BIOGRAPHIC - GUILLERMO GRIFFEL (W/ATTACHMENTS)

Created: 5/9/1954

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM

RELEASE. AS SANITIZED

BEST AVAILABLE COPY

Cnlei of Station, Quele.nala

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hief of Station, Guatemala subject: Arms and Ammunition

1 ermo^RT PPEL Reference:

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INr'O: Chief, WHD

Attached for Lincoln and Headquarters is one copyemorandum prepared by Mr. Harold E. Urist, Public Affairs Officer, containing additional information on subject and dated

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Enclosure:

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Mr. Krleg Harold E. Urist GUILLERKO GRIFFEL

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Since thore haseference in incoming correspondencer. Guillermoerebyemorandum reportingnow about the individual.

I met Sr. Griffel in1 when we were fellow-passengerslight to New York. He wasusiness trip and was attempting to buy some metal piping. earned that he had come to Guatemala from Austria when heoung man and had been in Guatemala ever since, havingaturalized citizen. He told me that heartner in the A. Zadlk Company, that he went to the Peten each chicle-collecting season tohicle operation there, and that heachelor. He was extremely friendly and attentive,ould not help but feel that my connection with the Embassy had something to do with his attitude. By coincidence, we returned from Row York on the same plane and became further acquainted, particularly since we had toight in Miami before we could make connections with the plane for Guatemala. o not recall learning anything further about him at that time. id notice that he was unusually woman-conscious to the extent of being boyishly exuberant despite his forty-odd years.

Upon our return to Guatemala he called at the Embassy,nvited him to dinner at my home. He asked if he couldriend and came to our home with an extremely beautiful and intelligent young Costa Rlcan woman. Since Sr. Griffel could not be considered attractive by most standards and is afflicted by an extreme stammer, the beauty of his companion was all the more striking. We learned that she wasvisit" from Costa Rica, but it was never quite clear whom she was visiting or where she was staying. earned later that she was at one of Sr. Griffel's fincas, apparently living with him.

Sometime later Sr. Griffel invited my wife and me to one of his fincas which Is located northeast of Guatemala City. During the course of that day he told us that before President Arbenz had taken office both he and the then President AREVALO had visited him at the finca. While he mentioned that he had acted as a

purchasing agent for the Guatemalan Government, his intimate connection with both the preeent and past chiefs of Guatemala seemed hardly justified on the basis ofusiness ubsequently learned thot Sr. Grlffel had for some time acted as procurer for ex-President Arevalo and now, possibly, for President Arbens.

Sr. Griffel stopped in to visit me periodically, particularly when he had to go to the Consulateisa,as aware that he was making frequent trips to purchase government nerchandis He was always non-coevaittal about the details of his business or about the Government, although he kept on seeking the friendship of both ray wife and me. We continually avoided the relationship because of his unpleasant personality and because we distrusted hira.

Few people withad spoken knew much about Sr. Griffel, since he apparently kept pretty ouch in the background. The only place h* seened to be active was within the Jewish community,elieve he acted as secretary of Its principal social organization, possibly connected with the local synagogue.

V.'hen thp Guatemalan Government opened bids for road machinery to be ueod on the Highway to the Atlantic, Sr. Griffel was one of the successful bidders (In the name of A. Zadik Company) and was mentioned brieflyocal press itesj, which questioned the validity of the bid. His name was quite garbled, anotherof th* relative obscurity tie has maintained and continues to maintain In Guatemalan affairs.

irst met Sr. Griffel, he told me he had an aged father living in New York City whom he visited efech time he travelled to that area. elieve hearried sister also living in New York City.

Sr. Griffel Is extremely meticulous about his personal app^ar.-nce (manicured and polished nailsi. Is always lightly perfumed ani smartly dressed. Heeetotaler, but smokes cigarettes. He usuallyceburg.

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