From: H B Laes
Date: 01 Apr 1999
Phenomena Pavel Sudoplatov wrote: "In 1940, on Beria's orders, I had sent Joseph Grigulevich to Mexico to assist Eitingon in assassinating Trotsky.... Grigulevich's assignment in Mexico was to organize a parallel illegal network....while organizing this group Grigulevich opened a drugstore in New Mexico....his father was a successful pharmacist [in Argentina]....before leaving the United States in 1941, he transferred ownership of the pharmacy to one of his agents....it was simply good luck that a previous mission left us with a safe house in Santa Fe."
Discussion The abstract elements of Sudoplatov's story are: a newcomer to Santa Fe with a background in pharmacy opened a drugstore in 1940; a short time later in 1941 this person left the United States; before leaving the U.S. this person transferred the business to another individual. Distilled even further, a business with a founder and second owner between 1940 and 1942.
Records and directories of New Mexico show that two pharmacy businesses were begun in Santa Fe in 1940. One of these drugstores (named after it's owner-pharmacist) evidently failed because it is not found in Santa Fe directories after 1942. However, the owner-pharmacist is later employed at other pharmacies going into the late 1940's. Not a match with Sudoplatov.
In the case of the other drugstore started in 1940 the records show that initially one person owned the business and a second person was employed as the registered pharmacist. The records then indicate that later in 1941 or 1942 the working pharmacist took title to the business. The inception and ownership facts of this pharmacy closely track the distinctive story related by Sudoplatov. In almost all cases tradecraft forbids using an agent's covername in a business. In distinguishment from most other pharmacies in 1940 Santa Fe, this pharmacy was not named after either of its initial owners.
So what is the 'cross-section' for a pharmacy exhibiting a founder and second owner during a specific and short time frame in a small town in New Mexico?
Conclusion In our opinion, Pavel Sudoplatov was telling the truth about a NKVD safe house in Santa Fe in the early 1940's. To our knowledge, nobody has ever written or suggested that such a base was used in support of Fuchs, Gold, Hall, L. Cohen, or Greenglass. The question is therefore strongly begged, what are the implications for still unanswered questions regarding Soviet atomic espionage if it is true that the Center had an agent operation in Santa Fe at the exact time Los Alamos was developing the first US atomic weapons? Is it possible that the Soviets would have allowed such an asset to be non-performing? What source would have been deemed worthy of putting such a magnificent sleeper into play and at risk?
Sources Special Tasks, Pavel and Anatoli Sudoplatov with J. L. and L. P. Schecter (page 192) Records and directories of New Mexico
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