regard to CIA-involvement in foreign assassination plots he did write some pieces for a sexy men's magazine, Swank--edited by his good friend, the late Bill Ryan--about that topic: How the C.I.A. Blew Away Trujillo, in October, 1975; and Why the CIA Will Win; Why the Rest of Us Will Lose, in February, 1976. I don't imagine that these articles were widely read, but we needed the money, and everything he wrote was passionately researched.

Does anybody have these articles? They sound really good. Everything I have read by St. George is excellent so I'm sure these are as well.

"Why The CIA Will Win; Why the Rest of Us Will Lose"

BY ANDREW ST. GEORGE

Synopsis:

In the '70s, Senator Church tried to clean house at the CIA -- he failed. His committee became lost in polite colloquies with bureaucratic witnesses -- ambassadors, generals, senior administration officials -- and rarely forced testimony on CIA genocide around the world. If you still believe that Congress can clean up America's festering corruption, this article is for you.

Zach

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In regard to CIA-involvement in foreign assassination plots he did write some pieces for a sexy men's magazine, Swank--edited by his good friend, the late Bill Ryan--about that topic: How the C.I.A. Blew Away Trujillo, in October, 1975; and Why the CIA Will Win; Why the Rest of Us Will Lose, in February, 1976. I don't imagine that these articles were widely read, but we needed the money, and everything he wrote was passionately researched.

Does anybody have these articles? They sound really good. Everything I have read by St. George is excellent so I'm sure these are as well.

"Why The CIA Will Win; Why the Rest of Us Will Lose"

BY ANDREW ST. GEORGE

Synopsis:

In the '70s, Senator Church tried to clean house at the CIA -- he failed. His committee became lost in polite colloquies with bureaucratic witnesses -- ambassadors, generals, senior administration officials -- and rarely forced testimony on CIA genocide around the world. If you still believe that Congress can clean up America's festering corruption, this article is for you.

Zach

St. George's article on Sturgis for True Magazine: http://www.ebay.com/itm/True-Magazine-Todays-Active-Man-August-1974-/200640408571?pt=Magazines&hash=item2eb719abfb#ht_2158wt_1396

The Swank issues mentioned can be found using Google. I noticed the descriptions on the front cover are not the same as the titles of the articles inside.

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