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Title: Report of the President's Commission On The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
Author: Commission, Warren
Language: English
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35th President of the United States

May 29, 1917-November 22, 1963]


  Report of President’s Commission on the Assassination
  of President John F. Kennedy

  St. Martin’s Press
  New York

Photo credits:

    Page 66 & 67: Thomas C. Dillard/_Dallas Morning News_

    Pages 100, 101, 102, 103, 108 & 114 (Zapruder stills): © 1963,
    1967 LMH Company c/o James Silverberg, Esq., Washington, D.C.

    Page 108 (Nix still): © 1963, 1964-1991 Nix c/o James
    Silverberg, Esq., Washington, D.C.

    Page 113: AP/Wide World

    Page 126: Detroit Free Press

    Page 177: Hill Exhibit B/National Archives

    Pages 203, 205, 214, 218, 223: KRLD-TV/CBS

    Pages 220, 232, 341: WBAP-TV/NBC

    Page 356: AP/Wide World

    All other photos and illustrations courtesy of the National

  ISBN 0-312-08256-8 (hc.)
  ISBN 0-312-08257-6 (pbk.)




J. LEE RANKIN, _General Counsel_

_Assistant Counsel_


_Staff Members_


    [A] Mr. Willens also acted as liaison between the Commission
        and the Department of Justice.




200 Maryland Ave. N.E.

Washington, D.C. 20002

Telephone 543-1400

  EARL WARREN, Chairman

  J. LEE RANKIN, General Counsel

September 24, 1964

The President The White House Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

Your Commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy
on November 22, 1963, having completed its assignment in accordance
with Executive Order No. 11130 of November 29, 1963, herewith submits
its final report.


Earl Warren, Chairman

Richard B. Russell

John Sherman Cooper

Hale Boggs

Gerald R. Ford

Allen W. Dulles

John J. McCloy



PRESIDENT LYNDON B. JOHNSON, by Executive Order No. 11130 dated
November 29, 1963,[F-1] created this Commission to investigate the
assassination on November 22, 1963, of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the
35th President of the United States. The President directed the
Commission to evaluate all the facts and circumstances surrounding the
assassination and the subsequent killing of the alleged assassin and to
report its findings and conclusions to him.[F-2]

The subject of the Commission’s inquiry was a chain of events which
saddened and shocked the people of the United States and of the world.
The assassination of President Kennedy and the simultaneous wounding
of John B. Connally, Jr., Governor of Texas, had been followed within
an hour by the slaying of Patrolman J. D. Tippit of the Dallas Police
Department. In the United States and abroad, these events evoked
universal demands for an explanation.

Immediately after the assassination, State and local officials in
Dallas devoted their resources to the apprehension of the assassin.
The U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible for the protection
of the President, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation began an
investigation at the direction of President Johnson. Within 35 minutes
of the killing of Patrolman Tippit, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested
by the Dallas police as a suspect in that crime. Based on evidence
provided by Federal, State, and local agencies, the State of Texas
arraigned Oswald within 12 hours of his arrest, charging him with the
assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Patrolman Tippit.
On November 24, 1963, less than 48 hours after his arrest, Oswald was
fatally shot in the basement of the Dallas Police Department by Jack
Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner. This shooting took place in full view
of a national television audience.

The events of these 2 days were witnessed with shock and disbelief
by a Nation grieving the loss of its young leader. Throughout the
world, reports on these events were disseminated in massive detail.
Theories and speculations mounted regarding the assassination. In many
instances, the intense public demand for facts was met by partial
and frequently conflicting reports from Dallas and elsewhere. After
Oswald’s arrest and his denial of all guilt, public attention focused
both on the extent of the evidence against him and the possibility of
a conspiracy, domestic or foreign. His subsequent death heightened
public interest and stimulated additional suspicions and rumors.


After Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby, it was no longer
possible to arrive at the complete story of the assassination through
normal judicial procedures during a trial of the alleged assassin.
Alternative means for instituting a complete investigation were widely
discussed. Federal and State officials conferred on the possibility of
initiating a court of inquiry before a State magistrate in Texas. An
investigation by the grand jury of Dallas County also was considered.
As speculation about the existence of a foreign or domestic conspiracy
became widespread, committees in both Houses of Congress weighed the
desirability of congressional hearings to discover all the facts
relating to the assassination.

By his order of November 29 establishing the Commission, President
Johnson sought to avoid parallel investigations and to concentrate
factfinding in a body having the broadest national mandate. As Chairman
of the Commission, President Johnson selected Earl Warren, Chief
Justice of the United States, former Governor and attorney general of
the State of California. From the U.S. Senate, he chose Richard B.
Russell, Democratic Senator from Georgia and chairman of the Senate
Armed Services Committee, former Governor of, and county attorney in,
the State of Georgia, and John Sherman Cooper, Republican Senator
from Kentucky, former county and circuit judge, State of Kentucky,
and U.S. Ambassador to India. Two members of the Commission were
drawn from the U.S. House of Representatives: Hale Boggs, Democratic
U.S. Representative from Louisiana and majority whip, and Gerald R.
Ford, Republican, U.S. Representative from Michigan and chairman of
the House Republican Conference. From private life, President Johnson
selected two lawyers by profession, both of whom have served in the
administrations of Democratic and Republican Presidents: Allen W.
Dulles, former Director of Central Intelligence, and John J. McCloy,
former President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development, former U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, and during
World War II, the Assistant Secretary of War.

From its first meeting on December 5, 1963, the Commission viewed the
Executive order as an unequivocal Presidential mandate to conduct a
thorough and independent investigation. Because of the numerous rumors
and theories, the Commission concluded that the public interest in
insuring that the truth was ascertained could not be met by merely
accepting the reports or the analyses of Federal or State agencies.
Not only were the premises and conclusions of those reports critically
reassessed, but all assertions or rumors relating to a possible
conspiracy, or the complicity of others than Oswald, which have come to
the attention of the Commission, were investigated.

On December 13, 1963, Congress enacted Senate Joint Resolution 137
(Public Law 88-202)[F-3] empowering the Commission to issue subpoenas
requiring the testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence
relating to any matter under its investigation. In addition, the
resolution authorized the Commission to compel testimony from witnesses
claiming the privilege against self-incrimination under the fifth
amendment to the U.S. Constitution by providing for the grant of
immunity to persons testifying under such compulsion. Immunity under
these provisions was not granted to any witness during the Commission’s

The Commission took steps immediately to obtain the necessary staff
to fulfill its assignment. J. Lee Rankin, former Solicitor General of
the United States, was sworn in as general counsel for the Commission
on December 16, 1963. Additional members of the legal staff were
selected during the next few weeks. The Commission has been aided by 14
assistant counsel with high professional qualifications, selected by it
from widely separated parts of the United States. This staff undertook
the work of the Commission with a wealth of legal and investigative
experience and a total dedication to the determination of the truth.
The Commission has been assisted also by highly qualified personnel
from several Federal agencies, assigned to the Commission at its
request. This group included lawyers from the Department of Justice,
agents of the Internal Revenue Service, a senior historian from the
Department of Defense, an editor from the Department of State, and
secretarial and administrative staff supplied by the General Services
Administration and other agencies.

In addition to the assistance afforded by Federal agencies,
the Commission throughout its inquiry had the cooperation of
representatives of the city of Dallas and the State of Texas. The
attorney general of Texas, Waggoner Carr, aided by two distinguished
lawyers of that State, Robert G. Storey of Dallas, retired dean of
the Southern Methodist University Law School and former president of
the American Bar Association, and Leon Jaworski of Houston, former
president of the Texas State Bar Association, has been fully informed
at all times as to the progress of the investigation, and has advanced
such suggestions as he and his special assistants considered helpful
to the accomplishment of the Commission’s assignment. Attorney General
Carr has promptly supplied the Commission with pertinent information
possessed by Texas officials. Dallas officials, particularly those from
the police department, have fully complied with all requests made by
the Commission.


During December and early January the Commission received an increasing
volume of reports from Federal and State investigative agencies. Of
principal importance was the five-volume report of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation, submitted on December 9, 1963, which summarized
the results of the investigation conducted by the Bureau immediately
after the assassination. After reviewing this report, the Commission
requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation to furnish the underlying
investigative materials relied upon in the summary report. The first
investigative reports submitted in response to this request were
delivered to the Commission on December 20, 1963. On December 18, the
Secret Service submitted a detailed report on security precautions
taken before President Kennedy’s trip to Texas and a summary of the
events of November 22, as witnessed by Secret Service agents. A few
days later the Department of State submitted a report relating to
Oswald’s defection to the Soviet Union in 1959, and his return to the
United States in 1962. On January 7 and 11, 1964, the attorney general
of Texas submitted an extensive set of investigative materials, largely
Dallas police reports, on the assassination of President Kennedy and
the killing of Oswald.

As these investigative reports were received, the staff began
analyzing and summarizing them. The members of the legal staff,
divided into teams, proceeded to organize the facts revealed by
these investigations, determine the issues, sort out the unresolved
problems, and recommend additional investigation by the Commission.
Simultaneously, to insure that no relevant information would be
overlooked, the Commission directed requests to the 10 major
departments of the Federal Government, 14 of its independent agencies
or commissions, and 4 congressional committees for all information
relating to the assassination or the background and activities of Lee
Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby.

After reviewing the accumulating materials, the Commission directed
numerous additional requests to Federal and State investigative
agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service
executed the detailed requests for statements of witnesses and
examinations of physical evidence with dispatch and thoroughness. All
these reports were reviewed and analyzed by the Commission. Additional
investigative requests, where appropriate, were handled by Internal
Revenue Service, Department of State, and the military intelligence
agencies with comparable skill. Investigative analyses of particular
significance and sensitivity in the foreign areas were contributed
by the Central Intelligence Agency. On occasion the Commission used
independent experts from State and city governments to supplement or
verify information. During the investigation the Commission on several
occasions visited the scene of the assassination and other places in
the Dallas area pertinent to the inquiry.

The scope and detail of the investigative effort by the Federal and
State agencies are suggested in part by statistics from the Federal
Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service. Immediately after the
assassination more than 80 additional FBI personnel were transferred to
the Dallas office on a temporary basis to assist in the investigation.
Beginning November 22, 1963, the Federal Bureau of Investigation
conducted approximately 25,000 interviews and reinterviews of persons
having information of possible relevance to the investigation and by
September 11, 1964, submitted over 2,300 reports totaling approximately
25,400 pages to the Commission. During the same period the Secret
Service conducted approximately 1,550 interviews and submitted 800
reports totaling some 4,600 pages.

Because of the diligence, cooperation, and facilities of Federal
investigative agencies, it was unnecessary for the Commission to
employ investigators other than the members of the Commission’s legal
staff. The Commission recognized, however, that special measures were
required whenever the facts or rumors called for an appraisal of the
acts of the agencies themselves. The staff reviewed in detail the
actions of several Federal agencies, particularly the Federal Bureau
of Investigation, the Secret Service, the Central Intelligence Agency,
and the Department of State. Initially the Commission requested the
agencies to furnish all their reports relating to the assassination
and their relationships with Oswald or Ruby. On the basis of these
reports, the Commission submitted specific questions to the agency
involved. Members of the staff followed up the answers by reviewing
the relevant files of each agency for additional information. In some
instances, members of the Commission also reviewed the files in person.
Finally, the responsible officials of these agencies were called to
testify under oath. Dean Rusk, Secretary of State; C. Douglas Dillon,
Secretary of the Treasury; John A. McCone, Director of the Central
Intelligence Agency; J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation; and James J. Rowley, Chief of the Secret Service,
appeared as witnesses and testified fully regarding their agencies’
participation in the matters under scrutiny by the Commission.


In addition to the information resulting from these investigations, the
Commission has relied primarily on the facts disclosed by the sworn
testimony of the principal witnesses to the assassination and related
events. Beginning on February 3, 1964, the Commission and its staff
has taken the testimony of 552 witnesses. Of this number, 94 appeared
before members of the Commission; 395 were questioned by members of
the Commission’s legal staff; 61 supplied sworn affidavits; and 2
gave statements.[F-4] Under Commission procedures, all witnesses were
advised that they had the right to the presence and the advice of their
lawyer during the interrogation, with the corollary rights to raise
objections to any questions asked, to make any clarifying statement on
the record after the interrogation, and to purchase a copy of their

Commission hearings were closed to the public unless the witness
appearing before the Commission requested an open hearing. Under these
procedures, testimony of one witness was taken in a public hearing
on two occasions. No other witness requested a public hearing. The
Commission concluded that the premature publication by it of testimony
regarding the assassination or the subsequent killing of Oswald might
interfere with Ruby’s rights to a fair and impartial trial on the
charges filed against him by the State of Texas. The Commission also
recognized that testimony would be presented before it which would
be inadmissible in judicial proceedings and might prejudice innocent
parties if made public out of context. In addition to the witnesses
who appeared before the Commission, numerous others provided sworn
depositions, affidavits, and statements upon which the Commission
has relied. Since this testimony, as well as that taken before the
Commission, could not always be taken in logical sequence, the
Commission concluded that partial publication of testimony as the
investigation progressed was impractical and could be misleading.


The Commission’s most difficult assignments have been to uncover
all the facts concerning the assassination of President Kennedy and
to determine if it was in any way directed or encouraged by unknown
persons at home or abroad. In this process, its objective has been to
identify the person or persons responsible for both the assassination
of President Kennedy and the killing of Oswald through an examination
of the evidence. The task has demanded unceasing appraisal of the
evidence by the individual members of the Commission in their effort to
discover the whole truth.

The procedures followed by the Commission in developing and assessing
evidence necessarily differed from those of a court conducting a
criminal trial of a defendant present before it, since under our system
there is no provision for a posthumous trial. If Oswald had lived he
could have had a trial by American standards of justice where he would
have been able to exercise his full rights under the law. A judge and
jury would have presumed him innocent until proven guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt. He might have furnished information which could have
affected the course of his trial. He could have participated in and
guided his defense. There could have been an examination to determine
whether he was sane under prevailing legal standards. All witnesses,
including possibly the defendant, could have been subjected to
searching examination under the adversary system of American trials.

The Commission has functioned neither as a court presiding over an
adversary proceeding nor as a prosecutor determined to prove a case,
but as a factfinding agency committed to the ascertainment of the
truth. In the course of the investigation of the facts and rumors
surrounding these matters, it was necessary to explore hearsay and
other sources of information not admissible in a court proceeding
obtained from persons who saw or heard and others in a position to
observe what occurred. In fairness to the alleged assassin and his
family, the Commission on February 25, 1964, requested Walter E.
Craig, president of the American Bar Association, to participate in
the investigation and to advise the Commission whether in his opinion
the proceedings conformed to the basic principles of American justice.
Mr. Craig accepted this assignment and participated fully and without
limitation. He attended Commission hearings in person or through his
appointed assistants. All working papers, reports, and other data in
Commission files were made available, and Mr. Craig and his associates
were given the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, to recall any
witness heard prior to his appointment, and to suggest witnesses whose
testimony they would like to have the Commission hear. This procedure
was agreeable to counsel for Oswald’s widow.


In this report the Commission submits the results of its investigation.
Each member of the Commission has given careful consideration to
the entire report and concurs in its findings and conclusions. The
report consists of an initial chapter summarizing the Commission’s
basic findings and conclusions, followed by a detailed analysis of
the facts and the issues raised by the events of November 22, 1963,
and the 2 following days. Individual chapters consider the trip to
Dallas, the shots from the Texas School Book Depository, the identity
of the assassin, the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald, the possibility
of a conspiracy, Oswald’s background and possible motive, and
arrangements for the protection of the President. In these chapters,
rather than rely on cross references, the Commission on occasion has
repeated certain testimony in order that the reader might have the
necessary information before him while examining the conclusions of the
Commission on each important issue.

With this report the Commission is submitting the complete testimony
of all the witnesses who appeared before the Commission or gave sworn
depositions or affidavits, the accompanying documentary exhibits, and
other investigative materials which are relied upon in this report. The
Commission is committing all of its reports and working papers to the
National Archives, where they can be permanently preserved under the
rules and regulations of the National Archives and applicable Federal


  LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL                                              vii

  FOREWORD                                                            ix

  CHAPTER I. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS                                   1
    Narrative of Events                                                1
    Conclusions                                                       18
    Recommendations                                                   25

  CHAPTER II. THE ASSASSINATION                                       28
    Planning the Texas Trip                                           28
    Advance Preparations for the Dallas Trip                          29
      Preventive Intelligence Activities                              29
      The Luncheon Site                                               30
      The Motorcade Route                                             31
    Dallas Before the Visit                                           40
    Visits to Other Texas Cities                                      42
    Arrival at Love Field                                             42
    Organization of the Motorcade                                     43
    The Drive Through Dallas                                          46
    The Assassination                                                 48
      The Time                                                        48
      Speed of the Limousine                                          49
      In the Presidential Limousine                                   49
      Reaction by Secret Service Agents                               50
    Parkland Memorial Hospital                                        52
      The Race to the Hospital                                        52
      Treatment of President Kennedy                                  53
      Treatment of Governor Connally                                  56
      Vice President Johnson at Parkland                              56
      Secret Service Emergency Security Arrangements                  57
      Removal of the President’s Body                                 58
    The End of the Trip                                               59
      Swearing in of the New President                                59
      Return to Washington, D.C.                                      59
      The Autopsy                                                     59

    The Witnesses                                                     61
      Near the Depository                                             63
      On the Fifth Floor                                              68
      At the Triple Underpass                                         71
    The Presidential Automobile                                       76
    Expert Examination of Rifle, Cartridge Cases, and Bullet
            Fragments                                                 79
      Discovery of Cartridge Cases and Rifle                          79
      Discovery of Bullet at Parkland Hospital                        79
      Description of Rifle                                            81
      Expert Testimony                                                84
    The Bullet Wounds                                                 85
      The President’s Head Wounds                                     86
      The President’s Neck Wounds                                     87
      The Governor’s Wounds                                           92
    The Trajectory                                                    96
      Films and Tests                                                 96
      The First Bullet That Hit                                       97
      The Subsequent Bullet That Hit                                 109
    Number of Shots                                                  110
    The Shot That Missed                                             111
      The First Shot                                                 111
      The Second Shot                                                115
      The Third Shot                                                 115
    Time Span of Shots                                               117
    Conclusion                                                       117

  CHAPTER IV. THE ASSASSIN                                           118
    Ownership and Possession of Assassination Weapon                 118
      Purchase of Rifle by Oswald                                    118
      Oswald’s Palmprint on Rifle Barrel                             122
      Fibers on Rifle                                                124
      Photograph of Oswald With Rifle                                125
      Rifle Among Oswald’s Possessions                               128
      Conclusion                                                     129
    The Rifle in the Building                                        129
      The Curtain Rod Story                                          129
      The Missing Rifle                                              130
      The Long and Bulky Package                                     131
      Location of Bag                                                134
      Scientific Evidence Linking Rifle and Oswald to Paper Bag      135
      Conclusion                                                     137
    Oswald at Window                                                 137
      Palmprints and Fingerprints on Cartons and Paper Bag           140
      Oswald’s Presence on Sixth Floor Approximately 35 Minutes
            Before the Assassination                                 143
      Eyewitness Identification of Assassin                          143
      Oswald’s Actions in Building After Assassination               149
      Conclusion                                                     156
    The Killing of Patrolman J. D. Tippit                            156
      Oswald’s Movements After Leaving Depository Building           157
      Description of Shooting                                        165
      Eyewitnesses                                                   166
      Murder Weapon                                                  171
      Ownership of Revolver                                          172
      Oswald’s Jacket                                                175
      Conclusion                                                     176
    Oswald’s Arrest                                                  176
    Statements of Oswald During Detention                            180
      Denial of Rifle Ownership                                      181
      The Revolver                                                   181
      The Aliases “Hidell” and “O. H. Lee”                           181
      The Curtain Rod Story                                          182
      Actions During and After Shooting                              182
    Prior Attempt To Kill                                            183
      The Attempt on the Life of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker           183
      Richard M. Nixon Incident                                      187
    Oswald’s Rifle Capability                                        189
      The Nature of the Shots                                        189
      Oswald’s Marine Training                                       191
      Oswald’s Rifle Practice Outside the Marines                    192
      Accuracy of Weapon                                             193
      Conclusion                                                     195
    Conclusion                                                       195

  CHAPTER V. DETENTION AND DEATH OF OSWALD                           196
    Treatment of Oswald in Custody                                   196
      Chronology                                                     198
      Interrogation Sessions                                         199
      Oswald’s Legal Rights                                          200
    Activity of Newsmen                                              201
      On the Third Floor                                             201
      Oswald and the Press                                           206
    The Abortive Transfer                                            208
    Possible Assistance to Jack Ruby in Entering the Basement        216
    Adequacy of Security Precautions                                 225
    News Coverage and Police Policy                                  231
    Responsibility of News Media                                     240

    Circumstances Surrounding the Assassination                      245
      Selection of Motorcade Route                                   245
      Oswald’s Presence in the Depository Building                   246
      Bringing Rifle Into Building                                   247
      Accomplices at the Scene of the Assassination                  248
      Oswald’s Escape                                                252
    Background of Lee Harvey Oswald                                  254
      Residence in the Soviet Union                                  254
      Associations in the Dallas-Fort Worth Community                280
      Political Activities Upon Return to the United States          287
      Contacts With the Cuban and Soviet Embassies in Mexico City
            and the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C.               299
      Investigation of Other Activities                              312
      Oswald Was Not an Agent for the U.S. Government                325
      Oswald’s Finances                                              328
    Possible Conspiracy Involving Jack Ruby                          333
      Ruby’s Activities From November 21 to November 24, 1963        333
      Ruby and Oswald Were Not Acquainted                            359
      Ruby’s Background and Associations                             365
    Conclusion                                                       374

    The Early Years                                                  377
    New York City                                                    378
    Return to New Orleans and Joining the Marine Corps               383
    Interest in Marxism                                              388
    Defection to the Soviet Union                                    390
    Return to the United States                                      394
    Personal Relations                                               400
    Employment                                                       402
    Attack on General Walker                                         404
    Political Activities                                             406
    Interest in Cuba                                                 412
    Possible Influence of Anti-Kennedy Sentiment in Dallas           415
    Relationship With Wife                                           416
    The Unanswered Questions                                         421
    Conclusion                                                       423

    The Nature of the Protective Assignment                          426
    Evaluation of Presidential Protection at the Time of the
            Assassination of President Kennedy                       428
      Intelligence Functions Relating to Presidential Protection
            at the Time of the Dallas Trip                           429
      Liaison With Other Government Agencies                         444
      Other Protective Measures and Aspects of Secret
      Service Performance                                            444
    Recommendations                                                  454
      Assassination a Federal Crime                                  454
      Committee of Cabinet Officers                                  456
      Responsibilities for Presidential Protection                   457
      General Supervision of the Secret Service                      460
      Preventive Intelligence                                        461
      Liaison With Local Law Enforcement Agencies                    465
      Inspection of Buildings                                        466
      Secret Service Personnel and Facilities                        466
      Manpower and Technical Assistance From Other Agencies          467
    Conclusion                                                       468

  APPENDIX I. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 11130                              471

  APPENDIX II. WHITE HOUSE RELEASE                                   472

  APPENDIX III. SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 137                          473

    Members of Commission                                            475
    General Counsel                                                  476
    Assistant Counsel                                                476
    Staff Members                                                    477
      Acknowledgments                                                481

  APPENDIX V. LIST OF WITNESSES                                      483

    Resolution Governing Questioning of Witnesses by Members of
            the Commission Staff                                     501

    Before the Civil War                                             504
    Lincoln                                                          505
    The Need for Protection Further Demonstrated                     507
    Development of Presidential Protection                           510

   MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, DALLAS, TEX.                                   516


  APPENDIX X. EXPERT TESTIMONY                                       547
    Firearms and Firearms Identification                             547
      General Principles                                             547
      The Rifle                                                      553
      Rifle Cartridge and Cartridge Cases                            555
      The Rifle Bullets                                              557
      The Revolver                                                   558
      Revolver Cartridges and Cartridge Cases                        559
      Revolver Bullets                                               559
      The Struggle for the Revolver                                  560
      The Paraffin Test                                              560
      The Walker Bullet                                              562
    Fingerprints and Palmprints                                      563
      General Principles                                             563
      Objects in the Texas School Book Depository Building           556
    Questioned Documents                                             566
      The Mail Order for the C2766 Rifle, the Related Envelope,
            and the Money Order                                      569
      Mail Order for the V510210 Revolver                            570
      Post Office Box Applications and Change-of-Address Card        570
      The Spurious Selective Service System Notice of
            Classification and U.S. Marine Corps Certificate
            of Service                                               571
      The Hidell Notice of Classification                            571
      The Hidell Certificate of Service                              576
      The Vaccination Certificate                                    577
      The Fair Play for Cuba Committee Card                          578
      The Unsigned Russian-Language Note                             578
      The Homemade Wrapping Paper Bag                                579
    Wound Ballistics Experiments                                     580
      Purpose of the Tests                                           580
      The Testers and Their Qualifications                           580
      General Testing Conditions                                     581
      Tests on Penetration Power and Bullet Stability                581
      Tests Simulating President Kennedy’s Neck Wound                582
      Tests Simulating Governor Connally’s Chest Wounds              582
      Tests Simulating Governor Connally’s Wrist Wounds              583
      Conclusions From Simulating the Neck, Chest, and Wrist Wounds  584
      Tests Simulating President Kennedy’s Head Wounds               585
    Hairs and Fibers                                                 586
      General Principles                                             588
    Photographs                                                      592

   OSWALD AT THE DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT                            598

  APPENDIX XII. SPECULATIONS AND RUMORS                              637
    The Source of the Shots                                          639
    The Assassin                                                     642
    Oswald’s Movements Between 12:33 and 1:15 p.m.                   648
    Murder of Tippit                                                 650
    Oswald After His Arrest                                          654
    Oswald in the Soviet Union                                       655
    Oswald’s Trip to Mexico City                                     658
    Oswald and U.S. Government Agencies                              659
    Conspiratorial Relationships                                     661
    Other Rumors and Speculations                                    664

    Early Years                                                      669
    Marines                                                          681
    Soviet Union                                                     689
    Fort Worth, Dallas, New Orleans                                  713
    Mexico City                                                      730
    Dallas                                                           737

   JUNE 13, 1962, THROUGH NOVEMBER 22, 1963                          741

    Issuance of Passport in 1959                                     746
    Oswald’s Attempts To Renounce His U.S. Citizenship               747
    Return and Renewal of Oswald’s 1959 Passport                     752
      Negotiations Between Oswald and the Embassy                    752
      Legal Justification for the Return and Reissue of Oswald’s
            Passport                                                 759
    Authorization for Marina Oswald To Enter the United States       761
      Negotiations Between Oswald and the Embassy                    761
      Legal Justification for the Decisions Affecting Marina Oswald  766
    Oswald’s Letter to Senator Tower                                 769
    The Loan From the State Department                               770
    Oswald’s Return to the United States and Repayment of His Loan   773
    Issuance of a Passport in June 1963                              773
    Visit to the Russian Embassy in Mexico City                      777
    Conclusion                                                       777

  APPENDIX XVI. A BIOGRAPHY OF JACK RUBY                             779
    Family Background                                                779
    Childhood and Youth (1911-33)                                    780
      Psychiatric Report                                             781
      Placement in Foster Homes                                      782
      Subsequent Home Life                                           783
      Education                                                      784
      Activities                                                     784
      Temperament                                                    785
    Young Manhood (1933-43)                                          786
      San Francisco (1933-37)                                        786
      Occupations and Activities                                     786
      Chicago (1937-43)                                              787
    Military Activities (1943-46)                                    790
    Postwar Chicago (1946-47)                                        791
    Dallas (1947-63)                                                 792
      The Move to Dallas                                             792
      The Change of Name                                             793
      Nightclub Operations                                           794
      Employee Relationships                                         796
      Financial Data and Tax Problems                                797
      Other Business Ventures                                        799
      Arrests and Violations                                         800
      Police Associations                                            800
      Underworld Ties                                                801
      Travels                                                        801
    Character and Interests                                          802
      Family Relationships                                           802
      Social Relationships                                           803
      Affection for Dogs                                             804
      Religious Interests                                            804
      Physical Activities and Violence                               804
      Generosity to Friends and the Need for Recognition             806

    Preliminary Arrangements                                         807
    Administration of the Test                                       809
    Interpretation of the Test                                       813

  APPENDIX XVIII. FOOTNOTES                                          817

  INDEX                                                              880


Summary and Conclusions

The assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 22, 1963,
was a cruel and shocking act of violence directed against a man, a
family, a nation, and against all mankind. A young and vigorous leader
whose years of public and private life stretched before him was the
victim of the fourth Presidential assassination in the history of a
country dedicated to the concepts of reasoned argument and peaceful
political change. This Commission was created on November 29, 1963,
in recognition of the right of people everywhere to full and truthful
knowledge concerning these events. This report endeavors to fulfill
that right and to appraise this tragedy by the light of reason and the
standard of fairness. It has been prepared with a deep awareness of
the Commission’s responsibility to present to the American people an
objective report of the facts relating to the assassination.


At 11:40 a.m., c.s.t., on Friday, November 22, 1963, President John
F. Kennedy, Mrs. Kennedy, and their party arrived at Love Field,
Dallas, Tex. Behind them was the first day of a Texas trip planned
5 months before by the President, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson,
and John B. Connally, Jr., Governor of Texas. After leaving the White
House on Thursday morning, the President had flown initially to San
Antonio where Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson joined the party and
the President dedicated new research facilities at the U.S. Air Force
School of Aerospace Medicine. Following a testimonial dinner in Houston
for U.S. Representative Albert Thomas, the President flew to Fort Worth
where he spent the night and spoke at a large breakfast gathering on

Planned for later that day were a motorcade through downtown Dallas,
a luncheon speech at the Trade Mart, and a flight to Austin where
the President would attend a reception and speak at a Democratic
fundraising dinner. From Austin he would proceed to the Texas ranch of
the Vice President. Evident on this trip were the varied roles which
an American President performs--Head of State, Chief Executive, party
leader, and, in this instance, prospective candidate for reelection.

The Dallas motorcade, it was hoped, would evoke a demonstration of the
President’s personal popularity in a city which he had lost in the 1960
election. Once it had been decided that the trip to Texas would span 2
days, those responsible for planning, primarily Governor Connally and
Kenneth O’Donnell, a special assistant to the President, agreed that
a motorcade through Dallas would be desirable. The Secret Service was
told on November 8 that 45 minutes had been allotted to a motorcade
procession from Love Field to the site of a luncheon planned by Dallas
business and civic leaders in honor of the President. After considering
the facilities and security problems of several buildings, the Trade
Mart was chosen as the luncheon site. Given this selection, and in
accordance with the customary practice of affording the greatest number
of people an opportunity to see the President, the motorcade route
selected was a natural one. The route was approved by the local host
committee and White House representatives on November 18 and publicized
in the local papers starting on November 19. This advance publicity
made it clear that the motorcade would leave Main Street and pass the
intersection of Elm and Houston Streets as it proceeded to the Trade
Mart by way of the Stemmons Freeway.

By midmorning of November 22, clearing skies in Dallas dispelled the
threat of rain and the President greeted the crowds from his open
limousine without the “bubbletop,” which was at that time a plastic
shield furnishing protection only against inclement weather. To the
left of the President in the rear seat was Mrs. Kennedy. In the jump
seats were Governor Connally, who was in front of the President, and
Mrs. Connally at the Governor’s left. Agent William R. Greer of the
Secret Service was driving, and Agent Roy H. Kellerman was sitting to
his right.

Directly behind the Presidential limousine was an open “followup” car
with eight Secret Service agents, two in the front seat, two in the
rear, and two on each running board. These agents, in accordance with
normal Secret Service procedures, were instructed to scan the crowds,
the roofs, and windows of buildings, overpasses, and crossings for
signs of trouble. Behind the “followup” car was the Vice-Presidential
car carrying the Vice President and Mrs. Johnson and Senator Ralph W.
Yarborough. Next were a Vice-Presidential “followup” car and several
cars and buses for additional dignitaries, press representatives, and

The motorcade left Love Field shortly after 11:50 a.m., and proceeded
through residential neighborhoods, stopping twice at the President’s
request to greet well-wishers among the friendly crowds. Each time
the President’s car halted, Secret Service agents from the “followup”
car moved forward to assume a protective stance near the President
and Mrs. Kennedy. As the motorcade reached Main Street, a principal
east-west artery in downtown Dallas, the welcome became tumultuous.
At the extreme west end of Main Street the motorcade turned right on
Houston Street and proceeded north for one block in order to make a
left turn on Elm Street, the most direct and convenient approach to the
Stemmons Freeway and the Trade Mart. As the President’s car approached
the intersection of Houston and Elm Streets, there loomed directly
ahead on the intersection’s northwest corner a seven-story, orange
brick warehouse and office building, the Texas School Book Depository.
Riding in the Vice President’s car, Agent Rufus W. Youngblood of the
Secret Service noticed that the clock atop the building indicated 12:30
p.m., the scheduled arrival time at the Trade Mart.

The President’s car which had been going north made a sharp turn
toward the southwest onto Elm Street. At a speed of about 11 miles per
hour, it started down the gradual descent toward a railroad overpass
under which the motorcade would proceed before reaching the Stemmons
Freeway. The front of the Texas School Book Depository was now on the
President’s right, and he waved to the crowd assembled there as he
passed the building. Dealey Plaza--an open, landscaped area marking the
western end of downtown Dallas--stretched out to the President’s left.
A Secret Service agent riding in the motorcade radioed the Trade Mart
that the President would arrive in 5 minutes.

Seconds later shots resounded in rapid succession. The President’s
hands moved to his neck. He appeared to stiffen momentarily and lurch
slightly forward in his seat. A bullet had entered the base of the back
of his neck slightly to the right of the spine. It traveled downward
and exited from the front of the neck, causing a nick in the left lower
portion of the knot in the President’s necktie. Before the shooting
started, Governor Connally had been facing toward the crowd on the
right. He started to turn toward the left and suddenly felt a blow on
his back. The Governor had been hit by a bullet which entered at the
extreme right side of his back at a point below his right armpit. The
bullet traveled through his chest in a downward and forward direction,
exited below his right nipple, passed through his right wrist which had
been in his lap, and then caused a wound to his left thigh. The force
of the bullet’s impact appeared to spin the Governor to his right, and
Mrs. Connally pulled him down into her lap. Another bullet then struck
President Kennedy in the rear portion of his head, causing a massive
and fatal wound. The President fell to the left into Mrs. Kennedy’s lap.

Secret Service Agent Clinton J. Hill, riding on the left running board
of the “followup” car, heard a noise which sounded like a firecracker
and saw the President suddenly lean forward and to the left. Hill
jumped off the car and raced toward the President’s limousine. In the
front seat of the Vice-Presidential car, Agent Youngblood heard an
explosion and noticed unusual movements in the crowd. He vaulted into
the rear seat and sat on the Vice President in order to protect him.
At the same time Agent Kellerman in the front seat of the Presidential
limousine turned to observe the President. Seeing that the President
was struck, Kellerman instructed the driver, “Let’s get out of here;
we are hit.” He radioed ahead to the lead car, “Get us to the hospital
immediately.” Agent Greer immediately accelerated the Presidential car.
As it gained speed, Agent Hill managed to pull himself onto the back of
the car where Mrs. Kennedy had climbed. Hill pushed her back into the
rear seat and shielded the stricken President and Mrs. Kennedy as the
President’s car proceeded at high speed to Parkland Memorial Hospital,
4 miles away.

At Parkland, the President was immediately treated by a team of
physicians who had been alerted for the President’s arrival by the
Dallas Police Department as the result of a radio message from the
motorcade after the shooting. The doctors noted irregular breathing
movements and a possible heartbeat, although they could not detect a
pulsebeat. They observed the extensive wound in the President’s head
and a small wound approximately one-fourth inch in diameter in the
lower third of his neck. In an effort to facilitate breathing, the
physicians performed a tracheotomy by enlarging the throat wound and
inserting a tube. Totally absorbed in the immediate task of trying to
preserve the President’s life, the attending doctors never turned the
President over for an examination of his back. At 1 p.m., after all
heart activity ceased and the Last Rites were administered by a priest,
President Kennedy was pronounced dead. Governor Connally underwent
surgery and ultimately recovered from his serious wounds.

Upon learning of the President’s death, Vice President Johnson left
Parkland Hospital under close guard and proceeded to the Presidential
plane at Love Field. Mrs. Kennedy, accompanying her husband’s body,
boarded the plane shortly thereafter. At 2:38 p.m., in the central
compartment of the plane, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th
President of the United States by Federal District Court Judge Sarah T.
Hughes. The plane left immediately for Washington, D.C., arriving at
Andrews AFB, Md., at 5:58 p.m., e.s.t. The President’s body was taken
to the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., where it was given
a complete pathological examination. The autopsy disclosed the large
head wound observed at Parkland and the wound in the front of the neck
which had been enlarged by the Parkland doctors when they performed the
tracheotomy. Both of these wounds were described in the autopsy report
as being “presumably of exit.” In addition the autopsy revealed a small
wound of entry in the rear of the President’s skull and another wound
of entry near the base of the back of the neck. The autopsy report
stated the cause of death as “Gunshot wound, head,” and the bullets
which struck the President were described as having been fired “from a
point behind and somewhat above the level of the deceased.”

At the scene of the shooting, there was evident confusion at the
outset concerning the point of origin of the shots. Witnesses differed
in their accounts of the direction from which the sound of the shots
emanated. Within a few minutes, however, attention centered on the
Texas School Book Depository Building as the source of the shots.
The building was occupied by a private corporation, the Texas School
Book Depository Co., which distributed school textbooks of several
publishers and leased space to representatives of the publishers. Most
of the employees in the building worked for these publishers. The
balance, including a 15-man warehousing crew, were employees of the
Texas School Book Depository Co. itself.

Several eyewitnesses in front of the building reported that they saw a
rifle being fired from the southeast corner window on the sixth floor
of the Texas School Book Depository. One eyewitness, Howard L. Brennan,
had been watching the parade from a point on Elm Street directly
opposite and facing the building. He promptly told a policeman that he
had seen a slender man, about 5 feet 10 inches, in his early thirties,
take deliberate aim from the sixth-floor corner window and fire a rifle
in the direction of the President’s car. Brennan thought he might be
able to identify the man since he had noticed him in the window a few
minutes before the motorcade made the turn onto Elm Street. At 12:34
p.m., the Dallas police radio mentioned the Depository Building as
a possible source of the shots, and at 12:45 p.m., the police radio
broadcast a description of the suspected assassin based primarily on
Brennan’s observations.

When the shots were fired, a Dallas motorcycle patrolman, Marrion L.
Baker, was riding in the motorcade at a point several cars behind the
President. He had turned right from Main Street onto Houston Street
and was about 200 feet south of Elm Street when he heard a shot.
Baker, having recently returned from a week of deer hunting, was
certain the shot came from a high-powered rifle. He looked up and saw
pigeons scattering in the air from their perches on the Texas School
Book Depository Building. He raced his motorcycle to the building,
dismounted, scanned the area to the west and pushed his way through the
spectators toward the entrance. There he encountered Roy Truly, the
building superintendent, who offered Baker his help. They entered the
building, and ran toward the two elevators in the rear. Finding that
both elevators were on an upper floor, they dashed up the stairs. Not
more than 2 minutes had elapsed since the shooting.

When they reached the second-floor landing on their way up to the top
of the building, Patrolman Baker thought he caught a glimpse of someone
through the small glass window in the door separating the hall area
near the stairs from the small vestibule leading into the lunchroom.
Gun in hand, he rushed to the door and saw a man about 20 feet away
walking toward the other end of the lunchroom. The man was emptyhanded.
At Baker’s command, the man turned and approached him. Truly, who had
started up the stairs to the third floor ahead of Baker, returned
to see what had delayed the patrolman. Baker asked Truly whether he
knew the man in the lunchroom. Truly replied that the man worked in
the building, whereupon Baker turned from the man and proceeded, with
Truly, up the stairs. The man they encountered had started working
in the Texas School Book Depository Building on October 16, 1963. His
fellow workers described him as very quiet--a “loner.” His name was Lee
Harvey Oswald.

Within about 1 minute after his encounter with Baker and Truly, Oswald
was seen passing through the second-floor offices. In his hand was a
full “Coke” bottle which he had purchased from a vending machine in
the lunchroom. He was walking toward the front of the building where
a passenger elevator and a short flight of stairs provided access to
the main entrance of the building on the first floor. Approximately 7
minutes later, at about 12:40 p.m., Oswald boarded a bus at a point on
Elm Street seven short blocks east of the Depository Building. The bus
was traveling west toward the very building from which Oswald had come.
Its route lay through the Oak Cliff section in southwest Dallas, where
it would pass seven blocks east of the roominghouse in which Oswald was
living, at 1026 North Beckley Avenue. On the bus was Mrs. Mary Bledsoe,
one of Oswald’s former landladies who immediately recognized him.
Oswald stayed on the bus approximately 3 or 4 minutes, during which
time it proceeded only two blocks because of the traffic jam created by
the motorcade and the assassination. Oswald then left the bus.

A few minutes later he entered a vacant taxi four blocks away and asked
the driver to take him to a point on North Beckley Avenue several
blocks beyond his roominghouse. The trip required 5 or 6 minutes. At
about 1 p.m. Oswald arrived at the roominghouse. The housekeeper, Mrs.
Earlene Roberts, was surprised to see Oswald at midday and remarked
to him that he seemed to be in quite a hurry. He made no reply. A few
minutes later Oswald emerged from his room zipping up his jacket and
rushed out of the house.

Approximately 14 minutes later, and just 45 minutes after the
assassination, another violent shooting occurred in Dallas. The victim
was Patrolman J. D. Tippit of the Dallas police, an officer with a
good record during his more than 11 years with the police force. He
was shot near the intersection of 10th Street and Patton Avenue, about
nine-tenths of a mile from Oswald’s roominghouse. At the time of the
assassination, Tippit was alone in his patrol car, the routine practice
for most police patrol cars at this time of day. He had been ordered by
radio at 12:45 p.m. to proceed to the central Oak Cliff area as part of
a concentration of patrol car activity around the center of the city
following the assassination. At 12:54 Tippit radioed that he had moved
as directed and would be available for any emergency. By this time the
police radio had broadcast several messages alerting the police to
the suspect described by Brennan at the scene of the assassination--a
slender white male, about 30 years old, 5 feet 10 inches and weighing
about 165 pounds.

At approximately 1:15 p.m., Tippit was driving slowly in an easterly
direction on East 10th Street in Oak Cliff. About 100 feet past the
intersection of 10th Street and Patton Avenue, Tippit pulled up
alongside a man walking in the same direction. The man met the general
description of the suspect wanted in connection with the assassination.
He walked over to Tippit’s car, rested his arms on the door on the
right-hand side of the car, and apparently exchanged words with Tippit
through the window. Tippit opened the door on the left side and started
to walk around the front of his car. As he reached the front wheel on
the driver’s side, the man on the sidewalk drew a revolver and fired
several shots in rapid succession, hitting Tippit four times and
killing him instantly. An automobile repairman, Domingo Benavides,
heard the shots and stopped his pickup truck on the opposite side of
the street about 25 feet in front of Tippit’s car. He observed the
gunman start back toward Patton Avenue, removing the empty cartridge
cases from the gun as he went. Benavides rushed to Tippit’s side. The
patrolman, apparently dead, was lying on his revolver, which was out
of its holster. Benavides promptly reported the shooting to police
headquarters over the radio in Tippit’s car. The message was received
shortly after 1:16 p.m.

As the gunman left the scene, he walked hurriedly back toward Patton
Avenue and turned left, heading south. Standing on the northwest corner
of 10th Street and Patton Avenue was Helen Markham, who had been
walking south on Patton Avenue and had seen both the killer and Tippit
cross the intersection in front of her as she waited on the curb for
traffic to pass. She witnessed the shooting and then saw the man with a
gun in his hand walk back toward the corner and cut across the lawn of
the corner house as he started south on Patton Avenue.

In the corner house itself, Mrs. Barbara Jeanette Davis and her
sister-in-law, Mrs. Virginia Davis, heard the shots and rushed to the
door in time to see the man walk rapidly across the lawn shaking a
revolver as if he were emptying it of cartridge cases. Later that day
each woman found a cartridge case near the house. As the gunman turned
the corner he passed alongside a taxicab which was parked on Patton
Avenue, a few feet from 10th Street. The driver, William W. Scoggins,
had seen the slaying and was now crouched behind his cab on the street
side. As the gunman cut through the shrubbery on the lawn, Scoggins
looked up and saw the man approximately 12 feet away. In his hand was a
pistol and he muttered words which sounded to Scoggins like “poor dumb
cop” or “poor damn cop.”

After passing Scoggins, the gunman crossed to the west side of Patton
Avenue and ran south toward Jefferson Boulevard, a main Oak Cliff
thoroughfare. On the east side of Patton, between 10th Street and
Jefferson Boulevard, Ted Callaway, a used car salesman, heard the shots
and ran to the sidewalk. As the man with the gun rushed past, Callaway
shouted “What’s going on?” The man merely shrugged, ran on to Jefferson
Boulevard and turned right. On the next corner was a gas station with a
parking lot in the rear. The assailant ran into the lot, discarded his
jacket and then continued his flight west on Jefferson.

In a shoe store a few blocks farther west on Jefferson, the manager,
Johnny Calvin Brewer, heard the siren of a police car moments after
the radio in his store announced the shooting of the police officer in
Oak Cliff. Brewer saw a man step quickly into the entranceway of the
store and stand there with his back toward the street. When the police
car made a =U=-turn and headed back in the direction of the Tippit
shooting, the man left and Brewer followed him. He saw the man enter
the Texas Theatre, a motion picture house about 60 feet away, without
buying a ticket. Brewer pointed this out to the cashier, Mrs. Julia
Postal, who called the police. The time was shortly after 1:40 p.m.

At 1:29 p.m., the police radio had noted the similarity in the
descriptions of the suspects in the Tippit shooting and the
assassination. At 1:45 p.m., in response to Mrs. Postal’s call, the
police radio sounded the alarm: “Have information a suspect just went
in the Texas Theatre on West Jefferson.” Within minutes the theater
was surrounded. The house lights were then turned up. Patrolman M. N.
McDonald and several other policemen approached the man, who had been
pointed out to them by Brewer.

McDonald ordered the man to his feet and heard him say, “Well, it’s all
over now.” The man drew a gun from his waist with one hand and struck
the officer with the other. McDonald struck out with his right hand and
grabbed the gun with his left hand. After a brief struggle McDonald and
several other police officers disarmed and handcuffed the suspect and
drove him to police headquarters, arriving at approximately 2 p.m.

Following the assassination, police cars had rushed to the Texas School
Book Depository in response to the many radio messages reporting that
the shots had been fired from the Depository Building. Inspector J.
Herbert Sawyer of the Dallas Police Department arrived at the scene
shortly after hearing the first of these police radio messages at 12:34
p.m. Some of the officers who had been assigned to the area of Elm
and Houston Streets for the motorcade were talking to witnesses and
watching the building when Sawyer arrived. Sawyer entered the building
and rode a passenger elevator to the fourth floor, which was the top
floor for this elevator. He conducted a quick search, returned to the
main floor and, between approximately 12:37 and 12:40 p.m., ordered
that no one be permitted to leave the building.

Shortly before 1 p.m. Capt. J. Will Fritz, chief of the homicide and
robbery bureau of the Dallas Police Department, arrived to take charge
of the investigation. Searching the sixth floor, Deputy Sheriff Luke
Mooney noticed a pile of cartons in the southeast corner. He squeezed
through the boxes and realized immediately that he had discovered the
point from which the shots had been fired. On the floor were three
empty cartridge cases. A carton had apparently been placed on the floor
at the side of the window so that a person sitting on the carton could
look down Elm Street toward the overpass and scarcely be noticed from
the outside. Between this carton and the half-open window were three
additional cartons arranged at such an angle that a rifle resting on
the top carton would be aimed directly at the motorcade as it moved
away from the building. The high stack of boxes, which first attracted
Mooney’s attention, effectively screened a person at the window from
the view of anyone else on the floor.

Mooney’s discovery intensified the search for additional evidence on
the sixth floor, and at 1:22 p.m., approximately 10 minutes after the
cartridge cases were found, Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone turned his
flashlight in the direction of two rows of boxes in the northwest
corner near the staircase. Stuffed between the two rows was a
bolt-action rifle with a telescopic sight. The rifle was not touched
until it could be photographed. When Lt. J. C. Day of the police
identification bureau decided that the wooden stock and the metal knob
at the end of the bolt contained no prints, he held the rifle by the
stock while Captain Fritz ejected a live shell by operating the bolt.
Lieutenant Day promptly noted that stamped on the rifle itself was the
serial number “C2766” as well as the markings “1940” “MADE ITALY” and
“CAL. 6.5.” The rifle was about 40 inches long and when disassembled it
could fit into a handmade paper sack which, after the assassination,
was found in the southeast corner of the building within a few feet of
the cartridge cases.

As Fritz and Day were completing their examination of this rifle on the
sixth floor, Roy Truly, the building superintendent, approached with
information which he felt should be brought to the attention of the
police. Earlier, while the police were questioning the employees, Truly
had observed that Lee Harvey Oswald, 1 of the 15 men who worked in the
warehouse, was missing. After Truly provided Oswald’s name, address,
and general description, Fritz left for police headquarters. He arrived
at headquarters shortly after 2 p.m. and asked two detectives to pick
up the employee who was missing from the Texas School Book Depository.
Standing nearby were the police officers who had just arrived with
the man arrested in the Texas Theatre. When Fritz mentioned the name
of the missing employee, he learned that the man was already in the
interrogation room. The missing School Book Depository employee and the
suspect who had been apprehended in the Texas Theatre were one and the
same--Lee Harvey Oswald.

The suspect Fritz was about to question in connection with the
assassination of the President and the murder of a policeman was born
in New Orleans on October 18, 1939, 2 months after the death of his
father. His mother, Marguerite Claverie Oswald, had two older children.
One, John Pic, was a half-brother to Lee from an earlier marriage which
had ended in divorce. The other was Robert Oswald, a full brother to
Lee and 5 years older. When Lee Oswald was 3, Mrs. Oswald placed him in
an orphanage where his brother and half-brother were already living,
primarily because she had to work.

In January 1944, when Lee was 4, he was taken out of the orphanage, and
shortly thereafter his mother moved with him to Dallas, Tex., where
the older boys joined them at the end of the school year. In May of
1945 Marguerite Oswald married her third husband, Edwin A. Ekdahl.
While the two older boys attended a military boarding school, Lee
lived at home and developed a warm attachment to Ekdahl, occasionally
accompanying his mother and stepfather on business trips around the
country. Lee started school in Benbrook, Tex., but in the fall of
1946, after a separation from Ekdahl, Marguerite Oswald reentered Lee
in the first grade in Covington, La. In January 1947, while Lee was
still in the first grade, the family moved to Fort Worth, Tex., as the
result of an attempted reconciliation between Ekdahl and Lee’s mother.
A year and a half later, before Lee was 9, his mother was divorced
from her third husband as the result of a divorce action instituted by
Ekdahl. Lee’s school record during the next 5½ years in Fort Worth was
average, although generally it grew poorer each year. The comments of
teachers and others who knew him at that time do not reveal any unusual
personality traits or characteristics.

Another change for Lee Oswald occurred in August 1952, a few months
after he completed the sixth grade. Marguerite Oswald and her
12-year-old son moved to New York City where Marguerite’s oldest
son, John Pic, was stationed with the Coast Guard. The ensuing year
and one-half in New York was marked by Lee’s refusals to attend
school and by emotional and psychological problems of a seemingly
serious nature. Because he had become a chronic school truant, Lee
underwent psychiatric study at Youth House, an institution in New
York for juveniles who have had truancy problems or difficulties
with the law, and who appear to require psychiatric observation,
or other types of guidance. The social worker assigned to his case
described him as “seriously detached” and “withdrawn” and noted “a
rather pleasant, appealing quality about this emotionally starved,
affectionless youngster.” Lee expressed the feeling to the social
worker that his mother did not care for him and regarded him as a
burden. He experienced fantasies about being all powerful and hurting
people, but during his stay at Youth House he was apparently not
a behavior problem. He appeared withdrawn and evasive, a boy who
preferred to spend his time alone, reading and watching television.
His tests indicated that he was above average in intelligence for
his age group. The chief psychiatrist of Youth House diagnosed Lee’s
problem as a “personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features
and passive-aggressive tendencies.” He concluded that the boy was “an
emotionally, quite disturbed youngster” and recommended psychiatric

In May 1953, after having been at Youth House for 3 weeks, Lee Oswald
returned to school where his attendance and grades temporarily
improved. By the following fall, however, the probation officer
reported that virtually every teacher complained about the boy’s
behavior. His mother insisted that he did not need psychiatric
assistance. Although there was apparently some improvement in Lee’s
behavior during the next few months, the court recommended further
treatment. In January 1954, while Lee’s case was still pending,
Marguerite and Lee left for New Orleans, the city of Lee’s birth.

Upon his return to New Orleans, Lee maintained mediocre grades but
had no obvious behavior problems. Neighbors and others who knew him
outside of school remembered him as a quiet, solitary and introverted
boy who read a great deal and whose vocabulary made him quite
articulate. About 1 month after he started the 10th grade and 11 days
before his 16th birthday in October 1955, he brought to school a note
purportedly written by his mother, stating that the family was moving
to California. The note was written by Lee. A few days later he dropped
out of school and almost immediately tried to join the Marine Corps.
Because he was only 16, he was rejected.

After leaving school Lee worked for the next 10 months at several jobs
in New Orleans as an office messenger or clerk. It was during this
period that he started to read communist literature. Occasionally,
in conversations with others, he praised communism and expressed to
his fellow employees a desire to join the Communist Party. At about
this time, when he was not yet 17, he wrote to the Socialist Party of
America, professing his belief in Marxism.

Another move followed in July 1956 when Lee and his mother returned
to Fort Worth. He reentered high school but again dropped out after
a few weeks and enlisted in the Marine Corps on October 24, 1956, 6
days after his 17th birthday. On December 21, 1956, during boot camp
in San Diego, Oswald fired a score of 212 for record with the M-1
rifle--2 points over the minimum for a rating of “sharpshooter” on a
marksman/sharpshooter/expert scale. After his basic training, Oswald
received training in aviation fundamentals and then in radar scanning.

Most people who knew Oswald in the Marines described him as a “loner”
who resented the exercise of authority by others. He spent much of
his free time reading. He was court-martialed once for possessing an
unregistered privately owned weapon and, on another occasion, for using
provocative language to a noncommissioned officer. He was, however,
generally able to comply with Marine discipline, even though his
experiences in the Marine Corps did not live up to his expectations.

Oswald served 15 months overseas until November 1958, most of it in
Japan. During his final year in the Marine Corps he was stationed for
the most part in Santa Ana, Calif., where he showed a marked interest
in the Soviet Union and sometimes expressed politically radical views
with dogmatic conviction. Oswald again fired the M-1 rifle for record
on May 6, 1959, and this time he shot a score of 191 on a shorter
course than before, only 1 point over the minimum required to be a
“marksman.” According to one of his fellow marines, Oswald was not
particularly interested in his rifle performance, and his unit was not
expected to exhibit the usual rifle proficiency. During this period
he expressed strong admiration for Fidel Castro and an interest in
joining the Cuban army. He tried to impress those around him as an
intellectual, but his thinking appeared to some as shallow and rigid.

Oswald’s Marine service terminated on September 11, 1959, when at his
own request he was released from active service a few months ahead
of his scheduled release. He offered as the reason for his release
the ill health and economic plight of his mother. He returned to Fort
Worth, remained with his mother only 3 days and left for New Orleans,
telling his mother he planned to get work there in the shipping or
import-export business. In New Orleans he booked passage on the
freighter SS _Marion Lykes_, which sailed from New Orleans to Le Havre,
France, on September 20, 1959.

Lee Harvey Oswald had presumably planned this step in his life for
quite some time. In March of 1959 he had applied to the Albert
Schweitzer College in Switzerland for admission to the spring 1960
term. His letter of application contained many blatant falsehoods
concerning his qualifications and background. A few weeks before his
discharge he had applied for and obtained a passport, listing the
Soviet Union as one of the countries which he planned to visit. During
his service in the Marines he had saved a comparatively large sum of
money, possibly as much as $1,500, which would appear to have been
accomplished by considerable frugality and apparently for a specific

The purpose of the accumulated fund soon became known. On October 16,
1959, Oswald arrived in Moscow by train after crossing the border
from Finland, where he had secured a visa for a 6-day stay in the
Soviet Union. He immediately applied for Soviet citizenship. On the
afternoon of October 21, 1959, Oswald was ordered to leave the Soviet
Union by 8 p.m. that evening. That same afternoon in his hotel room
Oswald, in an apparent suicide attempt, slashed his left wrist. He
was hospitalized immediately. On October 31, 3 days after his release
from the hospital, Oswald appeared at the American Embassy, announced
that he wished to renounce his U.S. citizenship and become a Russian
citizen, and handed the Embassy officer a written statement he had
prepared for the occasion. When asked his reasons, Oswald replied, “I
am a Marxist.” Oswald never formally complied with the legal steps
necessary to renounce his American citizenship. The Soviet Government
did not grant his request for citizenship, but in January 1960 he was
given permission to remain in the Soviet Union on a year-to-year basis.
At the same time Oswald was sent to Minsk where he worked in a radio
factory as an unskilled laborer. In January 1961 his permission to
remain in the Soviet Union was extended for another year. A few weeks
later, in February 1961, he wrote to the American Embassy in Moscow
expressing a desire to return to the United States.

The following month Oswald met a 19-year-old Russian girl, Marina
Nikolaevna Prusakova, a pharmacist, who had been brought up in
Leningrad but was then living with an aunt and uncle in Minsk. They
were married on April 30, 1961. Throughout the following year he
carried on a correspondence with American and Soviet authorities
seeking approval for the departure of himself and his wife to the
United States. In the course of this effort, Oswald and his wife
visited the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in July of 1961. Primarily on the
basis of an interview and questionnaire completed there, the Embassy
concluded that Oswald had not lost his citizenship, a decision
subsequently ratified by the Department of State in Washington, D.C.
Upon their return to Minsk, Oswald and his wife filed with the Soviet
authorities for permission to leave together. Their formal application
was made in July 1961, and on December 25, 1961, Marina Oswald was
advised it would be granted.

A daughter was born to the Oswalds in February 1962. In the months that
followed they prepared for their return to the United States. On May 9,
1962, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, at the request
of the Department of State, agreed to waive a restriction under the
law which would have prevented the issuance of a United States visa to
Oswald’s Russian wife until she had left the Soviet Union. They finally
left Moscow on June 1, 1962, and were assisted in meeting their travel
expenses by a loan of $435.71 from the U.S. Department of State. Two
weeks later they arrived in Fort Worth, Tex.

For a few weeks Oswald, his wife and child lived with Oswald’s brother
Robert. After a similar stay with Oswald’s mother, they moved into
their own apartment in early August. Oswald obtained a job on July
16 as a sheet metal worker. During this period in Fort Worth, Oswald
was interviewed twice by agents of the FBI. The report of the first
interview, which occurred on June 26, described him as arrogant and
unwilling to discuss the reasons why he had gone to the Soviet Union.
Oswald denied that he was involved in Soviet intelligence activities
and promised to advise the FBI if Soviet representatives ever
communicated with him. He was interviewed again on August 16, when he
displayed a less belligerent attitude and once again agreed to inform
the FBI of any attempt to enlist him in intelligence activities.

In early October 1962 Oswald quit his job at the sheet metal plant
and moved to Dallas. While living in Forth Worth the Oswalds had been
introduced to a group of Russian-speaking people in the Dallas-Fort
Worth area. Many of them assisted the Oswalds by providing small
amounts of food, clothing, and household items. Oswald himself was
disliked by almost all of this group whose help to the family was
prompted primarily by sympathy for Marina Oswald and the child.
Despite the fact that he had left the Soviet Union, disillusioned
with its Government, Oswald seemed more firmly committed than ever to
his concepts of Marxism. He showed disdain for democracy, capitalism,
and American society in general. He was highly critical of the
Russian-speaking group because they seemed devoted to American concepts
of democracy and capitalism and were ambitious to improve themselves

In February 1963 the Oswalds met Ruth Paine at a social gathering. Ruth
Paine was temporarily separated from her husband and living with her
two children in their home in Irving, Tex., a suburb of Dallas. Because
of an interest in the Russian language and sympathy for Marina Oswald,
who spoke no English and had little funds, Ruth Paine befriended Marina
and, during the next 2 months, visited her on several occasions.

On April 6, 1963, Oswald lost his job with a photography firm. A few
days later, on April 10, he attempted to kill Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker
(Resigned, U.S. Army), using a rifle which he had ordered by mail 1
month previously under an assumed name. Marina Oswald learned of her
husband’s act when she confronted him with a note which he had left,
giving her instructions in the event he did not return. That incident
and their general economic difficulties impelled Marina Oswald to
suggest that her husband leave Dallas and go to New Orleans to look for

Oswald left for New Orleans on April 24, 1963. Ruth Paine, who knew
nothing of the Walker shooting, invited Marina Oswald and the baby to
stay with her in the Paines’ modest home while Oswald sought work in
New Orleans. Early in May, upon receiving word from Oswald that he had
found a job, Ruth Paine drove Marina Oswald and the baby to New Orleans
to rejoin Oswald.

During the stay in New Orleans, Oswald formed a fictitious New Orleans
Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He posed as secretary of
this organization and represented that the president was A. J. Hidell.
In reality, Hidell was a completely fictitious person created by
Oswald, the organization’s only member. Oswald was arrested on August 9
in connection with a scuffle which occurred while he was distributing
pro-Castro leaflets. The next day, while at the police station, he
was interviewed by an FBI agent after Oswald requested the police to
arrange such an interview. Oswald gave the agent false information
about his own background and was evasive in his replies concerning Fair
Play for Cuba activities. During the next 2 weeks Oswald appeared on
radio programs twice, claiming to be the spokesman for the Fair Play
for Cuba Committee in New Orleans.

On July 19, 1963, Oswald lost his job as a greaser of coffee processing
machinery. In September, after an exchange of correspondence with
Marina Oswald, Ruth Paine drove to New Orleans and on September 23,
transported Marina, the child, and the family belongings to Irving,
Tex. Ruth Paine suggested that Marina Oswald, who was expecting her
second child in October, live at the Paine house until after the baby
was born. Oswald remained behind, ostensibly to find work either in
Houston or some other city. Instead, he departed by bus for Mexico,
arriving in Mexico City on September 27, where he promptly visited
the Cuban and Russian Embassies. His stated objective was to obtain
official permission to visit Cuba, on his way to the Soviet Union. The
Cuban Government would not grant his visa unless the Soviet Government
would also issue a visa permitting his entry into Russia. Oswald’s
efforts to secure these visas failed, and he left for Dallas, where he
arrived on October 3, 1963.

When he saw his wife the next day, it was decided that Oswald would
rent a room in Dallas and visit his family on weekends. For 1 week he
rented a room from Mrs. Bledsoe, the woman who later saw him on the bus
shortly after the assassination. On October 14, 1963, he rented the
Beckley Avenue room and listed his name as O. H. Lee. On the same day,
at the suggestion of a neighbor, Mrs. Paine phoned the Texas School
Book Depository and was told that there was a job opening. She informed
Oswald who was interviewed the following day at the Depository and
started to work there on October 16, 1963.

On October 20 the Oswalds’ second daughter was born. During October
and November Oswald established a general pattern of weekend visits to
Irving, arriving on Friday afternoon and returning to Dallas Monday
morning with a fellow employee, Buell Wesley Frazier, who lived near
the Paines. On Friday, November 15, Oswald remained in Dallas at the
suggestion of his wife who told him that the house would be crowded
because of a birthday party for Ruth Paine’s daughter. On Monday,
November 18, Oswald and his wife quarreled bitterly during a telephone
conversation, because she learned for the first time that he was living
at the roominghouse under an assumed name. On Thursday, November 21,
Oswald told Frazier that he would like to drive to Irving to pick up
some curtain rods for an apartment in Dallas. His wife and Mrs. Paine
were quite surprised to see him since it was a Thursday night. They
thought he had returned to make up after Monday’s quarrel. He was
conciliatory, but Marina Oswald was still angry.

Later that evening, when Mrs. Paine had finished cleaning the kitchen,
she went into the garage and noticed that the light was burning. She
was certain that she had not left it on, although the incident appeared
unimportant at the time. In the garage were most of the Oswalds’
personal possessions. The following morning Oswald left while his wife
was still in bed feeding the baby. She did not see him leave the house,
nor did Ruth Paine. On the dresser in their room he left his wedding
ring which he had never done before. His wallet containing $170 was
left intact in a dresser-drawer.

Oswald walked to Frazier’s house about half a block away and placed a
long bulky package, made out of wrapping paper and tape, into the rear
seat of the car. He told Frazier that the package contained curtain
rods. When they reached the Depository parking lot, Oswald walked
quickly ahead. Frazier followed and saw Oswald enter the Depository
Building carrying the long bulky package with him.

During the morning of November 22, Marina Oswald followed President
Kennedy’s activities on television. She and Ruth Paine cried when they
heard that the President had been shot. Ruth Paine translated the news
of the shooting to Marina Oswald as it came over television, including
the report that the shots were probably fired from the building where
Oswald worked. When Marina Oswald heard this, she recalled the Walker
episode and the fact that her husband still owned the rifle. She went
quietly to the Paine’s garage where the rifle had been concealed in a
blanket among their other belongings. It appeared to her that the rifle
was still there, although she did not actually open the blanket.

At about 3 p.m. the police arrived at the Paine house and asked Marina
Oswald whether her husband owned a rifle. She said that he did and then
led them into the garage and pointed to the rolled up blanket. As a
police officer lifted it, the blanket hung limply over either side of
his arm. The rifle was not there.

Meanwhile, at police headquarters, Captain Fritz had begun questioning
Oswald. Soon after the start of the first interrogation, agents of
the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service arrived and participated in the
questioning. Oswald denied having anything to do with the assassination
of President Kennedy or the murder of Patrolman Tippit. He claimed that
he was eating lunch at the time of the assassination, and that he then
spoke with his foreman for 5 to 10 minutes before going home. He denied
that he owned a rifle and when confronted, in a subsequent interview,
with a picture showing him holding a rifle and pistol, he claimed that
his face had been superimposed on someone else’s body. He refused to
answer any questions about the presence in his wallet of a selective
service card with his picture and the name “Alek J. Hidell.”

During the questioning of Oswald on the third floor of the police
department, more than 100 representatives of the press, radio, and
television were crowded into the hallway through which Oswald had
to pass when being taken from his cell to Captain Fritz’ office for
interrogation. Reporters tried to interview Oswald during these
trips. Between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning he appeared in the
hallway at least 16 times. The generally confused conditions outside
and inside Captain Fritz’ office increased the difficulty of police
questioning. Advised by the police that he could communicate with an
attorney, Oswald made several telephone calls on Saturday in an effort
to procure representation of his own choice and discussed the matter
with the president of the local bar association, who offered to obtain
counsel. Oswald declined the offer saying that he would first try to
obtain counsel by himself. By Sunday morning he had not yet engaged an

At 7:10 p.m. on November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was formally
advised that he had been charged with the murder of Patrolman J.D.
Tippit. Several witnesses to the Tippit slaying and to the subsequent
flight of the gunman had positively identified Oswald in police
lineups. While positive firearm identification evidence was not
available at the time, the revolver in Oswald’s possession at the time
of his arrest was of a type which could have fired the shots that
killed Tippit.

The formal charge against Oswald for the assassination of President
Kennedy was lodged shortly after 1:30 a.m., on Saturday, November 23.
By 10 p.m. of the day of the assassination, the FBI had traced the
rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository to
a mailorder house in Chicago which had purchased it from a distributor
in New York. Approximately 6 hours later the Chicago firm advised
that this rifle had been ordered in March 1963 by an A. Hidel for
shipment to post office box 2915, in Dallas, Tex., a box rented by
Oswald. Payment for the rifle was remitted by a money order signed by
A. Hidell. By 6:45 p.m. on November 23, the FBI was able to advise
the Dallas police that, as a result of handwriting analysis of the
documents used to purchase the rifle, it had concluded that the rifle
had been ordered by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Throughout Friday and Saturday, the Dallas police released to the
public many of the details concerning the alleged evidence against
Oswald. Police officials discussed important aspects of the case,
usually in the course of impromptu and confused press conferences
in the third-floor corridor. Some of the information divulged was
erroneous. Efforts by the news media representatives to reconstruct the
crime and promptly report details frequently led to erroneous and often
conflicting reports. At the urgings of the newsmen, Chief of Police
Jesse E. Curry, brought Oswald to a press conference in the police
assembly room shortly after midnight of the day Oswald was arrested.
The assembly room was crowded with newsmen who had come to Dallas from
all over the country. They shouted questions at Oswald and flashed
cameras at him. Among this group was a 52-year-old Dallas nightclub
operator--Jack Ruby.

On Sunday morning, November 24, arrangements were made for Oswald’s
transfer from the city jail to the Dallas County jail, about 1 mile
away. The news media had been informed on Saturday night that the
transfer of Oswald would not take place until after 10 a.m. on Sunday.
Earlier on Sunday, between 2:30 and 3 a.m., anonymous telephone calls
threatening Oswald’s life had been received by the Dallas office of the
FBI and by the office of the county sheriff. Nevertheless, on Sunday
morning, television, radio, and newspaper representatives crowded into
the basement to record the transfer. As viewed through television
cameras, Oswald would emerge from a door in front of the cameras and
proceed to the transfer vehicle. To the right of the cameras was a
“down” ramp from Main Street on the north. To the left was an “up” ramp
leading to Commerce Street on the south.

The armored truck in which Oswald was to be transferred arrived shortly
after 11 a.m. Police officials then decided, however, that an unmarked
police car would be preferable for the trip because of its greater
speed and maneuverability. At approximately 11:20 a.m. Oswald emerged
from the basement jail office flanked by detectives on either side and
at his rear. He took a few steps toward the car and was in the glaring
light of the television cameras when a man suddenly darted out from
an area on the right of the cameras where newsmen had been assembled.
The man was carrying a Colt .38 revolver in his right hand and, while
millions watched on television, he moved quickly to within a few feet
of Oswald and fired one shot into Oswald’s abdomen. Oswald groaned with
pain as he fell to the ground and quickly lost consciousness. Within 7
minutes Oswald was at Parkland Hospital where, without having regained
consciousness, he was pronounced dead at 1:07 p.m.

The man who killed Oswald was Jack Ruby. He was instantly arrested and,
minutes later, confined in a cell on the fifth floor of the Dallas
police jail. Under interrogation, he denied that the killing of Oswald
was in any way connected with a conspiracy involving the assassination
of President Kennedy. He maintained that he had killed Oswald in a
temporary fit of depression and rage over the President’s death. Ruby
was transferred the following day to the county jail without notice to
the press or to police officers not directly involved in the transfer.
Indicted for the murder of Oswald by the State of Texas on November 26,
1963, Ruby was found guilty on March 14, 1964, and sentenced to death.
As of September 1964, his case was pending on appeal.


This Commission was created to ascertain the facts relating to the
preceding summary of events and to consider the important questions
which they raised. The Commission has addressed itself to this task and
has reached certain conclusions based on all the available evidence.
No limitations have been placed on the Commission’s inquiry; it has
conducted its own investigation, and all Government agencies have fully
discharged their responsibility to cooperate with the Commission in its
investigation. These conclusions represent the reasoned judgment of
all members of the Commission and are presented after an investigation
which has satisfied the Commission that it has ascertained the truth
concerning the assassination of President Kennedy to the extent that a
prolonged and thorough search makes this possible.

1. The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor
Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the southeast corner
of the Texas School Book Depository. This determination is based upon
the following:

    (_a_) Witnesses at the scene of the assassination saw a rifle
    being fired from the sixth floor window of the Depository
    Building, and some witnesses saw a rifle in the window
    immediately after the shots were fired.

    (_b_) The nearly whole bullet found on Governor Connally’s
    stretcher at Parkland Memorial Hospital and the two bullet
    fragments found in the front seat of the Presidential limousine
    were fired from the 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano rifle
    found on the sixth floor of the Depository Building to the
    exclusion of all other weapons.

    (_c_) The three used cartridge cases found near the window on
    the sixth floor at the southeast corner of the building were
    fired from the same rifle which fired the above-described
    bullet and fragments, to the exclusion of all other weapons.

    (_d_) The windshield in the Presidential limousine was struck
    by a bullet fragment on the inside surface of the glass, but
    was not penetrated.

    (_e_) The nature of the bullet wounds suffered by President
    Kennedy and Governor Connally and the location of the car at
    the time of the shots establish that the bullets were fired
    from above and behind the Presidential limousine, striking the
    President and the Governor as follows:

    (1) President Kennedy was first struck by a bullet which
    entered at the back of his neck and exited through the lower
    front portion of his neck, causing a wound which would not
    necessarily have been lethal. The President was struck a second
    time by a bullet which entered the right-rear portion of his
    head, causing a massive and fatal wound.

    (2) Governor Connally was struck by a bullet which entered on
    the right side of his back and traveled downward through the
    right side of his chest, exiting below his right nipple. This
    bullet then passed through his right wrist and entered his left
    thigh where it caused a superficial wound.

    (_f_) There is no credible evidence that the shots were fired
    from the Triple Underpass, ahead of the motorcade, or from any
    other location.

2. The weight of the evidence indicates that there were three shots

3. Although it is not necessary to any essential findings of the
Commission to determine just which shot hit Governor Connally, there
is very persuasive evidence from the experts to indicate that the
same bullet which pierced the President’s throat also caused Governor
Connally’s wounds. However, Governor Connally’s testimony and certain
other factors have given rise to some difference of opinion as to this
probability but there is no question in the mind of any member of the
Commission that all the shots which caused the President’s and Governor
Connally’s wounds were fired from the sixth floor window of the Texas
School Book Depository.

4. The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor
Connally were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. This conclusion is based upon
the following:

    (_a_) The Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5-millimeter Italian rifle from
    which the shots were fired was owned by and in the possession
    of Oswald.

    (_b_) Oswald carried this rifle into the Depository Building on
    the morning of November 22, 1963.

    (_c_) Oswald, at the time of the assassination, was present at
    the window from which the shots were fired.

    (_d_) Shortly after the assassination, the Mannlicher-Carcano
    rifle belonging to Oswald was found partially hidden between
    some cartons on the sixth floor and the improvised paper bag
    in which Oswald brought the rifle to the Depository was found
    close by the window from which the shots were fired.

    (_e_) Based on testimony of the experts and their analysis of
    films of the assassination, the Commission has concluded that a
    rifleman of Lee Harvey Oswald’s capabilities could have fired
    the shots from the rifle used in the assassination within the
    elapsed time of the shooting. The Commission has concluded
    further that Oswald possessed the capability with a rifle
    which enabled him to commit the assassination.

    (_f_) Oswald lied to the police after his arrest concerning
    important substantive matters.

    (_g_) Oswald had attempted to kill Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker
    (Resigned, U. S. Army) on April 10, 1963, thereby demonstrating
    his disposition to take human life.

5. Oswald killed Dallas Police Patrolman J. D. Tippit approximately 45
minutes after the assassination. This conclusion upholds the finding
that Oswald fired the shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded
Governor Connally and is supported by the following:

    (_a_) Two eyewitnesses saw the Tippit shooting and seven
    eyewitnesses heard the shots and saw the gunman leave the scene
    with revolver in hand. These nine eyewitnesses positively
    identified Lee Harvey Oswald as the man they saw.

    (_b_) The cartridge cases found at the scene of the shooting
    were fired from the revolver in the possession of Oswald at the
    time of his arrest to the exclusion of all other weapons.

    (_c_) The revolver in Oswald’s possession at the time of his
    arrest was purchased by and belonged to Oswald.

    (_d_) Oswald’s jacket was found along the path of flight taken
    by the gunman as he fled from the scene of the killing.

6. Within 80 minutes of the assassination and 35 minutes of the Tippit
killing Oswald resisted arrest at the theatre by attempting to shoot
another Dallas police officer.

7. The Commission has reached the following conclusions concerning
Oswald’s interrogation and detention by the Dallas police:

    (_a_) Except for the force required to effect his arrest,
    Oswald was not subjected to any physical coercion by any law
    enforcement officials. He was advised that he could not be
    compelled to give any information and that any statements made
    by him might be used against him in court. He was advised of
    his right to counsel. He was given the opportunity to obtain
    counsel of his own choice and was offered legal assistance by
    the Dallas Bar Association, which he rejected at that time.

    (_b_) Newspaper, radio, and television reporters were allowed
    uninhibited access to the area through which Oswald had to
    pass when he was moved from his cell to the interrogation room
    and other sections of the building, thereby subjecting Oswald
    to harassment and creating chaotic conditions which were not
    conducive to orderly interrogation or the protection of the
    rights of the prisoner.

    (_c_) The numerous statements, sometimes erroneous, made to
    the press by various local law enforcement officials, during
    this period of confusion and disorder in the police station,
    would have presented serious obstacles to the obtaining of
    a fair trial for Oswald. To the extent that the information
    was erroneous or misleading, it helped to create doubts,
    speculations, and fears in the mind of the public which might
    otherwise not have arisen.

8. The Commission has reached the following conclusions concerning the
killing of Oswald by Jack Ruby on November 24, 1963:

    (_a_) Ruby entered the basement of the Dallas Police Department
    shortly after 11:17 a.m. and killed Lee Harvey Oswald at 11:21

    (_b_) Although the evidence on Ruby’s means of entry is not
    conclusive, the weight of the evidence indicates that he walked
    down the ramp leading from Main Street to the basement of the
    police department.

    (_c_) There is no evidence to support the rumor that Ruby
    may have been assisted by any members of the Dallas Police
    Department in the killing of Oswald.

    (_d_) The Dallas Police Department’s decision to transfer
    Oswald to the county jail in full public view was unsound.
    The arrangements made by the police department on Sunday
    morning, only a few hours before the attempted transfer, were
    inadequate. Of critical importance was the fact that news media
    representatives and others were not excluded from the basement
    even after the police were notified of threats to Oswald’s
    life. These deficiencies contributed to the death of Lee Harvey

9. The Commission has found no evidence that either Lee Harvey Oswald
or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign, to
assassinate President Kennedy. The reasons for this conclusion are:

    (_a_) The Commission has found no evidence that anyone assisted
    Oswald in planning or carrying out the assassination. In this
    connection it has thoroughly investigated, among other factors,
    the circumstances surrounding the planning of the motorcade
    route through Dallas, the hiring of Oswald by the Texas School
    Book Depository Co. on October 15, 1963, the method by which
    the rifle was brought into the building, the placing of cartons
    of books at the window, Oswald’s escape from the building, and
    the testimony of eyewitnesses to the shooting.

    (_b_) The Commission has found no evidence that Oswald
    was involved with any person or group in a conspiracy to
    assassinate the President, although it has thoroughly
    investigated, in addition to other possible leads, all facets
    of Oswald’s associations, finances, and personal habits,
    particularly during the period following his return from the
    Soviet Union in June 1962.

    (_c_) The Commission has found no evidence to show that
    Oswald was employed, persuaded, or encouraged by any foreign
    government to assassinate President Kennedy or that he was an
    agent of any foreign government, although the Commission has
    reviewed the circumstances surrounding Oswald’s defection to
    the Soviet Union, his life there from October of 1959 to June
    of 1962 so far as it can be reconstructed, his known contacts
    with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and his visits to the
    Cuban and Soviet Embassies in Mexico City during his trip to
    Mexico from September 26 to October 3, 1963, and his known
    contacts with the Soviet Embassy in the United States.

    (_d_) The Commission has explored all attempts of Oswald to
    identify himself with various political groups, including the
    Communist Party, U. S. A., the Fair Play for Cuba Committee,
    and the Socialist Workers Party, and has been unable to find
    any evidence that the contacts which he initiated were related
    to Oswald’s subsequent assassination of the President.

    (_e_) All of the evidence before the Commission established
    that there was nothing to support the speculation that Oswald
    was an agent, employee, or informant of the FBI, the CIA, or
    any other governmental agency. It has thoroughly investigated
    Oswald’s relationships prior to the assassination with all
    agencies of the U. S. Government. All contacts with Oswald by
    any of these agencies were made in the regular exercise of
    their different responsibilities.

    (_f_) No direct or indirect relationship between Lee Harvey
    Oswald and Jack Ruby has been discovered by the Commission, nor
    has it been able to find any credible evidence that either knew
    the other, although a thorough investigation was made of the
    many rumors and speculations of such a relationship.

    (_g_) The Commission has found no evidence that Jack Ruby acted
    with any other person in the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald.

    (_h_) After careful investigation the Commission has found no
    credible evidence either that Ruby and Officer Tippit, who was
    killed by Oswald, knew each other or that Oswald and Tippit
    knew each other.

    Because of the difficulty of proving negatives to a certainty
    the possibility of others being involved with either Oswald
    or Ruby cannot be established categorically, but if there is
    any such evidence it has been beyond the reach of all the
    investigative agencies and resources of the United States and
    has not come to the attention of this Commission.

10. In its entire investigation the Commission has found no evidence of
conspiracy, subversion, or disloyalty to the U. S. Government by any
Federal, State, or local official.

11. On the basis of the evidence before the Commission it concludes
that Oswald acted alone. Therefore, to determine the motives for the
assassination of President Kennedy, one must look to the assassin
himself. Clues to Oswald’s motives can be found in his family
history, his education or lack of it, his acts, his writings, and the
recollections of those who had close contacts with him throughout
his life. The Commission has presented with this report all of the
background information bearing on motivation which it could discover.
Thus, others may study Lee Oswald’s life and arrive at their own
conclusions as to his possible motives.

The Commission could not make any definitive determination of Oswald’s
motives. It has endeavored to isolate factors which contributed to his
character and which might have influenced his decision to assassinate
President Kennedy. These factors were:

    (_a_) His deep-rooted resentment of all authority which was
    expressed in a hostility toward every society in which he lived;

    (_b_) His inability to enter into meaningful relationships with
    people, and a continuous pattern of rejecting his environment
    in favor of new surroundings;

    (_c_) His urge to try to find a place in history and despair at
    times over failures in his various undertakings;

    (_d_) His capacity for violence as evidenced by his attempt to
    kill General Walker;

    (_e_) His avowed commitment to Marxism and communism, as he
    understood the terms and developed his own interpretation of
    them; this was expressed by his antagonism toward the United
    States, by his defection to the Soviet Union, by his failure
    to be reconciled with life in the United States even after
    his disenchantment with the Soviet Union, and by his efforts,
    though frustrated, to go to Cuba.

Each of these contributed to his capacity to risk all in cruel and
irresponsible actions.

12. The Commission recognizes that the varied responsibilities of the
President require that he make frequent trips to all parts of the
United States and abroad. Consistent with their high responsibilities
Presidents can never be protected from every potential threat. The
Secret Service’s difficulty in meeting its protective responsibility
varies with the activities and the nature of the occupant of the
Office of President and his willingness to conform to plans for his
safety. In appraising the performance of the Secret Service it should
be understood that it has to do its work within such limitations.
Nevertheless, the Commission believes that recommendations for
improvements in Presidential protection are compelled by the facts
disclosed in this investigation.

    (_a_) The complexities of the Presidency have increased so
    rapidly in recent years that the Secret Service has not been
    able to develop or to secure adequate resources of personnel
    and facilities to fulfill its important assignment. This
    situation should be promptly remedied.

    (_b_) The Commission has concluded that the criteria and
    procedures of the Secret Service designed to identify and
    protect against persons considered threats to the president,
    were not adequate prior to the assassination.

    (1) The Protective Research Section of the Secret Service,
    which is responsible for its preventive work, lacked sufficient
    trained personnel and the mechanical and technical assistance
    needed to fulfill its responsibility.

    (2) Prior to the assassination the Secret Service’s criteria
    dealt with direct threats against the President. Although the
    Secret Service treated the direct threats against the President
    adequately, it failed to recognize the necessity of identifying
    other potential sources of danger to his security. The Secret
    Service did not develop adequate and specific criteria defining
    those persons or groups who might present a danger to the
    President. In effect, the Secret Service largely relied upon
    other Federal or State agencies to supply the information
    necessary for it to fulfill its preventive responsibilities,
    although it did ask for information about direct threats to the

    (_c_) The Commission has concluded that there was insufficient
    liaison and coordination of information between the Secret
    Service and other Federal agencies necessarily concerned with
    Presidential protection. Although the FBI, in the normal
    exercise of its responsibility, had secured considerable
    information about Lee Harvey Oswald, it had no official
    responsibility, under the Secret Service criteria existing
    at the time of the President’s trip to Dallas, to refer to
    the Secret Service the information it had about Oswald. The
    Commission has concluded, however, that the FBI took an unduly
    restrictive view of its role in preventive intelligence work
    prior to the assassination. A more carefully coordinated
    treatment of the Oswald case by the FBI might well have
    resulted in bringing Oswald’s activities to the attention of
    the Secret Service.

    (_d_) The Commission has concluded that some of the advance
    preparations in Dallas made by the Secret Service, such as the
    detailed security measures taken at Love Field and the Trade
    Mart, were thorough and well executed. In other respects,
    however, the Commission has concluded that the advance
    preparations for the President’s trip were deficient.

    (1) Although the Secret Service is compelled to rely to a great
    extent on local law enforcement officials, its procedures at
    the time of the Dallas trip did not call for well-defined
    instructions as to the respective responsibilities of the
    police officials and others assisting in the protection of the

    (2) The procedures relied upon by the Secret Service for
    detecting the presence of an assassin located in a building
    along a motorcade route were inadequate. At the time of the
    trip to Dallas, the Secret Service as a matter of practice did
    not investigate, or cause to be checked, any building located
    along the motorcade route to be taken by the President. The
    responsibility for observing windows in these buildings during
    the motorcade was divided between local police personnel
    stationed on the streets to regulate crowds and Secret Service
    agents riding in the motorcade. Based on its investigation the
    Commission has concluded that these arrangements during the
    trip to Dallas were clearly not sufficient.

    (_e_) The configuration of the Presidential car and the seating
    arrangements of the Secret Service agents in the car did not
    afford the Secret Service agents the opportunity they should
    have had to be of immediate assistance to the President at the
    first sign of danger.

    (_f_) Within these limitations, however, the Commission
    finds that the agents most immediately responsible for the
    President’s safety reacted promptly at the time the shots were
    fired from the Texas School Book Depository Building.


Prompted by the assassination of President Kennedy, the Secret Service
has initiated a comprehensive and critical review of its total
operations. As a result of studies conducted during the past several
months, and in cooperation with this Commission, the Secret Service has
prepared a planning document dated August 27, 1964, which recommends
various programs considered necessary by the Service to improve its
techniques and enlarge its resources. The Commission is encouraged by
the efforts taken by the Secret Service since the assassination and
suggests the following recommendations.

1. A committee of Cabinet members including the Secretary of the
Treasury and the Attorney General, or the National Security Council,
should be assigned the responsibility of reviewing and overseeing the
protective activities of the Secret Service and the other Federal
agencies that assist in safeguarding the President. Once given this
responsibility, such a committee would insure that the maximum
resources of the Federal Government are fully engaged in the task of
protecting the President, and would provide guidance in defining the
general nature of domestic and foreign dangers to Presidential security.

2. Suggestions have been advanced to the Commission for the transfer
of all or parts of the Presidential protective responsibilities of
the Secret Service to some other department or agency. The Commission
believes that if there is to be any determination of whether or not to
relocate these responsibilities and functions, it ought to be made by
the Executive and the Congress, perhaps upon recommendations based on
studies by the previously suggested committee.

3. Meanwhile, in order to improve daily supervision of the Secret
Service within the Department of the Treasury, the Commission
recommends that the Secretary of the Treasury appoint a special
assistant with the responsibility of supervising the Secret Service.
This special assistant should have sufficient stature and experience in
law enforcement, intelligence, and allied fields to provide effective
continuing supervision, and to keep the Secretary fully informed
regarding the performance of the Secret Service. One of the initial
assignments of this special assistant should be the supervision of the
current effort by the Secret Service to revise and modernize its basic
operating procedures.

4. The Commission recommends that the Secret Service completely
overhaul its facilities devoted to the advance detection of potential
threats against the President. The Commission suggests the following

    (_a_) The Secret Service should develop as quickly as possible
    more useful and precise criteria defining those potential
    threats to the President which should be brought to its
    attention by other agencies. The criteria should, among other
    additions, provide for prompt notice to the Secret Service of
    all returned defectors.

    (_b_) The Secret Service should expedite its current plans to
    utilize the most efficient data-processing techniques.

    (_c_) Once the Secret Service has formulated new criteria
    delineating the information it desires, it should enter into
    agreements with each Federal agency to insure its receipt of
    such information.

5. The Commission recommends that the Secret Service improve the
protective measures followed in the planning, and conducting of
Presidential motorcades. In particular, the Secret Service should
continue its current efforts to increase the precautionary attention
given to buildings along the motorcade route.

6. The Commission recommends that the Secret Service continue its
recent efforts to improve and formalize its relationships with local
police departments in areas to be visited by the President.

7. The Commission believes that when the new criteria and procedures
are established, the Secret Service will not have sufficient personnel
or adequate facilities. The Commission recommends that the Secret
Service be provided with the personnel and resources which the Service
and the Department of the Treasury may be able to demonstrate are
needed to fulfill its important mission.

8. Even with an increase in Secret Service personnel, the protection of
the President will continue to require the resources and cooperation of
many Federal agencies. The Commission recommends that these agencies,
specifically the FBI, continue the practice as it has developed,
particularly since the assassination, of assisting the Secret Service
upon request by providing personnel or other aid, and that there be
a closer association and liaison between the Secret Service and all
Federal agencies.

9. The Commission recommends that the President’s physician always
accompany him during his travels and occupy a position near the
President where he can be immediately available in case of any

10. The Commission recommends to Congress that it adopt legislation
which would make the assassination of the President and Vice President
a Federal crime. A state of affairs where U.S. authorities have no
clearly defined jurisdiction to investigate the assassination of a
President is anomalous.

11. The Commission has examined the Department of State’s handling
of the Oswald matters and finds that it followed the law throughout.
However, the Commission believes that the Department in accordance
with its own regulations should in all cases exercise great care in
the return to this country of defectors who have evidenced disloyalty
or hostility to this country or who have expressed a desire to
renounce their American citizenship and that when such persons are so
returned, procedures should be adopted for the better dissemination
of information concerning them to the intelligence agencies of the

12. The Commission recommends that the representatives of the bar, law
enforcement associations, and the news media work together to establish
ethical standards concerning the collection and presentation of
information to the public so that there will be no interference with
pending criminal investigations, court proceedings, or the right of
individuals to a fair trial.


The Assassination

This chapter describes President Kennedy’s trip to Dallas, from its
origin through its tragic conclusion. The narrative of these events
is based largely on the recollections of the participants, although
in many instances documentary or other evidence has also been used by
the Commission. Beginning with the advance plans and Secret Service
preparations for the trip, this chapter reviews the motorcade through
Dallas, the fleeting moments of the assassination, the activities at
Parkland Memorial Hospital, and the return of the Presidential party to
Washington. An evaluation of the procedures employed to safeguard the
President, with recommendations for improving these procedures, appears
in chapter VIII of the report.


President Kennedy’s visit to Texas in November 1963 had been under
consideration for almost a year before it occurred. He had made
only a few brief visits to the State since the 1960 Presidential
campaign and in 1962 he began to consider a formal visit.[C2-1]
During 1963, the reasons for making the trip became more persuasive.
As a political leader, the President wished to resolve the factional
controversy within the Democratic Party in Texas before the election
of 1964.[C2-2] The party itself saw an opportunity to raise funds by
having the President speak at a political dinner eventually planned
for Austin.[C2-3] As Chief of State, the President always welcomed the
opportunity to learn, firsthand, about the problems which concerned
the American people.[C2-4] Moreover, he looked forward to the public
appearances which he personally enjoyed.[C2-5]

The basic decision on the November trip to Texas was made at a
meeting of President Kennedy, Vice President Johnson, and Governor
Connally on June 5, 1963, at the Cortez Hotel in El Paso, Tex.[C2-6]
The President had spoken earlier that day at the Air Force Academy
in Colorado Springs, Colo., and had stopped in El Paso to discuss
the proposed visit and other matters with the Vice President and the
Governor.[C2-7] The three agreed that the President would come to Texas
in late November 1963.[C2-8] The original plan called for the President
to spend only 1 day in the State, making whirlwind visits to Dallas,
Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston.[C2-9] In September, the White
House decided to permit further visits by the President and extended
the trip to run from the afternoon of November 21 through the evening
of Friday, November 22.[C2-10] When Governor Connally called at the
White House on October 4 to discuss the details of the visit, it was
agreed that the planning of events in Texas would be left largely to
the Governor.[C2-11] At the White House, Kenneth O’Donnell, special
assistant to the President, acted as coordinator for the trip.[C2-12]

Everyone agreed that, if there was sufficient time, a motorcade through
downtown Dallas would be the best way for the people to see their
President. When the trip was planned for only 1 day, Governor Connally
had opposed the motorcade because there was not enough time.[C2-13]
The Governor stated, however, that “once we got San Antonio moved
from Friday to Thursday afternoon, where that was his initial stop
in Texas, then we had the time, and I withdrew my objections to
a motorcade.”[C2-14] According to O’Donnell, “we had a motorcade
wherever we went,” particularly in large cities where the purpose was
to let the President be seen by as many people as possible.[C2-15]
In his experience, “it would be automatic” for the Secret Service
to arrange a route which would, within the time allotted, bring the
President “through an area which exposes him to the greatest number of


Advance preparations for President Kennedy’s visit to Dallas were
primarily the responsibility of two Secret Service agents: Special
Agent Winston G. Lawson, a member of the White House detail who acted
as the advance agent, and Forrest V. Sorrels, special agent in charge
of the Dallas office.[C2-17] Both agents were advised of the trip on
November 4.[C2-18] Lawson received a tentative schedule of the Texas
trip on November 8 from Roy H. Kellerman, assistant special agent in
charge of the White House detail, who was the Secret Service official
responsible for the entire Texas journey.[C2-19] As advance agent
working closely with Sorrels, Lawson had responsibility for arranging
the timetable for the President’s visit to Dallas and coordinating
local activities with the White House staff, the organizations directly
concerned with the visit, and local law enforcement officials.[C2-20]
Lawson’s most important responsibilities were to take preventive
action against anyone in Dallas considered a threat to the President,
to select the luncheon site and motorcade route, and to plan security
measures for the luncheon and the motorcade.

Preventive Intelligence Activities

The Protective Research Section (PRS) of the Secret Service maintains
records of people who have threatened the President or so conducted
themselves as to be deemed a potential danger to him. On November 8,
1963, after undertaking the responsibility for advance preparations
for the visit to Dallas, Agent Lawson went to the PRS offices in
Washington. A check of the geographic indexes there revealed no listing
for any individual deemed to be a potential danger to the President
in the territory of the Secret Service regional office which includes
Dallas and Fort Worth.[C2-21]

To supplement the PRS files, the Secret Service depends largely on
local police departments and local offices of other Federal agencies
which advise it of potential threats immediately before the visit
of the President to their community. Upon his arrival in Dallas on
November 12 Lawson conferred with the local police and the local
office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation about potential dangers
to the President. Although there was no mention in PRS files of the
demonstration in Dallas against Ambassador Adlai Stevenson on October
24, 1963, Lawson inquired about the incident and obtained through the
local police photographs of some of the persons involved.[C2-22] On
November 22 a Secret Service agent stood at the entrance to the Trade
Mart, where the President was scheduled to speak, with copies of these
photographs. Dallas detectives in the lobby of the Trade Mart and in
the luncheon area also had copies of these photographs. A number of
people who resembled some of those in the photographs were placed under
surveillance at the Trade Mart.[C2-23]

The FBI office in Dallas gave the local Secret Service representatives
the name of a possibly dangerous individual in the Dallas area who was
investigated. It also advised the Secret Service of the circulation on
November 21 of a handbill sharply critical of President Kennedy,[C2-24]
discussed in chapter VI of this report. Shortly before, the Dallas
police had reported to the Secret Service that the handbill had
appeared on the streets of Dallas. Neither the Dallas police nor the
FBI had yet learned the source of the handbill.[C2-25] No one else was
identified to the Secret Service through local inquiry as potentially
dangerous, nor did PRS develop any additional information between
November 12, when Lawson left Washington, and November 22. The adequacy
of the intelligence system maintained by the Secret Service at the time
of the assassination, including a detailed description of the available
data on Lee Harvey Oswald and the reasons why his name had not been
furnished to the Secret Service, is discussed in chapter VIII.

The Luncheon Site

An important purpose of the President’s visit to Dallas was to speak at
a luncheon given by business and civic leaders. The White House staff
informed the Secret Service that the President would arrive and depart
from Dallas’ Love Field; that a motorcade through the downtown area of
Dallas to the luncheon site should be arranged; and that following the
luncheon the President would return to the airport by the most direct
route. Accordingly, it was important to determine the luncheon site as
quickly as possible, so that security could be established at the site
and the motorcade route selected.

On November 4, Gerald A. Behn, agent in charge of the White House
detail, asked Sorrels to examine three potential sites for the
luncheon.[C2-26] One building, Market Hall, was unavailable for
November 22. The second, the Women’s Building at the State Fair
Grounds, was a one-story building with few entrances and easy to make
secure, but it lacked necessary food-handling facilities and had
certain unattractive features, including a low ceiling with exposed
conduits and beams. The third possibility, the Trade Mart, a handsome
new building with all the necessary facilities, presented security
problems. It had numerous entrances, several tiers of balconies
surrounding the central court where the luncheon would be held, and
several catwalks crossing the court at each level. On November 4,
Sorrels told Behn he believed security difficulties at the Trade Mart
could be overcome by special precautions.[C2-27] Lawson also evaluated
the security hazards at the Trade Mart on November 13.[C2-28] Kenneth
O’Donnell made the final decision to hold the luncheon at the Trade
Mart; Behn so notified Lawson on November 14.[C2-29]

Once the Trade Mart had been selected, Sorrels and Lawson worked out
detailed arrangements for security at the building. In addition to the
preventive measures already mentioned, they provided for controlling
access to the building, closing off and policing areas around it,
securing the roof and insuring the presence of numerous police
officers inside and around the building. Ultimately more than 200 law
enforcement officers, mainly Dallas police but including 8 Secret
Service agents, were deployed in and around the Trade Mart.[C2-30]

The Motorcade Route

On November 8, when Lawson was briefed on the itinerary for the trip to
Dallas, he was told that 45 minutes had been allotted for a motorcade
procession from Love Field to the luncheon site.[C2-31] Lawson was not
specifically instructed to select the parade route, but he understood
that this was one of his functions.[C2-32] Even before the Trade Mart
had been definitely selected, Lawson and Sorrels began to consider the
best motorcade route from Love Field to the Trade Mart. On November 14,
Lawson and Sorrels attended a meeting at Love Field and on their return
to Dallas drove over the route which Sorrels believed best suited for
the proposed motorcade.[C2-33] This route, eventually selected for the
motorcade from the airport to the Trade Mart, measured 10 miles and
could be driven easily within the allotted 45 minutes.[C2-34] From Love
Field the route passed through a portion of suburban Dallas, through
the downtown area along Main Street and then to the Trade Mart via
Stemmons Freeway. For the President’s return to Love Field following
the luncheon, the agents selected the most direct route, which was
approximately 4 miles.[C2-35]

After the selection of the Trade Mart as the luncheon site, Lawson
and Sorrels met with Dallas Chief of Police Jesse E. Curry, Assistant
Chief Charles Batchelor, Deputy Chief N. T. Fisher, and several other
command officers to discuss details of the motorcade and possible
routes.[C2-36] The route was further reviewed by Lawson and Sorrels
with Assistant Chief Batchelor and members of the local host committee
on November 15. The police officials agreed that the route recommended
by Sorrels was the proper one and did not express a belief that any
other route might be better.[C2-37] On November 18, Sorrels and Lawson
drove over the selected route with Batchelor and other police officers,
verifying that it could be traversed within 45 minutes. Representatives
of the local host committee and the White House staff were advised by
the Secret Service of the actual route on the afternoon of November

The route impressed the agents as a natural and desirable one. Sorrels,
who had participated in Presidential protection assignments in Dallas
since a visit by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936,[C2-39]
testified that the traditional parade route in Dallas was along Main
Street, since the tall buildings along the street gave more people an
opportunity to participate.[C2-40] The route chosen from the airport
to Main Street was the normal one, except where Harwood Street was
selected as the means of access to Main Street in preference to a short
stretch of the Central Expressway, which presented a minor safety
hazard and could not accommodate spectators as conveniently as Harwood
Street.[C2-41] According to Lawson, the chosen route seemed to be the

    It afforded us wide streets most of the way, because of the
    buses that were in the motorcade. It afforded us a chance to
    have alternative routes if something happened on the motorcade
    route. It was the type of suburban area a good part of the way
    where the crowds would be able to be controlled for a great
    distance, and we figured that the largest crowds would be
    downtown, which they were, and that the wide streets that we
    would use downtown would be of sufficient width to keep the
    public out of our way.[C2-42]

Elm Street, parallel to Main Street and one block north, was not used
for the main portion of the downtown part of the motorcade because Main
Street offered better vantage points for spectators.

To reach the Trade Mart from Main Street the agents decided to use
the Stemmons Freeway (Route No. 77), the most direct route. The only
practical way for westbound traffic on Main Street to reach the
northbound lanes of the Stemmons Freeway is via Elm Street, which
Route No. 77 traffic is instructed to follow in this part of the
city. (See Commission Exhibit No. 2113, p. 34.) Elm Street was to be
reached from Main by turning right at Houston, going one block north
and then turning left onto Elm. On this last portion of the journey,
only 5 minutes from the Trade Mart, the President’s motorcade would
pass the Texas School Book Depository Building on the northwest corner
of Houston and Elm Streets. The building overlooks Dealey Plaza,
an attractively landscaped triangle of 3 acres. (See Commission
Exhibit No. 876, p. 33.) From Houston Street, which forms the base
of the triangle, three streets--Commerce, Main, and Elm--trisect
the plaza, converging at the apex of the triangle to form a triple
underpass beneath a multiple railroad bridge almost 500 feet from
Houston Street.[C2-43] Elm Street, the northernmost of the three,
after intersecting Houston curves in a southwesterly arc through the
underpass and leads into an access road, which branches off to the
right and is used by traffic going to the Stemmons Freeway and the
Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike. (See Commission Exhibits Nos. 2113-2116,
pp. 34-37.)

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 876



[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2113



[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2114





[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2115


[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2116


[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2967

Traffic sign on Main Street which directs westbound traffic to turn
right at Houston Street to gain access to the Dallas-Fort Worth

The Elm Street approach to the Stemmons Freeway is necessary in order
to avoid the traffic hazards which would otherwise exist if right
turns were permitted from both Main and Elm into the freeway. To
create this traffic pattern, a concrete barrier between Main and Elm
Streets presents an obstacle to a right turn from Main across Elm to
the access road to Stemmons Freeway and the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike.
This concrete barrier extends far enough beyond the access road to
make it impracticable for vehicles to turn right from Main directly to
the access road. A sign located on this barrier instructs Main Street
traffic not to make any turns.[C2-45] (See Commission Exhibits Nos.
2114-2116, pp. 35-37.) In conformity with these arrangements, traffic
proceeding west on Main is directed to turn right at Houston in order
to reach the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike, which has the same access road
from Elm Street as does the Stemmons Freeway.[C2-46] (See Commission
Exhibit No. 2967, p. 38.)

The planning for the motorcade also included advance preparations for
security arrangements along the route. Sorrels and Lawson reviewed the
route in cooperation with Assistant Chief Batchelor and other Dallas
police officials who took notes on the requirements for controlling the
crowds and traffic, watching the overpasses, and providing motorcycle
escort.[C2-47] To control traffic, arrangements were made for the
deployment of foot patrolmen and motorcycle police at various positions
along the route.[C2-48] Police were assigned to each overpass on the
route and instructed to keep them clear of unauthorized persons.[C2-49]
No arrangements were made for police or building custodians to inspect
buildings along the motorcade route since the Secret Service did
not normally request or make such a check.[C2-50] Under standard
procedures, the responsibility for watching the windows of buildings
was shared by local police stationed along the route and Secret Service
agents riding in the motorcade.[C2-51]

As the date for the President’s visit approached, the two Dallas
newspapers carried several reports of his motorcade route. The
selection of the Trade Mart as the possible site for the luncheon first
appeared in the Dallas Times-Herald on November 15, 1963.[C2-52] The
following day, the newspaper reported that the Presidential party
“apparently will loop through the downtown area, probably on Main
Street, en route from Dallas Love Field” on its way to the Trade
Mart.[C2-53] On November 19, the Times-Herald afternoon paper detailed
the precise route:

    From the airport, the President’s party will proceed to
    Mockingbird Lane to Lemmon and then to Turtle Creek, turning
    south to Cedar Springs.

    The motorcade will then pass through downtown on Harwood and
    then west on Main, turning back to Elm at Houston and then out
    Stemmons Freeway to the Trade Mart.[C2-54]

Also on November 19, the Morning News reported that the President’s
motorcade would travel from Love Field along specified streets, then
“Harwood to Main, Main to Houston, Houston to Elm, Elm under the Triple
Underpass to Stemmons Freeway, and on to the Trade Mart.”[C2-55] On
November 20 a front page story reported that the streets on which
the Presidential motorcade would travel included “Main and Stemmons
Freeway.”[C2-56] On the morning of the President’s arrival, the Morning
News noted that the motorcade would travel through downtown Dallas onto
the Stemmons Freeway, and reported that “the motorcade will move slowly
so that crowds can ‘get a good view’ of President Kennedy and his


The President’s intention to pay a visit to Texas in the fall of 1963
aroused interest throughout the State. The two Dallas newspapers
provided their readers with a steady stream of information and
speculation about the trip, beginning on September 13, when the
Times-Herald announced in a front page article that President Kennedy
was planning a brief 1-day tour of four Texas cities--Dallas, Fort
Worth, San Antonio, and Houston.[C2-58] Both Dallas papers cited White
House sources on September 26 as confirming the President’s intention
to visit Texas on November 21 and 22, with Dallas scheduled as one of
the stops.[C2-59]

Articles, editorials, and letters to the editor in the Dallas Morning
News and the Dallas Times-Herald after September 13 reflected the
feeling in the community toward the forthcoming Presidential visit.
Although there were critical editorials and letters to the editors, the
news stories reflected the desire of Dallas officials to welcome the
President with dignity and courtesy. An editorial in the Times-Herald
of September 17 called on the people of Dallas to be “congenial
hosts” even though “Dallas didn’t vote for Mr. Kennedy in 1960, may
not endorse him in ’64.”[C2-60] On October 3 the Dallas Morning News
quoted U.S. Representative Joe Pool’s hope that President Kennedy would
receive a “good welcome” and would not face demonstrations like those
encountered by Vice President Johnson during the 1960 campaign.[C2-61]

Increased concern about the President’s visit was aroused by the
incident involving the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai
E. Stevenson. On the evening of October 24, 1963, after addressing
a meeting in Dallas, Stevenson was jeered, jostled, and spat upon
by hostile demonstrators outside the Dallas Memorial Auditorium
Theater.[C2-62] The local, national, and international reaction to
this incident evoked from Dallas officials and newspapers strong
condemnations of the demonstrators. Mayor Earle Cabell called on the
city to redeem itself during President Kennedy’s visit.[C2-63] He
asserted that Dallas had shed its reputation of the twenties as the
“Southwest hate capital of Dixie.”[C2-64] On October 26 the press
reported Chief of Police Curry’s plans to call in 100 extra off-duty
officers to help protect President Kennedy.[C2-65] Any thought that
the President might cancel his visit to Dallas was ended when Governor
Connally confirmed on November 8 that the President would come to Texas
on November 21-22, and that he would visit San Antonio, Houston, Fort
Worth, Dallas, and Austin.[C2-66]

During November the Dallas papers reported frequently on the plans
for protecting the President, stressing the thoroughness of the
preparations. They conveyed the pleas of Dallas leaders that citizens
not demonstrate or create disturbances during the President’s visit.
On November 18 the Dallas City Council adopted a new city ordinance
prohibiting interference with attendance at lawful assemblies.[C2-67]
Two days before the President’s arrival Chief Curry warned that the
Dallas police would not permit improper conduct during the President’s

Meanwhile, on November 17 the president of the Dallas Chamber of
Commerce referred to the city’s reputation for being the friendliest
town in America and asserted that citizens would “greet the President
of the United States with the warmth and pride that keep the Dallas
spirit famous the world over.”[C2-69] Two days later, a local
Republican leader called for a “civilized nonpartisan” welcome for
President Kennedy, stating that “in many respects Dallas County has
isolated itself from the main stream of life in the world in this

Another reaction to the impending visit--hostile to the President--came
to a head shortly before his arrival. On November 21 there appeared
on the streets of Dallas the anonymous handbill mentioned above. It
was fashioned after the “wanted” circulars issued by law enforcement
agencies. Beneath two photographs of President Kennedy, one fullface
and one profile, appeared the caption, “Wanted for Treason,” followed
by a scurrilous bill of particulars that constituted a vilification of
the President.[C2-71] And on the morning of the President’s arrival,
there appeared in the Morning News a full page, black-bordered
advertisement headed “Welcome Mr. Kennedy to Dallas,” sponsored by
the American Factfinding Committee, which the sponsor later testified
was an ad hoc committee “formed strictly for the purpose of having
a name to put in the paper.”[C2-72] The “welcome” consisted of a
series of statements and questions critical of the President and his
administration.[C2-73] (See Commission Exhibit No. 1031, p. 294.)


The trip to Texas began with the departure of President and Mrs.
Kennedy from the White House by helicopter at 10:45 a.m., e.s.t., on
November 21, 1963, for Andrews AFB. They took off in the Presidential
plane, _Air Force One_, at 11 a.m., arriving at San Antonio at 1:30
p.m., c.s.t. They were greeted by Vice President Johnson and Governor
Connally, who joined the Presidential party in a motorcade through San
Antonio.[C2-74] During the afternoon, President Kennedy dedicated the
U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks AFB.[C2-75] Late
in the afternoon he flew to Houston where he rode through the city in a
motorcade, spoke at the Rice University Stadium, and attended a dinner
in honor of U.S. Representative Albert Thomas.[C2-76]

At Rice Stadium a very large, enthusiastic crowd greeted the
President.[C2-77] In Houston, as elsewhere during the trip, the
crowds showed much interest in Mrs. Kennedy. David F. Powers of the
President’s staff later stated that when the President asked for his
assessment of the day’s activities, Powers replied “that the crowd was
about the same as the one which came to see him before but there were
100,000 extra people on hand who came to see Mrs. Kennedy.”[C2-78] Late
in the evening, the Presidential party flew to Fort Worth where they
spent the night at the Texas Hotel.[C2-79]

On the morning of November 22, President Kennedy attended a breakfast
at the hotel and afterward addressed a crowd at an open parking
lot.[C2-80] The President liked outdoor appearances because more people
could see and hear him.[C2-81] Before leaving the hotel, the President,
Mrs. Kennedy, and Kenneth O’Donnell talked about the risks inherent
in Presidential public appearances.[C2-82] According to O’Donnell,
the President commented that “if anybody really wanted to shoot the
President of the United States, it was not a very difficult job--all
one had to do was get a high building someday with a telescopic
rifle, and there was nothing anybody could do to defend against such
an attempt.”[C2-83] Upon concluding the conversation, the President
prepared to depart for Dallas.


In Dallas the rain had stopped, and by midmorning a gloomy overcast
sky had given way to the bright sunshine that greeted the Presidential
party when _Air Force One_ touched down at Love Field at 11:40
a.m., c.s.t.[C2-84] Governor and Mrs. Connally and Senator Ralph
W. Yarborough had come with the President from Fort Worth.[C2-85]
Vice President Johnson’s airplane, _Air Force Two_, had arrived at
Love Field at approximately 11:35 a.m., and the Vice President and
Mrs. Johnson were in the receiving line to greet President and Mrs.

After a welcome from the Dallas reception committee, President and Mrs.
Kennedy walked along a chain-link fence at the reception area greeting
a large crowd of spectators that had gathered behind it.[C2-87] Secret
Service agents formed a cordon to keep the press and photographers
from impeding their passage and scanned the crowd for threatening
movements.[C2-88] Dallas police stood at intervals along the fence
and Dallas plainclothesmen mixed in the crowd.[C2-89] Vice President
and Mrs. Johnson followed along the fence, guarded by four members of
the Vice-Presidential detail.[C2-90] Approximately 10 minutes after
the arrival at Love Field, the President and Mrs. Kennedy went to the
Presidential automobile to begin the motorcade.[C2-91]


Secret Service arrangements for Presidential trips, which were
followed in the Dallas motorcade, are designed to provide protection
while permitting large numbers of people to see the President.[C2-92]
Every effort is made to prevent unscheduled stops, although the
President may, and in Dallas did, order stops in order to greet the
public.[C2-93] When the motorcade slows or stops, agents take positions
between the President and the crowd.[C2-94]

The order of vehicles in the Dallas motorcade was as follows:

_Motorcycles._--Dallas police motorcycles preceded the pilot car.[C2-95]

_The pilot car._--Manned by officers of the Dallas Police Department,
this automobile preceded the main party by approximately a quarter
of a mile. Its function was to alert police along the route that the
motorcade was approaching and to check for signs of trouble.[C2-96]

_Motorcycles._--Next came four to six motorcycle policemen whose main
purpose was to keep the crowd back.[C2-97]

_The lead car._--Described as a “rolling command car,” this was an
unmarked Dallas police car, driven by Chief of Police Curry and
occupied by Secret Service Agents Sorrels and Lawson and by Dallas
County Sheriff J. E. Decker. The occupants scanned the crowd and the
buildings along the route. Their main function was to spot trouble
in advance and to direct any necessary steps to meet the trouble.
Following normal practice, the lead automobile stayed approximately
four to five car lengths ahead of the President’s limousine.[C2-98]

_The Presidential limousine._--The President’s automobile was a
specially designed 1961 Lincoln convertible with two collapsible jump
seats between the front and rear seats.[C2-99] (See Commission Exhibit
No. 346, p. 44.) It was outfitted with a clear plastic bubble-top
which was neither bulletproof nor bullet resistant.[C2-100] Because
the skies had cleared in Dallas, Lawson directed that the top not be
used for the day’s activities. He acted on instructions he had received
earlier from Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy H. Kellerman, who
was in Fort Worth with the President.[C2-101] Kellerman had discussed
the matter with O’Donnell, whose instructions were, “If the weather
is clear and it is not raining, have that bubbletop off.”[C2-102]
Elevated approximately 15 inches above the back of the front seat was
a metallic frame with four handholds that riders in the car could grip
while standing in the rear seat during parades.[C2-103] At the rear on
each side of the automobile were small running boards, each designed
to hold a Secret Service agent, with a metallic handle for the rider
to grasp.[C2-104] The President had frequently stated that he did not
want agents to ride on these steps during a motorcade except when
necessary. He had repeated this wish only a few days before, during his
visit to Tampa, Fla.[C2-105]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 346

Interior of Presidential limousine used on November 22, 1963.]

President Kennedy rode on the right-hand side of the rear seat with
Mrs. Kennedy on his left.[C2-106] Governor Connally occupied the right
jump seat, Mrs. Connally the left.[C2-107] Driving the Presidential
limousine was Special Agent William R. Greer of the Secret Service; on
his right sat Kellerman.[C2-108] Kellerman’s responsibilities included
maintaining radio communications with the lead and followup cars,
scanning the route, and getting out and standing near the President
when the cars stopped.

_Motorcycles._--Four motorcycles, two on each side, flanked the rear
of the Presidential car. They provided some cover for the President,
but their main purpose was to keep back the crowd.[C2-109] On previous
occasions, the President had requested that, to the extent possible,
these flanking motorcycles keep back from the sides of his car.[C2-110]

_Presidential followup car._--This vehicle, a 1955 Cadillac
eight-passenger convertible especially outfitted for the Secret
Service, followed closely behind the President’s automobile.[C2-111]
It carried eight Secret Service agents--two in the front seat, two in
the rear, and two on each of the right and left running boards.[C2-112]
Each agent carried a .38-caliber pistol, and a shotgun and automatic
rifle were also available.[C2-113] Presidential Assistants David F.
Powers and Kenneth O’Donnell sat in the right and left jump seats,

The agents in this car, under established procedure, had instructions
to watch the route for signs of trouble, scanning not only the
crowds but the windows and roofs of buildings, overpasses, and
crossings.[C2-115] They were instructed to watch particularly for
thrown objects, sudden actions in the crowd, and any movements toward
the Presidential car.[C2-116] The agents on the front of the running
boards had directions to move immediately to positions just to the
rear of the President and Mrs. Kennedy when the President’s car slowed
to a walking pace or stopped, or when the press of the crowd made it
impossible for the escort motorcycles to stay in position on the car’s
rear flanks.[C2-117] The two agents on the rear of the running boards
were to advance toward the front of the President’s car whenever it
stopped or slowed down sufficiently for them to do so.[C2-118]

_Vice-Presidential car._--The Vice-Presidential automobile, a four-door
Lincoln convertible obtained locally for use in the motorcade,
proceeded approximately two to three car lengths behind the President’s
followup car.[C2-119] This distance was maintained so that spectators
would normally turn their gaze from the President’s automobile by
the time the Vice President came into view.[C2-120] Vice President
Johnson sat on the right-hand side of the rear seat, Mrs. Johnson
in the center, and Senator Yarborough on the left.[C2-121] Rufus W.
Youngblood, special agent in charge of the Vice President’s detail,
occupied the right-hand side of the front seat, and Hurchel Jacks of
the Texas State Highway patrol was the driver.[C2-122]

_Vice-Presidential followup car._--Driven by an officer of the Dallas
Police Department, this vehicle was occupied by three Secret Service
agents and Clifton C. Carter, assistant to the Vice President.[C2-123]
These agents performed for the Vice President the same functions that
the agents in the Presidential followup car performed for the President.

_Remainder of motorcade._--The remainder of the motorcade consisted
of five cars for other dignitaries, including the mayor of Dallas
and Texas Congressmen, telephone and Western Union vehicles, a White
House communications car, three cars for press photographers, an
official party bus for White House staff members and others, and two
press buses. Admiral George G. Burkley, physician to the President,
was in a car following those “containing the local and national

_Police car and motorcycles._[C2-125]--A Dallas police car and several
motorcycles at the rear kept the motorcade together and prevented
unauthorized vehicles from joining the motorcade.

_Communications in the motorcade._[C2-126]--A base station at a fixed
location in Dallas operated a radio network which linked together the
lead car, Presidential car, Presidential followup car, White House
communications car, Trade Mart, Love Field, and the Presidential
and Vice-Presidential airplanes. The Vice-Presidential car and
Vice-Presidential followup car used portable sets with a separate
frequency for their own car-to-car communication.


The motorcade left Love Field shortly after 11:50 a.m. and drove at
speeds up to 25 to 30 miles an hour through thinly populated areas on
the outskirts of Dallas.[C2-127] At the President’s direction, his
automobile stopped twice, the first time to permit him to respond to
a sign asking him to shake hands.[C2-128] During this brief stop,
agents in the front positions on the running boards of the Presidential
followup car came forward and stood beside the President’s car,
looking out toward the crowd, and Special Agent Kellerman assumed his
position next to the car.[C2-129] On the other occasion, the President
halted the motorcade to speak to a Catholic nun and a group of small

In the downtown area, large crowds of spectators gave the President a
tremendous reception.[C2-131] The crowds were so dense that Special
Agent Clinton J. Hill had to leave the left front running board of
the President’s followup car four times to ride on the rear of the
President’s limousine.[C2-132] (See Commission Exhibit No. 698, p. 47.)
Several times Special Agent John D. Ready came forward from the right
front running board of the Presidential followup car to the right side
of the President’s car.[C2-133] Special Agent Glen A. Bennett once left
his place inside the followup car to help keep the crowd away from
the President’s car. When a teenage boy ran toward the rear of the
President’s car,[C2-134] Ready left the running board to chase the boy
back into the crowd. On several occasions when the Vice President’s
car was slowed down by the throng, Special Agent Youngblood stepped out
to hold the crowd back.[C2-135]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 698

Presidential limousine in Dallas motorcade.]

According to plan, the President’s motorcade proceeded west through
downtown Dallas on Main Street to the intersection of Houston Street,
which marks the beginning of Dealey Plaza.[C2-136] From Main Street
the motorcade turned right and went north on Houston Street, passing
tall buildings on the right, and headed toward the Texas School
Book Depository Building.[C2-137] The spectators were still thickly
congregated in front of the buildings which lined the east side of
Houston Street, but the crowd thinned abruptly along Elm Street, which
curves in a southwesterly direction as it proceeds downgrade toward the
Triple Underpass and the Stemmons Freeway.[C2-138]

As the motorcade approached the intersection of Houston and Elm
Streets, there was general gratification in the Presidential party
about the enthusiastic reception. Evaluating the political overtones,
Kenneth O’Donnell was especially pleased because it convinced him
that the average Dallas resident was like other American citizens in
respecting and admiring the President.[C2-139] Mrs. Connally, elated by
the reception, turned to President Kennedy and said, “Mr. President,
you can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you.” The President replied, “That is
very obvious.”[C2-140]


At 12:30 p.m., c.s.t., as the President’s open limousine proceeded at
approximately 11 miles per hour along Elm Street toward the Triple
Underpass, shots fired from a rifle mortally wounded President Kennedy
and seriously injured Governor Connally. One bullet passed through the
President’s neck; a subsequent bullet, which was lethal, shattered the
right side of his skull. Governor Connally sustained bullet wounds in
his back, the right side of his chest, right wrist, and left thigh.

The Time

The exact time of the assassination was fixed by the testimony of four
witnesses. Special Agent Rufus W. Youngblood observed that the large
electric sign clock atop the Texas School Book Depository Building
showed the numerals “12:30” as the Vice-Presidential automobile
proceeded north on Houston Street, a few seconds before the shots were
fired.[C2-141] Just prior to the shooting, David F. Powers, riding in
the Secret Service followup car, remarked to Kenneth O’Donnell that
it was 12:30 p.m., the time they were due at the Trade Mart.[C2-142]
Seconds after the shooting, Roy Kellerman, riding in the front seat
of the Presidential limousine, looked at his watch and said “12:30”
to the driver, Special Agent Greer.[C2-143] The Dallas police radio
log reflects that Chief of Police Curry reported the shooting of the
President and issued his initial orders at 12:30 p.m.[C2-144]

Speed of the Limousine

William Greer, operator of the Presidential limousine, estimated
the car’s speed at the time of the first shot as 12 to 15 miles per
hour.[C2-145] Other witnesses in the motorcade estimated the speed
of the President’s limousine from 7 to 22 miles per hour.[C2-146] A
more precise determination has been made from motion pictures taken
on the scene by an amateur photographer, Abraham Zapruder. Based on
these films, the speed of the President’s automobile is computed at an
average speed of 11.2 miles per hour. The car maintained this average
speed over a distance of approximately 136 feet immediately preceding
the shot which struck the President in the head. While the car traveled
this distance, the Zapruder camera ran 152 frames. Since the camera
operates at a speed of 18.3 frames per second, it was calculated that
the car required 8.3 seconds to cover the 136 feet. This represents a
speed of 11.2 miles per hour.[C2-147]

In the Presidential Limousine

Mrs. John F. Kennedy, on the left of the rear seat of the limousine,
looked toward her left and waved to the crowds along the route. Soon
after the motorcade turned onto Elm Street, she heard a sound similar
to a motorcycle noise and a cry from Governor Connally, which caused
her to look to her right. On turning she saw a quizzical look on her
husband’s face as he raised his left hand to his throat. Mrs. Kennedy
then heard a second shot and saw the President’s skull torn open under
the impact of the bullet. As she cradled her mortally wounded husband,
Mrs. Kennedy cried, “Oh, my God, they have shot my husband. I love you,

Governor Connally testified that he recognized the first noise as a
rifle shot and the thought immediately crossed his mind that it was
an assassination attempt. From his position in the right jump seat
immediately in front of the President, he instinctively turned to his
right because the shot appeared to come from over his right shoulder.
Unable to see the President as he turned to the right, the Governor
started to look back over his left shoulder, but he never completed the
turn because he felt something strike him in the back.[C2-149] In his
testimony before the Commission, Governor Connally was certain that he
was hit by the second shot, which he stated he did not hear.[C2-150]

Mrs. Connally, too, heard a frightening noise from her right. Looking
over her right shoulder, she saw that the President had both hands
at his neck but she observed no blood and heard nothing. She watched
as he slumped down with an empty expression on his face.[C2-151] Roy
Kellerman, in the right front seat of the limousine, heard a report
like a firecracker pop. Turning to his right in the direction of the
noise, Kellerman heard the President say “My God, I am hit,” and saw
both of the President’s hands move up toward his neck. As he told the
driver, “Let’s get out of here; we are hit,” Kellerman grabbed his
microphone and radioed ahead to the lead car, “We are hit. Get us to
the hospital immediately.”[C2-152]

The driver, William Greer, heard a noise which he took to be a backfire
from one of the motorcycles flanking the Presidential car. When he
heard the same noise again, Greer glanced over his shoulder and saw
Governor Connally fall. At the sound of the second shot he realized
that something was wrong, and he pressed down on the accelerator as
Kellerman said, “Get out of here fast.”[C2-153] As he issued his
instructions to Greer and to the lead car, Kellerman heard a “flurry
of shots” within 5 seconds of the first noise. According to Kellerman,
Mrs. Kennedy then cried out: “What are they doing to you?” Looking back
from the front seat, Kellerman saw Governor Connally in his wife’s
lap and Special Agent Clinton J. Hill lying across the trunk of the

Mrs. Connally heard a second shot fired and pulled her husband down
into her lap.[C2-155] Observing his blood-covered chest as he was
pulled into his wife’s lap, Governor Connally believed himself mortally
wounded. He cried out, “Oh, no, no, no. My God, they are going to kill
us all.”[C2-156] At first Mrs. Connally thought that her husband had
been killed, but then she noticed an almost imperceptible movement
and knew that he was still alive. She said, “It’s all right. Be
still.”[C2-157] The Governor was lying with his head on his wife’s lap
when he heard a shot hit the President.[C2-158] At that point, both
Governor and Mrs. Connally observed brain tissue splattered over the
interior of the car.[C2-159] According to Governor and Mrs. Connally,
it was after this shot that Kellerman issued his emergency instructions
and the car accelerated.[C2-160]

Reaction by Secret Service Agents

From the left front running board of the President’s followup car,
Special Agent Hill was scanning the few people standing on the south
side of Elm Street after the motorcade had turned off Houston Street.
He estimated that the motorcade had slowed down to approximately 9 or
10 miles per hour on the turn at the intersection of Houston and Elm
Streets and then proceeded at a rate of 12 to 15 miles per hour with
the followup car trailing the President’s automobile by approximately
5 feet.[C2-161] Hill heard a noise, which seemed to be a firecracker,
coming from his right rear. He immediately looked to his right,
“and, in so doing, my eyes had to cross the Presidential limousine
and I saw President Kennedy grab at himself and lurch forward and to
the left.”[C2-162] Hill jumped from the followup car and ran to the
President’s automobile. At about the time he reached the President’s
automobile, Hill heard a second shot, approximately 5 seconds after the
first, which removed a portion of the President’s head.[C2-163]

At the instant that Hill stepped onto the left rear step of the
President’s automobile and grasped the handhold, the car lurched
forward, causing him to lose his footing. He ran three or four steps,
regained his position and mounted the car. Between the time he
originally seized the handhold and the time he mounted the car, Hill
recalled that--

    Mrs. Kennedy had jumped up from the seat and was, it appeared
    to me, reaching for something coming off the right rear bumper
    of the car, the right rear tail, when she noticed that I was
    trying to climb on the car. She turned toward me and I grabbed
    her and put her back in the back seat, crawled up on top of the
    back seat and lay there.[C2-164]

David Powers, who witnessed the scene from the President’s followup
car, stated that Mrs. Kennedy would probably have fallen off the rear
end of the car and been killed if Hill had not pushed her back into the
Presidential automobile.[C2-165] Mrs. Kennedy had no recollection of
climbing onto the back of the car.[C2-166]

Special Agent Ready, on the right front running board of the
Presidential followup car, heard noises that sounded like firecrackers
and ran toward the President’s limousine. But he was immediately called
back by Special Agent Emory P. Roberts, in charge of the followup car,
who did not believe that he could reach the President’s car at the
speed it was then traveling.[C2-167] Special Agent George W. Hickey,
Jr., in the rear seat of the Presidential followup car, picked up and
cocked an automatic rifle as he heard the last shot. At this point the
cars were speeding through the underpass and had left the scene of the
shooting, but Hickey kept the automatic weapon ready as the car raced
to the hospital.[C2-168] Most of the other Secret Service agents in
the motorcade had drawn their sidearms.[C2-169] Roberts noticed that
the Vice President’s car was approximately one-half block behind the
Presidential followup car at the time of the shooting and signaled for
it to move in closer.[C2-170]

Directing the security detail for the Vice President from the right
front seat of the Vice-Presidential car, Special Agent Youngblood

    As we were beginning to go down this incline, all of a sudden
    there was an explosive noise. I quickly observed unnatural
    movement of crowds, like ducking or scattering, and quick
    movements in the Presidential followup car. So I turned around
    and hit the Vice President on the shoulder and hollered, get
    down, and then looked around again and saw more of this
    movement, and so I proceeded to go to the back seat and get on
    top of him.[C2-171]

Youngblood was not positive that he was in the rear seat before the
second shot, but thought it probable because of President Johnson’s
statement to that effect immediately after the assassination.[C2-172]
President Johnson emphasized Youngblood’s instantaneous reaction after
the first shot:

    I was startled by the sharp report or explosion, but I had no
    time to speculate as to its origin because Agent Youngblood
    turned in a flash, immediately after the first explosion,
    hitting me on the shoulder, and shouted to all of us in the
    back seat to get down. I was pushed down by Agent Youngblood.
    Almost in the same moment in which he hit or pushed me, he
    vaulted over the back seat and sat on me. I was bent over under
    the weight of Agent Youngblood’s body, toward Mrs. Johnson and
    Senator Yarborough.[C2-173]

Clifton C. Carter, riding in the Vice President’s followup car a short
distance behind, reported that Youngblood was in the rear seat using
his body to shield the Vice President before the second and third shots
were fired.[C2-174]

Other Secret Service agents assigned to the motorcade remained at
their posts during the race to the hospital. None stayed at the scene
of the shooting, and none entered the Texas School Book Depository
Building at or immediately after the shooting. Secret Service procedure
requires that each agent stay with the person being protected and
not be diverted unless it is necessary to accomplish the protective
assignment.[C2-175] Forrest V. Sorrels, special agent in charge of the
Dallas office, was the first Secret Service agent to return to the
scene of the assassination, approximately 20 or 25 minutes after the
shots were fired.[C2-176]


The Race to the Hospital

In the final instant of the assassination, the Presidential motorcade
began a race to Parkland Memorial Hospital, approximately 4 miles from
the Texas School Book Depository Building.[C2-177] On receipt of the
radio message from Kellerman to the lead car that the President had
been hit, Chief of Police Curry and police motorcyclists at the head
of the motorcade led the way to the hospital.[C2-178] Meanwhile, Chief
Curry ordered the police base station to notify Parkland Hospital that
the wounded President was en route.[C2-179] The radio log of the Dallas
Police Department shows that at 12:30 p.m. on November 22 Chief Curry
radioed, “Go to the hospital--Parkland Hospital. Have them stand by.”
A moment later Curry added, “Looks like the President has been hit.
Have Parkland stand by.” The base station replied, “They have been
notified.”[C2-180] Traveling at speeds estimated at times to be up
to 70 or 80 miles per hour down the Stemmons Freeway and Harry Hines
Boulevard, the Presidential limousine arrived at the emergency entrance
of the Parkland Hospital at about 12:35 p.m.[C2-181] Arriving almost
simultaneously were the President’s followup car, the Vice President’s
automobile, and the Vice President’s followup car. Admiral Burkley, the
President’s physician, arrived at the hospital “between 3 and 5 minutes
following the arrival of the President,” since the riders in his car
“were not exactly aware what had happened” and the car went on to the
Trade Mart first.[C2-182]

When Parkland Hospital received the notification, the staff in
the emergency area was alerted and trauma rooms 1 and 2 were
prepared.[C2-183] These rooms were for the emergency treatment
of acutely ill or injured patients.[C2-184] Although the first
message mentioned an injury only to President Kennedy, two rooms
were prepared.[C2-185] As the President’s limousine sped toward
the hospital, 12 doctors rushed to the emergency area: surgeons,
Drs. Malcolm O. Perry, Charles R. Baxter, Robert N. McClelland,
Ronald C. Jones; the chief neurologist, Dr. William Kemp Clark; 4
anesthesiologists, Drs. Marion T. Jenkins, Adolph H. Giesecke, Jr.,
Jackie H. Hunt, Gene C. Akin; a urological surgeon, Dr Paul C. Peters;
an oral surgeon, Dr. Don T. Curtis; and a heart specialist, Dr. Fouad
A. Bashour.[C2-186]

Upon arriving at Parkland Hospital, Lawson jumped from the lead car and
rushed into the emergency entrance, where he was met by hospital staff
members wheeling stretchers out to the automobile.[C2-187] Special
Agent Hill removed his suit jacket and covered the President’s head
and upper chest to prevent the taking of photographs.[C2-188] Governor
Connally, who had lost consciousness on the ride to the hospital,
regained consciousness when the limousine stopped abruptly at the
emergency entrance. Despite his serious wounds, Governor Connally tried
to get out of the way so that medical help could reach the President.
Although he was reclining in his wife’s arms, he lurched forward in
an effort to stand upright and get out of the car, but he collapsed
again. Then he experienced his first sensation of pain, which became
excruciating.[C2-189] The Governor was lifted onto a stretcher and
taken into trauma room 2.[C2-190] For a moment, Mrs. Kennedy refused to
release the President, whom she held in her lap, but then Kellerman,
Greer, and Lawson lifted the President onto a stretcher and pushed it
into trauma room 1.[C2-191]

Treatment of President Kennedy

The first physician to see the President at Parkland Hospital was Dr.
Charles J. Carrico, a resident in general surgery.[C2-192] Dr. Carrico
was in the emergency area, examining another patient, when he was
notified that President Kennedy was en route to the hospital.[C2-193]
Approximately 2 minutes later, Dr. Carrico saw the President on his
back, being wheeled into the emergency area.[C2-194] He noted that
the President was blue-white or ashen in color; had slow, spasmodic,
agonal respiration without any coordination; made no voluntary
movements; had his eyes open with the pupils dilated without any
reaction to light; evidenced no palpable pulse; and had a few chest
sounds which were thought to be heart beats.[C2-195] On the basis of
these findings, Dr. Carrico concluded that President Kennedy was still

Dr. Carrico noted two wounds: a small bullet wound in the front
lower neck, and an extensive wound in the President’s head where
a sizable portion of the skull was missing.[C2-197] He observed
shredded brain tissue and “considerable slow oozing” from the latter
wound, followed by “more profuse bleeding” after some circulation
was established.[C2-198] Dr. Carrico felt the President’s back and
determined that there was no large wound there which would be an
immediate threat to life.[C2-199] Observing the serious problems
presented by the head wound and inadequate respiration, Dr. Carrico
directed his attention to improving the President’s breathing.[C2-200]
He noted contusions, hematoma to the right of the larynx, which was
deviated slightly to the left, and also ragged tissue which indicated
a tracheal injury.[C2-201] Dr. Carrico inserted a cuffed endotracheal
tube past the injury, inflated the cuff, and connected it to a Bennett
machine to assist in respiration.[C2-202]

At that point, direction of the President’s treatment was undertaken by
Dr. Malcolm O. Perry, who arrived at trauma room 1 a few moments after
the President.[C2-203] Dr. Perry noted the President’s back brace as
he felt for a femoral pulse, which he did not find.[C2-204] Observing
that an effective airway had to be established if treatment was to be
effective, Dr. Perry performed a tracheotomy, which required 3 to 5
minutes.[C2-205] While Dr. Perry was performing the tracheotomy, Drs.
Carrico and Ronald Jones made cutdowns on the President’s right leg and
left arm, respectively, to infuse blood and fluids into the circulatory
system.[C2-206] Dr. Carrico treated the President’s known adrenal
insufficiency by administering hydrocortisone.[C2-207] Dr. Robert
N. McClelland entered at that point and assisted Dr. Perry with the

Dr. Fouad Bashour, chief of cardiology, Dr. M. T. Jenkins, chief
of anesthesiology, and Dr. A. H. Giesecke, Jr., then joined in the
effort to revive the President.[C2-209] When Dr. Perry noted free air
and blood in the President’s chest cavity, he asked that chest tubes
be inserted to allow for drainage of blood and air. Drs. Paul C.
Peters and Charles R. Baxter initiated these procedures.[C2-210] As a
result of the infusion of liquids through the cutdowns, the cardiac
massage, and the airway, the doctors were able to maintain peripheral
circulation as monitored at the neck (carotid) artery and at the wrist
(radial) pulse. A femoral pulse was also detected in the President’s
leg.[C2-211] While these medical efforts were in progress, Dr. Clark
noted some electrical activity on the cardiotachyscope attached to
monitor the President’s heart responses.[C2-212] Dr. Clark, who most
closely observed the head wound, described a large, gaping wound in the
right rear part of the head, with substantial damage and exposure of
brain tissue, and a considerable loss of blood.[C2-213] Dr. Clark did
not see any other hole or wound on the President’s head. According to
Dr. Clark, the small bullet hole on the right rear of the President’s
head discovered during the subsequent autopsy “could have easily been
hidden in the blood and hair.”[C2-214]

In the absence of any neurological, muscular, or heart response,
the doctors concluded that efforts to revive the President were
hopeless.[C2-215] This was verified by Admiral Burkley, the President’s
physician, who arrived at the hospital after emergency treatment
was underway and concluded that “my direct services to him at that
moment would have interfered with the action of the team which was
in progress.”[C2-216] At approximately 1 p.m., after last rites were
administered to the President by Father Oscar L. Huber, Dr. Clark
pronounced the President dead. He made the official determination
because the ultimate cause of death, the severe head injury, was within
his sphere of specialization.[C2-217] The time was fixed at 1 p.m.,
as an approximation, since it was impossible to determine the precise
moment when life left the President.[C2-218] President Kennedy could
have survived the neck injury, but the head wound was fatal.[C2-219]
From a medical viewpoint, President Kennedy was alive when he arrived
at Parkland Hospital; the doctors observed that he had a heart beat
and was making some respiratory efforts.[C2-220] But his condition was
hopeless, and the extraordinary efforts of the doctors to save him
could not help but to have been unavailing.

Since the Dallas doctors directed all their efforts to controlling the
massive bleeding caused by the head wound, and to reconstructing an
airway to his lungs, the President remained on his back throughout his
medical treatment at Parkland.[C2-221] When asked why he did not turn
the President over, Dr. Carrico testified as follows:

    A. This man was in obvious extreme distress and any more
    thorough inspection would have involved several minutes--well,
    several--considerable time which at this juncture was not
    available. A thorough inspection would have involved washing
    and cleansing the back, and this is not practical in treating
    an acutely injured patient. You have to determine which things,
    which are immediately life threatening and cope with them,
    before attempting to evaluate the full extent of the injuries.

    Q. Did you ever have occasion to look at the President’s back?

    A. No, sir. Before--well, in trying to treat an acutely injured
    patient, you have to establish an airway, adequate ventilation
    and you have to establish adequate circulation. Before this was
    accomplished the President’s cardiac activity had ceased and
    closed cardiac massage was instituted, which made it impossible
    to inspect his back.

    Q. Was any effort made to inspect the President’s back after he
    had expired?

    A. No, sir.

    Q. And why was no effort made at that time to inspect his back?

    A. I suppose nobody really had the heart to do it.[C2-222]

Moreover, the Parkland doctors took no further action after the
President had expired because they concluded that it was beyond the
scope of their permissible duties.[C2-223]

Treatment of Governor Connally

While one medical team tried to revive President Kennedy, a second
performed a series of operations on the bullet wounds sustained by
Governor Connally.[C2-224] Governor Connally was originally seen by Dr.
Carrico and Dr. Richard Dulany.[C2-225] While Dr. Carrico went on to
attend the President, Dr. Dulany stayed with the Governor and was soon
joined by several other doctors.[C2-226] At approximately 12:45 p.m.,
Dr. Robert Shaw, chief of thoracic surgery, arrived at trauma room 2,
to take charge of the care of Governor Connally, whose major wound fell
within Dr. Shaw’s area of specialization.[C2-227]

Governor Connally had a large sucking wound in the front of the right
chest which caused extreme pain and difficulty in breathing. Rubber
tubes were inserted between the second and third ribs to reexpand the
right lung, which had collapsed because of the opening in the chest
wall.[C2-228] At 1:35 p.m., after Governor Connally had been moved to
the operating room, Dr. Shaw started the first operation by cutting
away the edges of the wound on the front of the Governor’s chest and
suturing the damaged lung and lacerated muscles.[C2-229] The elliptical
wound in the Governor’s back, located slightly to the left of the
Governor’s right armpit approximately five-eighths inch (a centimeter
and a half) in its greatest diameter, was treated by cutting away
the damaged skin and suturing the back muscle and skin.[C2-230] This
operation was concluded at 3:20 p.m.[C2-231]

Two additional operations were performed on Governor Connally for
wounds which he had not realized he had sustained until he regained
consciousness the following day.[C2-232] From approximately 4 p.m. to
4:50 p.m. on November 22, Dr. Charles F. Gregory, chief of orthopedic
surgery, operated on the wounds of Governor Connally’s right wrist,
assisted by Drs. William Osborne and John Parker.[C2-233] The wound on
the back of the wrist was left partially open for draining, and the
wound on the palm side was enlarged, cleansed, and closed. The fracture
was set, and a cast was applied with some traction utilized.[C2-234]
While the second operation was in progress, Dr. George T. Shires,
assisted by Drs. Robert McClelland, Charles Baxter, and Ralph Don
Patman, treated the gunshot wound in the left thigh.[C2-235] This
punctuate missile wound, about two-fifths inch in diameter (1
centimeter) and located approximately 5 inches above the left knee,
was cleansed and closed with sutures; but a small metallic fragment
remained in the Governor’s leg.[C2-236]

Vice President Johnson at Parkland

As President Kennedy and Governor Connally were being removed from the
limousine onto stretchers, a protective circle of Secret Service agents
surrounded Vice President and Mrs. Johnson and escorted them into
Parkland Hospital through the emergency entrance.[C2-237] The agents
moved a nurse and patient out of a nearby room, lowered the shades, and
took emergency security measures to protect the Vice President.[C2-238]
Two men from the President’s followup car were detailed to help
protect the Vice President. An agent was stationed at the entrance
to stop anyone who was not a member of the Presidential party. U.S.
Representatives Henry B. Gonzalez, Jack Brooks, Homer Thornberry, and
Albert Thomas joined Clifton C. Carter and the group of special agents
protecting the Vice President.[C2-239] On one occasion Mrs. Johnson,
accompanied by two Secret Service agents, left the room to see Mrs.
Kennedy and Mrs. Connally.[C2-240]

Concern that the Vice President might also be a target for
assassination prompted the Secret Service agents to urge him to
leave the hospital and return to Washington immediately.[C2-241] The
Vice President decided to wait until he received definitive word of
the President’s condition.[C2-242] At approximately 1:20 p.m., Vice
President Johnson was notified by O’Donnell that President Kennedy was
dead.[C2-243] Special Agent Youngblood learned from Mrs. Johnson the
location of her two daughters and made arrangements through Secret
Service headquarters in Washington to provide them with protection

When consulted by the Vice President, O’Donnell advised him to go to
the airfield immediately and return to Washington.[C2-245] It was
decided that the Vice President should return on the Presidential
plane rather than on the Vice-Presidential plane because it had better
communication equipment.[C2-246] The Vice President conferred with
White House Assistant Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff and decided
that there would be no release of the news of the President’s death
until the Vice President had left the hospital.[C2-247] When told that
Mrs. Kennedy refused to leave without the President’s body, the Vice
President said that he would not leave Dallas without her.[C2-248] On
the recommendation of the Secret Service agents, Vice President Johnson
decided to board the Presidential airplane, _Air Force One_, and wait
for Mrs. Kennedy and the President’s body.[C2-249]

Secret Service Emergency Security Arrangements

Immediately after President Kennedy’s stretcher was wheeled into trauma
room 1, Secret Service agents took positions at the door of the small
emergency room. A nurse was asked to identify hospital personnel and
to tell everyone, except necessary medical staff members, to leave the
emergency room. Other Secret Service agents posted themselves in the
corridors and other areas near the emergency room. Special Agent Lawson
made certain that the Dallas police kept the public and press away
from the immediate area of the hospital.[C2-250] Agents Kellerman and
Hill telephoned the head of the White House detail, Gerald A. Behn, to
advise him of the assassination. The telephone line to Washington was
kept open throughout the remainder of the stay at the hospital.[C2-251]

Secret Service agents stationed at later stops on the President’s
itinerary of November 22 were redeployed. Men at the Trade Mart were
driven to Parkland Hospital in Dallas police cars.[C2-252] The Secret
Service group awaiting the President in Austin were instructed to
return to Washington.[C2-253] Meanwhile, the Secret Service agents
in charge of security at Love Field started to make arrangements for
departure. As soon as one of the agents learned of the shooting, he
asked the officer in charge of the police detail at the airport to
institute strict security measures for the Presidential aircraft, the
airport terminal, and the surrounding area. The police were cautioned
to prevent picture taking. Secret Service agents working with police
cleared the areas adjacent to the aircraft, including warehouses,
other terminal buildings and the neighboring parking lots, of all
people.[C2-254] The agents decided not to shift the Presidential
aircraft to the far side of the airport because the original landing
area was secure and a move would require new measures.[C2-255]

When security arrangements at the airport were complete, the Secret
Service made the necessary arrangements for the Vice President to leave
the hospital. Unmarked police cars took the Vice President and Mrs.
Johnson from Parkland Hospital to Love Field. Chief Curry drove one
automobile occupied by Vice President Johnson, U.S. Representatives
Thomas and Thornberry, and Special Agent Youngblood. In another car
Mrs. Johnson was driven to the airport accompanied by Secret Service
agents and Representative Brooks. Motorcycle policemen who escorted the
automobiles were requested by the Vice President and Agent Youngblood
not to use sirens. During the drive Vice President Johnson, at
Youngblood’s instruction, kept below window level.[C2-256]

Removal of the President’s Body

While the team of doctors at Parkland Hospital tried desperately to
save the life of President Kennedy, Mrs. Kennedy alternated between
watching them and waiting outside.[C2-257] After the President was
pronounced dead, O’Donnell tried to persuade Mrs. Kennedy to leave the
area, but she refused. She said that she intended to stay with her
husband.[C2-258] A casket was obtained and the President’s body was
prepared for removal.[C2-259] Before the body could be taken from the
hospital, two Dallas officials informed members of the President’s
staff that the body could not be removed from the city until an autopsy
was performed. Despite the protests of these officials, the casket was
wheeled out of the hospital, placed in an ambulance, and transported to
the airport shortly after 2 p.m.[C2-260] At approximately 2:15 p.m. the
casket was loaded, with some difficulty because of the narrow airplane
door, onto the rear of the Presidential plane where seats had been
removed to make room.[C2-261] Concerned that the local officials might
try to prevent the plane’s departure, O’Donnell asked that the pilot
take off immediately. He was informed that takeoff would be delayed
until Vice President Johnson was sworn in.[C2-262]


Swearing in of the New President

From the Presidential airplane, the Vice President telephoned Attorney
General Robert F. Kennedy, who advised that Mr. Johnson take the
Presidential oath of office before the plane left Dallas.[C2-263]
Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes hastened to the plane to administer the
oath.[C2-264] Members of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential parties
filled the central compartment of the plane to witness the swearing in.
At 2:38 p.m., c.s.t., Lyndon Baines Johnson took the oath of office as
the 36th President of the United States.[C2-265] Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs.
Johnson stood at the side of the new President as he took the oath of
office.[C2-266] Nine minutes later, the Presidential airplane departed
for Washington, D.C.[C2-267]

Return to Washington, D.C.

On the return flight, Mrs. Kennedy sat with David Powers, Kenneth
O’Donnell, and Lawrence O’Brien.[C2-268] At 5:58 p.m., e.s.t.,
_Air Force One_ landed at Andrews AFB, where President Kennedy had
begun his last trip only 31 hours before.[C2-269] Detailed security
arrangements had been made by radio from the President’s plane on the
return flight.[C2-270] The public had been excluded from the base,
and only Government officials and the press were permitted near the
landing area. Upon arrival, President Johnson made a brief statement
over television and radio. President and Mrs. Johnson were flown by
helicopter to the White House, from where Mrs. Johnson was driven to
her residence under Secret Service escort. The President then walked to
the Executive Office Building, where he worked until 9 p.m.[C2-271]

The Autopsy

Given a choice between the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda,
Md., and the Army’s Walter Reed Hospital, Mrs. Kennedy chose the
hospital in Bethesda for the autopsy because the President had served
in the Navy.[C2-272] Mrs. Kennedy and the Attorney General, with three
Secret Service agents, accompanied President Kennedy’s body on the
45-minute automobile trip from Andrews AFB to the Hospital.[C2-273] On
the 17th floor of the Hospital, Mrs. Kennedy and the Attorney General
joined other members of the Kennedy family to await the conclusion of
the autopsy.[C2-274] Mrs. Kennedy was guarded by Secret Service agents
in quarters assigned to her in the naval hospital.[C2-275] The Secret
Service established a communication system with the White House and
screened all telephone calls and visitors.[C2-276]

The hospital received the President’s body for autopsy at approximately
7:35 p.m.[C2-277] X-rays and photographs were taken preliminarily
and the pathological examination began at about 8 p.m.[C2-278] The
autopsy report noted that President Kennedy was 46 years of age, 72½
inches tall, weighed 170 pounds, had blue eyes and reddish-brown
hair. The body was muscular and well developed with no gross skeletal
abnormalities except for those caused by the gunshot wounds. Under
“Pathological Diagnosis” the cause of death was set forth as “Gunshot
wound, head.”[C2-279] (See app. IX.)

The autopsy examination revealed two wounds in the President’s head.
One wound, approximately one-fourth of an inch by five-eighths of an
inch (6 by 15 millimeters), was located about an inch (2.5 centimeters)
to the right and slightly above the large bony protrusion (external
occipital protuberance) which juts out at the center of the lower part
of the back of the skull. The second head wound measured approximately
5 inches (13 centimeters) in its greatest diameter, but it was
difficult to measure accurately because multiple crisscross fractures
radiated from the large defect.[C2-280] During the autopsy examination,
Federal agents brought the surgeons three pieces of bone recovered from
Elm Street and the Presidential automobile. When put together, these
fragments accounted for approximately three-quarters of the missing
portion of the skull.[C2-281] The surgeons observed, through X-ray
analysis, 30 or 40 tiny dustlike fragments of metal running in a line
from the wound in the rear of the President’s head toward the front
part of the skull, with a sizable metal fragment lying just above the
right eye.[C2-282] From this head wound two small irregularly shaped
fragments of metal were recovered and turned over to the FBI.[C2-283]

The autopsy also disclosed a wound near the base of the back of
President Kennedy’s neck slightly to the right of his spine. The
doctors traced the course of the bullet through the body and, as
information was received from Parkland Hospital, concluded that the
bullet had emerged from the front portion of the President’s neck that
had been cut away by the tracheotomy at Parkland.[C2-284] The nature
and characteristics of this neck wound and the two head wounds are
discussed fully in the next chapter.

After the autopsy was concluded at approximately 11 p.m., the
President’s body was prepared for burial. This was finished at
approximately 4 a.m.[C2-285] Shortly thereafter, the President’s wife,
family and aides left Bethesda Naval Hospital.[C2-286] The President’s
body was taken to the East Room of the White House where it was placed
under ceremonial military guard.


The Shots From the Texas School Book Depository

In this chapter the Commission analyzes the evidence and sets forth
its conclusions concerning the source, effect, number and timing
of the shots that killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor
Connally. In that connection the Commission has evaluated (1) the
testimony of eyewitnesses present at the scene of the assassination;
(2) the damage to the Presidential limousine; (3) the examination by
qualified experts of the rifle and cartridge cases found on the sixth
floor of the Texas School Book Depository and the bullet fragments
found in the Presidential limousine and at Parkland Hospital; (4)
the wounds suffered by President Kennedy and Governor Connally; (5)
wound ballistics tests; (6) the examination by qualified experts of
the clothing worn by President Kennedy and Governor Connally; and (7)
motion-picture films and still photographs taken at the time of the


As reflected in the previous chapter, passengers in the first few cars
of the motorcade had the impression that the shots came from the rear
and from the right, the general direction of the Texas School Book
Depository Building, although none of these passengers saw anyone
fire the shots. Some spectators at Houston and Elm Streets, however,
did see a rifle being fired in the direction of the President’s car
from the easternmost window of the sixth floor on the south side of
the building. Other witnesses saw a rifle in this window immediately
after the assassination. Three employees of the Depository, observing
the parade from the fifth floor, heard the shots fired from the floor
immediately above them. No credible evidence suggests that the shots
were fired from the railroad bridge over the Triple Underpass, the
nearby railroad yards or any place other than the Texas School Book
Depository Building.

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 477

Position of Howard L. Brennan on November 22, 1963. (Photograph taken
on March 20, 1964, and marked by Brennan during his testimony to show
the window (A) in which he saw a man with a rifle, and the window (B)
on the fifth floor in which he saw people watching the motorcade.)]

Near the Depository

Eyewitnesses testified that they saw a man fire a weapon from the
sixth-floor window. Howard L. Brennan, a 45-year-old steamfitter,
watched the motorcade from a concrete retaining wall at the southwest
corner of Elm and Houston, where he had a clear view of the south side
of the Depository Building.[C3-1] (See Commission Exhibit No. 477, p.
62.) He was approximately 107 feet from the Depository entrance and
120 feet from the southeast corner window of the sixth floor.[C3-2]
Brennan’s presence and vantage point are corroborated by a motion
picture of the motorcade taken by amateur photographer Abraham
Zapruder, which shows Brennan, wearing gray khaki work clothes and a
gray work helmet, seated on the retaining wall.[C3-3] Brennan later
identified himself in the Zapruder movie.[C3-4] While waiting about
7 minutes for the President to arrive, he observed the crowd on the
street and the people at the windows of the Depository Building.[C3-5]
He noticed a man at the southeast corner window of the sixth floor, and
observed him leave the window “a couple of times.”[C3-6]

Brennan watched the President’s car as it turned the corner at Houston
and Elm and moved down the incline toward the Triple Underpass. Soon
after the President’s car passed, he heard an explosion like the
backfire of a motorcycle.[C3-7] Brennan recalled:

    Well, then something, just right after this explosion, made me
    think that it was a firecracker being thrown from the Texas
    Book Store. And I glanced up. And this man that I saw previous
    was aiming for his last shot.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Well, as it appeared to me he was standing up and resting
    against the left window sill, with gun shouldered to his
    right shoulder, holding the gun with his left hand and taking
    positive aim and fired his last shot. As I calculate a couple
    of seconds. He drew the gun back from the window as though he
    was drawing it back to his side and maybe paused for another
    second as though to assure hisself that he hit his mark, and
    then he disappeared.[C3-8]

Brennan stated that he saw 70 to 85 percent of the gun when it was
fired and the body of the man from the waist up.[C3-9] The rifle was
aimed southwesterly down Elm Street toward the underpass.[C3-10]
Brennan saw the man fire one shot and he remembered hearing a total
of only two shots. When questioned about the number of shots, Brennan

    I don’t know what made me think that there was firecrackers
    throwed out of the Book Store unless I did hear the second
    shot, because I positively thought the first shot was a
    backfire, and subconsciously I must have heard a second shot,
    but I do not recall it. I could not swear to it.[C3-11]

Brennan quickly reported his observations to police officers.[C3-12]
Brennan’s description of the man he saw is discussed in the next

Amos Lee Euins, a 15-year-old ninth grade student, stated that he was
facing the Depository as the motorcade turned the corner at Elm and
Houston. He recalled:

    Then I was standing here, and as the motorcade turned the
    corner, I was facing, looking dead at the building. And so I
    seen this pipe thing sticking out the window. I wasn’t paying
    too much attention to it. Then when the first shot was fired, I
    started looking around, thinking it was a backfire. Everybody
    else started looking around. Then I looked up at the window,
    and he shot again.[C3-13]

After witnessing the first shots, Euins hid behind a fountain bench
and saw the man shoot again from the window in the southeast corner of
the Depository’s sixth floor.[C3-14] According to Euins, the man had
one hand on the barrel and the other on the trigger. Euins believed
that there were four shots.[C3-15] Immediately after the assassination,
he reported his observations to Sgt. D. V. Harkness of the Dallas
Police Department and also to James Underwood of station KRLD-TV of
Dallas.[C3-16] Sergeant Harkness testified that Euins told him that
the shots came from the last window of the floor “under the ledge”
on the side of the building they were facing.[C3-17] Based on Euins’
statements, Harkness radioed to headquarters at 12:36 p.m. that “I have
a witness that says that it came from the fifth floor of the Texas Book
Depository Store.”[C3-18] Euins accurately described the sixth floor as
the floor “under the ledge.” Harkness testified that the error in the
radio message was due to his own “hasty count of the floors.”[C3-19]

Other witnesses saw a rifle in the window after the shots were fired.
Robert H. Jackson, staff photographer, Dallas Times Herald, was in a
press car in the Presidential motorcade, eight or nine cars from the
front. On Houston Street about halfway between Main and Elm, Jackson
heard the first shot.[C3-20] As someone in the car commented that it
sounded like a firecracker, Jackson heard two more shots.[C3-21] He

    Then we realized or we thought that it was gunfire, and then we
    could not at that point see the President’s car. We were still
    moving slowly, and after the third shot the second two shots
    seemed much closer together than the first shot, than they were
    to the first shot. Then after the last shot, I guess all of
    us were just looking all around and I just looked straight up
    ahead of me which would have been looking at the School Book
    Depository and I noticed two Negro men in a window straining to
    see directly above them, and my eyes followed right on up to
    the window above them and I saw the rifle or what looked like
    a rifle approximately half of the weapon, I guess I saw, and
    just as I looked at it, it was drawn fairly slowly back into
    the building, and I saw no one in the window with it.

    I didn’t even see a form in the window.[C3-22]

In the car with Jackson were James Underwood, television station
KRLD-TV; Thomas Dillard, chief photographer, Dallas Morning News;
Malcolm O. Couch and James Darnell, television newsreel cameramen.
Dillard, Underwood, and the driver were in the front seat, Couch
and Darnell were sitting on top of the back seat of the convertible
with Jackson. Dillard, Couch, and Underwood confirmed that Jackson
spontaneously exclaimed that he saw a rifle in the window.[C3-23]
According to Dillard, at the time the shots were fired he and his
fellow passengers “had an absolutely perfect view of the School
Depository from our position in the open car.”[C3-24] Dillard
immediately took two pictures of the building: one of the east
two-thirds of the south side and the other of the southeast corner,
particularly the fifth- and sixth-floor windows.[C3-25] These pictures
show three Negro men in windows on the fifth floor and the partially
open window on the sixth floor directly above them. (See Dillard
Exhibits C and D, pp. 66-67.) Couch also saw the rifle in the window,
and testified:

    And after the third shot, Bob Jackson, who was, as I recall,
    on my right, yelled something like, “Look up in the window!
    There’s the rifle!”

    And I remember glancing up to a window on the far right, which
    at the time impressed me as the sixth or seventh floor, and
    seeing about a foot of a rifle being--the barrel brought into
    the window.[C3-26]

Couch testified he saw people standing in other windows on the third
or fourth floor in the middle of the south side, one of them being a
Negro in a white T-shirt leaning out to look up at the windows above

Mayor and Mrs. Earle Cabell rode in the motorcade immediately behind
the Vice-Presidential followup car.[C3-28] Mrs. Cabell was seated in
the back seat behind the driver and was facing U.S. Representative
Ray Roberts on her right as the car made the turn at Elm and Houston.
In this position Mrs. Cabell “was actually facing” the seven-story
Depository when the first shot rang out.[C3-29] She “jerked” her head
up immediately and saw a “projection” in the first group of windows
on a floor which she described both as the sixth floor and the top
floor.[C3-30] According to Mrs. Cabell, the object was “rather long
looking,” but she was unable to determine whether it was a mechanical
object or a person’s arm.[C3-31] She turned away from the window to
tell her husband that the noise was a shot, and “just as I got the
words out * * * the second two shots rang out.”[C3-32] Mrs. Cabell did
not look at the sixth-floor window when the second and third shots were

[Illustration: DILLARD EXHIBIT C

Enlargement of photograph taken by Thomas C. Dillard on November 22,

[Illustration: DILLARD EXHIBIT D

Photograph taken by Thomas C. Dillard on November 22, 1963.]

James N. Crawford and Mary Ann Mitchell, two deputy district clerks for
Dallas County, watched the motorcade at the southeast corner of Elm and
Houston. After the President’s car turned the corner, Crawford heard
a loud report which he thought was backfire coming from the direction
of the Triple Underpass.[C3-34] He heard a second shot seconds later,
followed quickly by a third. At the third shot, he looked up and saw a
“movement” in the far east corner of the sixth floor of the Depository,
the only open window on that floor.[C3-35] He told Miss Mitchell “that
if those were shots they came from that window.” When asked to describe
the movement more exactly, he said,

    * * * I would say that it was a profile, somewhat from
    the waist up, but it was a very quick movement and rather
    indistinct and it was very light colored. * * *

       *       *       *       *       *

    When I saw it, I automatically in my mind came to the
    conclusion that it was a person having moved out of the window.
    * * *[C3-36]

He could not state whether the person was a man or a woman.[C3-37] Miss
Mitchell confirmed that after the third shot Crawford told her, “Those
shots came from that building.”[C3-38] She saw Crawford pointing at a
window but was not sure at which window he was pointing.[C3-39]

On the Fifth Floor

Three Depository employees shown in the picture taken by Dillard were
on the fifth floor of the building when the shots were fired: James
Jarman, Jr., age 34, a wrapper in the shipping department; Bonnie Ray
Williams, age 20, a warehouseman temporarily assigned to laying a
plywood floor on the sixth floor; and Harold Norman, age 26, an “order
filler.” Norman and Jarman decided to watch the parade during the lunch
hour from the fifth-floor windows.[C3-40] From the ground floor they
took the west elevator, which operates with push-button controls, to
the fifth floor.[C3-41] Meanwhile, Williams had gone up to the sixth
floor where he had been working and ate his lunch on the south side of
that floor. Since he saw no one around when he finished his lunch, he
started down on the east elevator, looking for company. He left behind
his paper lunch sack, chicken bones and an empty pop bottle.[C3-42]
Williams went down to the fifth floor, where he joined Norman and
Jarman at approximately 12:20 pm.[C3-43]

Harold Norman was in the fifth-floor window in the southeast corner,
directly under the window where witnesses saw the rifle. (See
Commission Exhibit No. 485, p. 69.) He could see light through the
ceiling cracks between the fifth and sixth floors.[C3-44] As the
motorcade went by, Norman thought that the President was saluting with
his right arm,

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 485 Positions occupied by
Depository employees on fifth floor on November 22, 1963.]

    * * * and I can’t remember what the exact time was but I know I
    heard a shot, and then after I heard the shot, well, it seems
    as though the President, you know, slumped or something, and
    then another shot and I believe Jarman or someone told me,
    he said, “I believe someone is shooting at the President,”
    and I think I made a statement “It is someone shooting at the
    President, and I believe it came from up above us.”

    Well, I couldn’t see at all during the time but I know I heard
    a third shot fired, and I could also hear something sounded
    like the shell hulls hitting the floor and the ejecting of the
    rifle * * *.[C3-45]

Williams said that he “really did not pay any attention” to the first

    * * * because I did not know what was happening. The second
    shot, it sounded like it was right in the building, the second
    and third shot. And it sounded--it even shook the building, the
    side we were on. Cement fell on my head.

    Q. You say cement fell on your head?

    A. Cement, gravel, dirt, or something, from the old building,
    because it shook the windows and everything. Harold was sitting
    next to me, and he said it came right from over our head.[C3-46]

Williams testified Norman said “I can even hear the shell being ejected
from the gun hitting the floor.”[C3-47]

When Jarman heard the first sound, he thought that it was either a

    * * * or an officer giving a salute to the President. And then
    at that time I didn’t, you know, think too much about it. * * *

       *       *       *       *       *

    Well, after the third shot was fired, I think I got up and
    I run over to Harold Norman and Bonnie Ray Williams, and
    told them, I said, I told them that it wasn’t a backfire or
    anything, that somebody was shooting at the President.[C3-48]

Jarman testified that Norman said “that he thought the shots had come
from above us, and I noticed that Bonnie Ray had a few debris in his
head. It was sort of white stuff, or something.”[C3-49] Jarman stated
that Norman said “that he was sure that the shot came from inside the
building because he had been used to guns and all that, and he said
it didn’t sound like it was too far off anyway.”[C3-50] The three men
ran to the west side of the building, where they could look toward the
Triple Underpass to see what had happened to the motorcade.[C3-51]

After the men had gone to the window on the west side of the building,
Jarman “got to thinking about all the debris on Bonnie Ray’s head” and
said, “That shot probably did come from upstairs, up over us.”[C3-52]
He testified that Norman said, “I know it did, because I could hear
the action of the bolt, and I could hear the cartridges drop on the
floor.”[C3-53] After pausing for a few minutes, the three men ran
downstairs. Norman and Jarman ran out of the front entrance of the
building, where they saw Brennan, the construction worker who had seen
the man in the window firing the gun, talking to a police officer, and
they then reported their own experience.[C3-54]

On March 20, 1964, preceding their appearance before the Commission,
these witnesses were interviewed in Dallas. At that time members of the
Commission’s legal staff conducted an experiment. Norman, Williams,
and Jarman placed themselves at the windows of the fifth floor as they
had been on November 22. A Secret Service agent operated the bolt of
a rifle directly above them at the southeast corner window of the
sixth floor. At the same time, three cartridge shells were dropped to
the floor at intervals of about 3 seconds. According to Norman, the
noise outside was less on the day of the assassination than on the day
of the test.[C3-55] He testified, “Well, I heard the same sound, the
sound similar. I heard three something that he dropped on the floor and
then I could hear the rifle or whatever he had up there.”[C3-56] The
experiment with the shells and rifle was repeated for members of the
Commission on May 9, 1964, on June 7, 1964, and again on September 6,
1964. All seven of the Commissioners clearly heard the shells drop to
the floor.

At the Triple Underpass

In contrast to the testimony of the witnesses who heard and observed
shots fired from the Depository, the Commission’s investigation has
disclosed no credible evidence that any shots were fired from anywhere
else. When the shots were fired, many people near the Depository
believed that the shots came from the railroad bridge over the Triple
Underpass or from the area to the west of the Depository.[C3-57] In
the hectic moments after the assassination, many spectators ran in
the general direction of the Triple Underpass or the railroad yards
northwest of the building. Some were running toward the place from
which the sound of the rifle fire appeared to come, others were fleeing
the scene of the shooting.[C3-58] None of these people saw anyone with
a rifle, and the Commission’s inquiry has yielded no evidence that
shots were fired from the bridge over the Triple Underpass or from the
railroad yards.

On the day of the motorcade, Patrolman J. W. Foster stood on the east
side of the railroad bridge over the Triple Underpass and Patrolman
J. C. White stood on the west side.[C3-59] Patrolman Joe E. Murphy
was standing over Elm Street on the Stemmons Freeway overpass, west
of the railroad bridge farther away from the Depository.[C3-60] Two
other officers were stationed on Stemmons Freeway to control traffic
as the motorcade entered the Freeway.[C3-61] Under the advance
preparations worked out between the Secret Service and the Dallas
Police Department, the policemen were under instructions to keep
“unauthorized” people away from these locations.[C3-62] When the
motorcade reached the intersection of Elm and Houston Streets, there
were no spectators on Stemmons Freeway where Patrolman Murphy was
stationed.[C3-63] Patrolman Foster estimated that there were 10 or 11
people on the railroad bridge where he was assigned;[C3-64] another
witness testified that there were between 14 and 18 people there as the
motorcade came into view.[C3-65] Investigation has disclosed 15 persons
who were on the railroad bridge at this time, including 2 policemen,
2 employees of the Texas-Louisiana Freight Bureau and 11 employees of
the Union Terminal Co.[C3-66] In the absence of any explicit definition
of “unauthorized” persons, the policemen permitted these employees to
remain on the railroad bridge to watch the motorcade. (See chapter
VIII, pp. 446-447.) At the request of the policemen, S.M. Holland,
signal supervisor for Union Terminal Co., came to the railroad bridge
at about 11:45 a.m. and remained to identify those persons who were
railroad employees.[C3-67] In addition, Patrolman Foster checked
credentials to determine if persons seeking access to the bridge were
railroad employees.[C3-68] Persons who were not railroad employees were
ordered away, including one news photographer who wished only to take a
picture of the motorcade.[C3-69]

Another employee of the Union Terminal Co., Lee E. Bowers, Jr., was at
work in a railroad tower about 14 feet above the tracks to the north
of the railroad bridge and northwest of the corner of Elm and Houston,
approximately 50 yards from the back of the Depository.[C3-70] (See
Commission Exhibit No. 2218, p. 73.) From the tower he could view
people moving in the railroad yards and at the rear of the Depository.
According to Bowers, “Since approximately 10 o’clock in the morning
traffic had been cut off into the area so that anyone moving around
could actually be observed.”[C3-71] During the 20 minutes prior to
the arrival of the motorcade, Bowers noticed three automobiles which
entered his immediate area; two left without discharging any passengers
and the third was apparently on its way out when last observed by
Bowers.[C3-72] Bowers observed only three or four people in the general
area, as well as a few bystanders on the railroad bridge over the
Triple Underpass.[C3-73]

As the motorcade proceeded toward the Triple Underpass, the spectators
were clustered together along the east concrete wall of the railroad
bridge facing the oncoming procession.[C3-74] (See Commission Exhibit
No. 2215, p. 75.) Patrolman Foster stood immediately behind them and
could observe all of them.[C3-75] Secret Service agents in the lead car
of the motorcade observed the bystanders and the police officer on the
bridge.[C3-76] Special Agent Winston G. Lawson motioned through the
windshield in an unsuccessful attempt to instruct Patrolman Foster to
move the people away from their position directly over the path of the
motorcade.[C3-77] Some distance away, on the Stemmons Freeway overpass
above Elm Street, Patrolman Murphy also had the group on the railroad
bridge within view.[C3-78] When he heard the shots, Foster rushed to
the wall of the railroad bridge over the Triple Underpass and looked
toward the street.[C3-79] After the third shot, Foster ran toward the
Depository and shortly thereafter informed Inspector Herbert J. Sawyer
of the Dallas Police Department that he thought the shots came from the
vicinity of Elm and Houston.[C3-80]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2118


[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2214


[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2215



Other witnesses on the railroad bridge had varying views concerning
the source and number of the shots. Austin L. Miller, employed by the
Texas-Louisiana Freight Bureau, heard three shots and thought that they
came from the area of the Presidential limousine itself.[C3-81] One of
his coworkers, Royce G. Skelton, thought he heard four shots, but could
not tell their exact source.[C3-82] Frank E. Reilly, an electrician
at Union Terminal, heard three shots which seemed to come from the
trees “On the north side of Elm Street at the corner up there.”[C3-83]
According to S.M. Holland, there were four shots which sounded as
though they came from the trees on the north side of Elm Street where
he saw a puff of smoke.[C3-84] Thomas J. Murphy, a mail foreman at
Union Terminal Co., heard two shots and said that they came from a
spot just west of the Depository.[C3-85] In the railroad tower, Bowers
heard three shots, which sounded as though they came either from the
Depository Building or near the mouth of the Triple Underpass. Prior
to November 22, 1963, Bowers had noted the similarity of the sounds
coming from the vicinity of the Depository and those from the Triple
Underpass, which he attributed to “a reverberation which takes place
from either location.”[C3-86]

Immediately after the shots were fired, neither the policemen nor
the spectators on the railroad bridge over the Triple Underpass saw
anything suspicious on the bridge in their vicinity. (See Commission
Exhibit No. 2214, p. 74.) No one saw anyone with a rifle. As he ran
around through the railroad yards to the Depository, Patrolman Foster
saw no suspicious activity.[C3-87] The same was true of the other
bystanders, many of whom made an effort after the shooting to observe
any unusual activity. Holland, for example, immediately after the
shots, ran off the overpass to see if there was anyone behind the
picket fence on the north side of Elm Street, but he did not see anyone
among the parked cars.[C3-88] Miller did not see anyone running across
the railroad tracks or on the plaza west of the Depository.[C3-89]
Bowers and others saw a motorcycle officer dismount hurriedly and
come running up the incline on the north side of Elm Street.[C3-90]
The motorcycle officer, Clyde A. Haygood, saw no one running from the
railroad yards.[C3-91]


After the Presidential car was returned to Washington on November 22,
1963, Secret Service agents found two bullet fragments in the front
seat. One fragment, found on the seat beside the driver, weighed 44.6
grains and consisted of the nose portion of a bullet.[C3-92] The
other fragment, found along the right side of the front seat, weighed
21.0 grains and consisted of the base portion of a bullet.[C3-93]
During the course of an examination on November 23, agents of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation found three small lead particles,
weighing between seven-tenths and nine-tenths of a grain each, on the
rug underneath the left jump seat which had been occupied by Mrs.
Connally.[C3-94] During this examination, the Bureau agents noted a
small residue of lead on the inside surface of the laminated windshield
and a very small pattern of cracks on the outer layer of the windshield
immediately behind the lead residue.[C3-95] There was a minute particle
of glass missing from the outside surface, but no penetration. The
inside layer of glass was not broken.[C3-96] The agents also observed a
dent in the strip of chrome across the top of the windshield, located
to the left of the rear view mirror support.[C3-97]

The lead residue on the inside of the windshield was compared under
spectrographic analysis by FBI experts with the bullet fragments
found on and alongside the front seat and with the fragments under
the left jump seat. It was also compared with bullet fragments found
at Parkland Hospital. All these bullet fragments were found to be
similar in metallic composition, but it was not possible to determine
whether two or more of the fragments came from the same bullet.[C3-98]
It is possible for the fragments from the front seat to have been a
part of the same bullet as the three fragments found near the left
jump seat,[C3-99] since a whole bullet of this type weighs 160-161
grains.[C3-100] (See app. X, pp. 555-558.)

The physical characteristics of the windshield after the assassination
demonstrate that the windshield was struck on the inside surface. The
windshield is composed of two layers of glass with a very thin layer
of plastic in the middle “which bonds them together in the form of
safety glass.”[C3-101] The windshield was extracted from the automobile
and was examined during a Commission hearing.[C3-102] (See Commission
Exhibit No. 350, p. 78.) According to Robert A. Frazier, FBI firearms
expert, the fact that cracks were present on the outer layer of glass
showed that the glass had been struck from the inside. He testified
that the windshield

    could not have been struck on the outside surface because of
    the manner in which the glass broke and further because of the
    lead residue on the inside surface. The cracks appear in the
    outer layer of the glass because the glass is bent outward at
    the time of impact which stretches the outer layer of the glass
    to the point where these small radial or wagon spoke, wagon
    wheel spoke-type cracks appear on the outer surface.[C3-103]

Although there is some uncertainty whether the dent in the chrome on
the windshield was present prior to the assassination,[C3-104] Frazier
testified that the dent “had been caused by some projectile which
struck the chrome on the inside surface.”[C3-105] If it was caused
by a shot during the assassination, Frazier stated that it would not
have been caused by a bullet traveling at full velocity, but rather
by a fragment traveling at “fairly high velocity.”[C3-106] It could
have been caused by either fragment found in the front seat of the

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 350

Windshield of Presidential limousine.]


On the sixth floor of the Depository Building, the Dallas police
found three spent cartridges and a rifle. A nearly whole bullet was
discovered on the stretcher used to carry Governor Connally at Parkland
Hospital. As described in the preceding section, five bullet fragments
were found in the President’s limousine. The cartridge cases, the
nearly whole bullet and the bullet fragments were all subjected to
firearms identification analysis by qualified experts. It was the
unanimous opinion of the experts that the nearly whole bullet, the two
largest bullet fragments and the three cartridge cases were definitely
fired in the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depository Building
to the exclusion of all other weapons.

Discovery of Cartridge Cases and Rifle

Shortly after the assassination, police officers arrived at the
Depository Building and began a search for the assassin and
evidence.[C3-108] Around 1 p.m. Deputy Sheriff Luke Mooney noticed a
pile of cartons in front of the window in the southeast corner of the
sixth floor.[C3-109] (See Commission Exhibit No. 723, p. 80.) Searching
that area he found at approximately 1:12 p.m. three empty cartridge
cases on the floor near the window.[C3-110] When he was notified of
Mooney’s discovery, Capt. J. W. Fritz, chief of the homicide bureau of
the Dallas Police Department, issued instructions that nothing be moved
or touched until technicians from the police crime laboratory could
take photographs and check for fingerprints.[C3-111] Mooney stood guard
to see that nothing was disturbed.[C3-112] A few minutes later, Lt.
J. C. Day of the Dallas Police Department arrived and took photographs
of the cartridge cases before anything had been moved.[C3-113]

At 1:22 p.m. Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone and Deputy Constable Seymour
Weitzman found a bolt-action rifle with a telescopic sight between two
rows of boxes in the northwest corner near the staircase on the sixth
floor.[C3-114] No one touched the weapon or otherwise disturbed the
scene until Captain Fritz and Lieutenant Day arrived and the weapon
was photographed as it lay on the floor.[C3-115] After Lieutenant Day
determined that there were no fingerprints on the knob of the bolt and
that the wooden stock was too rough to take fingerprints, he picked the
rifle up by the stock and held it that way while Captain Fritz opened
the bolt and ejected a live round.[C3-116] Lieutenant Day retained
possession of the weapon and took it back to the police department
for examination.[C3-117] Neither Boone nor Weitzman handled the

Discovery of Bullet at Parkland Hospital

A nearly whole bullet was found on Governor Connally’s stretcher
at Parkland Hospital after the assassination. After his arrival at
the hospital the Governor was brought into trauma room No. 2 on a
stretcher, removed from the room on that stretcher a short time later,
and taken on an elevator to the second-floor operating room.[C3-119] On
the second floor he was transferred from the stretcher to an operating
table which was then moved into the operating room, and a hospital
attendant wheeled the empty stretcher into an elevator.[C3-120] Shortly
afterward, Darrell C. Tomlinson, the hospital’s senior engineer,
removed this stretcher from the elevator and placed it in the corridor
on the ground floor, alongside another stretcher wholly unconnected
with the care of Governor Connally.[C3-121] A few minutes later, he
bumped one of the stretchers against the wall and a bullet rolled

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 723

Shield of cartons around sixth floor southeast corner window.]

Although Tomlinson was not certain whether the bullet came from the
Connally stretcher or the adjacent one, the Commission has concluded
that the bullet came from the Governor’s stretcher. That conclusion is
buttressed by evidence which eliminated President Kennedy’s stretcher
as a source of the bullet. President Kennedy remained on the stretcher
on which he was carried into the hospital while the doctors tried to
save his life.[C3-123] He was never removed from the stretcher from the
time he was taken into the emergency room until his body was placed
in a casket in that same room.[C3-124] After the President’s body
was removed from that stretcher, the linen was taken off and placed
in a hamper and the stretcher was pushed into trauma room No. 2, a
completely different location from the site where the nearly whole
bullet was found.[C3-125]

Description of Rifle

The bolt-action, clip-fed rifle found on the sixth floor of the
Depository, described more fully in appendix X, is inscribed with
various markings, including “MADE ITALY,” “CAL. 6.5,” “1940” and the
number C2766.[C3-126] (See Commission Exhibit Nos. 1303, 541(2) and
541(3), pp. 82-83.) These markings have been explained as follows:
“MADE ITALY” refers to its origin; “CAL. 6.5” refers to the rifle’s
caliber; “1940” refers to the year of manufacture; and the number
C2766 is the serial number. This rifle is the only one of its type
bearing that serial number.[C3-127] After review of standard reference
works and the markings on the rifle, it was identified by the FBI as a
6.5-millimeter model 91/38 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.[C3-128] Experts
from the FBI made an independent determination of the caliber by
inserting a Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5-millimeter cartridge into the weapon
for fit, and by making a sulfur cast of the inside of the weapon’s
barrel and measuring the cast with a micrometer.[C3-129] From outward
appearance, the weapon would appear to be a 7.35-millimeter rifle, but
its mechanism had been rebarreled with a 6.5-millimeter barrel.[C3-130]
Constable Deputy Sheriff Weitzman, who only saw the rifle at a glance
and did not handle it, thought the weapon looked like a 7.65 Mauser
bolt-action rifle.[C3-131] (See chapter V, p. 235.)

The rifle is 40.2 inches long and weighs 8 pounds.[C3-132] The
minimum length broken down is 34.8 inches, the length of the wooden
stock.[C3-133] (See Commission Exhibit No. 1304, p. 132.) Attached
to the weapon is an inexpensive four-power telescopic sight,
stamped “Optics Ordnance Inc./Hollywood California,” and “Made in
Japan.”[C3-134] The weapon also bears a sling consisting of two leather
straps. The sling is not a standard rifle sling but appears to be a
musical instrument strap or a sling from a carrying case or camera

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 1303]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBITS NOS. 541(2) AND 541(3)

Photograph of markings on C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.]

Expert Testimony

Four experts in the field of firearms identification analyzed the
nearly whole bullet, the two largest fragments and the three cartridge
cases to determine whether they had been fired from the C2766
Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depository.
Two of these experts testified before the Commission. One was Robert A.
Frazier, a special agent of the FBI assigned to the FBI Laboratory in
Washington, D.C. Frazier has worked generally in the field of firearms
identification for 23 years, examining firearms of various types for
the purpose of identifying the caliber and other characteristics of the
weapons and making comparisons of bullets and cartridge cases for the
purpose of determining whether or not they were fired in a particular
weapon.[C3-136] He estimated that he has made “in the neighborhood of
50,000 to 60,000” firearms comparisons and has testified in court on
about 400 occasions.[C3-137] The second witness who testified on this
subject was Joseph D. Nicol, superintendent of the bureau of criminal
identification and investigation for the State of Illinois. Nicol
also has had long and substantial experience since 1941 in firearms
identification, and estimated that he has made thousands of bullet and
cartridge case examinations.[C3-138]

In examining the bullet fragments and cartridge cases, these experts
applied the general principles accepted in the field of firearms
identification, which are discussed in more detail in appendix X at
pages 547-553. In brief, a determination that a particular bullet or
cartridge case has been fired in a particular weapon is based upon a
comparison of the bullet or case under examination with one or more
bullets or cases known to have been fired in that weapon. When a bullet
is fired in any given weapon, it is engraved with the characteristics
of the weapon. In addition to the rifling characteristics of the
barrel which are common to all weapons of a given make and model,
every weapon bears distinctive microscopic markings on its barrel,
firing pin and bolt face.[C3-139] These markings arise initially
during manufacture, since the action of the manufacturing tools
differs microscopically from weapon to weapon and since, in addition,
the tools change microscopically while being used. As a weapon is
used further distinctive markings are introduced. Under microscopic
examination a qualified expert may be able to determine whether the
markings on a bullet known to have been fired in a particular weapon
and the markings on a suspect bullet are the same and, therefore,
whether both bullets were fired in the same weapon to the exclusion
of all other weapons. Similarly, firearms identification experts are
able to compare the markings left upon the base of cartridge cases and
thereby determine whether both cartridges were fired by the same weapon
to the exclusion of all other weapons. According to Frazier, such
an identification “is made on the presence of sufficient individual
microscopic characteristics so that a very definite pattern is formed
and visualized on the two surfaces.”[C3-140] Under some circumstances,
as where the bullet or cartridge case is seriously mutilated, there are
not sufficient individual characteristics to enable the expert to make
a firm identification.[C3-141]

After making independent examinations, both Frazier and Nicol
positively identified the nearly whole bullet from the stretcher and
the two larger bullet fragments found in the Presidential limousine as
having been fired in the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found in the
Depository to the exclusion of all other weapons.[C3-142] Each of the
two bullet fragments had sufficient unmutilated area to provide the
basis for an identification.[C3-143] However, it was not possible to
determine whether the two bullet fragments were from the same bullet
or from two different bullets.[C3-144] With regard to the other bullet
fragments discovered in the limousine and in the course of treating
President Kennedy and Governor Connally, however, expert examination
could demonstrate only that the fragments were “similar in metallic
composition” to each other, to the two larger fragments and to the
nearly whole bullet.[C3-145] After examination of the three cartridge
cases found on the sixth floor of the Depository, Frazier and Nicol
concluded that they had been fired in the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano
rifle to the exclusion of all other weapons.[C3-146] Two other experts
from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who made independent
examinations of the nearly whole bullet, bullet fragments and cartridge
cases, reached the identical conclusions.[C3-147]


In considering the question of the source of the shots fired at
President Kennedy and Governor Connally, the Commission has also
evaluated the expert medical testimony of the doctors who observed
the wounds during the emergency treatment at Parkland Hospital and
during the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital. It paid particular
attention to any wound characteristics which would be of assistance
in identifying a wound as the entrance or exit point of a missile.
Additional information regarding the source and nature of the injuries
was obtained by expert examination of the clothes worn by the two men,
particularly those worn by President Kennedy, and from the results of
special wound ballistics tests conducted at the Commission’s request,
using the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle with ammunition of the same
type as that used and found on November 22, 1963.

The President’s Head Wounds

The detailed autopsy of President Kennedy performed on the night of
November 22 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital led the three examining
pathologists to conclude that the smaller hole in the rear of the
President’s skull was the point of entry and that the large opening on
the right side of his head was the wound of exit.[C3-148] The smaller
hole on the back of the President’s head measured one-fourth of an
inch by five-eighths of an inch (6 by 15 millimeters).[C3-149] The
dimensions of that wound were consistent with having been caused by
a 6.5-millimeter bullet fired from behind and above which struck at
a tangent or an angle causing a 15-millimeter cut. The cut reflected
a larger dimension of entry than the bullet’s diameter of 6.5
millimeters, since the missile, in effect, sliced along the skull for
a fractional distance until it entered.[C3-150] The dimension of 6
millimeters, somewhat smaller than the diameter of a 6.5-millimeter
bullet, was caused by the elastic recoil of the skull which shrinks the
size of an opening after a missile passes through it.[C3-151]

Lt. Col. Pierre A. Finck, Chief of the Wound Ballistics Pathology
Branch of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, who has
had extensive experience with bullet wounds, illustrated the
characteristics which led to his conclusions about the head wound by
a chart prepared by him. This chart, based on Colonel Finck’s studies
of more than 400 cases, depicted the effect of a perforating missile
wound on the human skull.[C3-152] When a bullet enters the skull
(cranial vault) at one point and exits at another, it causes a beveling
or cratering effect where the diameter of the hole is smaller on the
impact side than on the exit side. Based on his observations of that
beveling effect on the President’s skull, Colonel Finck testified:
“President Kennedy was, in my opinion, shot from the rear. The bullet
entered in the back of the head and went out on the right side of his
skull * * * he was shot from above and behind.”[C3-153]

Comdr. James J. Humes, senior pathologist and director of laboratories
at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, who acted as chief autopsy surgeon,
concurred in Colonel Finck’s analysis. He compared the beveling or
coning effect to that caused by a BB shot which strikes a pane of
glass, causing a round or oval defect on the side of the glass where
the missile strikes and a belled-out or coned-out surface on the
opposite side of the glass.[C3-154] Referring to the bullet hole on the
back of President Kennedy’s head, Commander Humes testified: “The wound
on the inner table, however, was larger and had what in the field of
wound ballistics is described as a shelving or coning effect.”[C3-155]
After studying the other hole in the President’s skull, Commander Humes
stated: “* * * we concluded that the large defect to the upper right
side of the skull, in fact, would represent a wound of exit.”[C3-156]
Those characteristics led Commander Humes and Comdr. J. Thornton
Boswell, chief of pathology at Bethesda Naval Hospital, who assisted
in the autopsy, to conclude that the bullet penetrated the rear of the
President’s head and exited through a large wound on the right side of
his head.[C3-157]

Ballistics experiments (discussed more fully in app. X, pp. 585-586)
showed that the rifle and bullets identified above were capable of
producing the President’s head wound. The Wound Ballistics Branch of
the U.S. Army laboratories at Edgewood Arsenal, Md., conducted an
extensive series of experiments to test the effect of Western Cartridge
Co. 6.5-millimeter bullets, the type found on Governor Connally’s
stretcher and in the Presidential limousine, fired from the C2766
Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found in the Depository. The Edgewood Arsenal
tests were performed under the immediate supervision of Alfred G.
Olivier, a doctor who had spent 7 years in wounds ballistics research
for the U.S. Army.[C3-158]

One series of tests, performed on reconstructed inert human skulls,
demonstrated that the President’s head wound could have been caused
by the rifle and bullets fired by the assassin from the sixth-floor
window. The results of this series were illustrated by the findings on
one skull which was struck at a point closely approximating the wound
of entry on President Kennedy’s head. That bullet blew out the right
side of the reconstructed skull in a manner very similar to the head
wound of the President.[C3-159] As a result of these tests, Dr. Olivier
concluded that a Western Cartridge Co. 6.5 bullet fired from the C2766
Mannlicher-Carcano rifle at a distance of 90 yards would make the same
type of wound as that found on the President’s head. Referring to the
series of tests, Dr. Olivier testified:

    It disclosed that the type of head wounds that the President
    received could be done by this type of bullet. This surprised
    me very much, because this type of stable bullet I didn’t
    think would cause a massive head wound, I thought it would go
    through making a small entrance and exit, but the bones of the
    skull are enough to deform the end of this bullet causing it to
    expend a lot of energy and blowing out the side of the skull or
    blowing out fragments of the skull.[C3-160]

After examining the fragments of the bullet which struck the
reconstructed skull, Dr. Olivier stated that--

    the recovered fragments were very similar to the ones recovered
    on the front seat and on the floor of the car.

    This, to me, indicates that those fragments did come from the
    bullet that wounded the President in the head.[C3-161]

The President’s Neck Wounds

During the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital another bullet wound
was observed near the base of the back of President Kennedy’s neck
slightly to the right of his spine which provides further enlightenment
as to the source of the shots. The hole was located approximately 5½
inches (14 centimeters) from the tip of the right shoulder joint and
approximately the same distance below the tip of the right mastoid
process, the bony point immediately behind the ear.[C3-162] The
wound was approximately one-fourth by one-seventh of an inch (7 by
4 millimeters), had clean edges, was sharply delineated, and had
margins similar in all respects to those of the entry wound in the
skull.[C3-163] Commanders Humes and Boswell agreed with Colonel Finck’s
testimony that this hole--

    * * * is a wound of entrance. * * * The basis for that
    conclusion is that this wound was relatively small with clean
    edges. It was not a jagged wound, and that is what we see in
    wound of entrance at a long range.[C3-164]

The autopsy examination further disclosed that, after entering the
President, the bullet passed between two large muscles, produced a
contusion on the upper part of the pleural cavity (without penetrating
that cavity), bruised the top portion of the right lung and ripped the
windpipe (trachea) in its path through the President’s neck.[C3-165]
The examining surgeons concluded that the wounds were caused by the
bullet rather than the tracheotomy performed at Parkland Hospital.
The nature of the bruises indicated that the President’s heart and
lungs were functioning when the bruises were caused, whereas there
was very little circulation in the President’s body when incisions
on the President’s chest were made to insert tubes during the
tracheotomy.[C3-166] No bone was struck by the bullet which passed
through the President’s body.[C3-167] By projecting from a point of
entry on the rear of the neck and proceeding at a slight downward angle
through the bruised interior portions, the doctors concluded that the
bullet exited from the front portion of the President’s neck that had
been cut away by the tracheotomy.[C3-168]

Concluding that a bullet passed through the President’s neck, the
doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital rejected a theory that the bullet
lodged in the large muscles in the back of his neck and fell out
through the point of entry when external heart massage was applied at
Parkland Hospital. In the earlier stages of the autopsy, the surgeons
were unable to find a path into any large muscle in the back of the
neck. At that time they did not know that there had been a bullet
hole in the front of the President’s neck when he arrived at Parkland
Hospital because the tracheotomy incision had completely eliminated
that evidence.[C3-169] While the autopsy was being performed, surgeons
learned that a whole bullet had been found at Parkland Hospital on
a stretcher which, at that time, was thought to be the stretcher
occupied by the President. This led to speculation that the bullet
might have penetrated a short distance into the back of the neck and
then dropped out onto the stretcher as a result of the external heart

Further exploration during the autopsy disproved that theory. The
surgeons determined that the bullet had passed between two large strap
muscles and bruised them without leaving any channel, since the bullet
merely passed between them.[C3-171] Commander Humes, who believed
that a tracheotomy had been performed from his observations at the
autopsy, talked by telephone with Dr. Perry early on the morning of
November 23, and learned that his assumption was correct and that Dr.
Perry had used the missile wound in the neck as the point to make the
incision.[C3-172] This confirmed the Bethesda surgeons’ conclusion that
the bullet had exited from the front part of the neck.

The findings of the doctors who conducted the autopsy were consistent
with the observations of the doctors who treated the President at
Parkland Hospital. Dr. Charles S. Carrico, a resident surgeon at
Parkland, noted a small wound approximately one-fourth of an inch in
diameter (5 to 8 millimeters) in the lower third of the neck below
the Adam’s apple.[C3-173] Dr. Malcolm O. Perry, who performed the
tracheotomy, described the wound as approximately one-fifth of an inch
in diameter (5 millimeters) and exuding blood which partially hid edges
that were “neither cleancut, that is, punched out, nor were they very
ragged.”[C3-174] Dr. Carrico testified as follows:

    Q. Based on your observations on the neck wound alone did you
    have a sufficient basis to form an opinion as to whether it was
    an entrance or an exit wound?

    A. No, sir; we did not. Not having completely evaluated all
    the wounds, traced out the course of the bullets, this wound
    would have been compatible with either entrance or exit wound
    depending upon the size, the velocity, the tissue structure and
    so forth.[C3-175]

The same response was made by Dr. Perry to a similar query:

    Q. Based on the appearance of the neck wound alone, could it
    have been either an entrance or an exit wound?

    A. It could have been either.[C3-176]

Then each doctor was asked to take into account the other known facts,
such as the autopsy findings, the approximate distance the bullet
traveled and tested muzzle velocity of the assassination weapon. With
these additional factors, the doctors commented on the wound on the
front of the President’s neck as follows:

    Dr. CARRICO. With those facts and the fact as I understand it
    no other bullet was found this would be, this was, I believe,
    was an exit wound.[C3-177]

    Dr. PERRY. A full jacketed bullet without deformation passing
    through skin would leave a similar wound for an exit and
    entrance wound and with the facts which you have made available
    and with these assumptions, I believe that it was an exit

Other doctors at Parkland Hospital who observed the wound prior to
the tracheotomy agreed with the observations of Drs. Perry and
Carrico.[C3-179] The bullet wound in the neck could be seen for only
a short time, since Dr. Perry eliminated evidence of it when he
performed the tracheotomy. He selected that spot since it was the point
where such an operation was customarily performed, and it was one
of the safest and easiest spots from which to reach the trachea. In
addition, there was possibly an underlying wound to the muscles in the
neck, the carotid artery or the jugular vein, and Dr. Perry concluded
that the incision, therefore, had to be low in order to maintain

Considerable confusion has arisen because of comments attributed to
Dr. Perry concerning the nature of the neck wound. Immediately after
the assassination, many people reached erroneous conclusions about the
source of the shots because of Dr. Perry’s observations to the press.
On the afternoon of November 22, a press conference was organized
at Parkland Hospital by members of the White House press staff and
a hospital administrator. Newsmen with microphones and cameras were
crowded into a room to hear statements by Drs. Perry and William
Kemp Clark, chief neurosurgeon at Parkland, who had attended to
President Kennedy’s head injury. Dr. Perry described the situation as
“bedlam.”[C3-181] The confusion was compounded by the fact that some
questions were only partially answered before other questions were

At the news conference, Dr. Perry answered a series of hypothetical
questions and stated to the press that a variety of possibilities
could account for the President’s wounds. He stated that a single
bullet could have caused the President’s wounds by entering through
the throat, striking the spine, and being deflected upward with the
point of exit being through the head.[C3-183] This would have accounted
for the two wounds he observed, the hole in the front of the neck and
the large opening in the skull. At that time, Dr. Perry did not know
about either the wound on the back of the President’s neck or the small
bullet-hole wound in the back of the head. As described in chapter
II, the President was lying on his back during his entire time at
Parkland. The small hole in the head was also hidden from view by the
large quantity of blood which covered the President’s head. Dr. Perry
said his answers at the press conference were intended to convey his
theory about what could have happened, based on his limited knowledge
at the time, rather than his professional opinion about what did
happen.[C3-184] Commenting on his answers at the press conference, Dr.
Perry testified before the Commission:

    I expressed it [his answers] as a matter of speculation that
    this was conceivable. But, again, Dr. Clark [who also answered
    questions at the conference] and I emphasized that we had no
    way of knowing.[C3-185]

Dr. Perry’s recollection of his comments is corroborated by some of the
news stories after the press conference. The New York Herald Tribune on
November 23, 1963, reported as follows:

     Dr. Malcolm Perry, 34, attendant surgeon at Parkland Hospital
    who attended the President, said he saw two wounds--one below
    the Adam’s apple, the other at the back of the head. He said he
    did not know if two bullets were involved. It is possible, he
    said, that the neck wound was the entrance and the other the
    exit of the missile.[C3-186]

According to this report, Dr. Perry stated merely that it was
“possible” that the neck wound was a wound of entrance. This conforms
with his testimony before the Commission, where he stated that by
themselves the characteristics of the neck wound were consistent with
being either a point of entry or exit.

_Wound ballistics tests._--Experiments performed by the Army Wound
Ballistics experts at Edgewood Arsenal, Md. (discussed in app. X, p.
582) showed that under simulated conditions entry and exit wounds are
very similar in appearance. After reviewing the path of the bullet
through the President’s neck, as disclosed in the autopsy report,
the experts simulated the neck by using comparable material with a
thickness of approximately 5½ inches (13½ to 14½ centimeters), which
was the distance traversed by the bullet. Animal skin was placed on
each side, and Western Cartridge Co. 6.5 bullets were fired from the
C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle from a distance of 180 feet. The animal
skin on the entry side showed holes which were regular and round.
On the exit side two holes were only slightly elongated, indicating
that the bullet had become only a little unstable at the point of
exit.[C3-187] A third exit hole was round, although not quite as
regular as the entry holes.[C3-188] The exit holes, especially the
one most nearly round, appeared similar to the descriptions given by
Drs. Perry and Carrico of the hole in the front of the President’s

The autopsy disclosed that the bullet which entered the back of the
President’s neck hit no bony structure and proceeded in a slightly
downward angle. The markings on the President’s clothing indicate
that the bullet moved in a slight right to left lateral direction as
it passed through the President’s body.[C3-190] After the examining
doctors expressed the thought that a bullet would have lost very
little velocity in passing through the soft tissue of the neck, wound
ballistics experts conducted tests to measure the exit velocity of
the bullet.[C3-191] The tests were the same as those used to create
entry and exit holes, supplemented by the use of break-type screens
which measured the velocity of bullets. The entrance velocity of the
bullet fired from the rifle averaged 1,904 feet per second after it
traveled 180 feet. The exit velocity averaged 1,772 to 1,798 feet per
second, depending upon the substance through which the bullet passed.
A photograph of the path of the bullet traveling through the simulated
neck showed that it proceeded in a straight line and was stable.[C3-192]

_Examination of clothing._--The clothing worn by President Kennedy on
November 22 had holes and tears which showed that a missile entered
the back of his clothing in the vicinity of his lower neck and exited
through the front of his shirt immediately behind his tie, nicking the
knot of his tie in its forward flight.[C3-193] Although the caliber
of the bullet could not be determined and some of the clothing items
precluded a positive determination that some tears were made by a
bullet, all the defects could have been caused by a 6.5-millimeter
bullet entering the back of the President’s lower neck and exiting in
the area of the knot of his tie.[C3-194]

An examination of the suit jacket worn by the President by FBI Agent
Frazier revealed a roughly circular hole approximately one-fourth of
an inch in diameter on the rear of the coat, 5⅜ inches below the top
of the collar and 1¾ inches to the right of the center back seam of
the coat.[C3-195] The hole was visible on the upper rear of the coat
slightly to the right of center. Traces of copper were found in the
margins of the hole and the cloth fibers around the margins were pushed
inward.[C3-196] Those characteristics established that the hole was
caused by an entering bullet.[C3-197] Although the precise size of the
bullet could not be determined from the hole, it was consistent with
having been made by a 6.5-millimeter bullet.[C3-198]

The shirt worn by the President contained a hole on the back side 5¾
inches below the top of the collar and 1⅛ inches to the right of the
middle of the back of the shirt.[C3-199] The hole on the rear of the
shirt was approximately circular in shape and about one-fourth of an
inch in diameter, with the fibers pressed inward.[C3-200] These factors
established it as a bullet entrance hole.[C3-201] The relative position
of the hole in the back of the suit jacket to the hole in the back
of the shirt indicated that both were caused by the same penetrating

On the front of the shirt, examination revealed a hole seven-eighths
of an inch below the collar button and a similar opening seven-eighths
of an inch below the buttonhole. These two holes fell into alinement
on overlapping positions when the shirt was buttoned.[C3-203] Each
hole was a vertical, ragged slit approximately one-half of an inch
in height, with the cloth fibers protruding outward. Although the
characteristics of the slit established that the missile had exited
to the front, the irregular nature of the slit precluded a positive
determination that it was a bullet hole.[C3-204] However, the hole
could have been caused by a round bullet although the characteristics
were not sufficiently clear to enable the examining expert to render a
conclusive opinion.[C3-205]

When the President’s clothing was removed at Parkland Hospital, his tie
was cut off by severing the loop immediately to the wearer’s left of
the knot, leaving the knot in its original condition.[C3-206] The tie
had a nick on the left side of the knot.[C3-207] The nick was elongated
horizontally, indicating that the tear was made by some object moving
horizontally, but the fibers were not affected in a manner which would
shed light on the direction or the nature of the missile.[C3-208]

The Governor’s Wounds

While riding in the right jump seat of the Presidential limousine
on November 22, Governor Connally sustained wounds of the back,
chest, right wrist and left thigh. Because of the small size and
clean-cut edges of the wound on the Governor’s back, Dr. Robert Shaw
concluded that it was an entry wound.[C3-209] The bullet traversed
the Governor’s chest in a downward angle, shattering his fifth rib,
and exited below the right nipple.[C3-210] The ragged edges of the
2-inch (5 centimeters) opening on the front of the chest led Dr. Shaw
to conclude that it was the exit point of the bullet.[C3-211] When
Governor Connally testified before the Commission 5 months after
the assassination, on April 21, 1964, the Commission observed the
Governor’s chest wounds, as well as the injuries to his wrist and thigh
and watched Dr. Shaw measure with a caliper an angle of declination of
25° from the point of entry on the back to the point of exit on the
front of the Governor’s chest.[C3-212]

At the time of the shooting, Governor Connally was unaware that he had
sustained any injuries other than his chest wounds.[C3-213] On the back
of his arm, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) above the wrist joint on
the thumb side, Dr. Charles F. Gregory observed a linear perforating
wound approximately one-fifth of an inch (one-half centimeter) wide
and 1 inch (2½ centimeters) long.[C3-214] During his operation on this
injury, the doctor concluded that this ragged wound was the point of
entry because thread and cloth had been carried into the wound to the
region of the bone.[C3-215] Dr. Gregory’s conclusions were also based
upon the location in the Governor’s wrist, as revealed by X-ray, of
small fragments of metal shed by the missile upon striking the firm
surface of the bone.[C3-216] Evidence of different amounts of air in
the tissues of the wrist gave further indication that the bullet passed
from the back to the front of the wrist.[C3-217] An examination of the
palm surface of the wrist showed a wound approximately one-fifth of
an inch (one-half centimeter) long and approximately three-fourths of
an inch (2 centimeters) above the crease of the right wrist.[C3-218]
Dr. Shaw had initially believed that the missile entered on the palm
side of the Governor’s wrist and exited on the back side.[C3-219]
After reviewing the factors considered by Dr. Gregory, however, Dr.
Shaw withdrew his earlier opinion. He deferred to the judgment of Dr.
Gregory, who had more closely examined that wound during the wrist

In addition, Governor Connally suffered a puncture wound in the left
thigh that was approximately two-fifths of an inch (1 centimeter) in
diameter and located approximately 5 or 6 inches above the Governor’s
left knee.[C3-221] On the Governor’s leg, very little soft-tissue
damage was noted, which indicated a tangential wound or the penetration
of a larger missile entering at low velocity and stopping after
entering the skin.[C3-222] X-ray examination disclosed a tiny metallic
fragment embedded in the Governor’s leg.[C3-223] The surgeons who
attended the Governor concluded that the thigh wound was not caused
by the small fragment in the thigh but resulted from the impact of a
larger missile.[C3-224]

_Examination of clothing._--The clothing worn by Governor Connally
on November 22, 1963, contained holes which matched his wounds. On
the back of the Governor’s coat, a hole was found 1⅛ inches from
the seam where the right sleeve attached to the coat and 7¼ inches
to the right of the midline.[C3-225] This hole was elongated in a
horizontal direction approximately five-eighths of an inch in length
and one-fourth of an inch in height.[C3-226] The front side of the
Governor’s coat contained a circular hole three-eighths of an inch in
diameter, located 5 inches to the right of the front right edge of the
coat slightly above the top button.[C3-227] A rough hole approximately
five-eighths of an inch in length and three-eighths of an inch in width
was found near the end of the right sleeve.[C3-228] Each of these holes
could have been caused by a bullet, but a positive determination of
this fact or the direction of the missile was not possible because the
garment had been cleaned and pressed prior to any opportunity for a
scientific examination.[C3-229]

An examination of the Governor’s shirt disclosed a very ragged tear
five-eighths of an inch long horizontally and one-half of an inch
vertically on the back of the shirt near the right sleeve 2 inches
from the line where the sleeve attaches.[C3-230] Immediately to the
right was another small tear, approximately three-sixteenths of an inch
long.[C3-231] The two holes corresponded in position to the hole in
the back of the Governor’s coat.[C3-232] A very irregular tear in the
form of an “H” was observed on the front side of the Governor’s shirt,
approximately 1½ inches high, with a crossbar tear approximately 1 inch
wide, located 5 inches from the right side seam and 9 inches from the
top of the right sleeve.[C3-233] Because the shirt had been laundered,
there were insufficient characteristics for the expert examiner to form
a conclusive opinion on the direction or nature of the object causing
the holes.[C3-234] The rear hole could have been caused by the entrance
of a 6.5-millimeter bullet and the front hole by the exit of such a

On the French cuff of the right sleeve of the Governor’s shirt was
a ragged, irregularly shaped hole located 1½ inches from the end of
the sleeve and 5½ inches from the outside cuff-link hole.[C3-236] The
characteristics after laundering did not permit positive conclusions
but these holes could have been caused by a bullet passing through the
Governor’s right wrist from the back to the front sides.[C3-237] The
Governor’s trousers contained a hole approximately one-fourth of an
inch in diameter in the region of the left knee.[C3-238] The roughly
circular shape of the hole and the slight tearing away from the edges
gave the hole the general appearance of a bullet hole but it was not
possible to determine the direction of the missile which caused the

_Course of bullet._--Ballistics experiments and medical findings
established that the missile which passed through the Governor’s wrist
and penetrated his thigh had first traversed his chest. The Army Wound
Ballistics experts conducted tests which proved that the Governor’s
wrist wound was not caused by a pristine bullet. (See app. X, pp.
582-585.) A bullet is pristine immediately on exiting from a rifle
muzzle when it moves in a straight line with a spinning motion and
maintains its uniform trajectory with but a minimum of nose surface
striking the air through which it passes.[C3-240] When the straight
line of flight of a bullet is deflected by striking some object, it
starts to wobble or become irregular in flight, a condition called
yaw.[C3-241] A bullet with yaw has a greater surface exposed to the
striking material or air, since the target or air is struck not only
by the nose of the bullet, its smallest striking surface, but also by
the bullet’s sides.[C3-242]

The ballistics experts learned the exact nature of the Governor’s wrist
wound by examining Parkland Hospital records and X-rays and conferring
with Dr. Gregory. The C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found in the
Depository was fired with bullets of the same type as the bullet found
on the Governor’s stretcher and the fragments found in the Presidential
limousine. Shots were fired from a distance of 70 yards at comparable
flesh and bone protected by material similar to the clothing worn by
the Governor.[C3-243] One of the test shots wounded the comparable
flesh and bone structure in virtually the same place and from the same
angle as the wound inflicted on Governor Connally’s wrist. An X-ray and
photograph of the simulated wrist confirmed the similarity.[C3-244] The
bullet which inflicted that injury during the tests had a nose which
was substantially flattened from striking the material.[C3-245] The
striking velocity at 70 yards of seven shots fired during the tests
averaged 1,858 feet per second; the average exit velocity of five shots
was 1,776 feet per second.[C3-246]

The conclusion that the Governor’s wrist was not struck by a pristine
bullet was based upon the following: (1) greater damage was inflicted
on the test material than on the Governor’s wrist;[C3-247] (2) the
test material had a smaller entry wound and a larger exit wound,
characteristic of a pristine bullet, while the Governor’s wrist had
a larger entry wound as compared with its exit wound, indicating a
bullet which was tumbling;[C3-248] (3) cloth was carried into the
wrist wound, which is characteristic of an irregular missile;[C3-249]
(4) the partial cutting of a radial nerve and tendon leading to the
Governor’s thumb further suggested that the bullet which struck him was
not pristine, since such a bullet would merely push aside a tendon and
nerve rather than catch and tear them;[C3-250] (5) the bullet found
on the Governor’s stretcher probably did not pass through the wrist
as a pristine bullet because its nose was not considerably flattened,
as was the case with the pristine bullet which struck the simulated
wrist;[C3-251] and (6) the bullet which caused the Governor’s thigh
injury and then fell out of the wound had a “very low velocity,”
whereas the pristine bullets fired during the tests possessed a very
high exit velocity.[C3-252]

All the evidence indicated that the bullet found on the Governor’s
stretcher could have caused all his wounds. The weight of the whole
bullet prior to firing was approximately 160-161 grains and that of the
recovered bullet was 158.6 grains.[C3-253] An X-ray of the Governor’s
wrist showed very minute metallic fragments, and two or three of these
fragments were removed from his wrist.[C3-254] All these fragments were
sufficiently small and light so that the nearly whole bullet found on
the stretcher could have deposited those pieces of metal as it tumbled
through his wrist.[C3-255] In their testimony, the three doctors who
attended Governor Connally at Parkland Hospital expressed independently
their opinion that a single bullet had passed through his chest;
tumbled through his wrist with very little exit velocity, leaving small
metallic fragments from the rear portion of the bullet; punctured his
left thigh after the bullet had lost virtually all of its velocity; and
had fallen out of the thigh wound.[C3-256]

Governor Connally himself thought it likely that all his wounds were
caused by a single bullet. In his testimony before the Commission, he
repositioned himself as he recalled his position on the jump seat, with
his right palm on his left thigh, and said:

    I * * * wound up the next day realizing I was hit in three
    places, and I was not conscious of having been hit but by one
    bullet, so I tried to reconstruct how I could have been hit
    in three places by the same bullet, and I merely, I know it
    penetrated from the back through the chest first.

    I assumed that I had turned as I described a moment ago,
    placing my right hand on my left leg, that it hit my wrist,
    went out the center of the wrist, the underside, and then into
    my leg, but it might not have happened that way at all.[C3-257]

The Governor’s posture explained how a single missile through his
body would cause all his wounds. His doctors at Parkland Hospital had
recreated his position, also, but they placed his right arm somewhat
higher than his left thigh although in the same alinement.[C3-258] The
wound ballistics experts concurred in the opinion that a single bullet
caused all the Governor’s wounds.[C3-259]


The cumulative evidence of eyewitnesses, firearms and ballistic
experts and medical authorities demonstrated that the shots were
fired from above and behind President Kennedy and Governor Connally,
more particularly, from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book
Depository Building. In order to determine the facts with as much
precision as possible and to insure that all data were consistent
with the shots having been fired from the sixth floor window, the
Commission requested additional investigation, including the analysis
of motion picture films of the assassination and onsite tests. The
facts developed through this investigation by the FBI and Secret
Service confirmed the conclusions reached by the Commission regarding
the source and trajectory of the shots which hit the President and the
Governor. Moreover, these facts enabled the Commission to make certain
approximations regarding the locations of the Presidential limousine at
the time of the shots and the relevant time intervals.

Films and Tests

When the shots rang out the Presidential limousine was moving beyond
the Texas School Book Depository Building in a southwesterly direction
on Elm Street between Houston Street and the Triple Underpass.[C3-260]
The general location of the car was described and marked on maps by
eyewitnesses as precisely as their observations and recollections
permitted.[C3-261] More exact information was provided by motion
pictures taken by Abraham Zapruder, Orville O. Nix and Mary Muchmore,
who were spectators at the scene.[C3-262] Substantial light has been
shed on the assassination sequence by viewing these motion pictures,
particularly the Zapruder film, which was the most complete and from
which individual 35-millimeter slides were made of each motion picture

Examination of the Zapruder motion picture camera by the FBI
established that 18.3 pictures or frames were taken each second,
and therefore, the timing of certain events could be calculated by
allowing 1/18.3 seconds for the action depicted from one frame to the
next.[C3-264] The films and slides made from individual frames were
viewed by Governor and Mrs. Connally, the Governor’s doctors, the
autopsy surgeons, and the Army wound ballistics scientists in order
to apply the knowledge of each to determine the precise course of
events.[C3-265] Tests of the assassin’s rifle disclosed that at least
2.3 seconds were required between shots.[C3-266] In evaluating the
films in the light of these timing guides, it was kept in mind that
a victim of a bullet wound may not react immediately and, in some
situations, according to experts, the victim may not even know where he
has been hit, or when.[C3-267]

On May 24, 1964, agents of the FBI and Secret Service conducted a
series of tests to determine as precisely as possible what happened
on November 22, 1963. Since the Presidential limousine was being
remodeled and was therefore unavailable, it was simulated by using
the Secret Service followup car, which is similar in design.[C3-268]
Any differences were taken into account. Two Bureau agents with
approximately the same physical characteristics sat in the car in the
same relative positions as President Kennedy and Governor Connally had
occupied. The back of the stand-in for the President was marked with
chalk at the point where the bullet entered. The Governor’s model had
on the same coat worn by Governor Connally when he was shot, with the
hole in the back circled in chalk.[C3-269]

To simulate the conditions which existed at the assassination scene
on November 22, the lower part of the sixth-floor window at the
southeast corner of the Depository Building was raised halfway, the
cardboard boxes were repositioned, the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle
found on the sixth floor of the Depository was used, and mounted on
that rifle was a camera which recorded the view as was seen by the
assassin.[C3-270] In addition, the Zapruder, Nix, and Muchmore cameras
were on hand so that photographs taken by these cameras from the same
locations where they were used on November 22, 1963, could be compared
with the films of that date.[C3-271] The agents ascertained that the
foliage of an oak tree that came between the gunman and his target
along the motorcade route on Elm Street was approximately the same as
on the day of the assassination.[C3-272]

The First Bullet That Hit

The position of President Kennedy’s car when he was struck in the
neck was determined with substantial precision from the films and
onsite tests. The pictures or frames in the Zapruder film were marked
by the agents, with the number “1” given to the first frame where
the motorcycles leading the motorcade came into view on Houston
Street.[C3-273] The numbers continue in sequence as Zapruder filmed
the Presidential limousine as it came around the corner and proceeded
down Elm. The President was in clear view of the assassin as he rode up
Houston Street and for 100 feet as he proceeded down Elm Street, until
he came to a point denoted as frame 166 on the Zapruder film.[C3-274]
These facts were determined in the test by placing the car and men
on Elm Street in the exact spot where they were when each frame of
the Zapruder film was photographed. To pinpoint their locations, a
man stood at Zapruder’s position and directed the automobile and both
models to the positions shown on each frame, after which a Bureau
photographer crouched at the sixth-floor window and looked through a
camera whose lens recorded the view through the telescopic sight of the
C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.[C3-275] (See Commission Exhibit No.
887, p. 99.) Each position was measured to determine how far President
Kennedy had gone down Elm from a point, which was designated as station
C, on a line drawn along the west curbline of Houston Street.[C3-276]

Based on these calculations, the agents concluded that at frame 166 of
the Zapruder film the President passed beneath the foliage of the large
oak tree and the point of impact on the President’s back disappeared
from the gunman’s view as seen through the telescopic lens.[C3-277]
(See Commission Exhibit No. 889, p. 100.) For a fleeting instant, the
President came back into view in the telescopic lens at frame 186 as
he appeared in an opening among the leaves.[C3-278] (See Commission
Exhibit No. 891, p. 101.) The test revealed that the next point at
which the rifleman had a clear view through the telescopic sight of
the point where the bullet entered the President’s back was when the
car emerged from behind the tree at frame 210.[C3-279] (See Commission
Exhibit No. 893, p. 102.) According to FBI Agent Lyndal L. Shaneyfelt,
“There is no obstruction from the sixth floor window from the time
they leave the tree until they disappear down toward the triple

As the President rode along Elm Street for a distance of about 140
feet, he was waving to the crowd.[C3-281] Shaneyfelt testified that
the waving is seen on the Zapruder movie until around frame 205, when
a road sign blocked out most of the President’s body from Zapruder’s
view through the lens of his camera. However, the assassin continued to
have a clear view of the President as he proceeded down Elm.[C3-282]
When President Kennedy again came fully into view in the Zapruder film
at frame 225, he seemed to be reacting to his neck wound by raising
his hands to his throat.[C3-283] (See Commission Exhibit No. 895, p.
103.) According to Shaneyfelt the reaction was “clearly apparent in 226
and barely apparent in 225.”[C3-284] It is probable that the President
was not shot before frame 210, since it is unlikely that the assassin
would deliberately have shot at him with a view obstructed by the oak
tree when he was about to have a clear opportunity. It is also doubtful
that even the most proficient marksman would have hit him through the
oak tree. In addition, the President’s reaction is “barely apparent”
in frame 225, which is 15 frames or approximately eight-tenths second
after frame 210, and a shot much before 210 would assume a longer
reaction time than was recalled by eyewitnesses at the scene. Thus,
the evidence indicated that the President was not hit until at least
frame 210 and that he was probably hit by frame 225. The possibility
of variations in reaction time in addition to the obstruction of
Zapruder’s view by the sign precluded a more specific determination
than that the President was probably shot through the neck between
frames 210 and 225, which marked his position between 138.9 and 153.8
feet west of station C.[C3-285]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 887

Photograph taken during reenactment showing C2766 rifle with camera

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 889




FRAME 166]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 891




FRAME 186]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 893




FRAME 210]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 895




FRAME 225]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 697

Photograph of Presidential limousine taken during motorcade.]

According to Special Agent Robert A. Frazier, who occupied the position
of the assassin in the sixth-floor window during the reenactment,
it is likely that the bullet which passed through the President’s
neck, as described previously, then struck the automobile or someone
else in the automobile.[C3-286] The minute examination by the FBI
inspection team, conducted in Washington between 14 and 16 hours
after the assassination, revealed no damage indicating that a bullet
struck any part of the interior of the Presidential limousine, with
the exception of the cracking of the windshield and the dent on the
windshield chrome.[C3-287] Neither of these points of damage to the car
could have been caused by the bullet which exited from the President’s
neck at a velocity of 1,772 to 1,779 feet per second.[C3-288] If the
trajectory had permitted the bullet to strike the windshield, the
bullet would have penetrated it and traveled a substantial distance
down the road unless it struck some other object en route.[C3-289] Had
that bullet struck the metal framing, which was dented, it would have
torn a hole in the chrome and penetrated the framing, both inside and
outside the car.[C3-290] At that exit velocity, the bullet would have
penetrated any other metal or upholstery surface of the interior of the

The bullet that hit President Kennedy in the back and exited through
his throat most likely could not have missed both the automobile
and its occupants. Since it did not hit the automobile, Frazier
testified that it probably struck Governor Connally.[C3-292] The
relative positions of President Kennedy and Governor Connally at
the time when the President was struck in the neck confirm that the
same bullet probably passed through both men. Pictures taken of the
President’s limousine on November 22, 1963, showed that the Governor
sat immediately in front of the President.[C3-293] Even though the
precise distance cannot be ascertained, it is apparent that President
Kennedy was somewhat to the Governor’s right. The President sat on the
extreme right, as noted in the films and by eyewitnesses, while the
right edge of the jump seat in which the Governor sat is 6 inches from
the right door.[C3-294] (See Commission Exhibit No. 697, p. 104.) The
President wore a back brace which tended to make him sit up straight,
and the Governor also sat erect since the jump seat gave him little leg

Based on his observations during the reenactment and the position of
Governor Connally shown in the Zapruder film after the car emerged
from behind the sign, Frazier testified that Governor Connally was in
a position during the span from frame 207 to frame 225 to receive a
bullet which would have caused the wounds he actually suffered.[C3-296]
Governor Connally viewed the film and testified that he was hit between
frames 231 and 234.[C3-297] According to Frazier, between frames 235
and 240 the Governor turned sharply to his right, so that by frame
240 he was too far to the right to have received his injuries at that
time.[C3-298] At some point between frames 235 and 240, therefore,
is the last occasion when Governor Connally could have received his
injuries, since in the frames following 240 he remained turned too
far to his right.[C3-299] If Governor Connally was hit by a separate
shot between frames 235 and 240 which followed the shot which hit the
President’s neck, it would follow that: (1) the assassin’s first shot,
assuming a minimum firing time of 2.3 seconds (or 42 frames), was fired
between frames 193 and 198 when his view was obscured by the oak tree;
(2) President Kennedy continued waving to the crowd after he was hit
and did not begin to react for about 1½ seconds; and (3) the first
shot, although hitting no bones in the President’s body, was deflected
after its exit from the President’s neck in such a way that it failed
to hit either the automobile or any of the other occupants.

Viewed through the telescopic sight of the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano
rifle from the sixth-floor window during the test, the marks that
simulated the entry wounds on the stand-ins for the President and the
Governor were generally in a straight line. That alinement became
obvious to the viewer through the scope as the Governor’s model
turned slightly to his right and assumed the position which Governor
Connally had described as his position when he was struck. Viewing
the stand-ins for the President and the Governor in the sight of the
C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle at the location depicted in frames
207 and 210, Frazier testified: “They both are in direct alinement
with the telescopic sight at the window. The Governor is immediately
behind the President in the field of view.”[C3-300] (See Commission
Exhibit No. 893, p. 102.) A surveyor then placed his sighting equipment
at the precise point of entry on the back of the President’s neck,
assuming that the President was struck at frame 210, and measured the
angle to the end of the muzzle of the rifle positioned where it was
believed to have been held by the assassin.[C3-301] That angle measured
21°34’.[C3-302] From the same points of reference, the angle at frame
225 was measured at 20°11’, giving an average angle of 20°52’30” from
frame 210 to frame 225.[C3-303] Allowing for a downward street grade of
3°9’, the probable angle through the President’s body was calculated at
17°43’30”, assuming that he was sitting in a vertical position.[C3-304]

That angle was consistent with the trajectory of a bullet passing
through the President’s neck and then striking Governor Connally’s
back, causing the wounds which were discussed above. Shortly after
that angle was ascertained, the open car and the stand-ins were
taken by the agents to a nearby garage where a photograph was taken
to determine through closer study whether the angle of that shot
could have accounted for the wounds in the President’s neck and the
Governor’s back.[C3-305] A rod was placed at an angle of 17°43’30” next
to the stand-ins for the President and the Governor, who were seated in
the same relative positions.[C3-306] The wounds of entry and exit on
the President were approximated based on information gained from the
autopsy reports and photographs.[C3-307] The hole in the back of the
jacket worn by the Governor and the medical description of the wound
on his back marked that entry point.[C3-308] That line of fire from
the sixth floor of the Depository would have caused the bullet to exit
under the Governor’s right nipple just as the bullet did. Governor
Connally’s doctors measured an angle of declination on his body from
the entry wound on his back to the exit on the front of his chest at
about 25° when he sat erect.[C3-309] That difference was explained
by either a slight deflection of the bullet caused by striking the
fifth rib or the Governor’s leaning slightly backward at the time he
was struck. In addition, the angle could not be fixed with absolute
precision, since the large wound on the front of his chest precluded an
exact determination of the point of exit.[C3-310]

The alinement of the points of entry was only indicative and not
conclusive that one bullet hit both men. The exact positions of
the men could not be re-created; thus, the angle could only be
approximated.[C3-311] Had President Kennedy been leaning forward or
backward, the angle of declination of the shot to a perpendicular
target would have varied. The angle of 17°43’30” was approximately
the angle of declination reproduced in an artist’s drawing.[C3-312]
That drawing, made from data provided by the autopsy surgeons, could
not reproduce the exact line of the bullet, since the exit wound
was obliterated by the tracheotomy. Similarly, if the President or
the Governor had been sitting in a different lateral position, the
conclusion might have varied. Or if the Governor had not turned in
exactly the way calculated, the alinement would have been destroyed.

Additional experiments by the Army Wound Ballistics Branch further
suggested that the same bullet probably passed through both President
Kennedy and Governor Connally. (See app. X, pp. 582-585.) Correlation
of a test simulating the Governor’s chest wound with the neck and
wrist experiments indicated that course. After reviewing the Parkland
Hospital medical records and X-rays of the Governor and discussing his
chest injury with the attending surgeon, the Army ballistics experts
virtually duplicated the wound using the assassination weapon and
animal flesh covered by cloth.[C3-313] The bullet that struck the
animal flesh displayed characteristics similar to the bullet found on
Governor Connally’s stretcher.[C3-314] Moreover, the imprint on the
velocity screen immediately behind the animal flesh showed that the
bullet was tumbling after exiting from the flesh, having lost a total
average of 265 feet per second.[C3-315] Taking into consideration the
Governor’s size, the reduction in velocity of a bullet passing through
his body would be approximately 400 feet per second.[C3-316]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 902









Based upon the medical evidence on the wounds of the Governor and
the President and the wound ballistics tests performed at Edgewood
Arsenal, Drs. Olivier and Arthur J. Dziemian, chief of the Army
Wound Ballistics Branch, who had spent 17 years in that area of
specialization, concluded that it was probable that the same bullet
passed through the President’s neck and then inflicted all the wounds
on the Governor.[C3-317] Referring to the President’s neck wound
and all the Governor’s wounds, Dr. Dziemian testified: “I think the
probability is very good that it is, that all the wounds were caused
by one bullet.”[C3-318] Both Drs. Dziemian and Olivier believed that
the wound on the Governor’s wrist would have been more extensive had
the bullet which inflicted that injury merely passed through the
Governor’s chest, exiting at a velocity of approximately 1,500 feet per
second.[C3-319] Thus, the Governor’s wrist wound suggested that the
bullet passed through the President’s neck, began to yaw in the air
between the President and the Governor, and then lost more velocity
than 400 feet per second in passing through the Governor’s chest. A
bullet which was yawing on entering into the Governor’s back would
lose substantially more velocity in passing through his body than
a pristine bullet.[C3-320] In addition, the bullet that struck the
animal flesh was flattened to a greater extent than the bullet which
presumably struck the Governor’s rib,[C3-321] which suggests that the
bullet which entered the Governor’s chest had already lost velocity
by passing through the President’s neck. Moreover, the large wound on
the Governor’s back would be explained by a bullet which was yawing,
although that type of wound might also be accounted for by a tangential

Dr. Frederick W. Light, Jr., the third of the wound ballistics experts,
who has been engaged in that specialty at Edgewood Arsenal since 1951,
testified that the anatomical findings were insufficient for him to
formulate a firm opinion as to whether the same bullet did or did not
pass through the President’s neck first before inflicting all the
wounds on Governor Connally.[C3-323] Based on the other circumstances,
such as the relative positions of the President and the Governor in
the automobile, Dr. Light concluded that it was probable that the same
bullet traversed the President’s neck and inflicted all the wounds on
Governor Connally.[C3-324]

The Subsequent Bullet That Hit

After a bullet penetrated President Kennedy’s neck, a subsequent shot
entered the back of his head and exited through the upper right portion
of his skull. The Zapruder, Nix and Muchmore films show the instant in
the sequence when that bullet struck. (See Commission Exhibit No. 902,
p. 108.) That impact was evident from the explosion of the President’s
brain tissues from the right side of his head. The immediately
preceding frame from the Zapruder film shows the President slumped to
his left, clutching at his throat, with his chin close to his chest and
his head tilted forward at an angle.[C3-325] Based upon information
provided by the doctors who conducted the autopsy, an artist’s drawing
depicted the path of the bullet through the President’s head, with his
head being in the same approximate position.[C3-326]

By using the Zapruder, Nix and Muchmore motion pictures, the
President’s location at the time the bullet penetrated his head was
fixed with reasonable precision. A careful analysis of the Nix and
Muchmore films led to fixing the exact location of these cameramen. The
point of impact of the bullet on the President’s head was apparent in
all of the movies. At that point in the Nix film a straight line was
plotted from the camera position to a fixed point in the background
and the President’s location along this line was marked on a plat
map.[C3-327] A similar process was followed with the Muchmore film. The
President’s location on the plat map was identical to that determined
from the Nix film.[C3-328] The President’s location, established
through the Nix and Muchmore films, was confirmed by comparing his
position on the Zapruder film. This location had hitherto only been
approximated, since there were no landmarks in the background of the
Zapruder frame for alinement purposes other than a portion of a painted
line on the curb.[C3-329] Through these procedures, it was determined
that President Kennedy was shot in the head when he was 230.8 feet from
a point on the west curbline on Houston Street where it intersected
with Elm Street.[C3-330] The President was 265.3 feet from the rifle in
the sixth-floor window and at that position the approximate angle of
declination was 15°21’.[C3-331]


The consensus among the witnesses at the scene was that three shots
were fired.[C3-332] However, some heard only two shots,[C3-333] while
others testified that they heard four and perhaps as many as five
or six shots.[C3-334] The difficulty of accurate perception of the
sound of gunshots required careful scrutiny of all of this testimony
regarding the number of shots. The firing of a bullet causes a number
of noises: the muzzle blast, caused by the smashing of the hot gases
which propel the bullet into the relatively stable air at the gun’s
muzzle; the noise of the bullet, caused by the shock wave built up
ahead of the bullet’s nose as it travels through the air; and the noise
caused by the impact of the bullet on its target.[C3-335] Each noise
can be quite sharp and may be perceived as a separate shot. The tall
buildings in the area might have further distorted the sound.

The physical and other evidence examined by the Commission compels
the conclusion that at least two shots were fired. As discussed
previously, the nearly whole bullet discovered at Parkland Hospital
and the two larger fragments found in the Presidential automobile,
which were identified as coming from the assassination rifle, came from
at least two separate bullets and possibly from three.[C3-336] The
most convincing evidence relating to the number of shots was provided
by the presence on the sixth floor of three spent cartridges which
were demonstrated to have been fired by the same rifle that fired the
bullets which caused the wounds. It is possible that the assassin
carried an empty shell in the rifle and fired only two shots, with the
witnesses hearing multiple noises made by the same shot. Soon after
the three empty cartridges were found, officials at the scene decided
that three shots were fired, and that conclusion was widely circulated
by the press. The eyewitness testimony may be subconsciously colored
by the extensive publicity given the conclusion that three shots were
fired. Nevertheless, the preponderance of the evidence, in particular
the three spent cartridges, led the Commission to conclude that there
were three shots fired.


From the initial findings that (_a_) one shot passed through the
President’s neck and then most probably passed through the Governor’s
body, (_b_) a subsequent shot penetrated the President’s head, (_c_)
no other shot struck any part of the automobile, and (_d_) three shots
were fired, it follows that one shot probably missed the car and its
occupants. The evidence is inconclusive as to whether it was the first,
second, or third shot which missed.

The First Shot

If the first shot missed, the assassin perhaps missed in an effort to
fire a hurried shot before the President passed under the oak tree, or
possibly he fired as the President passed under the tree and the tree
obstructed his view. The bullet might have struck a portion of the tree
and been completely deflected. On the other hand, the greatest cause
for doubt that the first shot missed is the improbability that the
same marksman who twice hit a moving target would be so inaccurate on
the first and closest of his shots as to miss completely, not only the
target, but the large automobile.

Some support for the contention that the first shot missed is found in
the statement of Secret Service Agent Glen A. Bennett, stationed in
the right rear seat of the President’s followup car, who heard a sound
like a firecracker as the motorcade proceeded down Elm Street. At that
moment, Agent Bennett stated:

    * * * I looked at the back of the President. I heard another
    firecracker noise and saw that shot hit the President about
    four inches down from the right shoulder. A second shot
    followed immediately and hit the right rear high of the
    President’s head.[C3-337]

Substantial weight may be given Bennett’s observations. Although his
formal statement was dated November 23, 1963, his notes indicate that
he recorded what he saw and heard at 5:30 p.m., November 22, 1963, on
the airplane en route back to Washington, prior to the autopsy, when it
was not yet known that the President had been hit in the back.[C3-338]
It is possible, of course, that Bennett did not observe the hole in
the President’s back, which might have been there immediately after the
first noise.

Governor Connally’s testimony supports the view that the first shot
missed, because he stated that he heard a shot, turned slightly to his
right, and, as he started to turn back toward his left, was struck
by the second bullet.[C3-339] He never saw the President during the
shooting sequence, and it is entirely possible that he heard the missed
shot and that both men were struck by the second bullet. Mrs. Connally
testified that after the first shot she turned and saw the President’s
hands moving toward his throat, as seen in the films at frame
225.[C3-340] However, Mrs. Connally further stated that she thought her
husband was hit immediately thereafter by the second bullet.[C3-341]
If the same bullet struck both the President and the Governor, it is
entirely possible that she saw the President’s movements at the same
time as she heard the second shot. Her testimony, therefore, does not
preclude the possibility of the first shot having missed.

Other eyewitness testimony, however, supports the conclusion that the
first of the shots fired hit the President. As discussed in chapter II,
Special Agent Hill’s testimony indicates that the President was hit by
the first shot and that the head injury was caused by a second shot
which followed about 5 seconds later. James W. Altgens, a photographer
in Dallas for the Associated Press, had stationed himself on Elm Street
opposite the Depository to take pictures of the passing motorcade.
Altgens took a widely circulated photograph which showed President
Kennedy reacting to the first of the two shots which hit him. (See
Commission Exhibit No. 900, p. 113.) According to Altgens, he snapped
the picture “almost simultaneously” with a shot which he is confident
was the first one fired.[C3-342] Comparison of his photograph with
the Zapruder film, however, revealed that Altgens took his picture
at approximately the same moment as frame 255 of the movie, 30 to
45 frames (approximately 2 seconds) later than the point at which
the President was shot in the neck.[C3-343] (See Commission Exhibit
No. 901, p. 114.) Another photographer, Phillip L. Willis, snapped
a picture at a time which he also asserts was simultaneous with the
first shot. Analysis of his photograph revealed that it was taken at
approximately frame 210 of the Zapruder film, which was the approximate
time of the shot that probably hit the President and the Governor. If
Willis accurately recalled that there were no previous shots, this
would be strong evidence that the first shot did not miss.[C3-344]

If the first shot did not miss, there must be an explanation for
Governor Connally’s recollection that he was not hit by it. There was,
conceivably, a delayed reaction between the time the bullet struck him
and the time he realized that he was hit, despite the fact that the
bullet struck a glancing blow to a rib and penetrated his wrist bone.
The Governor did not even know that he had been struck in the wrist or
in the thigh until he regained consciousness in the hospital the next
day. Moreover, he testified that he did not hear what he thought was
the second shot, although he did hear a subsequent shot which coincided
with the shattering of the President’s head.[C3-345] One possibility,
therefore, would be a sequence in which the Governor heard the first
shot, did not immediately feel the penetration of the bullet, then
felt the delayed reaction of the impact on his back, later heard the
shot which shattered the President’s head, and then lost consciousness
without hearing a third shot which might have occurred later.

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 900



[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 901




FRAME 255]

The Second Shot

The possibility that the second shot missed is consistent with the
elapsed time between the two shots that hit their mark. From the timing
evidenced by the Zapruder films, there was an interval of from 4.8 to
5.6 seconds between the shot which struck President Kennedy’s neck
(between frames 210 to 225) and the shot which struck his head at frame
313.[C3-346] Since a minimum of 2.3 seconds must elapse between shots,
a bullet could have been fired from the rifle and missed during this
interval.[C3-347] This possibility was buttressed by the testimony of
witnesses who claimed that the shots were evenly spaced, since a second
shot occurring within an interval of approximately 5 seconds would have
to be almost exactly midway in this period. If Altgens’ recollection
is correct that he snapped his picture at the same moment as he heard
a shot, then it is possible that he heard a second shot which missed,
since a shot fired 2.3 seconds before he took his picture at frame 255
could have hit the President at about frame 213.

On the other hand, a substantial majority of the witnesses stated that
the shots were not evenly spaced. Most witnesses recalled that the
second and third shots were bunched together, although some believed
that it was the first and second which were bunched.[C3-348] To the
extent that reliance can be placed on recollection of witnesses as to
the spacing of the shots, the testimony that the shots were not evenly
spaced would militate against a second shot missing. Another factor
arguing against the second shot missing is that the gunman would have
been shooting at very near the minimum allowable time to have fired
the three shots within 4.8 to 5.6 seconds, although it was entirely
possible for him to have done so. (See ch. IV, pp. 188-194.)

The Third Shot

The last possibility, of course, is that it was the third shot which
missed. This conclusion conforms most easily with the probability
that the assassin would most likely have missed the farthest shot,
particularly since there was an acceleration of the automobile after
the shot which struck the President’s head. The limousine also changed
direction by following the curve to the right, whereas previously it
had been proceeding in almost a straight line with a rifle protruding
from the sixth-floor window of the Depository Building.

One must consider, however, the testimony of the witnesses who
described the head shot as the concluding event in the assassination
sequence. Illustrative is the testimony of Associated Press
photographer Altgens, who had an excellent vantage point near the
President’s car. He recalled that the shot which hit the President’s
head “was the last shot--that much I will say with a great degree
of certainty.”[C3-349] On the other hand, Emmett J. Hudson, the
groundskeeper of Dealey Plaza, testified that from his position on
Elm Street, midway between Houston Street and the Triple Underpass,
he heard a third shot after the shot which hit the President in the
head.[C3-350] In addition, Mrs. Kennedy’s testimony indicated that
neither the first nor the second shot missed. Immediately after the
first noise she turned, because of the Governor’s yell, and saw her
husband raise his hand to his forehead. Then the second shot struck the
President’s head.[C3-351]

Some evidence suggested that a third shot may have entirely missed and
hit the turf or street by the Triple Underpass. Royce G. Skelton, who
watched the motorcade from the railroad bridge, testified that after
two shots “the car came on down close to the Triple Underpass” and an
additional shot “hit in the left front of the President’s car on the
cement.”[C3-352] Skelton thought that there had been a total of four
shots, either the third or fourth of which hit in the vicinity of the
underpass.[C3-353] Dallas Patrolman J. W. Foster, who was also on the
Triple Underpass, testified that a shot hit the turf near a manhole
cover in the vicinity of the underpass.[C3-354] Examination of this
area, however, disclosed no indication that a bullet struck at the
locations indicated by Skelton or Foster.[C3-355]

At a different location in Dealey Plaza, the evidence indicated that a
bullet fragment did hit the street. James T. Tague, who got out of his
car to watch the motorcade from a position between Commerce and Main
Streets near the Triple Underpass, was hit on the cheek by an object
during the shooting.[C3-356] Within a few minutes Tague reported this
to Deputy Sheriff Eddy R. Walthers, who was examining the area to
see if any bullets had struck the turf.[C3-357] Walthers immediately
started to search where Tague had been standing and located a place on
the south curb of Main Street where it appeared a bullet had hit the
cement.[C3-358] According to Tague, “There was a mark quite obviously
that was a bullet, and it was very fresh.”[C3-359] In Tague’s opinion,
it was the second shot which caused the mark, since he thinks he heard
the third shot after he was hit in the face.[C3-360] This incident
appears to have been recorded in the contemporaneous report of Dallas
Patrolman L. L. Hill, who radioed in around 12:40 p.m.: “I have one
guy that was possibly hit by a richochet from the bullet off the
concrete.”[C3-361] Scientific examination of the mark on the south
curb of Main Street by FBI experts disclosed metal smears which, “were
spectrographically determined to be essentially lead with a trace
of antimony.”[C3-362] The mark on the curb could have originated
from the lead core of a bullet but the absence of copper precluded
“the possibility that the mark on the curbing section was made by an
unmutilated military full metal-jacketed bullet such as the bullet from
Governor Connally’s stretcher.”[C3-363]

It is true that the noise of a subsequent shot might have been drowned
out by the siren on the Secret Service followup car immediately
after the head shot, or the dramatic effect of the head shot might
have caused so much confusion that the memory of subsequent events
was blurred. Nevertheless, the preponderance of the eyewitness
testimony that the head shot was the final shot must be weighed in any
determination as to whether it was the third shot that missed. Even
if it were caused by a bullet fragment, the mark on the south curb of
Main Street cannot be identified conclusively with any of the three
shots fired. Under the circumstances it might have come from the bullet
which hit the President’s head, or it might have been a product of the
fragmentation of the missed shot upon hitting some other object in the
area.[C3-364] Since he did not observe any of the shots striking the
President, Tague’s testimony that the second shot, rather than the
third, caused the scratch on his cheek, does not assist in limiting the

The wide range of possibilities and the existence of conflicting
testimony, when coupled with the impossibility of scientific
verification, precludes a conclusive finding by the Commission as to
which shot missed.


Witnesses at the assassination scene said that the shots were
fired within a few seconds, with the general estimate being 5 to 6
seconds.[C3-365] That approximation was most probably based on the
earlier publicized reports that the first shot struck the President in
the neck, the second wounded the Governor and the third shattered the
President’s head, with the time span from the neck to the head shots on
the President being approximately 5 seconds. As previously indicated,
the time span between the shot entering the back of the President’s
neck and the bullet which shattered his skull was 4.8 to 5.6 seconds.
If the second shot missed, then 4.8 to 5.6 seconds was the total time
span of the shots. If either the first or third shots missed, then a
minimum of 2.3 seconds (necessary to operate the rifle) must be added
to the time span of the shots which hit, giving a minimum time of 7.1
to 7.9 seconds for the three shots. If more than 2.3 seconds elapsed
between a shot that missed and one that hit, then the time span would
be correspondingly increased.


Based on the evidence analyzed in this chapter, the Commission has
concluded that the shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded
Governor Connally were fired from the sixth-floor window at the
southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository Building. Two
bullets probably caused all the wounds suffered by President Kennedy
and Governor Connally. Since the preponderance of the evidence
indicated that three shots were fired, the Commission concluded that
one shot probably missed the Presidential limousine and its occupants,
and that the three shots were fired in a time period ranging from
approximately 4.8 to in excess of 7 seconds.


The Assassin

The preceding chapter has established that the bullets which killed
President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired from the
southeast corner window of the sixth floor of the Texas School Book
Depository Building and that the weapon which fired these bullets was
a Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5-millimeter Italian rifle bearing the serial
number C2766. In this chapter the Commission evaluates the evidence
upon which it has based its conclusion concerning the identity of the
assassin. This evidence includes (1) the ownership and possession of
the weapon used to commit the assassination, (2) the means by which the
weapon was brought into the Depository Building, (3) the identity of
the person present at the window from which the shots were fired, (4)
the killing of Dallas Patrolman J.D. Tippit within 45 minutes after the
assassination, (5) the resistance to arrest and the attempted shooting
of another police officer by the man (Lee Harvey Oswald) subsequently
accused of assassinating President Kennedy and killing Patrolman
Tippit, (6) the lies told to the police by Oswald, (7) the evidence
linking Oswald to the attempted killing of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker
(Resigned, U.S. Army) on April 10, 1963, and (8) Oswald’s capability
with a rifle.


Purchase of Rifle by Oswald

Shortly after the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was found on the sixth floor
of the Texas School Book Depository Building,[C4-1] agents of the FBI
learned from retail outlets in Dallas that Crescent Firearms, Inc.,
of New York City, was a distributor of surplus Italian 6.5-millimeter
military rifles.[C4-2] During the evening of November 22, 1963, a
review of the records of Crescent Firearms revealed that the firm had
shipped an Italian carbine, serial number C2766, to Klein’s Sporting
Goods Co., of Chicago, Ill.[C4-3] After searching their records from
10 p.m. to 4 a.m. the officers of Klein’s discovered that a rifle
bearing serial number C2766 had been shipped to one A. Hidell, Post
Office Box 2915, Dallas, Tex., on March 20, 1963.[C4-4] (See Waldman
Exhibit No. 7, p. 120.)

According to its microfilm records, Klein’s received an order for a
rifle on March 13, 1963, on a coupon clipped from the February 1963
issue of the American Rifleman magazine. The order coupon was signed,
in handprinting, “A. Hidell, P.O. Box 2915, Dallas, Texas.” (See
Commission Exhibit No. 773, p. 120.) It was sent in an envelope bearing
the same name and return address in handwriting. Document examiners
for the Treasury Department and the FBI testified unequivocally that
the bold printing on the face of the mail-order coupon was in the
handprinting of Lee Harvey Oswald and that the writing on the envelope
was also his.[C4-5] Oswald’s writing on these and other documents was
identified by comparing the writing and printing on the documents in
question with that appearing on documents known to have been written by
Oswald, such as his letters, passport application, and endorsements of
checks.[C4-6] (See app. X, p. 568-569.)

In addition to the order coupon the envelope contained a U.S. postal
money order for $21.45, purchased as No. 2,202,130,462 in Dallas,
Tex., on March 12, 1963.[C4-7] The canceled money order was obtained
from the Post Office Department. Opposite the printed words “Pay To”
were written the words “Kleins Sporting Goods,” and opposite the
printed word “From” were written the words “A. Hidell, P.O. Box 2915
Dallas, Texas.” These words were also in the handwriting of Lee Harvey
Oswald.[C4-8] (See Commission Exhibit No. 788, p. 120.)

From Klein’s records it was possible to trace the processing of the
order after its receipt. A bank deposit made on March 13, 1963,
included an item of $21.45. Klein’s shipping order form shows an
imprint made by the cash register which recorded the receipt of $21.45
on March 13, 1963. This price included $19.95 for the rifle and the
scope, and $1.50 for postage and handling. The rifle without the scope
cost only $12.78.[C4-9]

According to the vice president of Klein’s, William Waldman, the scope
was mounted on the rifle by a gunsmith employed by Klein’s, and the
rifle was shipped fully assembled in accordance with customary company
procedures.[C4-10] The specific rifle shipped against the order had
been received by Klein’s from Crescent on February 21, 1963. It bore
the manufacturer’s serial number C2766. On that date, Klein’s placed
an internal control number VC836 on this rifle.[C4-11] According to
Klein’s shipping order form, one Italian carbine 6.5 X-4× scope,
control number VC836, serial number C2766, was shipped parcel post to
“A. Hidell, P.O. Box 2915, Dallas, Texas,” on March 20, 1963.[C4-12]
Information received from the Italian Armed Forces Intelligence Service
has established that this particular rifle was the only rifle of its
type bearing serial number C2766.[C4-13] (See app. X, p. 554.)

The post office box to which the rifle was shipped was rented to “Lee
H. Oswald” from October 9, 1962, to May 14, 1963.[C4-14] Experts on
handwriting identification from the Treasury Department and the FBI
testified that the signature and other writing on the application for
that box were in the handwriting of Lee Harvey Oswald,[C4-15] as was
a change-of-address card dated May 12, 1963,[C4-16] by which Oswald
requested that mail addressed to that box be forwarded to him in New
Orleans, where he had moved on April 24.[C4-17] Since the rifle was
shipped from Chicago on March 20, 1963, it was received in Dallas
during the period when Oswald rented and used the box. (See Commission
Exhibit No. 791, p. 120.)










It is not known whether the application for post office box 2915
listed “A. Hidell” as a person entitled to receive mail at this box.
In accordance with postal regulations, the portion of the application
which lists names of persons, other than the applicant, entitled to
receive mail was thrown away after the box was closed on May 14,
1963.[C4-18] Postal Inspector Harry D. Holmes of the Dallas Post Office
testified, however, that when a package is received for a certain
box, a notice is placed in that box regardless of whether the name
on the package is listed on the application as a person entitled to
receive mail through that box. The person having access to the box then
takes the notice to the window and is given the package. Ordinarily,
Inspector Holmes testified, identification is not requested because
it is assumed that the person with the notice is entitled to the

Oswald’s use of the name “Hidell” to purchase the assassination weapon
was one of several instances in which he used this name as an alias.
When arrested on the day of the assassination, he had in his possession
a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver[C4-20] purchased by mail-order
coupon from Seaport-Traders, Inc., a mail-order division of George
Rose & Co., Los Angeles. The mail-order coupon listed the purchaser
as “A. J. Hidell Age 28” with the address of post office box 2915
in Dallas.[C4-21] Handwriting experts from the FBI and the Treasury
Department testified that the writing on the mail-order form was that
of Lee Harvey Oswald.[C4-22]

Among other identification cards in Oswald’s wallet at the time of his
arrest were a Selective Service notice of classification, a Selective
Service registration certificate,[C4-23] and a certificate of service
in the U.S. Marine Corps,[C4-24] all three cards being in his own
name. Also in his wallet at that time were a Selective Service notice
of classification and a Marine certificate of service in the name
of Alek James Hidell.[C4-25] On the Hidell Selective Service card
there appeared a signature, “Alek J. Hidell,” and the photograph of
Lee Harvey Oswald.[C4-26] Experts on questioned documents from the
Treasury Department and the FBI testified that the Hidell cards were
counterfeit photographic reproductions made by photographing the
Oswald cards, retouching the resulting negatives, and producing prints
from the retouched negatives. The Hidell signature on the notice of
classification was in the handwriting of Oswald.[C4-27] (See app. X, p.

In Oswald’s personal effects found in his room at 1026 North
Beckley Avenue in Dallas was a purported international certificate
of vaccination signed by “Dr. A. J. Hideel,” Post Office Box 30016,
New Orleans.[C4-28] It certified that Lee Harvey Oswald had been
vaccinated for smallpox on June 8, 1963. This, too, was a forgery.
The signature of “A. J. Hideel” was in the handwriting of Lee Harvey
Oswald.[C4-29] There is no “Dr. Hideel” licensed to practice medicine
in Louisiana.[C4-30] There is no post office box 30016 in the New
Orleans Post Office but Oswald had rented post office box 30061 in New
Orleans[C4-31] on June 3, 1963, listing Marina Oswald and A. J. Hidell
as additional persons entitled to receive mail in the box.[C4-32]
The New Orleans postal authorities had not discarded the portion of
the application listing the names of those, other than the owner of
the box, entitled to receive mail through the box. Expert testimony
confirmed that the writing on this application was that of Lee Harvey

Hidell’s name on the post office box application was part of Oswald’s
use of a nonexistent Hidell to serve as president of the so-called New
Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. (As discussed
below in ch. VI, p. 292.) Marina Oswald testified that she first
learned of Oswald’s use of the fictitious name “Hidell” in connection
with his pro-Castro activities in New Orleans.[C4-34] According
to her testimony, he compelled her to write the name “Hidell” on
membership cards in the space designated for the signature of the
“Chapter President.”[C4-35] The name “Hidell” was stamped on some of
the “Chapter’s” printed literature and on the membership application
blanks.[C4-36] Marina Oswald testified, “I knew there was no such
organization. And I know Hidell is merely an altered Fidel, and I
laughed at such foolishness.”[C4-37] Hidell was a fictitious president
of an organization of which Oswald was the only member.[C4-38]

When seeking employment in New Orleans, Oswald listed a “Sgt. Robt.
Hidell” as a reference on one job application[C4-39] and “George
Hidell” as a reference on another.[C4-40] Both names were found to be
fictitious.[C4-41] Moreover, the use of “Alek” as a first name for
Hidell is a further link to Oswald because “Alek” was Oswald’s nickname
in Russia.[C4-42] Letters received by Marina Oswald from her husband
signed “Alek” were given to the Commission.[C4-43]

Oswald’s Palmprint on Rifle Barrel

Based on the above evidence, the Commission concluded that Oswald
purchased the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depository
Building. Additional evidence of ownership was provided in the form of
palmprint identification which indicated that Oswald had possession of
the rifle he had purchased.

A few minutes after the rifle was discovered on the sixth floor of
the Depository Building[C4-44] it was examined by Lt. J. C. Day of
the identification bureau of the Dallas police. He lifted the rifle
by the wooden stock after his examination convinced him that the wood
was too rough to take fingerprints. Capt. J. W. Fritz then ejected a
cartridge by operating the bolt, but only after Day viewed the knob
on the bolt through a magnifying glass and found no prints.[C4-45]
Day continued to examine the rifle with the magnifying glass, looking
for possible fingerprints. He applied fingerprint powder to the side
of the metal housing near the trigger, and noticed traces of two
prints.[C4-46] At 11:45 p.m. on November 22, the rifle was released
to the FBI and forwarded to Washington where it was examined on the
morning of November 23 by Sebastian F. Latona, supervisor of the Latent
Fingerprint Section of the FBI’s Identification Division.[C4-47]

In his testimony before the Commission, Latona stated that when he
received the rifle, the area where prints were visible was protected by
cellophane.[C4-48] He examined these prints, as well as photographs of
them which the Dallas police had made, and concluded that:

    * * * the formations, the ridge formations and characteristics,
    were insufficient for purposes of either effecting
    identification or a determination that the print was not
    identical with the prints of people. Accordingly, my opinion
    simply was that the latent prints which were there were of no

Latona then processed the complete weapon but developed no identifiable
prints.[C4-50] He stated that the poor quality of the wood and the
metal would cause the rifle to absorb moisture from the skin, thereby
making a clear print unlikely.[C4-51]

On November 22, however, before surrendering possession of the rifle
to the FBI Laboratory, Lieutenant Day of the Dallas Police Department
had “lifted” a palmprint from the underside of the gun barrel “near
the firing end of the barrel about 3 inches under the Woodstock when I
took the Woodstock loose.”[C4-52] “Lifting” a print involves the use of
adhesive material to remove the fingerprint powder which adheres to the
original print. In this way the powdered impression is actually removed
from the object.[C4-53] The lifting had been so complete in this case
that there was no trace of the print on the rifle itself when it was
examined by Latona. Nor was there any indication that the lift had been
performed.[C4-54] Day, on the other hand, believed that sufficient
traces of the print had been left on the rifle barrel, because he
did not release the lifted print until November 26, when he received
instructions to send “everything that we had” to the FBI.[C4-55] The
print arrived in the FBI Laboratory in Washington on November 29,
mounted on a card on which Lieutenant Day had written the words “off
underside gun barrel near end of foregrip C2766.”[C4-56] The print’s
positive identity as having been lifted from the rifle was confirmed
by FBI Laboratory tests which established that the adhesive material
bearing the print also bore impressions of the same irregularities that
appeared on the barrel of the rifle.[C4-57]

Latona testified that this palmprint was the right palmprint of
Lee Harvey Oswald.[C4-58] At the request of the Commission, Arthur
Mandella, fingerprint expert with the New York City Police Department,
conducted an independent examination and also determined that this
was the right palmprint of Oswald.[C4-59] Latona’s findings were also
confirmed by Ronald G. Wittmus, another FBI fingerprint expert.[C4-60]
In the opinion of these experts, it was not possible to estimate the
time which elapsed between the placing of the print on the rifle and
the date of the lift.[C4-61]

Experts testifying before the Commission agreed that palmprints
are as unique as fingerprints for purposes of establishing
identification.[C4-62] Oswald’s palmprint on the underside of the
barrel demonstrates that he handled the rifle when it was disassembled.
A palmprint could not be placed on this portion of the rifle, when
assembled, because the wooden foregrip covers the barrel at this
point.[C4-63] The print is additional proof that the rifle was in
Oswald’s possession.

Fibers on Rifle

In a crevice between the butt plate of the rifle and the wooden stock
was a tuft of several cotton fibers of dark blue, gray-black, and
orange-yellow shades.[C4-64] On November 23, 1963, these fibers were
examined by Paul M. Stombaugh, a special agent assigned to the Hair
and Fiber Unit of the FBI Laboratory.[C4-65] He compared them with the
fibers found in the shirt which Oswald was wearing when arrested in
the Texas Theatre.[C4-66] This shirt was also composed of dark blue,
gray-black and orange-yellow cotton fibers. Stombaugh testified that
the colors, shades, and twist of the fibers found in the tuft on the
rifle matched those in Oswald’s shirt.[C4-67] (See app. X, p. 592.)

Stombaugh explained in his testimony that in fiber analysis, as
distinct from fingerprint or firearms identification, it is not
possible to state with scientific certainty that a particular small
group of fibers come from a certain piece of clothing to the exclusion
of all others because there are not enough microscopic characteristics
present in fibers.[C4-68] Judgments as to probability will depend on
the number and types of matches.[C4-69] He concluded, “There is no
doubt in my mind that these fibers could have come from this shirt.
There is no way, however, to eliminate the possibility of the fibers
having come from another identical shirt.”[C4-70]

Having considered the probabilities as explained in Stombaugh’s
testimony, the Commission has concluded that the fibers in the tuft
on the rifle most probably came from the shirt worn by Oswald when he
was arrested, and that this was the same shirt which Oswald wore on
the morning of the assassination. Marina Oswald testified that she
thought her husband wore this shirt to work on that day.[C4-71] The
testimony of those who saw him after the assassination was inconclusive
about the color of Oswald’s shirt,[C4-72] but Mary Bledsoe, a former
landlady of Oswald, saw him on a bus approximately 10 minutes after
the assassination and identified the shirt as being the one worn by
Oswald primarily because of a distinctive hole in the shirt’s right
elbow.[C4-73] Moreover, the bus transfer which he obtained as he left
the bus was still in the pocket when he was arrested.[C4-74] Although
Oswald returned to his roominghouse after the assassination and when
questioned by the police, claimed to have changed his shirt,[C4-75] the
evidence indicates that he continued wearing the same shirt which he
was wearing all morning and which he was still wearing when arrested.

In light of these findings the Commission evaluated the additional
testimony of Stombaugh that the fibers were caught in the crevice of
the rifle’s butt plate “in the recent past.”[C4-76] Although Stombaugh
was unable to estimate the period of time the fibers were on the rifle
he said that the fibers “were clean, they had good color to them,
there was no grease on them and they were not fragmented. They looked
as if they had just been picked up.”[C4-77] The relative freshness
of the fibers is strong evidence that they were caught on the rifle
on the morning of the assassination or during the preceding evening.
For 10 days prior to the eve of the assassination Oswald had not been
present at Ruth Paine’s house in Irving, Tex.,[C4-78] where the rifle
was kept.[C4-79] Moreover, the Commission found no reliable evidence
that Oswald used the rifle at any time between September 23, when it
was transported from New Orleans, and November 22, the day of the
assassination.[C4-80] The fact that on the morning of the assassination
Oswald was wearing the shirt from which these relatively fresh fibers
most probably originated, provides some evidence that they were placed
on the rifle that day since there was limited, if any, opportunity for
Oswald to handle the weapon during the 2 months prior to November 22.

On the other hand Stombaugh pointed out that fibers might retain their
freshness if the rifle had been “put aside” after catching the fibers.
The rifle used in the assassination probably had been wrapped in a
blanket for about 8 weeks prior to November 22.[C4-81] Because the
relative freshness of these fibers might be explained by the continuous
storage of the rifle in the blanket, the Commission was unable to reach
any firm conclusion as to when the fibers were caught in the rifle. The
Commission was able to conclude, however, that the fibers most probably
came from Oswald’s shirt. This adds to the conviction of the Commission
that Oswald owned and handled the weapon used in the assassination.

Photograph of Oswald With Rifle

During the period from March 2, 1963, to April 24, 1963, the Oswalds
lived on Neely Street in Dallas in a rented house which had a small
back yard.[C4-82] One Sunday, while his wife was hanging diapers,
Oswald asked her to take a picture of him holding a rifle, a pistol
and issues of two newspapers later identified as the Worker and the
Militant.[C4-83] Two pictures were taken. The Commission has concluded
that the rifle shown in these pictures is the same rifle which was
found on the sixth floor of the Depository Building on November 22,
1963. (See Commission Exhibits Nos. 133-A and 133-B, p. 126.)

One of these pictures, Exhibit No. 133-A, shows most of the rifle’s
configuration.[C4-84] Special Agent Lyndal L. Shaneyfelt, a photography
expert with the FBI, photographed the rifle used in the assassination,
attempting to duplicate the position of the rifle and the lighting in
Exhibit No. 133-A.[C4-85] After comparing the rifle in the simulated
photograph with the rifle in Exhibit No. 133-A, Shaneyfelt testified,
“I found it to be the same general configuration. All appearances were
the same.” He found “one notch in the stock at this point that appears
very faintly in the photograph.” He stated, however, that while he
“found no differences” between the rifles in the two photographs, he
could not make a “positive identification to the exclusion of all other
rifles of the same general configuration.”[C4-86]





(Enlargement of Commission Exhibit No. 133-A)]

The authenticity of these pictures has been established by expert
testimony which links the second picture, Commission Exhibit No. 133-B,
to Oswald’s Imperial Reflex camera, with which Marina Oswald testified
she took the pictures.[C4-87] The negative of that picture, Commission
Exhibit No. 133-B, was found among Oswald’s possessions.[C4-88]
Using a recognized technique of determining whether a picture was
taken with a particular camera, Shaneyfelt compared this negative
with a negative which he made by taking a new picture with Oswald’s
camera.[C4-89] He concluded that the negative of Exhibit No. 133-B was
exposed in Oswald’s Imperial Reflex camera to the exclusion of all
other cameras.[C4-90] He could not test Exhibit No. 133-A in the same
way because the negative was never recovered.[C4-91] Both pictures,
however, have identical backgrounds and lighting and, judging from the
shadows, were taken at the same angle. They are photographs of the
same scene.[C4-92] Since Exhibit No. 133-B was taken with Oswald’s
camera, it is reasonably certain that Exhibit No. 133-A was taken by
the same camera at the same time, as Marina Oswald testified. Moreover,
Shaneyfelt testified that in his opinion the photographs were not
composites of two different photographs and that Oswald’s face had not
been superimposed on another body.[C4-93]

One of the photographs taken by Marina Oswald was widely published
in newspapers and magazines, and in many instances the details of
these pictures differed from the original, and even from each other,
particularly as to the configuration of the rifle. The Commission
sought to determine whether these photographs were retouched prior
to publication. Shaneyfelt testified that the published photographs
appeared to be based on a copy of the original which the publications
had each retouched differently.[C4-94] Several of the publications
furnished the Commission with the prints they had used, or described by
correspondence the retouching they had done. This information enabled
the Commission to conclude that the published pictures were the same
as the original except for retouching done by these publications,
apparently for the purpose of clarifying the lines of the rifle and
other details in the picture.[C4-95]

The dates surrounding the taking of this picture and the purchase of
the rifle reinforce the belief that the rifle in the photograph is
the rifle which Oswald bought from Klein’s. The rifle was shipped
from Klein’s in Chicago on March 20, 1963, at a time when the Oswalds
were living on Neely Street.[C4-96] From an examination of one of
the photographs, the Commission determined the dates of the issues
of the Militant and the Worker which Oswald was holding in his hand.
By checking the actual mailing dates of these issues and the time it
usually takes to effect delivery to Dallas, it was established that the
photographs must have been taken sometime after March 27.[C4-97] Marina
Oswald testified that the photographs were taken on a Sunday about 2
weeks before the attempted shooting of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker on
April 10, 1963.[C4-98] By Sunday, March 31, 1963, 10 days prior to the
Walker attempt, Oswald had undoubtedly received the rifle shipped from
Chicago on March 20, the revolver shipped from Los Angeles on the same
date,[C4-99] and the two newspapers which he was holding in the picture.

Rifle Among Oswald’s Possessions

Marina Oswald testified that the rifle found on the sixth floor of the
Depository Building was the “fateful rifle of Lee Oswald.”[C4-100]
Moreover, it was the only rifle owned by her husband following his
return from the Soviet Union in June 1962.[C4-101] It had been
purchased in March 1963, and taken to New Orleans where Marina Oswald
saw it in their rented apartment during the summer of 1963.[C4-102]
It appears from his wife’s testimony that Oswald may have sat on the
screened-in porch at night practicing with the rifle by looking through
the telescopic sight and operating the bolt.[C4-103] In September 1963,
Oswald loaded their possessions into a station wagon owned by Ruth
Paine, who had invited Marina Oswald and the baby to live at her home
in Irving,[C4-104] Tex. Marina Oswald has stated that the rifle was
among these possessions,[C4-105] although Ruth Paine testified that she
was not aware of it.[C4-106]

From September 24, 1963, when Marina Oswald arrived in Irving from
New Orleans, until the morning of the assassination, the rifle was,
according to the evidence, stored in a green and brown blanket in the
Paines’ garage among the Oswalds’ other possessions.[C4-107] About 1
week after the return from New Orleans, Marina Oswald was looking in
the garage for parts to the baby’s crib and thought that the parts
might be in the blanket. When she started to open the blanket, she saw
the stock of the rifle.[C4-108] Ruth and Michael Paine both noticed the
rolled-up blanket in the garage during the time that Marina Oswald was
living in their home.[C4-109] On several occasions, Michael Paine moved
the blanket in the garage.[C4-110] He thought it contained tent poles,
or possibly other camping equipment such as a folding shovel.[C4-111]
When he appeared before the Commission, Michael Paine lifted the
blanket with the rifle wrapped inside and testified that it appeared
to be the same approximate weight and shape as the package in his

About 3 hours after the assassination, a detective and deputy sheriff
saw the blanket-roll, tied with a string, lying on the floor of the
Paines’ garage. Each man testified that he thought he could detect
the outline of a rifle in the blanket, even though the blanket was
empty.[C4-113] Paul M. Stombaugh, of the FBI Laboratory, examined the
blanket and discovered a bulge approximately 10 inches long midway
in the blanket. This bulge was apparently caused by a hard protruding
object which had stretched the blanket’s fibers. It could have been
caused by the telescopic sight of the rifle which was approximately 11
inches long.[C4-114] (See Commission Exhibit No. 1304, p. 132.)


Having reviewed the evidence that (1) Lee Harvey Oswald purchased the
rifle used in the assassination, (2) Oswald’s palmprint was on the
rifle in a position which shows that he had handled it while it was
disassembled, (3) fibers found on the rifle most probably came from
the shirt Oswald was wearing on the day of the assassination, (4) a
photograph taken in the yard of Oswald’s apartment showed him holding
this rifle, and (5) the rifle was kept among Oswald’s possessions
from the time of its purchase until the day of the assassination, the
Commission concluded that the rifle used to assassinate President
Kennedy and wound Governor Connally was owned and possessed by Lee
Harvey Oswald.


The Commission has evaluated the evidence tending to show how Lee
Harvey Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, serial number C2766, was
brought into the Depository Building, where it was found on the
sixth floor shortly after the assassination. In this connection the
Commission considered (1) the circumstances surrounding Oswald’s return
to Irving, Tex., on Thursday, November 21, 1963, (2) the disappearance
of the rifle from its normal place of storage, (3) Oswald’s arrival at
the Depository Building on November 22, carrying a long and bulky brown
paper package, (4) the presence of a long handmade brown paper bag
near the point from which the shots were fired, and (5) the palmprint,
fiber, and paper analyses linking Oswald and the assassination weapon
to this bag.

The Curtain Rod Story

During October and November of 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald lived in a
roominghouse in Dallas while his wife and children lived in Irving,
at the home of Ruth Paine,[C4-115] approximately 15 miles from
Oswald’s place of work at the Texas School Book Depository. Oswald
traveled between Dallas and Irving on weekends in a car driven by a
neighbor of the Paines, Buell Wesley Frazier, who also worked at the
Depository.[C4-116] Oswald generally would go to Irving on Friday
afternoon and return to Dallas Monday morning. According to the
testimony of Frazier, Marina Oswald, and Ruth Paine, it appears that
Oswald never returned to Irving in midweek prior to November 21, 1963,
except on Monday, October 21, when he visited his wife in the hospital
after the birth of their second child.[C4-117]

During the morning of November 21, Oswald asked Frazier whether he
could ride home with him that afternoon. Frazier, surprised, asked
him why he was going to Irving on Thursday night rather than Friday.
Oswald replied, “I’m going home to get some curtain rods * * * [to]
put in an apartment.”[C4-118] The two men left work at 4:40 p.m. and
drove to Irving. There was little conversation between them on the way
home.[C4-119] Mrs. Linnie Mae Randle, Frazier’s sister, commented to
her brother about Oswald’s unusual midweek return to Irving. Frazier
told her that Oswald had come home to get curtain rods.[C4-120]

It would appear, however, that obtaining curtain rods was not the
purpose of Oswald’s trip to Irving on November 21. Mrs. A. C. Johnson,
his landlady, testified that Oswald’s room at 1026 North Beckley Avenue
had curtains and curtain rods,[C4-121] and that Oswald had never
discussed the subject with her.[C4-122] In the Paines’ garage, along
with many other objects of a household character, there were two flat
lightweight curtain rods belonging to Ruth Paine but they were still
there on Friday afternoon after Oswald’s arrest.[C4-123] Oswald never
asked Mrs. Paine about the use of curtain rods,[C4-124] and Marina
Oswald testified that Oswald did not say anything about curtain rods
on the day before the assassination.[C4-125] No curtain rods were
known to have been discovered in the Depository Building after the
assassination.[C4-126] In deciding whether Oswald carried a rifle to
work in a long paper bag on November 22, the Commission gave weight to
the fact that Oswald gave a false reason for returning home on November
21, and one which provided an excuse for the carrying of a bulky
package the following morning.

The Missing Rifle

Before dinner on November 21, Oswald played on the lawn of the Paines’
home with his daughter June.[C4-127] After dinner Ruth Paine and
Marina Oswald were busy cleaning house and preparing their children
for bed.[C4-128] Between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. they were occupied
with the children in the bedrooms located at the extreme east end of
the house.[C4-129] On the west end of the house is the attached garage,
which can be reached from the kitchen or from the outside.[C4-130] In
the garage were the personal belongings of the Oswald family including,
as the evidence has shown, the rifle wrapped in the old brown and green

At approximately 9 p.m., after the children had been put to bed, Mrs.
Paine, according to her testimony before the Commission, “went out to
the garage to paint some children’s blocks, and worked in the garage
for half an hour or so. I noticed when I went out that the light was
on.”[C4-132] Mrs. Paine was certain that she had not left the light on
in the garage after dinner.[C4-133] According to Mrs. Paine, Oswald
had gone to bed by 9 p.m.;[C4-134] Marina Oswald testified that it was
between 9 and 10 p.m.[C4-135] Neither Marina Oswald nor Ruth Paine
saw Oswald in the garage.[C4-136] The period between 8 and 9 p.m.,
however, provided ample opportunity for Oswald to prepare the rifle for
his departure the next morning. Only if disassembled could the rifle
fit into the paper bag found near the window[C4-137] from which the
shots were fired. A firearms expert with the FBI assembled the rifle
in 6 minutes using a 10-cent coin as a tool, and he could disassemble
it more rapidly.[C4-138] While the rifle may have already been
disassembled when Oswald arrived home on Thursday, he had ample time
that evening to disassemble the rifle and insert it into the paper bag.

On the day of the assassination, Marina Oswald was watching television
when she learned of the shooting. A short time later Mrs. Paine told
her that someone had shot the President “from the building in which
Lee is working.” Marina Oswald testified that at that time “My heart
dropped. I then went to the garage to see whether the rifle was there
and I saw that the blanket was still there and I said ‘Thank God.’” She
did not unroll the blanket. She saw that it was in its usual position
and it appeared to her to have something inside.[C4-139]

Soon afterward, at about 3 p.m., police officers arrived and searched
the house. Mrs. Paine pointed out that most of the Oswalds’ possessions
were in the garage.[C4-140] With Ruth Paine acting as an interpreter,
Detective Rose asked Marina whether her husband had a rifle. Mrs.
Paine, who had no knowledge of the rifle, first said “No,” but when
the question was translated, Marina Oswald replied “Yes.”[C4-141] She
pointed to the blanket which was on the floor very close to where Ruth
Paine was standing. Mrs. Paine testified:

    As she [Marina] told me about it I stepped onto the blanket
    roll. * * * And she indicated to me that she had peered into
    this roll and saw a portion of what she took to be a gun she
    knew her husband to have, a rifle. And I then translated this
    to the officers that she knew that her husband had a gun that
    he had stored in here. * * * I then stepped off of it and the
    officer picked it up in the middle and it bent so. * * *[C4-142]

Mrs. Paine had the actual blanket before her as she testified and she
indicated that the blanket hung limp in the officer’s hand.[C4-143]
Marina Oswald testified that this was her first knowledge that the
rifle was not in its accustomed place.[C4-144]

The Long and Bulky Package

On the morning of November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald left the Paine
house in Irving at approximately 7:15 a.m., while Marina Oswald was
still in bed.[C4-145] Neither she nor Mrs. Paine saw him leave the
house.[C4-146] About half-a-block away from the Paine house was the
residence of Mrs. Linnie Mae Randle, the sister of the man with whom
Oswald drove to work--Buell Wesley Frazier. Mrs. Randle stated that on
the morning of November 22, while her brother was eating breakfast, she
looked out the breakfast-room window and saw Oswald cross the street
and walk toward the driveway where her brother parked his car near
the carport. He carried a “heavy brown bag.”[C4-147] Oswald gripped
the bag in his right hand near the top. “It tapered like this as he
hugged it in his hand. It was * * * more bulky toward the bottom”
than toward the top.[C4-148] She then opened the kitchen door and
saw Oswald open the right rear door of her brother’s car and place
the package in the back of the car.[C4-149] Mrs. Randle estimated
that the package was approximately 28 inches long and about 8 inches
wide.[C4-150] She thought that its color was similar to that of the
bag found on the sixth floor of the School Book Depository after the

[Illustration: COMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 1304

C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle and paper bag found on the sixth floor
of the Texas School Book Depository.]

Frazier met Oswald at the kitchen door and together they walked to the
car.[C4-152] After entering the car, Frazier glanced over his shoulder
and noticed a brown paper package on the back seat. He asked, “What’s
the package, Lee?” Oswald replied, “curtain rods.”[C4-153] Frazier told
the Commission “* * * the main reason he was going over there that
Thursday afternoon when he was to bring back some curtain rods, so I
didn’t think any more about it when he told me that.”[C4-154] Frazier
estimated that the bag was 2 feet long “give and take a few inches,”
and about 5 or 6 inches wide.[C4-155] As they sat in the car, Frazier
asked Oswald where his lunch was, and Oswald replied that he was going
to buy his lunch that day.[C4-156] Frazier testified that Oswald
carried no lunch bag that day. “When he rode with me, I say he always
brought lunch except that one day on November 22 he didn’t bring his
lunch that day.”[C4-157]

Frazier parked the car in the company parking lot about 2 blocks
north of the Depository Building. Oswald left the car first, picked
up the brown paper bag, and proceeded toward the building ahead of
Frazier. Frazier walked behind and as they crossed the railroad tracks
he watched the switching of the cars. Frazier recalled that one end
of the package was under Oswald’s armpit and the lower part was held
with his right hand so that it was carried straight and parallel
to his body. When Oswald entered the rear door of the Depository
Building, he was about 50 feet ahead of Frazier. It was the first time
that Oswald had not walked with Frazier from the parking lot to the
building entrance.[C4-158] When Frazier entered the building, he did
not see Oswald.[C4-159] One employee, Jack Dougherty, believed that he
saw Oswald coming to work, but he does not remember that Oswald had
anything in his hands as he entered the door.[C4-160] No other employee
has been found who saw Oswald enter that morning.[C4-161]

In deciding whether Oswald carried the assassination weapon in the
bag which Frazier and Mrs. Randle saw, the Commission has carefully
considered the testimony of these two witnesses with regard to the
length of the bag. Frazier and Mrs. Randle testified that the bag which
Oswald was carrying was approximately 27 or 28 inches long,[C4-162]
whereas the wooden stock of the rifle, which is its largest component,
measured 34.8 inches.[C4-163] The bag found on the sixth floor was 38
inches long.[C4-164] (See Commission Exhibit No. 1304, p. 132.) When
Frazier appeared before the Commission and was asked to demonstrate
how Oswald carried the package, he said, “Like I said, I remember
that I didn’t look at the package very much * * * but when I did
look at it he did have his hands on the package like that,”[C4-165]
and at this point Frazier placed the upper part of the package under
his armpit and attempted to cup his right hand beneath the bottom of
the bag. The disassembled rifle was too long to be carried in this
manner. Similarly, when the butt of the rifle was placed in Frazier’s
hand, it extended above his shoulder to ear level.[C4-166] Moreover,
in an interview on December 1, 1963, with agents of the FBI, Frazier
had marked the point on the back seat of his car which he believed
was where the bag reached when it was laid on the seat with one edge
against the door. The distance between the point on the seat and the
door was 27 inches.[C4-167]

Mrs. Randle said, when shown the paper bag, that the bag she saw Oswald
carrying “wasn’t that long, I mean it was folded down at the top as
I told you. It definitely wasn’t that long.”[C4-168] And she folded
the bag to a length of about 28½ inches. Frazier doubted whether the
bag that Oswald carried was as wide as the bag found on the sixth
floor,[C4-169] although Mrs. Randle testified that the width was
approximately the same.[C4-170]

The Commission has weighed the visual recollection of Frazier and
Mrs. Randle against the evidence here presented that the bag Oswald
carried contained the assassination weapon and has concluded that
Frazier and Randle are mistaken as to the length of the bag. Mrs.
Randle saw the bag fleetingly and her first remembrance is that it was
held in Oswald’s right hand “and it almost touched the ground as he
carried it.”[C4-171] Frazier’s view of the bag was from the rear. He
continually advised that he was not paying close attention.[C4-172] For
example, he said,

    * * * I didn’t pay too much attention the way he was walking
    because I was walking along there looking at the railroad cars
    and watching the men on the diesel switch them cars and I
    didn’t pay too much attention on how he carried the package at

Frazier could easily have been mistaken when he stated that Oswald held
the bottom of the bag cupped in his hand with the upper end tucked into
his armpit.

Location of Bag

A handmade bag of wrapping paper and tape[C4-174] was found in the
southeast corner of the sixth floor alongside the window from which the
shots were fired.[C4-175] (See Commission Exhibit No. 2707, p. 142.) It
was not a standard type bag which could be obtained in a store and it
was presumably made for a particular purpose. It was the appropriate
size to contain, in disassembled form, Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano
rifle, serial No. C2766, which was also found on the sixth
floor.[C4-176] Three cartons had been placed at the window apparently
to act as a gun rest and a fourth carton was placed behind those at the
window.[C4-177] (See Commission Exhibit No. 1301, p. 138.) A person
seated on the fourth carton could assemble the rifle without being seen
from the rest of the sixth floor because the cartons stacked around the
southeast corner would shield him.[C4-178] (See Commission Exhibit No.
723, p. 80.) The presence of the bag in this corner is cogent evidence
that it was used as the container for the rifle. At the time the bag
was found, Lieutenant Day of the Dallas police wrote on it, “Found next
to the sixth floor window gun fired from. May have been used to carry
gun. Lt. J. C. Day.”[C4-179]

Scientific Evidence Linking Rifle and Oswald to Paper Bag

_Oswald’s fingerprint and palmprint found on bag._--Using a standard
chemical method involving silver nitrates[C4-180] the FBI Laboratory
developed a latent palmprint and latent fingerprint on the bag.
(See app. X, p. 565.) Sebastian F. Latona, supervisor of the FBI’s
Latent Fingerprint Section, identified these prints as the left index
fingerprint and right palmprint of Lee Harvey Oswald.[C4-181] The
portion of the palm which was identified was the heel of the right
palm, i.e., the area near the wrist, on the little finger side.[C4-182]
These prints were examined independently by Ronald G. Wittmus of the
FBI,[C4-183] and by Arthur Mandella, a fingerprint expert with the New
York City Police Department.[C4-184] Both concluded that the prints
were the right palm and left index finger of Lee Oswald. No other
identifiable prints were found on the bag.[C4-185]

Oswald’s palmprint on the bottom of the paper bag indicated, of course,
that he had handled the bag. Furthermore, it was consistent with the
bag having contained a heavy or bulky object when he handled it since a
light object is usually held by the fingers.[C4-186] The palmprint was
found on the closed end of the bag. It was from Oswald’s right hand, in
which he carried the long package as he walked from Frazier’s car to
the building.[C4-187]

_Materials used to make bag._--On the day of the assassination, the
Dallas police obtained a sample of wrapping paper and tape from the
shipping room of the Depository and forwarded it to the FBI Laboratory
in Washington.[C4-188] James C. Cadigan, a questioned-documents expert
with the Bureau, compared the samples with the paper and tape in the
actual bag. He testified, “In all of the observations and physical
tests that I made I found * * * the bag * * * and the paper sample * *
* were the same.”[C4-189]

Among other tests, the paper and tape were submitted to fiber analysis
and spectrographic examination.[C4-190] In addition the tape was
compared to determine whether the sample tape and the tape on the bag
had been taken from the tape dispensing machine at the Depository.
When asked to explain the similarity of characteristics, Cadigan

    Well, briefly, it would be the thickness of both the paper and
    the tape, the color under various lighting conditions of both
    the paper and the tape, the width of the tape, the knurled
    markings on the surface of the fiber, the texture of the fiber,
    the felting pattern * * *

       *       *       *       *       *

    I found that the paper sack found on the sixth floor * * * and
    the sample * * * had the same observable characteristics both
    under the microscope and all the visual tests that I could

       *       *       *       *       *

    The papers I also found were similar in fiber composition,
    therefore, in addition to the visual characteristics,
    microscopic and UV [ultra violet] characteristics.

Mr. Cadigan concluded that the paper and tape from the bag were
identical in all respects to the sample paper and tape taken from the
Texas School Book Depository shipping room on November 22, 1963.[C4-192]

On December 1, 1963, a replica bag was made from materials found on
that date in the shipping room. This was done as an investigatory aid
since the original bag had been discolored during various laboratory
examinations and could not be used for valid identification by
witnesses.[C4-193] Cadigan found that the paper used to make this
replica sack had different characteristics from the paper in the
original bag.[C4-194] The science of paper analysis enabled him to
distinguish between different rolls of paper even though they were
produced by the same manufacturer.[C4-195]

Since the Depository normally used approximately one roll of paper
every 3 working days,[C4-196] it was not surprising that the replica
sack made on December 1, 1963, had different characteristics from
both the actual bag and the sample taken on November 22. On the other
hand, since two rolls could be made from the same batch of paper, one
cannot estimate when, prior to November 22, Oswald made the paper bag.
However, the complete identity of characteristics between the paper
and tape in the bag found on the sixth floor and the paper and tape
found in the shipping room of the Depository on November 22 enabled
the Commission to conclude that the bag was made from these materials.
The Depository shipping department was on the first floor to which
Oswald had access in the normal performance of his duties filling

_Fibers in paper bag matched fibers in blanket._--When Paul M.
Stombaugh of the FBI Laboratory examined the paper bag, he found,
on the inside, a single brown delustered viscose fiber and several
light green cotton fibers.[C4-198] The blanket in which the rifle was
stored was composed of brown and green cotton, viscose and woolen

The single brown viscose fiber found in the bag matched some
of the brown viscose fibers from the blanket in all observable
characteristics.[C4-200] The green cotton fibers found in the paper
bag matched some of the green cotton fibers in the blanket “in all
observable microscopic characteristics.”[C4-201] Despite these matches,
however, Stombaugh was unable to render an opinion that the fibers
which he found in the bag had probably come from the blanket, because
other types of fibers present in the blanket were not found in the bag.
He concluded:

    All I would say here is that it is possible that these fibers
    could have come from this blanket, because this blanket is
    composed of brown and green woolen fibers, brown and green
    delustered viscose fibers, and brown and green cotton fibers. *
    * * We found no brown cotton fibers, no green viscose fibers,
    and no woolen fibers.

    So if I found all of these then I would have been able to say
    these fibers probably had come from this blanket. But since I
    found so few, then I would say the possibility exists, these
    fibers could have come from this blanket.[C4-202]

Stombaugh confirmed that the rifle could have picked up fibers from the
blanket and transferred them to the paper bag.[C4-203] In light of the
other evidence linking Lee Harvey Oswald, the blanket, and the rifle
to the paper bag found on the sixth floor, the Commission considered
Stombaugh’s testimony of probative value in deciding whether Oswald
carried the rifle into the building in the paper bag.


The preponderance of the evidence supports the conclusion that Lee
Harvey Oswald (1) told the curtain rod story to Frazier to explain both
the return to Irving on a Thursday and the obvious bulk of the package
which he intended to bring to work the next day; (2) took paper and
tape from the wrapping bench of the Depository and fashioned a bag
large enough to carry the disassembled rifle; (3) removed the rifle
from the blanket in the Paines’ garage on Thursday evening; (4) carried
the rifle into the Depository Building, concealed in the bag; and, (5)
left the bag alongside the window from which the shots were fired.


Lee Harvey Oswald was hired on October 15, 1963, by the Texas School
Book Depository as an “order filler.”[C4-204] He worked principally
on the first and sixth floors of the building, gathering books listed
on orders and delivering them to the shipping room on the first
floor.[C4-205] He had ready access to the sixth floor,[C4-206] from
the southeast corner window of which the shots were fired.[C4-207]
The Commission evaluated the physical evidence found near the window
after the assassination and the testimony of eyewitnesses in deciding
whether Lee Harvey Oswald was present at this window at the time of the

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 1301


[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 1302


Palmprints and Fingerprints on Cartons and Paper Bag

Below the southeast corner window on the sixth floor was a large carton
of books measuring approximately 18 by 12 by 14 inches which had been
moved from a stack along the south wall.[C4-208] Atop this carton was
a small carton marked “Rolling Readers,” measuring approximately 13
by 9 by 8 inches.[C4-209] In front of this small carton and resting
partially on the windowsill was another small “Rolling Readers”
carton.[C4-210] These two small cartons had been moved from a stack
about three aisles away.[C4-211] The boxes in the window appeared to
have been arranged as a convenient gun rest.[C4-212] (See Commission
Exhibit No. 1301, p. 138.) Behind these boxes was another carton placed
on the floor on which a man sitting could look southwesterly down Elm
Street over the top of the “Rolling Readers” cartons.[C4-213] Next to
these cartons was the handmade paper bag, previously discussed, on
which appeared the print of the left index finger and right palm of Lee
Harvey Oswald.[C4-214] (See Commission Exhibit No. 1302, p. 139.)

The cartons were forwarded to the FBI in Washington. Sebastian F.
Latona, supervisor of the Latent Fingerprint Section, testified that
20 identifiable fingerprints and 8 palmprints were developed on these
cartons.[C4-215] The carton on the windowsill and the large carton
below the window contained no prints which could be identified as being
those of Lee Harvey Oswald.[C4-216] The other “Rolling Readers” carton,
however, contained a palmprint and a fingerprint which were identified
by Latona as being the left palmprint and right index fingerprint of
Lee Harvey Oswald.[C4-217] (See app. X, p. 566.)

The Commission has considered the possibility that the cartons might
have been moved in connection with the work that was being performed
on the sixth floor on November 22. Depository employees were laying
a new floor at the west end and transferring books from the west to
the east end of the building.[C4-218] The “Rolling Readers” cartons,
however, had not been moved by the floor layers and had apparently been
taken to the window from their regular position for some particular
purpose.[C4-219] The “Rolling Readers” boxes contained, instead of
books, light blocks used as reading aids.[C4-220] They could be easily
adjusted and were still solid enough to serve as a gun rest.

The box on the floor, behind the three near the window, had been
one of these moved by the floor layers from the west wall to near
the east side of the building in preparation for the laying of the
floor.[C4-221] During the afternoon of November 22, Lieutenant Day
of the Dallas police dusted this carton with powder and developed
a palmprint on the top edge of the carton on the side nearest the
window.[C4-222] The position of this palmprint on the carton was
parallel with the long axis of the box, and at right angles with the
short axis; the bottom of the palm rested on the box.[C4-223] Someone
sitting on the box facing the window would have his palm in this
position if he placed his hand alongside his right hip. (See Commission
Exhibit No. 1302, p. 139.) This print which had been cut out of the
box was also forwarded to the FBI and Latona identified it as Oswald’s
right palmprint.[C4-224] In Latona’s opinion “not too long” a time
had elapsed between the time that the print was placed on the carton
and the time that it had been developed by the Dallas police.[C4-225]
Although Bureau experiments had shown that 24 hours was a likely
maximum time, Latona stated that he could only testify with certainty
that the print was less than 3 days old.[C4-226]

The print, therefore, could have been placed on the carton at any time
within this period. The freshness of this print could be estimated
only because the Dallas police developed it through the use of powder.
Since cartons absorb perspiration, powder can successfully develop a
print on such material[C4-227] only within a limited time. When the FBI
in Washington received the cartons, the remaining prints, including
Oswald’s on the Rolling Readers carton, were developed by chemical
processes. The freshness of prints developed in this manner[C4-228]
cannot be estimated, so no conclusions can be drawn as to whether these
remaining prints preceded or followed the print developed in Dallas
by powder. Most of the prints were found to have been placed on the
cartons by an FBI clerk and a Dallas police officer after the cartons
had been processed with powder by the Dallas Police.[C4-229] (See ch.
VI, p. 249; app. X, p. 566.)

In his independent investigation, Arthur Mandella of the New York
City Police Department reached the same conclusion as Latona that the
prints found on the cartons were those of Lee Harvey Oswald.[C4-229]
In addition, Mandella was of the opinion that the print taken from the
carton on the floor was probably made within a day or a day and a half
of the examination on November 22.[C4-230] Moreover, another expert
with the FBI, Ronald G. Wittmus, conducted a separate examination and
also agreed with Latona that the prints were Oswald’s.[C4-231]

In evaluating the significance of these fingerprint and palmprint
identifications, the Commission considered the possibility that Oswald
handled these cartons as part of his normal duties. Since other
identifiable prints were developed on the cartons, the Commission
requested that they be compared with the prints of the 12 warehouse
employees who, like Oswald, might have handled the cartons. They were
also compared with the prints of those law enforcement officials who
might have handled the cartons. The results of this investigation are
fully discussed in chapter VI, page 249. Although a person could handle
a carton and not leave identifiable prints, none of these employees
except Oswald left identifiable prints on the cartons.[C4-232] This
finding, in addition to the freshness of one of the prints and the
presence of Oswald’s prints on two of the four cartons and the
paper bag led the Commission to attach some probative value to the
fingerprint and palmprint identifications in reaching the conclusion
that Oswald was at the window from which the shots were fired, although
the prints do not establish the exact time he was there.

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2707


Oswald’s Presence on Sixth Floor Approximately 35 Minutes Before the

Additional testimony linking Oswald with the point from which the
shots were fired was provided by the testimony of Charles Givens, who
was the last known employee to see Oswald inside the building prior
to the assassination. During the morning of November 22, Givens was
working with the floor-laying crew in the southwest section of the
sixth floor.[C4-233] At about 11:45 a.m. the floor-laying crew used
both elevators to come down from the sixth floor. The employees raced
the elevators to the first floor.[C4-234] Givens saw Oswald standing
at the gate on the fifth floor as the elevator went by.[C4-235] Givens
testified that after reaching the first floor, “I discovered I left
my cigarettes in my jacket pocket upstairs, and I took the elevator
back upstairs to get my jacket with my cigarettes in it.”[C4-236] He
saw Oswald, a clipboard in hand, walking from the southeast corner
of the sixth floor toward the elevator.[C4-237] (See Commission
Exhibit No. 2707, p. 142.) Givens said to Oswald, “Boy are you going
downstairs? * * * It’s near lunch time.” Oswald said, “No, sir. When
you get downstairs, close the gate to the elevator.”[C4-238] Oswald was
referring to the west elevator which operates by pushbutton and only
with the gate closed.[C4-239] Givens said, “Okay,” and rode down in the
east elevator. When he reached the first floor, the west elevator--the
one with the gate--was not there. Givens thought this was about 11:55
a.m.[C4-240] None of the Depository employees is known to have seen
Oswald again until after the shooting.[C4-241]

The significance of Givens’ observation that Oswald was carrying his
clipboard became apparent on December 2, 1963, when an employee,
Frankie Kaiser, found a clipboard hidden by book cartons in the
northwest corner of the sixth floor at the west wall a few feet from
where the rifle had been found.[C4-242] This clipboard had been made
by Kaiser and had his name on it.[C4-243] Kaiser identified it as the
clipboard which Oswald had appropriated from him when Oswald came to
work at the Depository.[C4-244] Three invoices on this clipboard,
each dated November 22, were for Scott-Foresman books, located on the
first and sixth floors.[C4-245] Oswald had not filled any of the three

Eyewitness Identification of Assassin

Howard L. Brennan was an eyewitness to the shooting. As indicated
previously the Commission considered his testimony as probative in
reaching the conclusion that the shots came from the sixth floor,
southeast corner window of the Depository Building.[C4-247] (See ch.
III, pp. 61-68.) Brennan also testified that Lee Harvey Oswald, whom
he viewed in a police lineup on the night of the assassination, was
the man he saw fire the shots from the sixth-floor window of the
Depository Building.[C4-248] When the shots were fired, Brennan was in
an excellent position to observe anyone in the window. He was sitting
on a concrete wall on the southwest corner of Elm and Houston Streets,
looking north at the Depository Building which was directly in front of
him.[C4-249] The window was approximately 120 feet away.[C4-250](See
Commission Exhibit No. 477, p. 62.)

In the 6- to 8-minute period before the motorcade arrived,[C4-251]
Brennan saw a man leave and return to the window “a couple of
times.”[C4-252] After hearing the first shot, which he thought was a
motorcycle backfire, Brennan glanced up at the window. He testified
that “this man I saw previously was aiming for his last shot * * *
as it appeared to me he was standing up and resting against the left
window sill * * *.”[C4-253]

Brennan saw the man fire the last shot and disappear from the window.
Within minutes of the assassination, Brennan described the man to the
police.[C4-254] This description most probably led to the radio alert
sent to police cars at approximately 12:45 p.m., which described the
suspect as white, slender, weighing about 165 pounds, about 5’10” tall,
and in his early thirties.[C4-255] In his sworn statement to the police
later that day, Brennan described the man in similar terms, except
that he gave the weight as between 165 and 175 pounds and the height
was omitted.[C4-256] In his testimony before the Commission, Brennan
described the person he saw as “* * * a man in his early thirties,
fair complexion, slender, but neat, neat slender, possible 5 foot 10 *
* * 160 to 170 pounds.”[C4-257] Oswald was 5’9”, slender and 24 years
old. When arrested, he gave his weight as 140 pounds.[C4-258] On other
occasions he gave weights of both 140 and 150 pounds.[C4-259] The New
Orleans police records of his arrest in August of 1963 show a weight of
136 pounds.[C4-260] The autopsy report indicated an estimated weight of
150 pounds.[C4-261]

Brennan’s description should also be compared with the eyewitness
description broadcast over the Dallas police radio at 1:22 p.m. of the
man who shot Patrolman J. D. Tippit. The suspect was described as “a
white male about 30, 5’8”, black hair, slender. * * *”[C4-262] At 1:29
p.m. the police radio reported that the description of the suspect in
the Tippit shooting was similar to the description which had been given
by Brennan in connection with the assassination.[C4-263] Approximately
7 or 8 minutes later the police radio reported that “an eyeball
witness” described the suspect in the Tippit shooting as “a white male,
27, 5’11”, 165 pounds, black wavy hair.”[C4-264] As will be discussed
fully below, the Commission has concluded that this suspect was Lee
Harvey Oswald.

Although Brennan testified that the man in the window was standing
when he fired the shots,[C4-265] most probably he was either sitting
or kneeling. The half-open window,[C4-266] the arrangement of the
boxes,[C4-267] and the angle of the shots virtually preclude a standing
position.[C4-268] It is understandable, however, for Brennan to have
believed that the man with the rifle was standing. A photograph
of the building taken seconds after the assassination shows three
employees looking out of the fifth-floor window directly below the
window from which the shots were fired. Brennan testified that
they were standing,[C4-269] which is their apparent position in the
photograph.[C4-270] (See Dillard Exhibits Nos. C and D. pp. 66-67.) But
the testimony of these employees,[C4-271] together with photographs
subsequently taken of them at the scene of the assassination,[C4-272]
establishes that they were either squatting or kneeling. (See
Commission Exhibit No. 485, p. 69.) Since the window ledges in the
Depository Building are lower than in most buildings,[C4-273] a person
squatting or kneeling exposes more of his body than would normally be
the case. From the street, this creates the impression that the person
is standing. Brennan could have seen enough of the body of a kneeling
or squatting person to estimate his height.

Shortly after the assassination Brennan noticed two of these employees
leaving the building and immediately identified them as having been
in the fifth-floor windows.[C4-274] When the three employees appeared
before the Commission, Brennan identified the two whom he saw leave the
building.[C4-275] The two men, Harold Norman and James Jarman, Jr.,
each confirmed that when they came out of the building, they saw and
heard Brennan describing what he had seen.[C4-276] Norman stated, “*
* * I remember him talking and I believe I remember seeing him saying
that he saw us when we first went up to the fifth-floor window, he saw
us then.”[C4-277] Jarman heard Brennan “talking to this officer about
that he had heard these shots and he had seen the barrel of the gun
sticking out the window, and he said that the shots came from inside
the building.”[C4-278]

During the evening of November 22, Brennan identified Oswald as
the person in the lineup who bore the closest resemblance to the
man in the window but he said he was unable to make a positive
identification.[C4-279] Prior to the lineup, Brennan had seen Oswald’s
picture on television and he told the Commission that whether this
affected his identification “is something I do not know.”[C4-280] In
an interview with FBI agents on December 17, 1963, Brennan stated
that he was sure that the person firing the rifle was Oswald.[C4-281]
In another interview with FBI agents on January 7, 1964, Brennan
appeared to revert to his earlier inability to make a positive
identification,[C4-282] but, in his testimony before the Commission,
Brennan stated that his remarks of January 7 were intended by him
merely as an accurate report of what he said on November 22.[C4-283]

Brennan told the Commission that he could have made a positive
identification in the lineup on November 22 but did not do so because
he felt that the assassination was “a Communist activity, and I felt
like there hadn’t been more than one eyewitness, and if it got to be a
known fact that I was an eyewitness, my family or I, either one, might
not be safe.”[C4-284] When specifically asked before the Commission
whether or not he could positively identify the man he saw in the
sixth-floor window as the same man he saw in the police station,
Brennan stated, “I could at that time--I could, with all sincerity,
identify him as being the same man.”[C4-285]

Although the record indicates that Brennan was an accurate observer,
he declined to make a positive identification of Oswald when he first
saw him in the police lineup.[C4-286] The Commission, therefore, does
not base its conclusion concerning the identity of the assassin on
Brennan’s subsequent certain identification of Lee Harvey Oswald as
the man he saw fire the rifle. Immediately after the assassination,
however, Brennan described to the police the man he saw in the window
and then identified Oswald as the person who most nearly resembled the
man he saw. The Commission is satisfied that, at the least, Brennan saw
a man in the window who closely resembled Lee Harvey Oswald, and that
Brennan believes the man he saw was in fact Lee Harvey Oswald.

Two other witnesses were able to offer partial descriptions of a
man they saw in the southeast corner window of the sixth floor
approximately 1 minute before the assassination, although neither
witness saw the shots being fired.[C4-287] Ronald Fischer and Robert
Edwards were standing on the curb at the southwest corner of Elm and
Houston Streets,[C4-288] the same corner where Brennan was sitting on
a concrete wall.[C4-289] Fischer testified that about 10 or 15 seconds
before the motorcade turned onto Houston Street from Main Street,
Edwards said, “Look at that guy there in that window.”[C4-290]

Fischer looked up and watched the man in the window for 10 or 15
seconds and then started watching the motorcade, which came into view
on Houston Street.[C4-291] He said that the man held his attention
until the motorcade came because the man:

    * * * appeared uncomfortable for one, and secondly, he wasn’t
    watching * * * he didn’t look like he was watching for the
    parade. He looked like he was looking down toward the Trinity
    River and the Triple Underpass down at the end--toward the end
    of Elm Street. And * * * all the time I watched him, he never
    moved his head, he never--he never moved anything. Just was
    there transfixed.[C4-292]

Fischer placed the man in the easternmost window on the south side of
the Depository Building on either the fifth or the sixth floor.[C4-293]
He said that he could see the man from the middle of his chest to the
top of his head, and that as he was facing the window the man was in
the lower right-hand portion of the window and “seemed to be sitting
a little forward.”[C4-294] The man was dressed in a light-colored,
open-neck shirt which could have been either a sports shirt or a
T-shirt, and he had brown hair, a slender face and neck with light
complexion, and looked to be 22 or 24 years old.[C4-295] The person
in the window was a white man and “looked to me like he was looking
straight at the Triple Underpass” down Elm Street.[C4-296] Boxes and
cases were stacked behind him.[C4-297]

Approximately 1 week after the assassination, according to Fischer,
policemen showed him a picture of Oswald.[C4-298] In his testimony
he said, “I told them that that could have been the man. * * * That
that could have been the man that I saw in the window in the School
Book Depository Building, but that I was not sure.”[C4-299] Fischer
described the man’s hair as some shade of brown--“it wasn’t dark and it
wasn’t light.”[C4-300] On November 22, Fischer had apparently described
the man as “light-headed.”[C4-301] Fischer explained that he did not
mean by the earlier statement that the man was blond, but rather that
his hair was not black.[C4-302]

Robert Edwards said that, while looking at the south side of the
Depository Building shortly before the motorcade, he saw nothing of
importance “except maybe one individual who was up there in the corner
room of the sixth floor which was crowded in among boxes.”[C4-303] He
said that this was a white man about average in size, “possibly thin,”
and that he thought the man had light-brown hair.[C4-304] Fischer and
Edwards did not see the man clearly enough or long enough to identify
him. Their testimony is of probative value, however, because their
limited description is consistent with that of the man who has been
found by the Commission, based on other evidence, to have fired the
shots from the window.

Another person who saw the assassin as the shots were fired was Amos L.
Euins, age 15, who was one of the first witnesses to alert the police
to the Depository as the source of the shots, as has been discussed in
chapter III.[C4-305] Euins, who was on the southwest corner of Elm and
Houston Streets,[C4-306] testified that he could not describe the man
he saw in the window. According to Euins, however, as the man lowered
his head in order to aim the rifle down Elm Street, he appeared to have
a white bald spot on his head.[C4-307] Shortly after the assassination,
Euins signed an affidavit describing the man as “white,”[C4-308] but
a radio reporter testified that Euins described the man to him as
“colored.”[C4-309] In his Commission testimony, Euins stated that
he could not ascertain the man’s race and that the statement in the
affidavit was intended to refer only to the white spot on the man’s
head and not to his race.[C4-310] A Secret Service agent who spoke to
Euins approximately 20 to 30 minutes after the assassination confirmed
that Euins could neither describe the man in the window nor indicate
his race.[C4-311] Accordingly, Euins’ testimony is considered probative
as to the source of the shots but is inconclusive as to the identity of
the man in the window.

In evaluating the evidence that Oswald was at the southeast corner
window of the sixth floor at the time of the shooting, the Commission
has considered the allegation that Oswald was photographed standing in
front of the building when the shots were fired. The picture which gave
rise to these allegations was taken by Associated Press Photographer
James W. Altgens, who was standing on the south side of Elm Street
between the Triple Underpass and the Depository Building.[C4-312] As
the motorcade started its descent down Elm Street, Altgens snapped
a picture of the Presidential limousine with the entrance to the
Depository Building in the background.[C4-313] Just before snapping
the picture Altgens heard a noise which sounded like the popping of
a firecracker. Investigation has established that Altgens’ picture
was taken approximately 2 seconds after the firing of the shot which
entered the back of the President’s neck.[C4-314]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 1061


In the background of this picture were several employees watching
the parade from the steps of the Depository Building. One of these
employees was alleged to resemble Lee Harvey Oswald.[C4-315] The
Commission has determined that the employee was in fact Billy
Nolan Lovelady, who identified himself in the picture.[C4-316]
Standing alongside him were Buell Wesley Frazier[C4-317] and William
Shelley,[C4-318] who also identified Lovelady. The Commission is
satisfied that Oswald does not appear in this photograph. (See
Commission Exhibit No. 900, p. 113.)

Oswald’s Actions in Building After Assassination

In considering whether Oswald was at the southeast corner window at the
time the shots were fired, the Commission has reviewed the testimony
of witnesses who saw Oswald in the building within minutes after the
assassination. The Commission has found that Oswald’s movements, as
described by these witnesses, are consistent with his having been at
the window at 12:30 p.m.

_The encounter in the lunchroom._--The first person to see Oswald
after the assassination was Patrolman M. L. Baker of the Dallas Police
Department. Baker was riding a two-wheeled motorcycle behind the last
press car of the motorcade.[C4-319] As he turned the corner from Main
onto Houston at a speed of about 5 to 10 miles per hour,[C4-320] a
strong wind blowing from the north almost unseated him.[C4-321] At
about this time he heard the first shot.[C4-322] Having recently
heard the sounds of rifles while on a hunting trip, Baker recognized
the shots as that of a high-powered rifle; “it sounded high and I
immediately kind of looked up, and I had a feeling that it came from
the building, either right in front of me [the Depository Building]
or of the one across to the right of it.”[C4-323] He saw pigeons
flutter upward. He was not certain, “but I am pretty sure they came
from the building right on the northwest corner.”[C4-324] He heard two
more shots spaced “pretty well even to me.”[C4-325] After the third
shot, he “revved that motorcycle up,” drove to the northwest corner
of Elm and Houston, and parked approximately 10 feet from the traffic
signal.[C4-326] As he was parking he noted that people were “falling,
and they were rolling around down there * * * grabbing their children”
and rushing about.[C4-327] A woman screamed, “Oh, they have shot that
man, they have shot that man.”[C4-328] Baker “had it in mind that the
shots came from the top of this building here,” so he ran straight to
the entrance of the Depository Building.[C4-329]

Baker testified that he entered the lobby of the building and “spoke
out and asked where the stairs or elevator was * * * and this man,
Mr. Truly, spoke up and says, it seems to me like he says, ‘I am a
building manager. Follow me, officer, and I will show you.’”[C4-330]
Baker and building superintendent Roy Truly went through a second set
of doors[C4-331] and stopped at a swinging door where Baker bumped into
Truly’s back.[C4-332] They went through the swinging door and continued
at “a good trot” to the northwest corner of the floor where Truly hoped
to find one of the two freight elevators. (See Commission Exhibit No.
1061, p. 148.) Neither elevator was there.[C4-333] Truly pushed the
button for the west elevator which operates automatically if the gate
is closed.[C4-334] He shouted twice, “Turn loose the elevator.”[C4-335]
When the elevator failed to come, Baker said, “let’s take the stairs,”
and he followed Truly up the stairway, which is to the west of the

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 1118


The stairway is located in the northwest corner of the Depository
Building. The stairs from one floor to the next are “=L=-shaped,”
with both legs of the “=L=” approximately the same length. Because
the stairway itself is enclosed, neither Baker nor Truly could see
anything on the second-floor hallway until they reached the landing at
the top of the stairs.[C4-337] On the second-floor landing there is a
small open area with a door at the east end. This door leads into a
small vestibule, and another door leads from the vestibule into the
second-floor lunchroom.[C4-338] (See Commission Exhibit No. 1118, p.
150.) The lunchroom door is usually open, but the first door is kept
shut by a closing mechanism on the door.[C4-339] This vestibule door
is solid except for a small glass window in the upper part of the
door.[C4-340] As Baker reached the second floor, he was about 20 feet
from the vestibule door.[C4-341] He intended to continue around to his
left toward the stairway going up but through the window in the door he
caught a fleeting glimpse of a man walking in the vestibule toward the

Since the vestibule door is only a few feet from the lunchroom
door,[C4-343] the man must have entered the vestibule only a second
or two before Baker arrived at the top of the stairwell. Yet he must
have entered the vestibule door before Truly reached the top of the
stairwell, since Truly did not see him.[C4-344] If the man had passed
from the vestibule into the lunchroom, Baker could not have seen him.
Baker said:

    He [Truly] had already started around the bend to come to the
    next elevator going up, I was coming out this one on the second
    floor, and I don’t know, I was kind of sweeping this area as I
    come up, I was looking from right to left and as I got to this
    door here I caught a glimpse of this man, just, you know, a
    sudden glimpse * * * and it looked to me like he was going away
    from me. * * *

    I can’t say whether he had gone on through that door [the
    lunchroom door] or not. All I did was catch a glance at him,
    and evidently he was--this door might have been, you know,
    closing and almost shut at that time.[C4-345]

With his revolver drawn, Baker opened the vestibule door and ran into
the vestibule. He saw a man walking away from him in the lunchroom.
Baker stopped at the door of the lunchroom and commanded, “Come
here.”[C4-346] The man turned and walked back toward Baker.[C4-347] He
had been proceeding toward the rear of the lunchroom.[C4-348] Along a
side wall of the lunchroom was a soft drink vending machine,[C4-349]
but at that time the man had nothing in his hands.[C4-350]

Meanwhile, Truly had run up several steps toward the third floor.
Missing Baker, he came back to find the officer in the doorway to the
lunchroom “facing Lee Harvey Oswald.”[C4-351] Baker turned to Truly
and said, “Do you know this man, does he work here?”[C4-352] Truly
replied, “Yes.”[C4-353] Baker stated later that the man did not seem to
be out of breath; he seemed calm. “He never did say a word or nothing.
In fact, he didn’t change his expression one bit.”[C4-354] Truly said
of Oswald: “He didn’t seem to be excited or overly afraid or anything.
He might have been a bit startled, like I might have been if somebody
confronted me. But I cannot recall any change in expression of any kind
on his face.”[C4-355] Truly thought that the officer’s gun at that time
appeared to be almost touching the middle portion of Oswald’s body.
Truly also noted at this time that Oswald’s hands were empty.[C4-356]

In an effort to determine whether Oswald could have descended to the
lunchroom from the sixth floor by the time Baker and Truly arrived,
Commission counsel asked Baker and Truly to repeat their movements from
the time of the shot until Baker came upon Oswald in the lunchroom.
Baker placed himself on a motorcycle about 200 feet from the corner
of Elm and Houston Streets where he said he heard the shots.[C4-357]
Truly stood in front of the building.[C4-358] At a given signal, they
reenacted the event. Baker’s movements were timed with a stopwatch. On
the first test, the elapsed time between the simulated first shot and
Baker’s arrival on the second-floor stair landing was 1 minute and 30
seconds. The second test run required 1 minute and 15 seconds.[C4-359]

A test was also conducted to determine the time required to walk from
the southeast corner of the sixth floor to the second-floor lunchroom
by stairway. Special Agent John Howlett of the Secret Service carried
a rifle from the southeast corner of the sixth floor along the east
aisle to the northeast corner. He placed the rifle on the floor near
the site where Oswald’s rifle was actually found after the shooting.
Then Howlett walked down the stairway to the second-floor landing and
entered the lunchroom. The first test, run at normal walking pace,
required 1 minute, 18 seconds;[C4-360] the second test, at a “fast
walk” took 1 minute, 14 seconds.[C4-361] The second test followed
immediately after the first. The only interval was the time necessary
to ride in the elevator from the second to the sixth floor and walk
back to the southeast corner. Howlett was not short winded at the end
of either test run.[C4-362]

The minimum time required by Baker to park his motorcycle and reach
the second-floor lunchroom was within 3 seconds of the time needed to
walk from the southeast corner of the sixth floor down the stairway to
the lunchroom. The time actually required for Baker and Truly to reach
the second floor on November 22 was probably longer than in the test
runs. For example, Baker required 15 seconds after the simulated shot
to ride his motorcycle 180 to 200 feet, park it, and run 45 feet to the
building.[C4-363] No allowance was made for the special conditions
which existed on the day of the assassination--possible delayed
reaction to the shot, jostling with the crowd of people on the steps
and scanning the area along Elm Street and the parkway.[C4-364] Baker
said, “We simulated the shots and by the time we got there, we did
everything that I did that day, and this would be the minimum, because
I am sure that I, you know, it took me a little longer.”[C4-365] On
the basis of this time test, therefore, the Commission concluded that
Oswald could have fired the shots and still have been present in the
second-floor lunchroom when seen by Baker and Truly.

That Oswald descended by stairway from the sixth floor to the
second-floor lunchroom is consistent with the movements of the two
elevators, which would have provided the other possible means of
descent. When Truly, accompanied by Baker, ran to the rear of the
first floor, he was certain that both elevators, which occupy the same
shaft,[C4-366] were on the fifth floor.[C4-367] Baker, not realizing
that there were two elevators, thought that only one elevator was
in the shaft and that it was two or three floors above the second
floor.[C4-368] In the few seconds which elapsed while Baker and Truly
ran from the first to the second floor, neither of these slow elevators
could have descended from the fifth to the second floor. Furthermore,
no elevator was at the second floor when they arrived there.[C4-369]
Truly and Baker continued up the stairs after the encounter with Oswald
in the lunchroom. There was no elevator on the third or fourth floor.
The east elevator was on the fifth floor when they arrived; the west
elevator was not. They took the east elevator to the seventh floor
and ran up a stairway to the roof where they searched for several

Jack Dougherty, an employee working on the fifth floor, testified
that he took the west elevator to the first floor after hearing a
noise which sounded like a backfire.[C4-371] Eddie Piper, the janitor,
told Dougherty that the President had been shot,[C4-372] but in his
testimony Piper did not mention either seeing or talking with Dougherty
during these moments of excitement.[C4-373] Both Dougherty and Piper
were confused witnesses. They had no exact memory of the events of that
afternoon. Truly was probably correct in stating that the west elevator
was on the fifth floor when he looked up the elevator shaft from the
first floor. The west elevator was not on the fifth floor when Baker
and Truly reached that floor, probably because Jack Dougherty took it
to the first floor while Baker and Truly were running up the stairs or
in the lunchroom with Oswald. Neither elevator could have been used by
Oswald as a means of descent.

Oswald’s use of the stairway is consistent with the testimony of other
employees in the building. Three employees--James Jarman, Jr., Harold
Norman, and Bonnie Ray Williams--were watching the parade from the
fifth floor, directly below the window from which the shots were fired.
They rushed to the west windows after the shots were fired and remained
there until after they saw Patrolman Baker’s white helmet on the fifth
floor moving toward the elevator.[C4-374] While they were at the west
windows their view of the stairwell was completely blocked by shelves
and boxes.[C4-375] This is the period during which Oswald would have
descended the stairs. In all likelihood Dougherty took the elevator
down from the fifth floor after Jarman, Norman, and Williams ran to the
west windows and were deciding what to do. None of these three men saw
Dougherty, probably because of the anxiety of the moment and because
of the books which may have blocked the view.[C4-376] Neither Jarman,
Norman, Williams, or Dougherty saw Oswald.[C4-377]

Victoria Adams, who worked on the fourth floor of the Depository
Building, claimed that within about 1 minute following the shots she
ran from a window on the south side of the fourth floor,[C4-378]
down the rear stairs to the first floor, where she encountered two
Depository employees--William Shelley and Billy Lovelady.[C4-379] If
her estimate of time is correct, she reached the bottom of the stairs
before Truly and Baker started up, and she must have run down the
stairs ahead of Oswald and would probably have seen or heard him.
Actually she noticed no one on the back stairs. If she descended from
the fourth to the first floor as fast as she claimed in her testimony,
she would have seen Baker or Truly on the first floor or on the stairs,
unless they were already in the second-floor lunchroom talking to
Oswald. When she reached the first floor, she actually saw Shelley and
Lovelady slightly east of the east elevator.

Shelley and Lovelady, however, have testified that they were watching
the parade from the top step of the building entrance when Gloria
Calverly, who works in the Depository Building, ran up and said that
the President had been shot.[C4-380] Lovelady and Shelley moved
out into the street.[C4-381] About this time Shelley saw Truly and
Patrolman Baker go into the building.[C4-382] Shelley and Lovelady, at
a fast walk or trot, turned west into the railroad yards and then to
the west side of the Depository Building. They reentered the building
by the rear door several minutes after Baker and Truly rushed through
the front entrance.[C4-383] On entering, Lovelady saw a girl on the
first floor who he believes was Victoria Adams.[C4-384] If Miss Adams
accurately recalled meeting Shelley and Lovelady when she reached the
bottom of the stairs, then her estimate of the time when she descended
from the fourth floor is incorrect, and she actually came down the
stairs several minutes after Oswald and after Truly and Baker as well.

_Oswald’s departure from building._--Within a minute after Baker
and Truly left Oswald in the lunchroom, Mrs. R. A. Reid, clerical
supervisor for the Texas School Book Depository, saw him walk through
the clerical office on the second floor toward the door leading to the
front stairway. Mrs. Reid had watched the parade from the sidewalk in
front of the building with Truly and Mr. O. V. Campbell, vice president
of the Depository.[C4-385] She testified that she heard three shots
which she thought came from the building.[C4-386] She ran inside and
up the front stairs into the large open office reserved for clerical
employees. As she approached her desk, she saw Oswald.[C4-387] He
was walking into the office from the back hallway, carrying a full
bottle of Coca-Cola in his hand,[C4-388] presumably purchased after
the encounter with Baker and Truly. As Oswald passed Mrs. Reid she
said, “Oh, the President has been shot, but maybe they didn’t hit
him.”[C4-389] Oswald mumbled something and walked by.[C4-390] She
paid no more attention to him. The only exit from the office in
the direction Oswald was moving was through the door to the front
stairway.[C4-391] (See Commission Exhibit 1118, p. 150.) Mrs. Reid
testified that when she saw Oswald, he was wearing a T-shirt and no
jacket.[C4-392] When he left home that morning, Marina Oswald, who
was still in bed, suggested that he wear a jacket.[C4-393] A blue
jacket, later identified by Marina Oswald as her husband’s,[C4-394] was
subsequently found in the building,[C4-395] apparently left behind by

Mrs. Reid believes that she returned to her desk from the street about
2 minutes after the shooting.[C4-396] Reconstructing her movements,
Mrs. Reid ran the distance three times and was timed in 2 minutes by
stopwatch.[C4-397] The reconstruction was the minimum time.[C4-398]
Accordingly, she probably met Oswald at about 12:32, approximately
30-45 seconds after Oswald’s lunchroom encounter with Baker and Truly.
After leaving Mrs. Reid in the front office, Oswald could have gone
down the stairs and out the front door by 12:33 p.m.[C4-399]--3 minutes
after the shooting. At that time the building had not yet been sealed
off by the police.

While it was difficult to determine exactly when the police sealed off
the building, the earliest estimates would still have permitted Oswald
to leave the building by 12:33. One of the police officers assigned to
the corner of Elm and Houston Streets for the Presidential motorcade,
W.E. Barnett, testified that immediately after the shots he went to
the rear of the building to check the fire escape. He then returned to
the corner of Elm and Houston where he met a sergeant who instructed
him to find out the name of the building. Barnett ran to the building,
noted its name, and then returned to the corner.[C4-400] There he was
met by a construction worker--in all likelihood Howard Brennan, who
was wearing his work helmet.[C4-401] This worker told Barnett that
the shots had been fired from a window in the Depository Building,
whereupon Barnett posted himself at the front door to make certain that
no one left the building. The sergeant did the same thing at the rear
of the building.[C4-402] Barnett estimated that approximately 3 minutes
elapsed between the time he heard the last of the shots and the time
he started guarding the front door. According to Barnett, “there were
people going in and out” during this period.[C4-403]

Sgt. D. V. Harkness of the Dallas police said that to his knowledge
the building was not sealed off at 12:36 p.m. when he called in on
police radio that a witness (Amos Euins) had seen shots fired from a
window of the building.[C4-404] At that time, Inspector Herbert V.
Sawyer’s car was parked in front of the building.[C4-405] Harkness did
not know whether or not two officers with Sawyer were guarding the
doors.[C4-406] At 12:34 p.m. Sawyer heard a call over the police radio
that the shots had come from the Depository Building.[C4-407] He then
entered the building and took the front passenger elevator as far as
it would go--the fourth floor.[C4-408] After inspecting this floor,
Sawyer returned to the street about 3 minutes after he entered the
building.[C4-409] After he returned to the street he directed Sergeant
Harkness to station two patrolmen at the front door and not let anyone
in or out; he also directed that the back door be sealed off.[C4-410]
This was no earlier than 12:37 p.m.[C4-411] and may have been later.
Special Agent Forrest V. Sorrels of the Secret Service, who had been
in the motorcade, testified that after driving to Parkland Hospital,
he returned to the Depository Building about 20 minutes after the
shooting, found no police officers at the rear door and was able to
enter through this door without identifying himself.[C4-412]

Although Oswald probably left the building at about 12:33 p.m., his
absence was not noticed until at least one-half hour later. Truly,
who had returned with Patrolman Baker from the roof, saw the police
questioning the warehouse employees. Approximately 15 men worked in the
warehouse[C4-413] and Truly noticed that Oswald was not among those
being questioned.[C4-414] Satisfying himself that Oswald was missing,
Truly obtained Oswald’s address, phone number, and description from
his employment application card. The address listed was for the Paine
home in Irving. Truly gave this information to Captain Fritz who was on
the sixth floor at the time[C4-415]. Truly estimated that he gave this
information to Fritz about 15 or 20 minutes after the shots,[C4-416]
but it was probably no earlier than 1:22 p.m., the time when the rifle
was found. Fritz believed that he learned of Oswald’s absence after
the rifle was found.[C4-417] The fact that Truly found Fritz in the
northwest corner of the floor, near the point where the rifle was
found, supports Fritz’ recollection.


Fingerprint and palmprint evidence establishes that Oswald handled
two of the four cartons next to the window and also handled a paper
bag which was found near the cartons. Oswald was seen in the vicinity
of the southeast corner of the sixth floor approximately 35 minutes
before the assassination and no one could be found who saw Oswald
anywhere else in the building until after the shooting. An eyewitness
to the shooting immediately provided a description of the man in the
window which was similar to Oswald’s actual appearance. This witness
identified Oswald in a lineup as the man most nearly resembling the man
he saw and later identified Oswald as the man he observed. Oswald’s
known actions in the building immediately after the assassination are
consistent with his having been at the southeast corner window of the
sixth floor at 12:30 p.m. On the basis of these findings the Commission
has concluded that Oswald, at the time of the assassination, was
present at the window from which the shots were fired.


After leaving the Depository Building at approximately 12:33 p.m.,
Lee Harvey Oswald proceeded to his roominghouse by bus and taxi. He
arrived at approximately 1 p.m. and left a few minutes later. At about
1:16 p.m., a Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit, was shot less than
1 mile from Oswald’s roominghouse. In deciding whether Oswald killed
Patrolman Tippit the Commission considered the following: (1) positive
identification of the killer by two eyewitnesses who saw the shooting
and seven eyewitnesses who heard the shots and saw the gunman flee
the scene with the revolver in his hand, (2) testimony of firearms
identification experts establishing the identity of the murder weapon,
(3) evidence establishing the ownership of the murder weapon, (4)
evidence establishing the ownership of a zipper jacket found along the
path of flight taken by the gunman from the scene of the shooting to
the place of arrest.

Oswald’s Movements After Leaving Depository Building

_The bus ride._--According to the reconstruction of time and events
which the Commission found most credible, Lee Harvey Oswald left the
building approximately 3 minutes after the assassination. He probably
walked east on Elm Street for seven blocks to the corner of Elm and
Murphy where he boarded a bus which was heading back in the direction
of the Depository Building, on its way to the Oak Cliff section of
Dallas. (See Commission Exhibit 1119-A, p. 158.)

When Oswald was apprehended, a bus transfer marked for the
Lakewood-Marsalis route was found in his shirt pocket.[C4-418] The
transfer was dated “Fri. Nov. 22, ’63” and was punched in two places by
the busdriver. On the basis of this punchmark, which was distinctive
to each Dallas driver, the transfer was conclusively identified as
having been issued by Cecil J. McWatters, a busdriver for the Dallas
Transit Co.[C4-419] On the basis of the date and time on the transfer,
McWatters was able to testify that the transfer had been issued by him
on a trip which passed a check point at St. Paul and Elm Streets at
12:36 p.m., November 22, 1963.[C4-420]

McWatters was sure that he left the checkpoint on time and he
estimated that it took him 3 to 4 minutes to drive three blocks west
from the checkpoint to Field Street, which he reached at about 12:40
p.m.[C4-421] McWatters’ recollection is that he issued this transfer to
a man who entered his bus just beyond Field Street, where a man beat on
the front door of the bus, boarded it and paid his fare.[C4-422] About
two blocks later, a woman asked to get off to make a 1 o’clock train at
Union Station and requested a transfer which she might use if she got
through the traffic.

    * * * So I gave her a transfer and opened the door and she was
    going out the gentleman I had picked up about two blocks [back]
    asked for a transfer and got off at the same place in the
    middle of the block where the lady did.

    * * * It was the intersection near Lamar Street, it was near
    Poydras and Lamar Street.[C4-423]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 1119-A

  12:33 P.M. and 1:50 P.M.
  November 22, 1963

] The man was on the bus approximately 4 minutes.[C4-424]

At about 6:30 p.m. on the day of the assassination, McWatters viewed
four men in a police lineup. He picked Oswald from the lineup as the
man who had boarded the bus at the “lower end of town on Elm around
Houston,” and who, during the ride south on Marsalis, had an argument
with a woman passenger.[C4-425] In his Commission testimony, McWatters
said he had been in error and that a teenager named Milton Jones was
the passenger he had in mind.[C4-426] In a later interview, Jones
confirmed that he had exchanged words with a woman passenger on the bus
during the ride south on Marsalis.[C4-427] McWatters also remembered
that a man received a transfer at Lamar and Elm Streets and that a
man in the lineup was about the size of this man.[C4-428] However,
McWatters’ recollection alone was too vague to be a basis for placing
Oswald on the bus.

Riding on the bus was an elderly woman, Mary Bledsoe, who confirmed
the mute evidence of the transfer. Oswald had rented a room from Mrs.
Bledsoe about 6 weeks before, on October 7,[C4-429] but she had asked
him to leave at the end of a week. Mrs. Bledsoe told him “I am not
going to rent to you any more.”[C4-430] She testified, “I didn’t like
his attitude. * * * There was just something about him I didn’t like or
want him. * * * Just didn’t want him around me.” [C4-431] On November
22, Mrs. Bledsoe came downtown to watch the Presidential motorcade.
She boarded the Marsalis bus at St. Paul and Elm Streets to return
home.[C4-432] She testified further:

    And, after we got past Akard, at Murphy--I figured it out.
    Let’s see. I don’t know for sure. Oswald got on. He looks like
    a maniac. His sleeve was out here. * * * His shirt was undone.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Was a hole in it, hole, and he was dirty, and I didn’t look at
    him. I didn’t want to know I even seen him * * *

       *       *       *       *       *

    * * * he looked so bad in his face, and his face was so

       *       *       *       *       *

    Hole in his sleeve right here.[C4-433]

As Mrs. Bledsoe said these words, she pointed to her right
elbow.[C4-434] When Oswald was arrested in the Texas Theatre, he was
wearing a brown sport shirt with a hole in the right sleeve at the
elbow.[C4-435] Mrs. Bledsoe identified the shirt as the one Oswald was
wearing and she stated she was certain that it was Oswald who boarded
the bus.[C4-436] Mrs. Bledsoe recalled that Oswald sat halfway to the
rear of the bus which moved slowly and intermittently as traffic
became heavy.[C4-437] She heard a passing motorist tell the driver that
the President had been shot.[C4-438] People on the bus began talking
about it. As the bus neared Lamar Street, Oswald left the bus and
disappeared into the crowd.[C4-439]

The Marsalis bus which Oswald boarded traveled a route west on Elm,
south on Houston, and southwest across the Houston viaduct to service
the Oak Cliff area along Marsalis.[C4-440] A Beckley bus which also
served the Oak Cliff area, followed the same route as the Marsalis
bus through downtown Dallas, except that it continued west on Elm,
across Houston in front of the Depository Building, past the Triple
Underpass into west Dallas, and south on Beckley.[C4-441] Marsalis
Street is seven blocks from Beckley.[C4-442] Oswald lived at 1026 North
Beckley.[C4-443] He could not reach his roominghouse on the Marsalis
bus, but the Beckley bus stopped across the street.[C4-444] According
to McWatters, the Beckley bus was behind the Marsalis bus, but he did
not actually see it.[C4-445] Both buses stopped within one block of the
Depository Building. Instead of waiting there, Oswald apparently went
as far away as he could and boarded the first Oak Cliff bus which came
along rather than wait for one which stopped across the street from his

In a reconstruction of this bus trip, agents of the Secret Service
and the FBI walked the seven blocks from the front entrance of the
Depository Building to Murphy and Elm three times, averaging 6½ minutes
for the three trips.[C4-446] A bus moving through heavy traffic on
Elm from Murphy to Lamar was timed at 4 minutes.[C4-447] If Oswald
left the Depository Building at 12:33 p.m., walked seven blocks
directly to Murphy and Elm, and boarded a bus almost immediately, he
would have boarded the bus at approximately 12:40 p.m. and left it at
approximately 12:44 p.m. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1119-A, p. 158.)

Roger D. Craig, a deputy sheriff of Dallas County, claimed that
about 15 minutes after the assassination he saw a man, whom he later
identified as Oswald,[C4-448] coming from the direction of the
Depository Building and running down the hill north of Elm Street
toward a light-colored Rambler station wagon, which was moving slowly
along Elm toward the underpass.[C4-449] The station wagon stopped to
pick up the man and then drove off.[C4-450] Craig testified that later
in the afternoon he saw Oswald in the police interrogation room and
told Captain Fritz that Oswald was the man he saw.[C4-451] Craig also
claimed that when Fritz pointed out to Oswald that Craig had identified
him, Oswald rose from his chair, looked directly at Fritz, and said,
“Everybody will know who I am now.”[C4-452]

The Commission could not accept important elements of Craig’s
testimony. Captain Fritz stated that a deputy sheriff whom he could
not identify did ask to see him that afternoon and told him a similar
story to Craig’s.[C4-453] Fritz did not bring him into his office
to identify Oswald but turned him over to Lieutenant Baker for
questioning. If Craig saw Oswald that afternoon, he saw him through the
glass windows of the office. And neither Captain Fritz nor any other
officer can remember that Oswald dramatically arose from his chair
and said, “Everybody will know who I am now.”[C4-454] If Oswald had
made such a statement, Captain Fritz and others present would probably
have remembered it. Craig may have seen a person enter a white Rambler
station wagon 15 or 20 minutes after the shooting and travel west on
Elm Street, but the Commission concluded that this man was not Lee
Harvey Oswald, because of the overwhelming evidence that Oswald was far
away from the building by that time.

_The taxicab ride._--William Whaley, a taxicab driver, told his
employer on Saturday morning, November 23, that he recognized Oswald
from a newspaper photograph as a man whom he had driven to the Oak
Cliff area the day before.[C4-455] Notified of Whaley’s statement, the
police brought him to the police station that afternoon. He was taken
to the lineup room where, according to Whaley, five young teenagers,
all handcuffed together, were displayed with Oswald.[C4-456] He
testified that Oswald looked older than the other boys.[C4-457] The
police asked him whether he could pick out his passenger from the
lineup. Whaley picked Oswald. He said,

    * * * you could have picked him out without identifying him by
    just listening to him because he was bawling out the policeman,
    telling them it wasn’t right to put him in line with these
    teenagers and all of that and they asked me which one and I
    told them. It was him all right, the same man.

       *       *       *       *       *

    He showed no respect for the policemen, he told them what he
    thought about them. They knew what they were doing and they
    were trying to railroad him and he wanted his lawyer.[C4-458]

Whaley believes that Oswald’s conduct did not aid him in his
identification “because I knew he was the right one as soon as I saw

Whaley’s memory of the lineup is inaccurate. There were four men
altogether, not six men, in the lineup with Oswald.[C4-460] Whaley said
that Oswald was the man under No. 2.[C4-461] Actually Oswald was under
No. 3. Only two of the men in the lineup with Oswald were teenagers:
John T. Horn, aged 18, was No. 1; David Knapp, aged 18, was No. 2; Lee
Oswald was No. 3; and Daniel Lujan, aged 26, was No. 4.[C4-462]

When he first testified before the Commission, Whaley displayed a trip
manifest[C4-463] which showed a 12 o’clock trip from Travis Hotel to
the Continental bus station, unloaded at 12:15 p.m., a 12:15 p.m.
pickup at Continental to Greyhound, unloaded at 12:30 p.m., and a
pickup from Greyhound (bus station) at 12:30 p.m., unloaded at 500
North Beckley at 12:45 p.m. Whaley testified that he did not keep an
accurate time record of his trips but recorded them by the quarter
hour, and that sometimes he made his entry right after a trip while
at other times he waited to record three or four trips.[C4-464] As he
unloaded his Continental bus station passenger in front of Greyhound,
he started to get out to buy a package of cigarettes.[C4-465] He saw a
man walking south on Lamar from Commerce. The man was dressed in faded
blue color khaki work clothes, a brown shirt, and some kind of work
jacket that almost matched his pants.[C4-466] The man asked, “May I
have the cab?”, and got into the front seat.[C4-467] Whaley described
the ensuing events as follows:

    And about that time an old lady, I think she was an old lady,
    I don’t remember nothing but her sticking her head down past
    him in the door and said, “Driver, will you call me a cab down

    She had seen him get this cab and she wanted one, too, and he
    opened the door a little bit like he was going to get out and
    he said, “I will let you have this one,” and she says, “No, the
    driver can call me one.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    * * * I asked him where he wanted to go. And he said, “500
    North Beckley.”

    Well, I started up, I started to that address, and the police
    cars, the sirens was going, running crisscrossing everywhere,
    just a big uproar in that end of town and I said, “What the
    hell. I wonder what the hell is the uproar?”

    And he never said anything. So I figured he was one of these
    people that don’t like to talk so I never said any more to him.

    But when I got pretty close to 500 block at Neches and North
    Beckley which is the 500 block, he said, “This will do fine,”
    and I pulled over to the curb right there. He gave me a dollar
    bill, the trip was 95 cents. He gave me a dollar bill and
    didn’t say anything, just got out and closed the door and
    walked around the front of the cab over to the other side of
    the street [east side of the street]. Of course, the traffic
    was moving through there and I put it in gear and moved on,
    that is the last I saw of him.[C4-468]

Whaley was somewhat imprecise as to where he unloaded his passenger.
He marked what he thought was the intersection of Neches and Beckley
on a map of Dallas with a large “X.”[C4-469] He said, “Yes, sir; that
is right, because that is the 500 block of North Beckley.”[C4-470]
However, Neches and Beckley do not intersect. Neches is within one-half
block of the roominghouse at 1026 North Beckley where Oswald was
living. The 500 block of North Beckley is five blocks south of the

After a review of these inconsistencies in his testimony before the
Commission, Whaley was interviewed again in Dallas. The route of the
taxicab was retraced under the direction of Whaley.[C4-472] He directed
the driver of the car to a point 20 feet north of the northwest
corner of the intersection of Beckley and Neely, the point at which
he said his passenger alighted.[C4-473] This was the 700 block of
North Beckley.[C4-474] The elapsed time of the reconstructed run from
the Greyhound Bus Station to Neely and Beckley was 5 minutes and 30
seconds by stopwatch.[C4-475] The walk from Beckley and Neely to 1026
North Beckley was timed by Commission counsel at 5 minutes and 45

Whaley testified that Oswald was wearing either the gray zippered
jacket or the heavy blue jacket.[C4-477] He was in error, however.
Oswald could not possibly have been wearing the blue jacket during
the trip with Whaley, since it was found in the “domino” room of
the Depository late in November.[C4-478] Moreover, Mrs. Bledsoe saw
Oswald in the bus without a jacket and wearing a shirt with a hole at
the elbow.[C4-479] On the other hand, Whaley identified Commission
Exhibit No. 150 (the shirt taken from Oswald upon arrest) as the shirt
his passenger was wearing.[C4-480] He also stated he saw a silver
identification bracelet on his passenger’s left wrist.[C4-481] Oswald
was wearing such a bracelet when he was arrested.[C4-482]

On November 22, Oswald told Captain Fritz that he rode a bus to a stop
near his home and then walked to his roominghouse.[C4-483] When queried
the following morning concerning a bus transfer found in his possession
at the time of his arrest, he admitted receiving it.[C4-484] And when
interrogated about a cab ride, Oswald also admitted that he left the
slow-moving bus and took a cab to his roominghouse.[C4-485]

The Greyhound Bus Station at Lamar and Jackson Streets, where Oswald
entered Whaley’s cab, is three to four short blocks south of Lamar and
Elm.[C4-486] If Oswald left the bus at 12:44 p.m. and walked directly
to the terminal, he would have entered the cab at 12:47 or 12:48 p.m.
If the cab ride was approximately 6 minutes, as was the reconstructed
ride, he would have reached his destination at approximately 12:54
p.m. If he was discharged at Neely and Beckley and walked directly to
his roominghouse, he would have arrived there about 12:59 to 1 p.m.
From the 500 block of North Beckley, the walk would be a few minutes
longer, but in either event he would have been in the roominghouse at
about 1 p.m. This is the approximate time he entered the roominghouse,
according to Earlene Roberts, the housekeeper there.[C4-487] (See
Commission Exhibit No. 1119-A, p. 158.)

_Arrival and departure from roominghouse._--Earlene Roberts,
housekeeper for Mrs. A.C. Johnson at 1026 North Beckley, knew Lee
Harvey Oswald under the alias of O. H. Lee. She first saw him the day
he rented a room at that address on October 14, 1963.[C4-488] He signed
his name as O. H. Lee on the roominghouse register.[C4-489]

Mrs. Roberts testified that on Thursday, November 21, Oswald did not
come home. On Friday, November 22, about 1 p.m., he entered the house
in unusual haste. She recalled that it was subsequent to the time
the President had been shot. After a friend had called and told her,
“President Kennedy has been shot,” she turned on the television. When
Oswald came in she said, “Oh, you are in a hurry,” but Oswald did
not respond. He hurried to his room and stayed no longer than 3 or 4
minutes. Oswald had entered the house in his shirt sleeves, but when he
left, he was zipping up a jacket. Mrs. Roberts saw him a few seconds
later standing near the bus stop in front of the house on the east side
of Beckley.[C4-490]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 1968


Oswald was next seen about nine-tenths of a mile away at the southeast
corner of 10th Street and Patton Avenue, moments before the Tippit
shooting. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1119-A, p. 158.) If Oswald left
his roominghouse shortly after 1 p.m. and walked at a brisk pace, he
would have reached 10th and Patton shortly after 1:15 p.m.[C4-491]
Tippit’s murder was recorded on the police radio tape at about 1:16

Description of Shooting

Patrolman J. D. Tippit joined the Dallas Police Department in July
1952.[C4-493] He was described by Chief Curry as having the reputation
of being “a very fine, dedicated officer.”[C4-494] Tippit patroled
district No. 78 in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas during daylight
hours. He drove a police car painted distinctive colors with No. 10
prominently displayed on each side. Tippit rode alone, as only one
man was normally assigned to a patrol car in residential areas during
daylight shifts.[C4-495]

At about 12:44 p.m. on November 22, the radio dispatcher on channel 1
ordered all downtown patrol squads to report to Elm and Houston, code
3 (emergency).[C4-496] At 12:45 p.m. the dispatcher ordered No. 78
(Tippit) to “move into central Oak Cliff area.”[C4-497] At 12:54 p.m.,
Tippit reported that he was in the central Oak Cliff area at Lancaster
and Eighth. The dispatcher ordered Tippit to be: “* * * at large for
any emergency that comes in.”[C4-498] According to Chief Curry, Tippit
was free to patrol the central Oak Cliff area.[C4-499] Tippit must
have heard the description of the suspect wanted for the President’s
shooting; it was broadcast over channel 1 at 12:45 p.m., again at 12:48
p.m., and again at 12:55 p.m.[C4-500] The suspect was described as a
“white male, approximately 30, slender build, height 5 foot 10 inches,
weight 165 pounds.”[C4-501] A similar description was given on channel
2 at 12:45 p.m.[C4-502]

At approximately 1:15 p.m., Tippit, who was cruising east on 10th
Street, passed the intersection of 10th and Patton, about eight blocks
from where he had reported at 12:54 p.m. About 100 feet past the
intersection Tippit stopped a man walking east along the south side of
Patton. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1968, p. 164.) The man’s general
description was similar to the one broadcast over the police radio.
Tippit stopped the man and called him to his car. He approached the
car and apparently exchanged words with Tippit through the right front
or vent window. Tippit got out and started to walk around the front of
the car. As Tippit reached the left front wheel the man pulled out a
revolver and fired several shots. Four bullets hit Tippit and killed
him instantly. The gunman started back toward Patton Avenue, ejecting
the empty cartridge cases before reloading with fresh bullets.


At least 12 persons saw the man with the revolver in the vicinity of
the Tippit crime scene at or immediately after the shooting. By the
evening of November 22, five of them had identified Lee Harvey Oswald
in police lineups as the man they saw. A sixth did so the next day.
Three others subsequently identified Oswald from a photograph. Two
witnesses testified that Oswald resembled the man they had seen. One
witness felt he was too distant from the gunman to make a positive
identification. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1968, p. 164.)

A taxi driver, William Scoggins, was eating lunch in his cab which
was parked on Patton facing the southeast corner of 10th Street and
Patton Avenue a few feet to the north.[C4-503] A police car moving
east on 10th at about 10 or 12 miles an hour passed in front of his
cab. About 100 feet from the corner the police car pulled up alongside
a man on the sidewalk. This man, dressed in a light-colored jacket,
approached the car. Scoggins lost sight of him behind some shrubbery
on the southeast corner lot, but he saw the policeman leave the car,
heard three or four shots, and then saw the policeman fall. Scoggins
hurriedly left his seat and hid behind the cab as the man came back
toward the corner with gun in hand. The man cut across the yard through
some bushes, passed within 12 feet of Scoggins, and ran south on
Patton. Scoggins saw him and heard him mutter either “Poor damn cop”
or “Poor dumb cop.”[C4-504] The next day Scoggins viewed a lineup of
four persons and identified Oswald as the man whom he had seen the
day before at 10th and Patton.[C4-505] In his testimony before the
Commission, Scoggins stated that he thought he had seen a picture
of Oswald in the newspapers prior to the lineup identification on
Saturday. He had not seen Oswald on television and had not been shown
any photographs of Oswald by the police.[C4-506]

Another witness, Domingo Benavides, was driving a pickup truck west on
10th Street. As he crossed the intersection a block east of 10th and
Patton, he saw a policeman standing by the left door of the police car
parked along the south side of 10th. Benavides saw a man standing at
the right side of the parked police car. He then heard three shots and
saw the policeman fall to the ground. By this time the pickup truck
was across the street and about 25 feet from the police car. Benavides
stopped and waited in the truck until the gunman ran to the corner.
He saw him empty the gun and throw the shells into some bushes on the
southeast corner lot.[C4-507] It was Benavides, using Tippit’s car
radio, who first reported the killing of Patrolman Tippit at about
1:16 p.m.: “We’ve had a shooting out here.”[C4-508] He found two empty
shells in the bushes and gave them to Patrolman J. M. Poe who arrived
on the scene shortly after the shooting.[C4-509] Benavides never saw
Oswald after the arrest. When questioned by police officers on the
evening of November 22, Benavides told them that he did not think that
he could identify the man who fired the shots. As a result, they did
not take him to the police station. He testified that the picture of
Oswald which he saw later on television bore a resemblance to the man
who shot Officer Tippit.[C4-510]

Just prior to the shooting, Mrs. Helen Markham, a waitress in
downtown Dallas, was about to cross 10th Street at Patton. As she
waited on the northwest corner of the intersection for traffic to
pass,[C4-511] she noticed a young man as he was “almost ready to get
up on the curb”[C4-512] at the southeast corner of the intersection,
approximately 50 feet away. The man continued along 10th Street. Mrs.
Markham saw a police car slowly approach the man from the rear and
stop alongside of him. She saw the man come to the right window of the
police car. As he talked, he leaned on the ledge of the right window
with his arms. The man appeared to step back as the policeman “calmly
opened the car door” and very slowly got out and walked toward the
front of the car. The man pulled a gun. Mrs. Markham heard three shots
and saw the policeman fall to the ground near the left front wheel. She
raised her hands to her eyes as the man started to walk back toward
Patton.[C4-513] She peered through her fingers, lowered her hands, and
saw the man doing something with his gun. “He was just fooling with it.
I didn’t know what he was doing. I was afraid he was fixing to kill
me.”[C4-514] The man “in kind of a little trot” headed down Patton
toward Jefferson Boulevard, a block away. Mrs. Markham then ran to
Officer Tippit’s side and saw him lying in a pool of blood.[C4-515]

Helen Markham was screaming as she leaned over the body.[C4-516] A
few minutes later she described the gunman to a policeman.[C4-517]
Her description and that of other eyewitnesses led to the police
broadcast at 1:22 p.m. describing the slayer as “about 30, 5’8”,
black hair, slender.”[C4-518] At about 4:30 p.m., Mrs. Markham, who
had been greatly upset by her experience, was able to view a lineup
of four men handcuffed together at the police station.[C4-519] She
identified Lee Harvey Oswald as the man who shot the policeman.[C4-520]
Detective L. C. Graves, who had been with Mrs. Markham before the
lineup testified that she was “quite hysterical” and was “crying
and upset.”[C4-521] He said that Mrs. Markham started crying when
Oswald walked into the lineup room.[C4-522] In testimony before the
Commission, Mrs. Markham confirmed her positive identification of Lee
Harvey Oswald as the man she saw kill Officer Tippit.[C4-523]

In evaluating Mrs. Markham’s identification of Oswald, the Commission
considered certain allegations that Mrs. Markham described the man
who killed Patrolman Tippit as “short, a little on the heavy side,”
and having “somewhat bushy” hair.[C4-524] The Commission reviewed the
transcript of a phone conversation in which Mrs. Markham is alleged
to have provided such a description.[C4-525] A review of the complete
transcript has satisfied the Commission that Mrs. Markham strongly
reaffirmed her positive identification of Oswald and denied having
described the killer as short, stocky and having bushy hair. She
stated that the man weighed about 150 pounds.[C4-526] Although she
used the words “a little bit bushy” to describe the gunman’s hair,
the transcript establishes that she was referring to the uncombed
state of his hair, a description fully supported by a photograph of
Oswald taken at the time of his arrest. (See Pizzo Exhibit No. 453-C,
p. 177.) Although in the phone conversation she described the man as
“short,”[C4-527] on November 22, within minutes of the shooting and
before the lineup, Mrs. Markham described the man to the police as 5’8”

During her testimony Mrs. Markham initially denied that she ever had
the above phone conversation.[C4-529] She has subsequently admitted
the existence of the conversation and offered an explanation for her
denial.[C4-530] Addressing itself solely to the probative value of Mrs.
Markham’s contemporaneous description of the gunman and her positive
identification of Oswald at a police lineup, the Commission considers
her testimony reliable. However, even in the absence of Mrs. Markham’s
testimony, there is ample evidence to identify Oswald as the killer of

Two young women, Barbara Jeanette Davis and Virginia Davis, were in an
apartment of a multiple-unit house on the southeast corner of 10th and
Patton when they heard the sound of gunfire and the screams of Helen
Markham. They ran to the door in time to see a man with a revolver
cut across their lawn and disappear around a corner of the house onto
Patton.[C4-531] Barbara Jeanette Davis assumed that he was emptying his
gun as “he had it open and was shaking it.”[C4-532] She immediately
called the police. Later in the day each woman found an empty shell
on the ground near the house. These two shells were delivered to the

On the evening of November 22, Barbara Jeanette and Virginia Davis
viewed a group of four men in a lineup and each one picked Oswald as
the man who crossed their lawn while emptying his pistol.[C4-534]
Barbara Jeanette Davis testified that no one had shown her a picture
of Oswald before the identification and that she had not seen him
on television. She was not sure whether she had seen his picture in
a newspaper on the afternoon or evening of November 22 prior to the
lineup.[C4-535] Her reaction when she saw Oswald in the lineup was that
“I was pretty sure it was the same man I saw. When they made him turn
sideways, I was positive that was the one I seen.”[C4-536] Similarly,
Virginia Davis had not been shown pictures of anyone prior to the
lineup and had not seen either television or the newspapers during the
afternoon.[C4-537] She identified Oswald, who was the No. 2 man in the
lineup,[C4-538] as the man she saw running with the gun: she testified,
“I would say that was him for sure.”[C4-539] Barbara Jeanette Davis
and Virginia Davis were sitting alongside each other when they made
their positive identifications of Oswald.[C4-540] Each woman whispered
Oswald’s number to the detective. Each testified that she was the first
to make the identification.[C4-541]

William Arthur Smith was about a block east of 10th and Patton when
he heard shots. He looked west on 10th and saw a man running to the
west and a policeman falling to the ground. Smith failed to make
himself known to the police on November 22. Several days later he
reported what he had seen and was questioned by FBI agents.[C4-542]
Smith subsequently told a Commission staff member that he saw Oswald
on television the night of the murder and thought that Oswald was the
man he had seen running away from the shooting.[C4-543] On television
Oswald’s hair looked blond, whereas Smith remembered that the man
who ran away had hair that was brown or brownish black. Later, the
FBI showed Smith a picture of Oswald. In the picture the hair was
brown.[C4-544] According to his testimony, Smith told the FBI, “It
looked more like him than it did on television.” He stated further
that from “What I saw of him” the man looked like the man in the

Two other important eyewitnesses to Oswald’s flight were Ted Callaway,
manager of a used-car lot on the northeast corner of Patton Avenue
and Jefferson Boulevard, and Sam Guinyard, a porter at the lot. They
heard the sound of shots to the north of their lot.[C4-546] Callaway
heard five shots, and Guinyard three. Both ran to the sidewalk on the
east side of Patton at a point about a half a block south of 10th.
They saw a man coming south on Patton with a revolver held high in his
right hand. According to Callaway, the man crossed to the west side
of Patton.[C4-547] From across the street Callaway yelled, “Hey, man,
what the hell is going on?” He slowed down, halted, said something,
and then kept on going to the corner, turned right, and continued west
on Jefferson.[C4-548] Guinyard claimed that the man ran down the east
side of Patton and passed within 10 feet of him before crossing to the
other side.[C4-549] Guinyard and Callaway ran to 10th and Patton and
found Tippit lying in the street beside his car.[C4-550] Apparently he
had reached for his gun; it lay beneath him outside of the holster.
Callaway picked up the gun.[C4-551] He and Scoggins attempted to chase
down the gunman in Scoggin’s taxicab,[C4-552] but he had disappeared.
Early in the evening of November 22, Guinyard and Callaway viewed the
same lineup of four men from which Mrs. Markham had earlier made her
identification of Lee Harvey Oswald. Both men picked Oswald as the man
who had run south on Patton with a gun in his hand.[C4-553] Callaway
told the Commission: “So they brought four men in. I stepped to the
back of the room, so I could kind of see him from the same distance
which I had seen him before. And when he came out I knew him.”[C4-554]
Guinyard said, “I told them that was him right there. I pointed him out
right there.”[C4-555] Both Callaway and Guinyard testified that they
had not been shown any pictures by the police before the lineup.[C4-556]

The Dallas Police Department furnished the Commission with pictures
of the men who appeared in the lineups with Oswald,[C4-557] and the
Commission has inquired into general lineup procedures used by the
Dallas police as well as the specific procedures in the lineups
involving Oswald.[C4-558] The Commission is satisfied that the lineups
were conducted fairly.

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 143


As Oswald ran south on Patton Avenue toward Jefferson Boulevard
he was moving in the direction of a used-car lot located on the
southeast corner of this intersection.[C4-559] Four men--Warren
Reynolds,[C4-560] Harold Russell,[C4-561] Pat Patterson,[C4-562] and
L. J. Lewis[C4-563]--were on the lot at the time, and they saw a white
male with a revolver in his hands running south on Patton. When the
man reached Jefferson, he turned right and headed west. Reynolds and
Patterson decided to follow him. When he reached a gasoline service
station one block away he turned north and walked toward a parking
area in the rear of the station. Neither Reynolds nor Patterson saw
the man after he turned off Jefferson at the service station.[C4-564]
These four witnesses were interviewed by FBI agents 2 months after
the shooting. Russell and Patterson were shown a picture of Oswald
and they stated that Oswald was the man they saw on November 22,
1963. Russell confirmed this statement in a sworn affidavit for
the Commission.[C4-565] Patterson, when asked later to confirm his
identification by affidavit said he did not recall having been shown
the photograph. He was then shown two photographs of Oswald and he
advised that Oswald was “unquestionably” the man he saw.[C4-566]
Reynolds did not make a positive identification when interviewed by the
FBI, but he subsequently testified before a Commission staff member
and, when shown two photographs of Oswald, stated that they were
photographs of the man he saw.[C4-567] L. J. Lewis said in an interview
that because of the distance from which he observed the gunman he would
hesitate to state whether the man was identical with Oswald.[C4-568]

Murder Weapon

When Oswald was arrested, he had in his possession a Smith & Wesson
.38 Special caliber revolver, serial number V510210. (See Commission
Exhibit No. 143, p. 170). Two of the arresting officers placed their
initials on the weapon and a third inscribed his name. All three
identified Exhibit No. 143 as the revolver taken from Oswald when he
was arrested.[C4-569] Four cartridge cases were found in the shrubbery
on the corner of 10th and Patton by three of the eyewitnesses--Domingo
Benavides, Barbara Jeanette Davis, and Virginia Davis.[C4-570] It was
the unanimous and unequivocal testimony of expert witnesses before the
Commission that these used cartridge cases were fired from the revolver
in Oswald’s possession to the exclusion of all other weapons. (See app.
X, p. 559.)

Cortlandt Cunningham, of the Firearms Identification Unit of the
FBI Laboratory, testified that he compared the four empty cartridge
cases found near the scene of the shooting with a test cartridge
fired from the weapon in Oswald’s possession when he was arrested.
Cunningham declared that this weapon fired the four cartridges to the
exclusion of all other weapons. Identification was effected through
breech face marks and firing pin marks.[C4-571] Robert A. Frazier and
Charles Killion, other FBI firearms experts, independently examined
the four cartridge cases and arrived at the same conclusion as
Cunningham.[C4-572] At the request of the Commission, Joseph D. Nicol,
superintendent of the Illinois Bureau of Criminal Identification
Investigation, also examined the four cartridge cases found near the
site of the homicide and compared them with the test cartridge cases
fired from the Smith & Wesson revolver taken from Oswald. He concluded
that all of these cartridges were fired from the same weapon.[C4-573]

Cunningham compared four lead bullets recovered from the body
of Patrolman Tippit with test bullets fired from Oswald’s
revolver.[C4-574] He explained that the bullets were slightly smaller
than the barrel of the pistol which had fired them. This caused the
bullets to have an erratic passage through the barrel and impressed
upon the lead of the bullets inconsistent individual characteristics
which made identification impossible. Consecutive bullets fired from
the revolver by the FBI experts could not be identified as having been
fired from that revolver.[C4-575] (See app. X, p. 559.) Cunningham
testified that all of the bullets were mutilated, one being useless
for comparison purposes. All four bullets were fired from a weapon
with five lands and grooves and a right twist[C4-576] which were
the rifling characteristics of the revolver taken from Oswald. He
concluded, however, that he could not say whether the four bullets
were fired from the revolver in Oswald’s possession.[C4-577] “The only
thing I can testify is they could have on the basis of the rifling
characteristics--they could have been.”[C4-578]

Nicol differed with the FBI experts on one bullet taken from Tippit’s
body. He declared that this bullet[C4-579] was fired from the same
weapon that fired the test bullets to the exclusion of all other
weapons. But he agreed that because the other three bullets were
mutilated, he could not determine if they had been fired from the same
weapon as the test bullets.[C4-580]

The examination and testimony of the experts enabled the Commission to
conclude that five shots may have been fired, even though only four
bullets were recovered. Three of the bullets recovered from Tippit’s
body were manufactured by Winchester-Western, and the fourth bullet
by Remington-Peters, but only two of the four discarded cartridge
cases found on the lawn at 10th Street and Patton Avenue were of
Winchester-Western manufacture.[C4-581] Therefore, one cartridge
case of this type was not recovered. And though only one bullet of
Remington-Peters manufacture was recovered, two empty cartridge
cases of that make were retrieved. Therefore, either one bullet of
Remington-Peters manufacture is missing or one used Remington-Peters
cartridge case, which may have been in the revolver before the
shooting, was discarded along with the others as Oswald left the scene.
If a bullet is missing, five were fired. This corresponds with the
observation and memory of Ted Callaway,[C4-582] and possibly Warren
Reynolds, but not with the other eyewitnesses who claim to have heard
from two to four shots.

Ownership of Revolver

By checking certain importers and dealers after the assassination
of President Kennedy and slaying of Officer Tippit, agents of the
FBI determined that George Rose & Co. of Los Angeles was a major
distributor of this type of revolver.[C4-583] Records of Seaport
Traders, Inc., a mail-order division of George Rose & Co., disclosed
that on January 3, 1963, the company received from Empire Wholesale
Sporting Goods, Ltd., Montreal, a shipment of 99 guns in one case.
Among these guns was a .38 Special caliber Smith & Wesson revolver,
serial No. V510210, the only revolver made by Smith & Wesson with
this serial number.[C4-584] When first manufactured, it had a 5-inch
barrel. George Rose & Co. had the barrel shortened by a gunsmith to 2¼






Sometime after January 27, 1963, Seaport Traders, Inc., received
through the mail a mail-order coupon for one “.38 St. W. 2” Bbl.,” cost
$29.95. Ten dollars in cash was enclosed. The order was signed in ink
by “A. J. Hidell, aged 28.”[C4-586] (See Commission Exhibit No. 790,
p. 173.) The date of the order was January 27 (no year shown), and the
return address was Post Office Box 2915, Dallas, Tex. Also on the order
form was an order, written in ink, for one box of ammunition and one
holster, but a line was drawn through these items. The mail-order form
had a line for the name of a witness to attest that the person ordering
the gun was a U.S. citizen and had not been convicted of a felony. The
name written in this space was D. F. Drittal.[C4-587]

Heinz W. Michaelis, office manager of both George Rose & Co., Inc., and
Seaport Traders, Inc., identified records of Seaport Traders, Inc.,
which showed that a “.38 S and W Special two-inch Commando, serial
number V510210” was shipped on March 20, 1963, to A. J. Hidell, Post
Office Box 2915, Dallas, Tex. The invoice was prepared on March 13,
1963; the revolver was actually shipped on March 20 by Railway Express.
The balance due on the purchase was $19.95. Michaelis furnished the
shipping copy of the invoice, and the Railway Express Agency shipping
documents, showing that $19.95, plus $1.27 shipping charge, had been
collected from the consignee, Hidell.[C4-588] (See Michaelis Exhibits
Nos. 2, 4, 5, p. 173.)

Handwriting experts, Alwyn Cole of the Treasury Department and James
C. Cadigan of the FBI, testified before the Commission that the
writing on the coupon was Oswald’s. The signature of the witness,
D. F. Drittal, who attested that the fictitious Hidell was an American
citizen and had not been convicted of a felony, was also in Oswald’s
handwriting.[C4-589] Marina Oswald gave as her opinion that the
mail-order coupon was in Oswald’s handwriting.[C4-590] When shown
the revolver, she stated that she recognized it as the one owned by
her husband.[C4-591] She also testified that this appeared to be
the revolver seen in Oswald’s belt in the picture she took in late
March or early April 1963 when the family was living on Neely Street
in Dallas.[C4-592] Police found an empty revolver holster when they
searched Oswald’s room on Beckley Avenue after his arrest.[C4-593]
Marina Oswald testified that this was the holster which contained the
revolver in the photographs taken on Neely Street.[C4-594]

Oswald’s Jacket

Approximately 15 minutes before the shooting of Tippit, Oswald was
seen leaving his roominghouse.[C4-595] He was wearing a zipper
jacket which he had not been wearing moments before when he had
arrived home.[C4-596] When Oswald was arrested, he did not have a
jacket.[C4-597] Shortly after Tippit was slain, policemen found a
light-colored zipper jacket along the route taken by the killer as he
attempted to escape.[C4-598] (See Commission Exhibit No. 1968, p. 164.)

At 1:22 p.m. the Dallas police radio described the man wanted for the
murder of Tippit as “a white male about thirty, five foot eight inches,
black hair, slender, wearing a white jacket, white shirt and dark
slacks.”[C4-599] According to Patrolman Poe this description came from
Mrs. Markham and Mrs. Barbara Jeanette Davis.[C4-600] Mrs. Markham told
Poe that the man was a “white male, about 25, about five feet eight,
brown hair, medium,” and wearing a “white jacket.” Mrs. Davis gave Poe
the same general description: a “white male in his early twenties,
around five foot seven inches or eight inches, about 145 pounds,” and
wearing a white jacket.

As has been discussed previously, two witnesses, Warren Reynolds and
B. M. Patterson, saw the gunman run toward the rear of a gasoline
service station on Jefferson Boulevard. Mrs. Mary Brock, the wife of a
mechanic who worked at the station, was there at the time and she saw
a white male, “5 feet, 10 inches * * * wearing light clothing * * * a
light-colored jacket” walk past her at a fast pace with his hands in
his pocket. She last saw him in the parking lot directly behind the
service station. When interviewed by FBI agents on January 21, 1964,
she identified a picture of Oswald as being the same person she saw on
November 22. She confirmed this interview by a sworn affidavit.[C4-601]

At 1:24 p.m., the police radio reported, “The suspect last seen running
west on Jefferson from 400 East Jefferson.”[C4-602] Police Capt. W. R.
Westbrook and several other officers concentrated their search along
Jefferson Boulevard.[C4-603] Westbrook walked through the parking lot
behind the service station[C4-604] and found a light-colored jacket
lying under the rear of one of the cars.[C4-605] Westbrook identified
Commission Exhibit No. 162 as the light-colored jacket which he
discovered underneath the automobile.[C4-606]

This jacket belonged to Lee Harvey Oswald. Marina Oswald stated
that her husband owned only two jackets, one blue and the other
gray.[C4-607] The blue jacket was found in the Texas School Book
Depository[C4-608] and was identified by Marina Oswald as her
husband’s.[C4-609] Marina Oswald also identified Commission Exhibit No.
162, the jacket found by Captain Westbrook, as her husband’s second

The eyewitnesses vary in their identification of the jacket. Mrs.
Earlene Roberts, the housekeeper at Oswald’s roominghouse and the last
person known to have seen him before he reached 10th Street and Patton
Avenue, said that she may have seen the gray zipper jacket but she was
not certain. It seemed to her that the jacket Oswald wore was darker
than Commission Exhibit No. 162.[C4-611] Ted Callaway, who saw the
gunman moments after the shooting, testified that Commission Exhibit
No. 162 looked like the jacket he was wearing but “I thought it had a
little more tan to it.”[C4-612] Two other witnesses, Sam Guinyard and
William Arthur Smith, testified that Commission Exhibit No. 162 was
the jacket worn by the man they saw on November 22. Mrs. Markham and
Barbara Davis thought that the jacket worn by the slayer of Tippit was
darker than the jacket found by Westbrook.[C4-613] Scoggins thought it
was lighter.[C4-614]

There is no doubt, however, that Oswald was seen leaving his
roominghouse at about 1 p.m. wearing a zipper jacket, that the man who
killed Tippit was wearing a light-colored jacket, that he was seen
running along Jefferson Boulevard, that a jacket was found under a car
in a lot adjoining Jefferson Boulevard, that the jacket belonged to
Lee Harvey Oswald, and that when he was arrested at approximately 1:50
p.m., he was in shirt sleeves. These facts warrant the finding that Lee
Harvey Oswald disposed of his jacket as he fled from the scene of the
Tippit killing.


The foregoing evidence establishes that (1) two eyewitnesses who heard
the shots and saw the shooting of Dallas Police Patrolman J. D. Tippit
and seven eyewitnesses who saw the flight of the gunman with revolver
in hand positively identified Lee Harvey Oswald as the man they saw
fire the shots or flee from the scene, (2) the cartridge cases found
near the scene of the shooting were fired from the revolver in the
possession of Oswald at the time of his arrest, to the exclusion of all
other weapons, (3) the revolver in Oswald’s possession at the time of
his arrest was purchased by and belonged to Oswald, and (4) Oswald’s
jacket was found along the path of flight taken by the gunman as he
fled from the scene of the killing. On the basis of this evidence
the Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Dallas Police
Patrolman J.D. Tippit.


The Texas Theatre is on the north side of Jefferson Boulevard,
approximately eight blocks from the scene of the Tippit shooting and
six blocks from where several witnesses last saw Oswald running west on
Jefferson Boulevard.[C4-615] (See Commission Exhibit No. 1968, p. 164.)
Shortly after the Tippit murder, police sirens sounded along Jefferson
Boulevard. One of the persons who heard the sirens was Johnny Calvin
Brewer, manager of Hardy’s Shoestore, a few doors east of the Texas
Theatre. Brewer knew from radio broadcasts that the President had been
shot and that a patrolman had also been shot in Oak Cliff.[C4-616]
When he heard police sirens, he “looked up and saw the man enter the
lobby,” a recessed area extending about 15 feet between the sidewalk
and the front door of his store.[C4-617] A police car made a =U=-turn,
and as the sirens grew fainter, the man in the lobby “looked over his
shoulder and turned around and walked up West Jefferson towards the
theatre.”[C4-618] The man wore a T-shirt beneath his outer shirt and he
had no jacket.[C4-619] Brewer said, “He just looked funny to me. * * *
His hair was sort of messed up and looked like he had been running, and
he looked scared, and he looked funny.”[C4-620]






Mrs. Julia Postal, selling tickets at the box office of the Texas
Theatre, heard police sirens and then saw a man as he “ducked into”
the outer lobby space of the theatre near the ticket office.[C4-621]
Attracted by the sound of the sirens, Mrs. Postal stepped out of the
box office and walked to the curb.[C4-622] Shortly thereafter, Johnny
Brewer, who had come from the nearby shoestore, asked Mrs. Postal
whether the fellow that had ducked in had bought a ticket.[C4-623] She
said, “No; by golly, he didn’t,” and turned around, but the man was
nowhere in sight.[C4-624] Brewer told Mrs. Postal that he had seen the
man ducking into his place of business and that he had followed him
to the theatre.[C4-625] She sent Brewer into the theatre to find the
man and check the exits, told him about the assassination, and said “I
don’t know if this is the man they want * * * but he is running from
them for some reason.”[C4-626] She then called the police.[C4-627]

At 1:45 p.m., the police radio stated, “Have information a suspect
just went in the Texas Theatre on West Jefferson.”[C4-628] Patrol cars
bearing at least 15 officers converged on the Texas Theatre.[C4-629]
Patrolman M. N. McDonald, with Patrolmen R. Hawkins, T. A. Hutson,
and C. T. Walker, entered the theatre from the rear.[C4-630] Other
policemen entered the front door and searched the balcony.[C4-631]
Detective Paul L. Bentley rushed to the balcony and told the
projectionist to turn up the house lights.[C4-632] Brewer met McDonald
and the other policemen at the alley exit door, stepped out onto the
stage with them[C4-633] and pointed out the man who had come into the
theatre without paying.[C4-634] The man was Oswald. He was sitting
alone in the rear of the main floor of the theatre near the right
center aisle.[C4-635] About six or seven people were seated on the
theatre’s main floor and an equal number in the balcony.[C4-636]

McDonald first searched two men in the center of the main floor,
about 10 rows from the front.[C4-637] He walked out of the row up
the right center aisle.[C4-638] When he reached the row where the
suspect was sitting, McDonald stopped abruptly and told the man to
get on his feet.[C4-639] Oswald rose from his seat, bringing up both
hands.[C4-640] As McDonald started to search Oswald’s waist for a
gun, he heard him say, “Well, it’s all over now.”[C4-641] Oswald then
struck McDonald between the eyes with his left fist; with his right
hand he drew a gun from his waist.[C4-642] McDonald struck back with
his right hand and grabbed the gun with his left hand.[C4-643] They
both fell into the seats.[C4-644] Three other officers, moving toward
the scuffle, grabbed Oswald from the front, rear and side.[C4-645] As
McDonald fell into the seat with his left hand on the gun, he felt
something graze across his hand and heard what sounded like the snap of
the hammer.[C4-646] McDonald felt the pistol scratch his cheek as he
wrenched it away from Oswald.[C4-647] Detective Bob K. Carroll, who was
standing beside McDonald, seized the gun from him.[C4-648]

The other officers who helped subdue Oswald corroborated McDonald in
his testimony except that they did not hear Oswald say, “It’s all
over now.” Deputy Sheriff Eddy R. Walthers recalled such a remark
but he did not reach the scene of the struggle until Oswald had been
knocked to the floor by McDonald and the others.[C4-649] Some of the
officers saw Oswald strike McDonald with his fist.[C4-650] Most of them
heard a click which they assumed to be a click of the hammer of the
revolver.[C4-651] Testimony of a firearms expert before the Commission
established that the hammer of the revolver never touched the shell in
the chamber.[C4-652] Although the witnesses did not hear the sound of
a misfire, they might have heard a snapping noise resulting from the
police officer grabbing the cylinder of the revolver and pulling it
away from Oswald while he was attempting to pull the trigger.[C4-653]
(See app. X, p. 560.)

Two patrons of the theatre and John Brewer testified regarding the
arrest of Oswald, as did the various police officers who participated
in the fight. George Jefferson Applin, Jr., confirmed that Oswald
fought with four or five officers before he was handcuffed.[C4-654] He
added that one officer grabbed the muzzle of a shotgun, drew back, and
hit Oswald with the butt end of the gun in the back.[C4-655] No other
theatre patron or officer has testified that Oswald was hit by a gun.
Nor did Oswald ever complain that he was hit with a gun, or injured in
the back. Deputy Sheriff Walthers brought a shotgun into the theatre
but laid it on some seats before helping to subdue Oswald.[C4-656]
Officer Ray Hawkins said that there was no one near Oswald who had a
shotgun and he saw no one strike Oswald in the back with a rifle butt
or the butt of a gun.[C4-657]

John Gibson, another patron in the theatre, saw an officer grab Oswald,
and he claims that he heard the click of a gun misfiring.[C4-658] He
saw no shotgun in the possession of any policeman near Oswald.[C4-659]
Johnny Brewer testified he saw Oswald pull the revolver and the
officers struggle with him to take it away but that once he was
subdued, no officer struck him.[C4-660] He further stated that
while fists were flying he heard one of the officers say “Kill the
President, will you.”[C4-661] It is unlikely that any of the police
officers referred to Oswald as a suspect in the assassination. While
the police radio had noted the similarity in description of the two
suspects, the arresting officers were pursuing Oswald for the murder
of Tippit.[C4-662] As Oswald, handcuffed, was led from the theatre, he
was, according to McDonald, “cursing a little bit and hollering police
brutality.”[C4-663] At 1:51 p.m., police car 2 reported by radio that
it was on the way to headquarters with the suspect.[C4-664]

Captain Fritz returned to police headquarters from the Texas
School Book Depository at 2:15 after a brief stop at the sheriff’s
office.[C4-665] When he entered the homicide and robbery bureau office,
he saw two detectives standing there with Sgt. Gerald L. Hill, who had
driven from the theatre with Oswald.[C4-666] Hill testified that Fritz
told the detective to get a search warrant, go to an address on Fifth
Street in Irving, and pick up a man named Lee Oswald. When Hill asked
why Oswald was wanted, Fritz replied, “Well, he was employed down at
the Book Depository and he had not been present for a roll call of the
employees.”[C4-667] Hill said, “Captain, we will save you a trip * * *
there he sits.”[C4-668]


Oswald was questioned intermittently for approximately 12 hours between
2:30 p.m., on November 22, and 11 a.m., on November 24. Throughout
this interrogation he denied that he had anything to do either with
the assassination of President Kennedy or the murder of Patrolman
Tippit. Captain Fritz of the homicide and robbery bureau did most of
the questioning, but he kept no notes and there were no stenographic
or tape recordings. Representatives of other law enforcement agencies
were also present, including the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service. They
occasionally participated in the questioning. The reports prepared by
those present at these interviews are set forth in appendix XI. A full
discussion of Oswald’s detention and interrogation is presented in
chapter V of this report.

During the evening of November 22, the Dallas Police Department
performed paraffin tests on Oswald’s hands and right cheek in an
apparent effort to determine, by means of a scientific test, whether
Oswald had recently fired a weapon. The results were positive for
the hands and negative for the right cheek.[C4-669] Expert testimony
before the Commission was to the effect that the paraffin test was
unreliable[C4-670] in determining whether or not a person has fired a
rifle or revolver.[C4-671] The Commission has, therefore, placed no
reliance on the paraffin tests administered by the Dallas police. (See
app. X, pp. 561-562.)

Oswald provided little information during his questioning. Frequently,
however, he was confronted with evidence which he could not explain,
and he resorted to statements which are known to be lies.[C4-672] While
Oswald’s untrue statements during interrogation were not considered
items of positive proof by the Commission, they had probative value in
deciding the weight to be given to his denials that he assassinated
President Kennedy and killed Patrolman Tippit. Since independent
evidence revealed that Oswald repeatedly and blatantly lied to the
police, the Commission gave little weight to his denials of guilt.

Denial of Rifle Ownership

From the outset, Oswald denied owning a rifle. On November 23, Fritz
confronted Oswald with the evidence that he had purchased a rifle under
the fictitious name of “Hidell.” Oswald said that this was not true.
Oswald denied that he had a rifle wrapped up in a blanket in the Paine
garage. Oswald also denied owning a rifle and said that since leaving
the Marine Corps he had fired only a small bore .22 rifle.[C4-673] On
the afternoon of November 23, Officers H. M. Moore, R. S. Stovall, and
G. F. Rose obtained a search warrant and examined Oswald’s effects in
the Paine garage. They discovered two photographs, each showing Oswald
with a rifle and a pistol.[C4-674] These photographs were shown to
Oswald on the evening of November 23 and again on the morning of the
24th. According to Fritz, Oswald sneered, saying that they were fake
photographs, that he had been photographed a number of times the day
before by the police, that they had superimposed upon the photographs
a rifle and a revolver.[C4-675] He told Fritz a number of times that
the smaller photograph was either made from the larger, or the larger
photograph was made from the smaller and that at the proper time he
would show that the pictures were fakes. Fritz told him that the two
small photographs were found in the Paine garage. At that point,
Oswald refused to answer any further questions.[C4-676] As previously
indicated, Marina Oswald testified that she took the two pictures with
her husband’s Imperial Reflex camera when they lived on Neely Street.
Her testimony was fully supported by a photography expert who testified
that in his opinion the pictures were not composites.[C4-677]

The Revolver

At the first interrogation, Oswald claimed that his only crime was
carrying a gun and resisting arrest. When Captain Fritz asked him why
he carried the revolver, he answered, “Well, you know about a pistol.
I just carried it.”[C4-678] He falsely alleged that he bought the
revolver in Fort Worth,[C4-679] when in fact he purchased it from a
mail-order house in Los Angeles.[C4-680]

The Aliases “Hidell” and “O. H. Lee”

The arresting officers found a forged selective service card with
a picture of Oswald and the name “Alek J. Hidell” in Oswald’s
billfold.[C4-681] On November 22 and 23, Oswald refused to tell Fritz
why this card was in his possession,[C4-682] or to answer any questions
concerning the card.[C4-683] On Sunday morning, November 24, Oswald
denied that he knew A. J. Hidell. Captain Fritz produced the selective
service card bearing the name “Alek J. Hidell.” Oswald became angry
and said, “Now, I’ve told you all I’m going to tell you about that
card in my billfold--you have the card yourself and you know as much
about it as I do.”[C4-684] At the last interrogation on November 24,
Oswald admitted to Postal Inspector Holmes that he had rented post
office box 2915, Dallas, but denied that he had received a package
in this box addressed to Hidell. He also denied that he had received
the rifle through this box.[C4-685] Holmes reminded Oswald that A. J.
Hidell was listed on post office box 30061, New Orleans, as one
entitled to receive mail. Oswald replied, “I don’t know anything about

When asked why he lived at his roominghouse under the name O. H. Lee,
Oswald responded that the landlady simply made a mistake, because he
told her that his name was Lee, meaning his first name.[C4-687] An
examination of the roominghouse register revealed that Oswald actually
signed the name O. H. Lee.[C4-688]

The Curtain Rod Story

In concluding that Oswald was carrying a rifle in the paper bag on the
morning of November 22, 1963, the Commission found that Oswald lied
when he told Frazier that he was returning to Irving to obtain curtain
rods. When asked about the curtain rod story, Oswald lied again. He
denied that he had ever told Frazier that he wanted a ride to Irving
to get curtain rods for an apartment.[C4-689] He explained that a
party for the Paine children had been planned for the weekend and he
preferred not to be in the Paine house at that time; therefore, he made
his weekly visit on Thursday night.[C4-690] Actually, the party for one
of the Paine’s children was the preceding weekend, when Marina Oswald
suggested that Oswald remain in Dallas.[C4-691] When told that Frazier
and Mrs. Randle had seen him carrying a long heavy package, Oswald
replied, “Well, they was mistaken. That must have been some other
time he picked me up.”[C4-692] In one interview, he told Fritz that
the only sack he carried to work that day was a lunch sack which he
kept on his lap during the ride from Irving to Dallas.[C4-693] Frazier
testified before the Commission that Oswald carried no lunch sack that

Actions During and After Shooting

During the first interrogation on November 22, Fritz asked Oswald to
account for himself at the time the President was shot. Oswald told him
that he ate lunch in the first-floor lunchroom and then went to the
second floor for a Coke which he brought downstairs. He acknowledged
the encounter with the police officer on the second floor. Oswald
told Fritz that after lunch he went outside, talked with Foreman Bill
Shelley for 5 or 10 minutes and then left for home. He said that he
left work because Bill Shelley said that there would be no more work
done that day in the building.[C4-695] Shelley denied seeing Oswald
after 12 noon or at any time after the shooting.[C4-696] The next day,
Oswald added to his story. He stated that at the time the President was
shot he was having lunch with “Junior” but he did not give Junior’s
last name.[C4-697] The only employee at the Depository Building named
“Junior” was James Jarman, Jr. Jarman testified that he ate his lunch
on the first floor around 5 minutes to 12, and that he neither ate
lunch with nor saw Oswald.[C4-698] Jarman did talk to Oswald that

    * * * he asked me what were the people gathering around on the
    corner for and I told him that the President was supposed to
    pass that morning, and he asked me did I know which way he was
    coming, and I told him, yes, he probably come down Main and
    turn on Houston and then back again on Elm. Then he said, “Oh,
    I see,” and that was all.[C4-699]


The Attempt on the Life of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker

At approximately 9 p.m., on April 10, 1963, in Dallas, Tex., Maj. Gen.
Edwin A. Walker, an active and controversial figure on the American
political scene since his resignation from the U.S. Army in 1961,
narrowly escaped death when a rifle bullet fired from outside his
home passed near his head as he was seated at his desk.[C4-700] There
were no eyewitnesses, although a 14-year-old boy in a neighboring
house claimed that immediately after the shooting he saw two men, in
separate cars, drive out of a church parking lot adjacent to Walker’s
home.[C4-701] A friend of Walker’s testified that two nights before the
shooting he saw “two men around the house peeking in windows.”[C4-702]
General Walker gave this information to the police before the shooting,
but it did not help solve the crime. Although the bullet was recovered
from Walker’s house (see app. X, p. 562), in the absence of a weapon
it was of little investigatory value. General Walker hired two
investigators to determine whether a former employee might have been
involved in the shooting.[C4-703] Their results were negative. Until
December 3, 1963, the Walker shooting remained unsolved.

The Commission evaluated the following evidence in considering whether
Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shot which almost killed General Walker:
(1) A note which Oswald left for his wife on the evening of the
shooting, (2) photographs found among Oswald’s possessions after the
assassination of President Kennedy, (3) firearm identification of the
bullet found in Walker’s home, and (4) admissions and other statements
made to Marina Oswald by Oswald concerning the shooting.

_Note left by Oswald._--On December 2, 1963, Mrs. Ruth Paine turned
over to the police some of the Oswalds’ belongings, including a Russian
volume entitled “Book of Useful Advice.”[C4-704] In this book was an
undated note written in Russian. In translation, the note read as

    1. This is the key to the mailbox which is located in the main
    post office in the city on Ervay Street. This is the same
    street where the drugstore, in which you always waited is
    located. You will find the mailbox in the post office which is
    located 4 blocks from the drugstore on that street. I paid for
    the box last month so don’t worry about it.

    2. Send the information as to what has happened to me to
    the Embassy and include newspaper clippings (should there
    be anything about me in the newspapers). I believe that the
    Embassy will come quickly to your assistance on learning

    3. I paid the house rent on the 2d so don’t worry about it.

    4. Recently I also paid for water and gas.

    5. The money from work will possibly be coming. The money will
    be sent to our post office box. Go to the bank and cash the

    6. You can either throw out or give my clothing, etc. away.
    Do not keep these. However, I prefer that you hold on to my
    personal papers (military, civil, etc.).

    7. Certain of my documents are in the small blue valise.

    8. The address book can be found on my table in the study
    should need same.

    9. We have friends here. The Red Cross also will help you. (Red
    Cross in English). [sic]

    10. I left you as much money as I could, $60 on the second of
    the month. You and the baby [apparently] can live for another 2
    months using $10 per week.

    11. If I am alive and taken prisoner, the city jail is located
    at the end of the bridge through which we always passed on
    going to the city (right in the beginning of the city after
    crossing the bridge).[C4-705]

James C. Cadigan, FBI handwriting expert, testified that this note was
written by Lee Harvey Oswald.[C4-706]

Prior to the Walker shooting on April 10, Oswald had been attending
typing classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings. He had quit
these classes at least a week before the shooting, which occurred on
a Wednesday night.[C4-707] According to Marina Oswald’s testimony, on
the night of the Walker shooting, her husband left their apartment on
Neely Street shortly after dinner. She thought he was attending a class
or was “on his own business.”[C4-708] When he failed to return by 10
or 10:30 p.m., Marina Oswald went to his room and discovered the note.
She testified: “When he came back I asked him what had happened. He was
very pale. I don’t remember the exact time, but it was very late. And
he told me not to ask him any questions. He only told me he had shot
at General Walker.”[C4-709] Oswald told his wife that he did not know
whether he had hit Walker; according to Marina Oswald when he learned
on the radio and in the newspapers the next day that he had missed,
he said that he “was very sorry that he had not hit him.”[C4-710]
Marina Oswald’s testimony was fully supported by the note itself which
appeared to be the work of a man expecting to be killed, or imprisoned,
or to disappear. The last paragraph directed her to the jail and the
other paragraphs instructed her on the disposal of Oswald’s personal
effects and the management of her affairs if he should not return.

It is clear that the note was written while the Oswalds were living
in Dallas before they moved to New Orleans in the spring of 1963. The
references to house rent and payments for water and gas indicated that
the note was written when they were living in a rented apartment;
therefore it could not have been written while Marina Oswald was living
with the Paines. Moreover, the reference in paragraph 3 to paying “the
house rent on the 2d” would be consistent with the period when the
Oswalds were living on Neely Street since the apartment was rented on
March 3, 1963. Oswald had paid the first month’s rent in advance on
March 2, 1963, and the second month’s rent was paid on either April
2 or April 3.[C4-711] The main post office “on Ervay Street” refers
to the post office where Oswald rented box 2915 from October 9, 1962,
to May 14, 1963.[C4-712] Another statement which limits the time
when it could have been written is the reference “you and the baby,”
which would indicate that it was probably written before the birth of
Oswald’s second child on October 20, 1963.

Oswald had apparently mistaken the county jail for the city jail.
From Neely Street the Oswalds would have traveled downtown on the
Beckley bus, across the Commerce Street viaduct and into downtown
Dallas through the Triple Underpass.[C4-713] Either the viaduct or the
underpass might have been the “bridge” mentioned in the last paragraph
of the note. The county jail is at the corner of Houston and Main
Streets “right in the beginning of the city” after one travels through
the underpass.

_Photographs._--In her testimony before the Commission in February
1964, Marina Oswald stated that when Oswald returned home on the
night of the Walker shooting, he told her that he had been planning
the attempt for 2 months. He showed her a notebook 3 days later
containing photographs of General Walker’s home and a map of the area
where the house was located.[C4-714] Although Oswald destroyed the
notebook,[C4-715] three photographs found among Oswald’s possessions
after the assassination were identified by Marina Oswald as photographs
of General Walker’s house.[C4-716] Two of these photographs were taken
from the rear of Walker’s house.[C4-717] The Commission confirmed, by
comparison with other photographs, that these were, indeed, photographs
of the rear of Walker’s house.[C4-718] An examination of the window at
the rear of the house, the wall through which the bullet passed, and
the fence behind the house indicated that the bullet was fired from a
position near the point where one of the photographs was taken.[C4-719]

The third photograph identified by Marina Oswald depicts the entrance
to General Walker’s driveway from a back alley.[C4-720] Also seen
in the picture is the fence on which Walker’s assailant apparently
rested the rifle.[C4-721] An examination of certain construction work
appearing in the background of this photograph revealed that the
picture was taken between March 8 and 12, 1963, and most probably on
either March 9 or March 10.[C4-722] Oswald purchased the money order
for the rifle on March 12, the rifle was shipped on March 20,[C4-723]
and the shooting occurred on April 10. A photography expert with
the FBI was able to determine that this picture was taken with the
Imperial Reflex camera owned by Lee Harvey Oswald.[C4-724] (See app. X,
p. 596.)

A fourth photograph, showing a stretch of railroad tracks, was
also identified by Marina Oswald as having been taken by her
husband, presumably in connection with the Walker shooting.[C4-725]
Investigation determined that this photograph was taken approximately
seven-tenths of a mile from Walker’s house.[C4-726] Another photograph
of railroad tracks found among Oswald’s possessions was not identified
by his wife, but investigation revealed that it was taken from a point
slightly less than half a mile from General Walker’s house.[C4-727]
Marina Oswald stated that when she asked her husband what he had done
with the rifle, he replied that he had buried it in the ground or
hidden it in some bushes and that he also mentioned a railroad track in
this connection. She testified that several days later Oswald recovered
his rifle and brought it back to their apartment.[C4-728]

_Firearms identification._--In the room beyond the one in which General
Walker was sitting on the night of the shooting the Dallas police
recovered a badly mutilated bullet which had come to rest on a stack of
paper.[C4-729] The Dallas City-County Investigation Laboratory tried to
determine the type of weapon which fired the bullet. The oral report
was negative because of the battered condition of the bullet.[C4-730]
On November 30, 1963, the FBI requested the bullet for ballistics
examination; the Dallas Police Department forwarded it on December 2,

Robert A. Frazier, an FBI ballistics identification expert, testified
that he was “unable to reach a conclusion” as to whether or not the
bullet recovered from Walker’s house had been fired from the rifle
found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building.
He concluded that “the general rifling characteristics of the rifle
* * * are of the same type as those found on the bullet * * * and,
further, on this basis * * * the bullet could have been fired from the
rifle on the basis of its land and groove impressions.”[C4-732] Frazier
testified further that the FBI avoids the category of “probable”
identification. Unless the missile or cartridge case can be identified
as coming from a particular weapon to the exclusion of all others, the
FBI refuses to draw any conclusion as to probability.[C4-733] Frazier
testified, however, that he found no microscopic characteristics or
other evidence which would indicate that the bullet was not fired from
the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle owned by Lee Harvey Oswald. It was a
6.5-millimeter bullet and, according to Frazier, “relatively few” types
of rifles could produce the characteristics found on the bullet.[C4-734]

Joseph D. Nicol, superintendent of the Illinois Bureau of Criminal
Identification and Investigation, conducted an independent examination
of this bullet and concluded “that there is a fair probability” that
the bullet was fired from the rifle used in the assassination of
President Kennedy.[C4-735] In explaining the difference between his
policy and that of the FBI on the matter of probable identification,
Nicol said:

    I am aware of their position. This is not, I am sure, arrived
    at without careful consideration. However, to say that because
    one does not find sufficient marks for identification that
    it is a negative, I think is going overboard in the other
    direction. And for purposes of probative value, for whatever
    it might be worth, in the absence of very definite negative
    evidence, I think it is permissible to say that in an exhibit
    such as 573 there is enough on it to say that it could have
    come, and even perhaps a little stronger, to say that it
    probably came from this, without going so far as to say to the
    exclusion of all other guns. This I could not do.[C4-736]

Although the Commission recognizes that neither expert was able to
state that the bullet which missed General Walker was fired from
Oswald’s rifle to the exclusion of all others, this testimony was
considered probative when combined with the other testimony linking
Oswald to the shooting.

_Additional corroborative evidence._--The admissions made to Marina
Oswald by her husband are an important element in the evidence that Lee
Harvey Oswald fired the shot at General Walker. As shown above, the
note and the photographs of Walker’s house and of the nearby railroad
tracks provide important corroboration for her account of the incident.
Other details described by Marina Oswald coincide with facts developed
independently of her statements. She testified that her husband had
postponed his attempt to kill Walker until that Wednesday because he
had heard that there was to be a gathering at the church next door
to Walker’s house on that evening. He indicated that he wanted more
people in the vicinity at the time of the attempt so that his arrival
and departure would not attract great attention.[C4-737] An official
of this church told FBI agents that services are held every Wednesday
at the church except during the month of August.[C4-738] Marina Oswald
also testified that her husband had used a bus to return home.[C4-739]
A study of the bus routes indicates that Oswald could have taken any
one of several different buses to Walker’s house or to a point near the
railroad tracks where he may have concealed the rifle.[C4-740] It would
have been possible for him to take different routes in approaching and
leaving the scene of the shooting.

_Conclusion._--Based on (1) the contents of the note which Oswald
left for his wife on April 10, 1963, (2) the photographs found among
Oswald’s possessions, (3) the testimony of firearms identification
experts, and (4) the testimony of Marina Oswald, the Commission has
concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to take the life of Maj.
Gen. Edwin A. Walker (Resigned, U.S. Army) on April 10, 1963. The
finding that Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to murder a public figure in
April 1963 was considered of probative value in this investigation,
although the Commission’s conclusion concerning the identity of the
assassin was based on evidence independent of the finding that Oswald
attempted to kill General Walker.

Richard M. Nixon Incident

Another alleged threat by Oswald against a public figure involved
former Vice President Richard M. Nixon. In January 1964, Marina Oswald
and her business manager, James Martin, told Robert Oswald, Lee Harvey
Oswald’s brother, that Oswald had once threatened to shoot former
Vice President Richard M. Nixon.[C4-741] When Marina Oswald testified
before the Commission on February 3-6, 1964, she had failed to mention
the incident when she was asked whether Oswald had ever expressed
any hostility toward any official of the United States.[C4-742] The
Commission first learned of this incident when Robert Oswald related it
to FBI agents on February 19, 1964,[C4-743] and to the Commission on
February 21.[C4-744]

Marina Oswald appeared before the Commission again on June 11, 1964,
and testified that a few days before her husband’s departure from
Dallas to New Orleans on April 24, 1963, he finished reading a morning
newspaper “* * * and put on a good suit. I saw that he took a pistol.
I asked him where he was going, and why he was getting dressed. He
answered ‘Nixon is coming. I want to go and have a look.’” He also said
that he would use the pistol if the opportunity arose.[C4-745] She
reminded him that after the Walker shooting he had promised never to
repeat such an act. Marina Oswald related the events which followed:

    I called him into the bathroom and I closed the door and I
    wanted to prevent him and then I started to cry. And I told him
    that he shouldn’t do this, and that he had promised me.

       *       *       *       *       *

    I remember that I held him. We actually struggled for several
    minutes and then he quieted down.[C4-746]

She stated that it was not physical force which kept him from leaving
the house. “I couldn’t keep him from going out if he really wanted
to.”[C4-747] After further questioning she stated that she might have
been confused about shutting him in the bathroom, but that “there is no
doubt that he got dressed and got a gun.”[C4-748]

Oswald’s revolver was shipped from Los Angeles on March 20,
1963,[C4-749] and he left for New Orleans on April 24, 1963.[C4-750]
No edition of either Dallas newspaper during the period January 1,
1963, to May 15, 1963, mentioned any proposed visit by Mr. Nixon to
Dallas.[C4-751] Mr. Nixon advised the Commission that the only time
he was in Dallas in 1963 was on November 20-21, 1963.[C4-752] An
investigation failed to reveal any invitation extended to Mr. Nixon
during the period when Oswald’s threat reportedly occurred.[C4-753] The
Commission has concluded, therefore, that regardless of what Oswald may
have said to his wife he was not actually planning to shoot Mr. Nixon
at that time in Dallas.

On April 23, 1963, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was in Dallas for
a visit which had been publicized in the Dallas newspapers throughout
April.[C4-754] The Commission asked Marina Oswald whether she might
have misunderstood the object of her husband’s threat. She stated,
“there is no question that in this incident it was a question of
Mr. Nixon.”[C4-755] When asked later whether it might have been Mr.
Johnson, she said, “Yes, no. I am getting a little confused with so
many questions. I was absolutely convinced it was Nixon and now after
all these questions I wonder if I am right in my mind.”[C4-756] She
stated further that Oswald had only mentioned Nixon’s name once during
the incident.[C4-757] Marina Oswald might have misunderstood her
husband. Mr. Johnson was the then Vice President and his visit took
place on April 23d.[C4-758] This was 1 day before Oswald left for New
Orleans and Marina appeared certain that the Nixon incident “wasn’t the
day before. Perhaps 3 days before.”[C4-759]

Marina Oswald speculated that the incident may have been unrelated to
an actual threat. She said,

    * * * It might have been that he was just trying to test me.
    He was the kind of person who could try and wound somebody in
    that way. Possibly he didn’t want to go out at all but was just
    doing this all as a sort of joke, not really as a joke but
    rather to simply wound me, to make me feel bad.[C4-760]

In the absence of other evidence that Oswald actually intended
to shoot someone at this time, the Commission concluded that the
incident, as described by Marina Oswald, was of no probative value in
the Commission’s decision concerning the identity of the assassin of
President Kennedy.


In deciding whether Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots which killed
President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally, the Commission
considered whether Oswald, using his own rifle, possessed the
capability to hit his target with two out of three shots under the
conditions described in chapter III. The Commission evaluated (1) the
nature of the shots, (2) Oswald’s Marine training in marksmanship, (3)
his experience and practice after leaving the Marine Corps, and (4) the
accuracy of the weapon and the quality of the ammunition.

The Nature of the Shots

For a rifleman situated on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book
Depository Building the shots were at a slow-moving target proceeding
on a downgrade in virtually a straight line with the alinement of the
assassin’s rifle, at a range of 177 to 266 feet.[C4-761] An aerial
photograph of Dealey Plaza shows that Elm Street runs at an angle so
that the President would have been moving in an almost straight line
away from the assassin’s rifle.[C4-762] (See Commission Exhibit No.
876, p. 33.) In addition, the 3° downward slope of Elm Street was of
assistance in eliminating at least some of the adjustment which is
ordinarily required when a marksman must raise his rifle as a target
moves farther away.[C4-763]

Four marksmanship experts testified before the Commission. Maj.
Eugene D. Anderson, assistant head of the Marksmanship Branch of
the U.S. Marine Corps, testified that the shots which struck the
President in the neck and in the head were “not * * * particularly
difficult.”[C4-764] Robert A. Frazier, FBI expert in firearms
identification and training, said:

    From my own experience in shooting over the years, when you
    shoot at 175 feet or 260 feet, which is less than 100 yards,
    with a telescopic sight, you should not have any difficulty in
    hitting your target.

       *       *       *       *       *

    I mean it requires no training at all to shoot a weapon with a
    telescopic sight once you know that you must put the crosshairs
    on the target and that is all that is necessary.[C4-765]

Ronald Simmons, chief of the U.S. Army Infantry Weapons Evaluation
Branch of the Ballistics Research Laboratory, said: “Well, in order
to achieve three hits, it would not be required that a man be an
exceptional shot. A proficient man with this weapon, yes.”[C4-766]

The effect of a four-power telescopic sight on the difficulty of
these shots was considered in detail by M. Sgt. James A. Zahm,
noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marksmanship Training Unit in
the Weapons Training Battalion of the Marine Corps School at Quantico,
Va.[C4-767] Referring to a rifle with a four-power telescope, Sergeant
Zahm said:

    * * * this is the ideal type of weapon for moving
    targets * * *[C4-768]

       *       *       *       *       *

    * * * Using the scope, rapidly working a bolt and using the
    scope to relocate your target quickly and at the same time when
    you locate that target you identify it and the crosshairs are
    in close relationship to the point you want to shoot at, it
    just takes a minor move in aiming to bring the crosshairs to
    bear, and then it is a quick squeeze.[C4-769]

       *       *       *       *       *

    I consider it a real advantage, particularly at the range of
    100 yards, in identifying your target. It allows you to see
    your target clearly, and it is still of a minimum amount of
    power that it doesn’t exaggerate your own body movements. It
    just is an aid in seeing in the fact that you only have the one
    element, the crosshair, in relation to the target as opposed to
    iron sights with aligning the sights and then aligning them on
    the target.[C4-770]

Characterizing the four-power scope as “a real aid, an extreme aid”
in rapid fire shooting, Sergeant Zahm expressed the opinion that the
shot which struck President Kennedy in the neck at 176.9 to 190.8 feet
was “very easy” and the shot which struck the President in the head
at a distance of 265.3 feet was “an easy shot.”[C4-771] After viewing
photographs depicting the alinement of Elm Street in relation to the
Texas School Book Depository Building, Zahm stated further:

    This is a definite advantage to the shooter, the vehicle moving
    directly away from him and the downgrade of the street, and he
    being in an elevated position made an almost stationary target
    while he was aiming in, very little movement if any.[C4-772]

Oswald’s Marine Training

In accordance with standard Marine procedures, Oswald received
extensive training in marksmanship.[C4-773] During the first week of an
intensive 3-week training period he received instruction in sighting,
aiming, and manipulation of the trigger.[C4-774] He went through a
series of exercises called dry firing where he assumed all positions
which would later be used in the qualification course.[C4-775] After
familiarization with live ammunition in the .22 rifle and .22 pistol,
Oswald, like all Marine recruits, received training on the rifle range
at distances up to 500 yards, firing 50 rounds each day for five

Following that training, Oswald was tested in December of 1956,
and obtained a score of 212, which was 2 points above the
minimum for qualifications as a “sharpshooter” in a scale of
marksman--sharpshooter--expert.[C4-777] In May of 1959, on another
range, Oswald scored 191, which was 1 point over the minimum for
ranking as a “marksman.”[C4-778] The Marine Corps records maintained
on Oswald further show that he had fired and was familiar with the
Browning Automatic rifle, .45 caliber pistol, and 12-gage riot

Based on the general Marine Corps ratings, Lt. Col. A. G. Folsom, Jr.,
head, Records Branch, Personnel Department, Headquarters U.S. Marine
Corps, evaluated the sharpshooter qualification as a “fairly good shot”
and a low marksman rating as a “rather poor shot.”[C4-780]

When asked to explain the different scores achieved by Oswald on the
two occasions when he fired for record, Major Anderson said:

    * * * when he fired that [212] he had just completed a very
    intensive preliminary training period. He had the services of
    an experienced highly trained coach. He had high motivation. He
    had presumably a good to excellent rifle and good ammunition.
    We have nothing here to show under what conditions the B
    course was fired. It might well have been a bad day for firing
    the rifle--windy, rainy, dark. There is little probability
    that he had a good, expert coach, and he probably didn’t have
    as high a motivation because he was no longer in recruit
    training and under the care of the drill instructor. There
    is some possibility that the rifle he was firing might not
    have been as good a rifle as the rifle that he was firing in
    his A course firing, because [he] may well have carried this
    rifle for quite some time, and it got banged around in normal

Major Anderson concluded:

    I would say that as compared to other Marines receiving the
    same type of training, that Oswald was a good shot, somewhat
    better than or equal to--better than the average let us say.
    As compared to a civilian who had not received this intensive
    training, he would be considered as a good to excellent

When Sergeant Zahm was asked whether Oswald’s Marine Corps training
would have made it easier to operate a rifle with a four-power scope,
he replied:

    Based on that training, his basic knowledge in sight
    manipulation and trigger squeeze and what not, I would say that
    he would be capable of sighting that rifle in well, firing it,
    with 10 rounds.[C4-783]

After reviewing Oswald’s marksmanship scores, Sergeant Zahm concluded:

    I would say in the Marine Corps he is a good shot, slightly
    above average, and as compared to the average male of his age
    throughout the civilian, throughout the United States, that he
    is an excellent shot.[C4-784]

Oswald’s Rifle Practice Outside the Marines

During one of his leaves from the Marines, Oswald hunted with his
brother Robert, using a .22 caliber bolt-action rifle belonging either
to Robert or Robert’s in-laws.[C4-785] After he left the Marines and
before departing for Russia, Oswald, his brother, and a third companion
went hunting for squirrels and rabbits.[C4-786] On that occasion
Oswald again used a bolt-action .22 caliber rifle; and according to
Robert, Lee Oswald exhibited an average amount of proficiency with that
weapon.[C4-787] While in Russia, Oswald obtained a hunting license,
joined a hunting club and went hunting about six times, as discussed
more fully in chapter VI.[C4-788] Soon after Oswald returned from the
Soviet Union he again went hunting with his brother, Robert, and used a
borrowed .22 caliber bolt-action rifle.[C4-789] After Oswald purchased
the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, he told his wife that he practiced with
it.[C4-790] Marina Oswald testified that on one occasion she saw him
take the rifle, concealed in a raincoat, from the house on Neely
Street. Oswald told her he was going to practice with it.[C4-791]
According to George De Mohrenschildt, Oswald said that he went target
shooting with that rifle.[C4-792]

Marina Oswald testified that in New Orleans in May of 1963, she
observed Oswald sitting with the rifle on their screened porch
at night, sighting with the telescopic lens and operating the
bolt.[C4-793] Examination of the cartridge cases found on the sixth
floor of the Depository Building established that they had been
previously loaded and ejected from the assassination rifle, which would
indicate that Oswald practiced operating the bolt.[C4-794]

Accuracy of Weapon

It will be recalled from the discussion in chapter III that the
assassin in all probability hit two out of the three shots during the
maximum time span of 4.8 to 5.6 seconds if the second shot missed,
or, if either the first or third shots missed, the assassin fired the
three shots during a minimum time span of 7.1 to 7.9 seconds.[C4-795]
A series of tests were performed to determine whether the weapon and
ammunition used in the assassination were capable of firing the shots
which were fired by the assassin on November 22, 1963. The ammunition
used by the assassin was manufactured by Western Cartridge Co. of
East Alton, Ill. In tests with the Mannlicher-Carcano C2766 rifle,
over 100 rounds of this ammunition were fired by the FBI and the
Infantry Weapons Evaluation Branch of the U.S. Army. There were no

In an effort to test the rifle under conditions which simulated
those which prevailed during the assassination, the Infantry Weapons
Evaluation Branch of the Ballistics Research Laboratory had expert
riflemen fire the assassination weapon from a tower at three silhouette
targets at distances of 175, 240, and 265 feet. The target at 265 feet
was placed to the right of the 240-foot target which was in turn placed
to the right of the closest silhouette.[C4-797] Using the assassination
rifle mounted with the telescopic sight, three marksmen, rated as
master by the National Rifle Association, each fired two series of
three shots. In the first series the firers required time spans of 4.6,
6.75, and 8.25 seconds respectively. On the second series they required
5.15, 6.45, and 7 seconds. None of the marksmen had any practice with
the assassination weapon except for exercising the bolt for 2 or 3
minutes on a dry run. They had not even pulled the trigger because of
concern about breaking the firing pin.[C4-798]

The marksmen took as much time as they wanted for the first target and
all hit the target.[C4-799] For the first four attempts, the firers
missed the second shot by several inches.[C4-800] The angle from the
first to the second shot was greater than from the second to the third
shot and required a movement in the basic firing position of the
marksmen.[C4-801] This angle was used in the test because the majority
of the eyewitnesses to the assassination stated that there was a
shorter interval between shots two and three than between shots one and
two.[C4-802] As has been shown in chapter III, if the three shots were
fired within a period of from 4.8 to 5.6 seconds, the shots would have
been evenly spaced and the assassin would not have incurred so sharp an
angular movement.[C4-803]

Five of the six shots hit the third target where the angle of movement
of the weapon was small.[C4-804] On the basis of these results,
Simmons testified that in his opinion the probability of hitting the
targets at the relatively short range at which they were hit was very
high.[C4-805] Considering the various probabilities which may have
prevailed during the actual assassination, the highest level of firing
performance which would have been required of the assassin and the
C2766 rifle would have been to fire three times and hit the target
twice within a span of 4.8 to 5.6 seconds. In fact, one of the firers
in the rapid fire test in firing his two series of three shots, hit
the target twice within a span of 4.6 and 5.15 seconds. The others
would have been able to reduce their times if they had been given the
opportunity to become familiar with the movement of the bolt and the
trigger pull.[C4-806] Simmons testified that familiarity with the bolt
could be achieved in dry practice and, as has been indicated above,
Oswald engaged in such practice.[C4-807] If the assassin missed either
the first or third shot, he had a total of between 4.8 and 5.6 seconds
between the two shots which hit and a total minimum time period of from
7.1 to 7.9 seconds for all three shots. All three of the firers in
these tests were able to fire the rounds within the time period which
would have been available to the assassin under those conditions.

Three FBI firearms experts tested the rifle in order to determine the
speed with which it could be fired. The purpose of this experiment was
not to test the rifle under conditions which prevailed at the time of
the assassination but to determine the maximum speed at which it could
be fired. The three FBI experts each fired three shots from the weapon
at 15 yards in 6, 7, and 9 seconds, and one of these agents, Robert A.
Frazier, fired two series of three shots at 25 yards in 4.6 and 4.8
seconds.[C4-808] At 15 yards each man’s shots landed within the size
of a dime.[C4-809] The shots fired by Frazier at the range of 25 yards
landed within an area of 2 inches and 5 inches respectively.[C4-810]
Frazier later fired four groups of three shots at a distance of 100
yards in 5.9, 6.2, 5.6, and 6.5 seconds. Each series of three shots
landed within areas ranging in diameter from 3 to 5 inches.[C4-811]
Although all of the shots were a few inches high and to the right
of the target, this was because of a defect in the scope which was
recognized by the FBI agents and which they could have compensated for
if they were aiming to hit a bull’s-eye.[C4-812] They were instead
firing to determine how rapidly the weapon could be fired and the area
within which three shots could be placed. Frazier testified that while
he could not tell when the defect occurred, but that a person familiar
with the weapon could compensate for it.[C4-813] Moreover, the defect
was one which would have assisted the assassin aiming at a target which
was moving away. Frazier said, “The fact that the crosshairs are set
high would actually compensate for any lead which had to be taken. So
that if you aimed with this weapon as it actually was received at the
laboratory, it would not be necessary to take any lead whatsoever in
order to hit the intended object. The scope would accomplish the lead
for you.” Frazier added that the scope would cause a slight miss to
the right. It should be noted, however, that the President’s car was
curving slightly to the right when the third shot was fired.

Based on these tests the experts agreed that the assassination rifle
was an accurate weapon. Simmons described it as “quite accurate,” in
fact, as accurate as current military rifles.[C4-814] Frazier testified
that the rifle was accurate, that it had less recoil than the average
military rifle and that one would not have to be an expert marksman
to have accomplished the assassination with the weapon which was


The various tests showed that the Mannlicher-Carcano was an accurate
rifle and that the use of a four-power scope was a substantial aid
to rapid, accurate firing. Oswald’s Marine training in marksmanship,
his other rifle experience and his established familiarity with this
particular weapon show that he possessed ample capability to commit
the assassination. Based on the known facts of the assassination,
the Marine marksmanship experts, Major Anderson and Sergeant Zahm,
concurred in the opinion that Oswald had the capability to fire three
shots, with two hits, within 4.8 and 5.6 seconds.[C4-816] Concerning
the shots which struck the President in the back of the neck, Sergeant
Zahm testified: “With the equipment he [Oswald] had and with his
ability I consider it a very easy shot.”[C4-817] Having fired this shot
the assassin was then required to hit the target one more time within a
space of from 4.8 to 5.6 seconds. On the basis of Oswald’s training and
the accuracy of the weapon as established by the tests, the Commission
concluded that Oswald was capable of accomplishing this second hit
even if there was an intervening shot which missed. The probability of
hitting the President a second time would have been markedly increased
if, in fact, he had missed either the first or third shots thereby
leaving a time span of 4.8 to 5.6 seconds between the two shots which
struck their mark. The Commission agrees with the testimony of Marine
marksmanship expert Zahm that it was “an easy shot” to hit some part of
the President’s body, and that the range where the rifleman would be
expected to hit would include the President’s head.[C4-818]


On the basis of the evidence reviewed in this chapter, the Commission
has found that Lee Harvey Oswald (1) owned and possessed the rifle used
to kill President Kennedy and wound Governor Connally, (2) brought this
rifle into the Depository Building on the morning of the assassination,
(3) was present, at the time of the assassination, at the window
from which the shots were fired, (4) killed Dallas Police Officer
J. D. Tippit in an apparent attempt to escape, (5) resisted arrest by
drawing a fully loaded pistol and attempting to shoot another police
officer, (6) lied to the police after his arrest concerning important
substantive matters, (7) attempted, in April 1963, to kill Maj. Gen.
Edwin A. Walker, and (8) possessed the capability with a rifle which
would have enabled him to commit the assassination. On the basis of
these findings the Commission has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was
the assassin of President Kennedy.


Detention and Death of Oswald

Lee Harvey Oswald spent almost all of the last 48 hours of his life
in the Police and Courts Building, a gray stone structure in downtown
Dallas that housed the headquarters of the Dallas Police Department and
the city jail. Following his arrest early Friday afternoon, Oswald was
brought immediately to this building and remained there until Sunday
morning, November 24, when he was scheduled to be transferred to the
county jail. At 11:21 that morning, in full view of millions of people
watching on television, Oswald was fatally wounded by Jack Ruby, who
emerged suddenly from the crowd of newsmen and policemen witnessing the
transfer and fired a single shot at Oswald.

Whether the killing of Oswald was part of a conspiracy involving
the assassination of President Kennedy is considered in chapter VI.
Aside from that question, the occurrences within the Police and
Courts Building between November 22 and 24 raise other important
issues concerning the conduct of law enforcement officials, the
responsibilities of the press, the rights of accused persons, and
the administration of criminal justice in the United States. The
Commission has therefore deemed it necessary to determine the facts
concerning Oswald’s detention and death and to evaluate the actions and
responsibilities of the police and press involved in these events.


The focal center of the Police and Courts Building during Oswald’s
detention was the third floor, which housed the main offices of the
Dallas Police Department. The public elevators on this floor opened
into a lobby midpoint of a corridor that extended along the length of
the floor for about 140 feet. At one end of this 7-foot-wide corridor
were the offices occupied by Chief of Police Jesse E. Curry and his
immediate subordinates; at the other end was a small pressroom that
could accommodate only a handful of reporters. Along this corridor were
other police offices, including those of the major detective bureaus.
Between the pressroom and the lobby was the complex of offices
belonging to the homicide and robbery bureau, headed by Capt. J. Will
Fritz.[C5-1] (See Commission Exhibit No. 2175, p. 197.)

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2175



The policemen who seized Oswald at the Texas Theatre arrived with him
at the police department building at about 2 p.m. and brought him
immediately to the third floor offices of the homicide and robbery
bureau to await the arrival of Captain Fritz from the Texas School
Book Depository. After about 15 or 20 minutes Oswald was ushered into
the office of Captain Fritz for the first of several interrogation
sessions.[C5-2] At 4:05 p.m. he was taken to the basement assembly room
for his first lineup.[C5-3] While waiting outside the lineup room,
Oswald was searched, and five cartridges and other items were removed
from his pockets.[C5-4] After the lineup, at about 4:20, Oswald was
returned to Captain Fritz’ office for further questioning.[C5-5] Two
hours later, at 6:20 p.m., Oswald was taken downstairs for a second
lineup and returned to Captain Fritz’ office within 15 minutes for
additional interrogation.[C5-6] Shortly after 7 p.m., Captain Fritz
signed a complaint charging Oswald with the murder of Patrolman Tippit.
Oswald was formally arraigned, i.e., advised of the charges, at 7:10
p.m., before Justice of the Peace David L. Johnston, who came to
Captain Fritz’ office for the occasion.[C5-7]

After a third lineup at about 7:40 p.m., Oswald was returned to Fritz’
office.[C5-8] About an hour later, after further questioning, Oswald’s
fingerprints and palmprints were taken and a paraffin test (see
app. XI) administered in Fritz’ office, after which the questioning
resumed.[C5-9] At 11:26 p.m. Fritz signed the complaint charging Oswald
with the murder of President Kennedy.[C5-10] Shortly after midnight,
detectives took Oswald to the basement assembly room for an appearance
of several minutes before members of the press.[C5-11] At about 12:20
a.m. Oswald was delivered to the jailer who placed him in a maximum
security cell on the fifth floor.[C5-12] His cell was the center one in
a block of three cells that were separated from the remainder of the
jail area. The cells on either side of Oswald were empty and a guard
was nearby whenever Oswald was present.[C5-13] Shortly after 1:30 a.m.
Oswald was brought to the identification bureau on the fourth floor
and arraigned before Justice of the Peace Johnston, this time for the
murder of President Kennedy.[C5-14]

Questioning resumed in Fritz’ office on Saturday morning at about 10:25
a.m., and the session lasted nearly an hour and 10 minutes.[C5-15]
Oswald was then returned to his cell for an hour, and at 12:35 p.m.
he was brought back to Fritz’ office for an additional half-hour of
questioning.[C5-16] From 1:10 to 1:30 p.m., Oswald’s wife and mother
visited him in the fourth floor visiting area;[C5-17] at 1:40 p.m.
he attempted to call an attorney in New York.[C5-18] He appeared in
another lineup at 2:15 p.m.[C5-19] At 2:45 p.m., with Oswald’s consent,
a member of the identification bureau obtained fingernail scrapings
and specimens of hair from him.[C5-20] He returned to the fourth floor
at 3:30 p.m. for a 10-minute visit with his brother, Robert.[C5-21]
Between 4 and 4:30 p.m., Oswald made two telephone calls to Mrs. Ruth
Paine[C5-22] at her home in Irving; at about 5:30 p.m. he was visited
by the president of the Dallas Bar Association[C5-23] with whom he
spoke for about 5 minutes. From 6 to 7:15 p.m. Oswald was interrogated
once again in Captain Fritz’ office and then returned to his
cell.[C5-24] At 8 p.m. he called the Paine residence again and asked to
speak to his wife, but Mrs. Paine told him that his wife was no longer

Oswald was signed out of jail at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 24, and
taken to Captain Fritz’ office for a final round of questioning.[C5-26]
The transfer party left Fritz’ office at about 11:15 a.m.;[C5-27] at
11:21 a.m. Oswald was shot.[C5-28] He was declared dead at Parkland
Hospital at 1:07 p.m.[C5-29]

Interrogation Sessions

During the period between 2:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon and 11:15 a.m.
Sunday morning, Oswald was interrogated for a total of approximately 12
hours.[C5-30] Though subject to intermittent questioning for more than
7 hours on Friday, Oswald was given 8 to 9 hours to rest that night.
On Saturday he was questioned for a total of only 3 hours during three
interrogation sessions, and on Sunday he was questioned for less than 2
hours.[C5-31] (These interrogations are discussed in ch. IV.)

Captain Fritz’ office, within which the interrogations took place,
was a small room, 14 feet by 9½ feet in size.[C5-32] In addition to
the policemen guarding the prisoner, those present usually included
Dallas detectives, investigators from the FBI and the Secret Service,
and occasionally other officials, particularly a post office inspector
and the U.S. marshal. (See statements in app. XI.) As many as seven
or eight people crowded into the small office.[C5-33] In all, more
than 25 different persons participated in or were present at some
time during interrogations. Captain Fritz, who conducted most of
the interrogations, was frequently called from the room. He said,
“I don’t believe there was any time when I went through a very long
period without having to step to the door, or step outside, to get
a report from some pair of officers, or to give them additional
assignments.”[C5-34] In his absence, others present would occasionally
question Oswald.[C5-35]

The interrogators differ on whether the confusion prevailing in the
main third floor corridor penetrated Fritz’ office and affected the
atmosphere within.[C5-36] Oswald’s processions through the third floor
corridor, described more fully below, tended, in Fritz’ opinion,
to keep Oswald upset, and the remarks and questions of newsmen
sometimes caused him to become annoyed. Despite the confusion that
frequently prevailed, Oswald remained calm most of the time during the
interrogations.[C5-37] According to Captain Fritz:

    You know I didn’t have trouble with him. If we would just
    talk to him quietly like we are talking right now, we talked
    all right until I asked him a question that meant something,
    every time I asked him a question that meant something, that
    would produce evidence he immediately told me he wouldn’t tell
    me about it and he seemed to anticipate what I was going to

Special Agent James W. Bookhout, who represented the FBI at most of the
interrogations, stated, “I think generally you might say anytime that
you asked a question that would be pertinent to the investigation, that
would be the type of question he would refuse to discuss.”[C5-39]

The number of people in the interrogation room and the tumultuous
atmosphere throughout the third floor made it difficult for the
interrogators to gain Oswald’s confidence and to encourage him to be
truthful. As Chief Curry has recognized in his testimony, “we were
violating every principle of interrogation * * * it was just against
all principles of good interrogation practice.”[C5-40]

Oswald’s Legal Rights

All available evidence indicates that Oswald was not subjected to any
physical hardship during the interrogation sessions or at any other
time while he was in custody. He was fed and allowed to rest. When he
protested on Friday against being handcuffed from behind, the cuffs
were removed and he was handcuffed in front.[C5-41] Although he made
remarks to newsmen about desiring a shower and demanding his “civil
rights,” Oswald did not complain about his treatment to any of the
numerous police officers and other persons who had much to do with him
during the 2 days of his detention.[C5-42] As described in chapter IV,
Oswald received a slight cut over his right eye and a bruise under his
left eye during the scuffle in the Texas Theatre with the arresting
officers, three of whom were injured and required medical treatment.
These marks were visible to all who saw him during the 2 days of his
detention and to millions of television viewers.[C5-43]

Before the first questioning session on Friday afternoon, Fritz warned
Oswald that he was not compelled to make any statement and that
statements he did make could be used against him.[C5-44] About 5 hours
later, he was arraigned for the Tippit murder and within an additional
6½ hours he was arraigned for the murder of President Kennedy. On each
occasion the justice of the peace advised Oswald of his right to obtain
counsel and the right to remain silent.[C5-45]

Throughout the period of detention, however, Oswald was not represented
by counsel. At the Friday midnight press conference in the basement
assembly room, he made the following remarks:

    OSWALD. Well, I was questioned by Judge ---- [Johnston].
    However, I protested at that time that I was not allowed legal
    representation during that very short and sweet hearing. I
    really don’t know what the situation is about. Nobody has
    told me anything except that I am accused of, of, murdering
    a policeman. I know nothing more than that and I do request
    someone to come forward to give me legal assistance.

    Q. Did you kill the President?

    A. No. I have not been charged with that. In fact nobody has
    said that to me yet. The first thing I heard about it was when
    the newspaper reporters in the hall asked me that question.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Q. Mr. Oswald, how did you hurt your eye?

    A. A policeman hit me.[C5-46]

At this time Oswald had been arraigned only for the murder of
Patrolman Tippit, but questioning by Captain Fritz and others had
been substantially concerned with Oswald’s connection with the

On Friday evening, representatives of the American Civil Liberties
Union visited the police department to determine whether Oswald was
being deprived of counsel. They were assured by police officials and
Justice of the Peace Johnston that Oswald had been informed of his
rights and was being allowed to seek a lawyer.[C5-48] On Saturday
Oswald attempted several times to reach John Abt, a New York lawyer,
by telephone, but with no success.[C5-49] In the afternoon, he called
Ruth Paine and asked her to try to reach Abt for him, but she too
failed.[C5-50] Later in the afternoon, H. Louis Nichols, president of
the Dallas Bar Association, visited Oswald in his cell and asked him
whether he wanted the association to obtain a lawyer for him. Oswald
declined the offer, stating a first preference for Abt and a second
preference for a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union.[C5-51]
As late as Sunday morning, according to Postal Inspector Harry D.
Holmes, Oswald said that he preferred to get his own lawyer.[C5-52]


Within an hour of Oswald’s arrival at the police department on November
22, it became known to newsmen that he was a possible suspect in the
slaying of President Kennedy as well as in the murder of Patrolman
Tippit. At least as early as 3:26 p.m. a television report carried this
information. Reporters and cameramen flooded into the building and
congregated in the corridor of the third floor, joining those few who
had been present when Oswald first arrived.[C5-53]

On the Third Floor

Felix McKnight, editor of the Dallas Times-Herald, who handled press
arrangements for the President’s visit, estimated that within 24 hours
of the assassination more than 300 representatives of news media were
in Dallas, including correspondents from foreign newspapers and press
associations.[C5-54] District Attorney Henry M. Wade thought that the
crowd in the third floor hallway itself may have numbered as many as
300.[C5-55] Most estimates, including those based on examination of
video tapes, place upwards of 100 newsmen and cameramen in the third
floor corridor of the police department by the evening of November
22.[C5-56] (See Commission Exhibit No. 2633, p. 203.)

In the words of an FBI agent who was present, the conditions at the
police station were “not too much unlike Grand Central Station at rush
hour, maybe like the Yankee Stadium during the World Series games. *
* *”[C5-57] In the lobby of the third floor, television cameramen set
up two large cameras and floodlights in strategic positions that gave
them a sweep of the corridor in either direction. Technicians stretched
their television cables into and out of offices, running some of them
out of the windows of a deputy chief’s office and down the side of the
building. Men with newsreel cameras, still cameras, and microphones,
more mobile than the television cameramen, moved back and forth seeking
information and opportunities for interviews. Newsmen wandered into the
offices of other bureaus located on the third floor, sat on desks, and
used police telephones; indeed, one reporter admits hiding a telephone
behind a desk so that he would have exclusive access to it if something

By the time Chief Curry returned to the building in the middle of the
afternoon from Love Field where he had escorted President Johnson from
Parkland Hospital, he found that “there was just pandemonium on the
third floor.”[C5-59] The news representatives, he testified:

    * * * were jammed into the north hall of the third floor,
    which are the offices of the criminal investigation division.
    The television trucks, there were several of them around the
    city hall. I went into my administrative offices, I saw cables
    coming through the administrative assistant office and through
    the deputy chief of traffic through his office, and running
    through the hall they had a live TV set up on the third floor,
    and it was a bedlam of confusion.[C5-60]

According to Special Agent Winston G. Lawson of the Secret Service:

    At least by 6 or 7 o’clock * * * [the reporters and cameramen]
    were quite in evidence up and down the corridors, cameras on
    the tripods, the sound equipment, people with still cameras,
    motion picture-type hand cameras, all kinds of people with tape
    recorders, and they were trying to interview people, anybody
    that belonged in police headquarters that might know anything
    about Oswald * * *[C5-61]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2633

Scene in third floor corridor.]

The corridor became so jammed that policemen and newsmen had to
push and shove if they wanted to get through, stepping over cables,
wires, and tripods.[C5-62] The crowd in the hallway was so dense that
District Attorney Wade found it a “strain to get the door open” to
get into the homicide office.[C5-63] According to Lawson, “You had to
literally fight your way through the people to get up and down the
corridor.”[C5-64] A witness who was escorted into the homicide offices
on Saturday afternoon related that he

    tried to get by the reporters, stepping over television cables
    and you couldn’t hardly get by, they would grab you and wanted
    to know what you were doing down here, even with the detectives
    one in front and one behind you.[C5-65]

The television cameras continued to record the scene on the third floor
as some of the newsmen kept vigil through the night.[C5-66]

Such police efforts as there were to control the newsmen were
unavailing. Capt. Glen D. King, administrative assistant to Chief
Curry, witnessed efforts to clear an aisle through the hallway, but
related that “this was a constant battle because of the number of
newsmen who were there. They would move back into the aisleway that had
been cleared. They interfered with the movement of people who had to
be there.”[C5-67] According to one detective, “they would be asked to
stand back and stay back but it wouldn’t do much good, and they would
push forward and you had to hold them off physically.” The detective
recalled that on one occasion when he was escorting a witness through
the corridor he “stopped * * * and looked down and there was a joker
had a camera stuck between * * * [his] legs taking pictures. * *
*”[C5-68] Forrest V. Sorrels of the Secret Service had the impression
that the “press and the television people just * * * took over.”[C5-69]

Police control over the access of other than newsmen to the third floor
was of limited but increasing effectiveness after Oswald’s arrival
at the police department. Initially no steps were taken to exclude
unauthorized persons from the third floor corridor, but late Friday
afternoon Assistant Chief Charles Batchelor stationed guards at the
elevators and the stairway to prevent the admission of such persons. He
also directed the records room in the basement to issue passes, after
verification by the bureaus involved, to people who had legitimate
business on the third floor.[C5-70] Throughout the 3 days of Oswald’s
detention, the police were obliged to continue normal business in
all five bureaus located along the third floor hallway. Thus many
persons--relatives of prisoners, complainants, witnesses[C5-71]--had
occasion to visit police offices on the third floor on business
unrelated to the investigation of the assassination.

Newsmen seeking admission to the third floor were required to identify
themselves by their personal press cards; however, the department
did not follow its usual procedure of checking the authenticity of
press credentials.[C5-72] Captain King felt that this would have
been impossible in light of “the atmosphere that existed over there,
the tremendous pressures that existed, the fact that telephones were
ringing constantly, that there were droves of people in there * * *
the fact that the method by which you positively identify someone * * *
it’s not easy.”[C5-73]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2631

Oswald being moved through third floor corridor.]

Police officers on the third floor testified that they carefully
checked all persons for credentials, and most newsmen indicated that
after Batchelor imposed security they were required to identify
themselves by their press cards.[C5-74] Special Agent Sorrels of the
Secret Service stated that he was requested to present credentials on
some of his visits to the third floor.[C5-75] However, other newsmen
apparently went unchallenged during the entire period before Oswald was
killed, although some of them were wearing press badges on their lapels
and some may have been known to the police officers.[C5-76]

According to some reporters and policemen, people who appeared to
be unauthorized were present on the third floor after security
procedures were instituted, and video tapes seem to confirm their
observations.[C5-77] Jack Ruby was present on the third floor on Friday
night.[C5-78] Assistant Chief of Police N. T. Fisher testified that
even on Saturday “anybody could come up with a plausible reason for
going to one of the third floor bureaus and was able to get in.”[C5-79]

Oswald and the Press

When the police car bringing Oswald from the Texas Theatre drove into
the basement of police headquarters at about 2 p.m. on Friday, some
reporters and cameramen, principally from local papers and stations,
were already on hand. The policemen formed a wedge around Oswald and
conducted him to the elevator, but several newsmen crowded into the
elevator with Oswald and the police. When the elevator stopped at the
third floor, the cameramen ran ahead down the corridor, and then turned
around and backed up, taking pictures of Oswald as he was escorted
toward the homicide and robbery bureau office. According to one
escorting officer, some six or seven reporters followed the police into
the bureau office.[C5-80]

From Friday afternoon, when Oswald arrived in the building, until
Sunday, newspaper reporters and television cameras focused their
attention on the homicide office. In full view and within arm’s length
of the assembled newsmen, Oswald traversed the 20 feet of corridor
between the homicide office and the locked door leading to the jail
elevator at least 15 times after his initial arrival. The jail
elevator, sealed off from public use, took him to his fifth floor cell
and to the assembly room in the basement for lineups and the Friday
night news conference.[C5-81]

On most occasions, Oswald’s escort of three to six detectives and
policemen had to push their way through the newsmen who sought to
surround them. (See Commission Exhibit No. 2631, p. 205.) Although
the Dallas press normally did not take pictures of a prisoner without
first obtaining permission of the police, who generally asked the
prisoner, this practice was not followed by any of the newsmen with
Oswald.[C5-82] Generally when Oswald appeared the newsmen turned their
cameras on him, thrust microphones at his face, and shouted questions
at him. Sometimes he answered. Reporters in the forefront of the throng
would repeat his answers for the benefit of those behind them who could
not hear. On Saturday, however in response to police admonitions,
the reporters exercised more restraint and shouted fewer questions at
Oswald when he passed through the corridor.[C5-83]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2965


Oswald’s most prolonged exposure occurred at the midnight press
conference on Friday night. In response to demands of newsmen, District
Attorney Wade, after consulting with Chief Curry and Captain Fritz, had
announced shortly before midnight that Oswald would appear at a press
conference in the basement assembly room.[C5-84] An estimated 70 to 100
people, including Jack Ruby, and other unauthorized persons, crowded
into the small downstairs room. No identification was required.[C5-85]
The room was so packed that Deputy Chief M. W. Stevenson and Captain
Fritz who came down to the basement after the crowd had assembled could
not get in and were forced to remain in the doorway.[C5-86]

Oswald was brought into the room shortly after midnight.[C5-87] Curry
had instructed policemen not to permit newsmen to touch Oswald or
get close to him, but no steps were taken to shield Oswald from the
crowd.[C5-88] Captain Fritz had asked that Oswald be placed on the
platform used for lineups so that he could be more easily removed “if
anything happened.”[C5-89] Chief Curry, however, insisted that Oswald
stand on the floor in front of the stage, where he was also in front of
the one-way nylon-cloth screen customarily used to prevent a suspect
from seeing those present in the room. This was done because cameramen
had told Curry that their cameras would not photograph well through the

Curry had instructed the reporters that they were not to “ask any
questions and try to interview * * * [Oswald] in any way,” but when he
was brought into the room, “immediately they began to shoot questions
at him and shove microphones into his face.”[C5-91] It was difficult
to hear Oswald’s answers above the uproar. Cameramen stood on the
tables to take pictures and others pushed forward to get close-ups.
(See Commission Exhibit No. 2965, p. 207.) The noise and confusion
mounted as reporters shouted at each other to get out of the way and
camermen made frantic efforts to get into position for pictures.[C5-92]
After Oswald had been in the room only a few minutes, Chief Curry
intervened and directed that Oswald be taken back to the jail because,
he testified, the newsmen “tried to overrun him.”[C5-93]


In Dallas, after a person is charged with a felony, the county sheriff
ordinarily takes custody of the prisoner and assumes responsibility for
his safekeeping. Normally, the Dallas Police Department notifies the
sheriff when a prisoner has been charged with a felony and the sheriff
dispatches his deputies to transport the accused to the county jail.
This is usually done within a few hours after the complaint has been
filed. In cases of unusual importance, however, the Dallas city police
sometimes transport the prisoners to the county jail.[C5-94]

The decision to move Oswald to the county jail on Sunday morning
was reached by Chief Curry the preceding evening. Sometime after
7:30 Saturday evening, according to Assistant Chief Batchelor, two
reporters told him that they wanted to go out to dinner but that “they
didn’t want to miss anything if we were going to move the prisoner.”
Curry came upon them at that point and told the two newsmen that
if they returned by 10 o’clock in the morning, they wouldn’t “miss
anything.”[C5-95] A little later, after checking with Captain Fritz,
Curry made a similar announcement to the assembled reporters. Curry
reported the making of his decision to move Oswald as follows:

    Then, I talked to Fritz about when he thought he would transfer
    the prisoner, and he didn’t think it was a good idea to
    transfer him at night because of the fact you couldn’t see, and
    if anybody tried to cause them any trouble, they needed to see
    who they were and where it was coming from and so forth, and
    he suggested that we wait until daylight, so this was normal
    procedure, I mean, for Fritz to determine when he is going to
    transfer his prisoners, so I told him “Okay.” I asked him, I
    said, “What time do you think you will be ready tomorrow?”
    And he didn’t know exactly and I said, “Do you think about 10
    o’clock,” and he said, “I believe so,” and then is when I went
    out and told the newspaper people * * * “I believe if you are
    back here by 10 o’clock you will be back in time to observe
    anything you care to observe.”[C5-96]

During the night, between 2:30 and 3 a.m., the local office of the FBI
and the sheriff’s office received telephone calls from an unidentified
man who warned that a committee had decided “to kill the man that
killed the President.”[C5-97] Shortly after, an FBI agent notified
the Dallas police of the anonymous threat. The police department and
ultimately Chief Curry were informed of both threats.[C5-98]

Immediately after his arrival at the building on Sunday morning between
8:30 and 8:45 a.m., Curry spoke by telephone with Sheriff J. E. Decker
about the transfer. When Decker indicated that he would leave to Curry
the decision on whether the sheriff’s office or the police would move
Oswald, Curry decided that the police would handle it because “we had
so much involved here, we were the ones that were investigating the
case and we had the officers set up downstairs to handle it.”[C5-99]

After talking with Decker, Curry began to discuss plans for the
transfer. With the threats against Oswald in mind, Curry suggested to
Batchelor and Deputy Chief Stevenson that Oswald be transported to the
county jail in an armored truck, to which they agreed. While Batchelor
made arrangements to have an armored truck brought to the building,
Curry and Stevenson tentatively agreed on the route the armored truck
would follow from the building to the county jail.[C5-100]

Curry decided that Oswald would leave the building via the basement. He
stated later that he reached this decision shortly after his arrival
at the police building Sunday morning, when members of the press had
already begun to gather in the basement. There is no evidence that
anyone opposed this decision.[C5-101] Two members of the Dallas police
did suggest to Captain Fritz that Oswald be taken from the building
by another exit, leaving the press “waiting in the basement and on
Commerce Street, and we could be to the county jail before anyone
knew what was taking place.”[C5-102] However, Fritz said that he did
not think Curry would agree to such a plan because he had promised
that Oswald would be transferred at a time when newsmen could take
pictures.[C5-103] Forrest Sorrels also suggested to Fritz that Oswald
be moved at an unannounced time when no one was around, but Fritz again
responded that Curry “wanted to go along with the press and not try to
put anything over on them.”[C5-104]

Preliminary arrangements to obtain additional personnel to assist
with the transfer were begun Saturday evening. On Saturday night,
the police reserves were requested to provide 8 to 10 men on Sunday,
and additional reservists were sought in the morning.[C5-105] Capt.
C. E. Talbert, who was in charge of the patrol division for the city
of Dallas on the morning of November 24, retained a small number of
policemen in the building when he took charge that morning and later
ordered other patrolmen from several districts to report to the
basement.[C5-106] At about 9 a.m. Deputy Chief Stevenson instructed
all detectives within the building to remain for the transfer.[C5-107]
Sheriff Decker testified that his men were ready to receive Oswald at
the county jail from the early hours of Sunday morning.[C5-108]

With the patrolmen and reserve policemen available to him, Captain
Talbert, on his own initiative, undertook to secure the basement
of the police department building. He placed policemen outside the
building at the top of the Commerce Street ramp to keep all spectators
on the opposite side of Commerce Street. Later, Talbert directed
that patrolmen be assigned to all street intersections the transfer
vehicle would cross along the route to the county jail.[C5-109] His
most significant security precautions, however, were steps designed to
exclude unauthorized persons from the basement area.

The spacious basement of the Police and Courts Building contains, among
other things, the jail office and the police garage. (See Commission
Exhibit No. 2179, p. 211.) The jail office, into which the jail
elevator opens, is situated on the west side of an auto ramp cutting
across the length of the basement from Main Street, on the north side
of the building, to Commerce Street, on the south side. From the foot
of this ramp, on the east side, midway through the basement, a decline
runs down a short distance to the =L=-shaped police garage. In addition
to the auto ramp, five doors to the garage provide access to the
basement from the Police and Courts Building on the west side of the
garage and the attached Municipal Building on the east. Three of these
five doors provide access to three elevators opening into the garage,
two for passengers near the central part of the garage and one for
service at the east end of the garage. A fourth door near the passenger
elevator opens into the municipal building; the fifth door, at the
Commerce Street side of the garage, opens into a sub-basement that is
connected with both buildings.[C5-110]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2179



Shortly after 9 o’clock Sunday morning, policemen cleared the basement
of all but police personnel. Guards were stationed at the top of the
Main and Commerce Streets auto ramps leading down into the basement,
at each of the five doorways into the garage, and at the double doors
leading to the public hallway adjacent to the jail office. Then, Sgt.
Patrick T. Dean, acting under instructions from Talbert, directed
14 men in a search of the garage. Maintenance workers were directed
to leave the area. The searchers examined the rafters, tops of air
conditioning ducts, and every closet and room opening off the garage.
They searched the interior and trunk compartment of automobiles parked
in the garage. The two passenger elevators in the central part of the
garage were not in service and the doors were shut and locked; the
service elevator was moved to the first floor, and the operator was
instructed not to return it to the basement.[C5-111]

Despite the thoroughness with which the search was conducted, there
still existed one and perhaps two weak points in controlling access
to the garage. Testimony did not resolve positively whether or not
the stairway door near the public elevators was locked both from the
inside and outside as was necessary to secure it effectively.[C5-112]
And although guards were stationed near the double doors, the hallway
near the jail office was accessible to people from inside the Police
and Courts Building without the necessity of presenting identification.
Until seconds before Oswald was shot, newsmen hurrying to photograph
Oswald were able to run without challenge through those doors into the

After the search had been completed, the police allowed news
representatives to reenter the basement area and gather along the
entrance to the garage on the east side of the ramp. Later, the police
permitted the newsmen to stand in front of the railing on the east side
of the ramp leading to Main Street. The policemen deployed by Talbert
and Dean had instructions to allow no one but identified news media
representatives into the basement. As before, the police accepted any
credentials that appeared authentic, though some officers did make
special efforts to check for pictures and other forms of corroborating
identification. Many newsmen reported that they were checked on more
than one occasion while they waited in the basement. A small number did
not recall that their credentials were ever checked.[C5-114]

Shortly after his arrival on Sunday morning, Chief Curry issued
instructions to keep reporters and cameramen out of the jail office
and to keep television equipment behind the railing separating the
basement auto ramp from the garage. Curry observed that in other
respects Captain Talbert appeared to have security measures in hand and
allowed him to proceed on his own initiative. Batchelor and Stevenson
checked progress in the basement during the course of the morning,
and the officials were generally satisfied with the steps Talbert had

At about 11 a.m., Deputy Chief Stevenson requested that Capt. O. A.
Jones of the forgery bureau bring all available detectives from the
third floor offices to the basement. Jones instructed the detectives
who accompanied him to the basement to line the walls on either side
of the passageway cleared for the transfer party.[C5-116] According to
Detective T. D. McMillon,

    * * * Captain Jones explained to us that, when they brought
    the prisoner out, that he wanted two lines formed and we were
    to keep these two lines formed, you know, a barrier on either
    side of them, kind of an aisle * * * for them to walk through,
    and when they came down this aisle, we were to keep this line
    intact and move along with them until the man was placed in the

With Assistant Chief Batchelor’s permission, Jones removed
photographers who had gathered once again in the basement jail office.
Jones recalled that he instructed all newsmen along the Main Street
ramp to remain behind an imaginary line extending from the southeast
corner of the jail office to the railing on the east side of the ramp;
other officers recalled that Jones directed the newsmen to move away
from the foot of the Main Street ramp and to line up against the east
railing. In any event, newsmen were allowed to congregate along the
foot of the ramp after Batchelor observed that there was insufficient
room along the east of the ramp to permit all the news representatives
to see Oswald as he was brought out.[C5-118]

By the time Oswald reached the basement, 40 to 50 newsmen and 70 to 75
police officers were assembled there. Three television cameras stood
along the railing and most of the newsmen were congregated in that
area and at the top of the adjacent decline leading into the garage.
A group of newsmen and police officers, best estimated at about 20,
stood strung across the bottom of the Main Street ramp. Along the south
wall of the passageway outside the jail office door were about eight
detectives, and three detectives lined the north wall. Two officers
stood in front of the double doors leading into the passageway from the
corridor next to the jail office.[C5-119] (See Commission Exhibit No.
2634, p. 214.)

Beginning Saturday night, the public had been kept informed of the
approximate time of the transfer. At approximately 10:20 a.m. Curry
told a press conference that Oswald would be moved in an armored truck
and gave a general description of other security precautions.[C5-120]
Apparently no newsmen were informed of the transfer route, however,
and the route was not disclosed to the driver of the armored truck
until the truck arrived at the Commerce Street exit at about 11:07
a.m.[C5-121] When they learned of its arrival, many of the remaining
newsmen who had waited on the third floor descended to the basement.
Shortly after, newsmen may have had another indication that the
transfer was imminent if they caught a glimpse through the glass
windows of Oswald putting on a sweater in Captain Fritz’ office.[C5-122]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2634

Scene in areaway outside jail office immediately before shooting
(Sunday, November 24).]

Because the driver feared that the truck might stall if it had to start
from the bottom of the ramp and because the overhead clearance appeared
to be inadequate, Assistant Chief Batchelor had it backed only into the
entranceway at the top of the ramp. Batchelor and others then inspected
the inside of the truck.[C5-123]

When Chief Curry learned that the truck had arrived, he informed
Captain Fritz that security controls were in effect and inquired how
long the questioning of Oswald would continue. At this point, Fritz
learned for the first time of the plan to convey Oswald by armored
truck and immediately expressed his disapproval. He urged the use of an
unmarked police car driven by a police officer, pointing out that this
would be better from the standpoint of both speed and maneuverability.
Curry agreed to Fritz’ plan; the armored truck would be used as a
decoy. They decided that the armored truck would leave the ramp first,
followed by a car which would contain only security officers. A police
car bearing Oswald would follow. After proceeding one block, the car
with Oswald would turn off and proceed directly to the county jail; the
armored truck would follow a lead car to the jail along the previously
agreed upon and more circuitous route.[C5-124]

Captain Fritz instructed Detectives C. W. Brown and C. N. Dhority and
a third detective to proceed to the garage and move the followup car
and the transfer car into place on the auto ramp. He told Lt. Rio S.
Pierce to obtain another automobile from the basement and take up a
lead position on Commerce Street.[C5-125] Deputy Chief Stevenson went
back to the basement to inform Batchelor and Jones of the change in
plans.[C5-126] Oswald was given his sweater, and then his right hand
was handcuffed to the left hand of Detective J. R. Leavelle.[C5-127]
Detective T. L. Baker called the jail office to check on security
precautions in the basement and notify officials that the prisoner was
being brought down.[C5-128]

On arriving in the basement, Pierce asked Sgts. James A. Putnam and
Billy Joe Maxey to accompany him in the lead car. Since the armored
truck was blocking the Commerce Street ramp, it would be necessary to
drive out the Main Street ramp and circle the block to Commerce Street.
Maxey sat on the back seat of Pierce’s car, and Putnam helped clear a
path through reporters on the ramp so that Pierce could drive up toward
Main Street. When the car passed by the reporters at about 11:20 a.m.,
Putnam entered the car on the right front side. Pierce drove to the
top of the Main Street ramp and slowed momentarily as Patrolman Roy
E. Vaughn stepped from his position at the top of the ramp toward the
street to watch for traffic.[C5-129] After Pierce’s car left the garage
area, Brown drove another police car out of the garage, moved part way
up the Commerce Street ramp, and began to back down into position to
receive Oswald. Dhority also proceeded to drive the followup car into
position ahead of Brown.[C5-130]

As Pierce’s car started up the ramp at about 11:20 a.m., Oswald,
accompanied by Captain Fritz and four detectives, arrived at the jail
office. Cameramen in the hallway of the basement took pictures of
Oswald through the interior glass windows of the jail office as he was
led through the office to the exit.[C5-131] Some of these cameramen
then ran through the double doors near the jail office and squeezed
into the line which had formed across the Main Street ramp.[C5-132]
Still others remained just inside the double doors or proceeded through
the double doors after Oswald and his escort emerged from the jail
office.[C5-133] (See Commission Exhibit No. 2177, p. 217.)

When Fritz came to the jail office door, he asked if everything was
ready, and a detective standing in the passageway answered yes.[C5-134]
Someone shouted, “Here he comes!”; additional spotlights were turned on
in the basement, and the din increased. A detective stepped from the
jail office and proceeded toward the transfer car. Seconds later Fritz
and then Oswald, with Detective Leavelle at his right, Detective L. C.
Graves at his left, and Detective L. D. Montgomery at his rear, came
through the door. Fritz walked to Brown’s car, which had not yet backed
fully into position; Oswald followed a few feet behind. Newsmen near
the double door moved forward after him.[C5-135] Though movie films
and video tapes indicate that the front line of newsmen along the Main
Street ramp remained fairly stationary, it was the impression of many
who were close to the scene that with Oswald’s appearance the crowd
surged forward. According to Detective Montgomery, who was walking
directly behind Oswald, “as soon as we came out this door * * * this
bunch here just moved in on us.”[C5-136] To Detective B. H. Combest,
standing on the Commerce Street side of the passageway from the jail
office door, it appeared that

    Almost the whole line of people pushed forward when Oswald
    started to leave the jail office, the door, the hall--all the
    newsmen were poking their sound mikes across to him and asking
    questions, and they were everyone sticking their flashbulbs up
    and around and over him and in his face.[C5-137]

After Oswald had moved about 10 feet from the door of the jail office,
Jack Ruby passed between a newsman and a detective at the edge of the
straining crowd on the Main Street ramp. With his right hand extended
and holding a .38 caliber revolver, Ruby stepped quickly forward
and fired a single fatal bullet into Oswald’s abdomen.[C5-138] (See
Commission Exhibit No. 2636, p. 218.)


The killing of Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of police headquarters
in the midst of more than 70 police officers gave rise to immediate
speculation that one or more members of the police department provided
Jack Ruby assistance which had enabled him to enter the basement and
approach within a few feet of the accused Presidential assassin. In
chapter VI, the Commission has considered whether there is any evidence
linking Jack Ruby with a conspiracy to kill the President. At this
point, however, it is appropriate to consider whether there is evidence
that Jack Ruby received assistance from Dallas policemen or others
in gaining access to the basement on the morning of November 24. An
affirmative answer would require that the evidence be evaluated for
possible connection with the assassination itself. While the Commission
has found no evidence that Ruby received assistance from any person in
entering the basement, his means of entry is significant in evaluating
the adequacy of the precautions taken to protect Oswald.

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2177



[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2636

Ruby shooting Oswald (Sunday, November 24).]

Although more than a hundred policemen and newsmen were present in
the basement of police headquarters during the 10 minutes before the
shooting of Oswald, none has been found who definitely observed Jack
Ruby’s entry into the basement. After considering all the evidence,
the Commission has concluded that Ruby entered the basement unaided,
probably via the Main Street ramp, and no more than 3 minutes before
the shooting of Oswald.

Ruby’s account of how he entered the basement by the Main Street ramp
merits consideration in determining his means of entry. Three Dallas
policemen testified that approximately 30 minutes after his arrest,
Ruby told them that he had walked to the top of the Main Street ramp
from the nearby Western Union office and that he walked down the
ramp at the time the police car driven by Lieutenant Pierce emerged
into Main Street.[C5-139] This information did not come to light
immediately because the policemen did not report it to their superiors
until some days later.[C5-140] Ruby refused to discuss his means of
entry in interrogations with other investigators later on the day of
his arrest.[C5-141] Thereafter, in a lengthy interview on December 21
and in a sworn deposition taken after his trial, Ruby gave the same
explanation he had given to the three policemen.[C5-142]

The Commission has been able to establish with precision the time
of certain events leading up to the shooting. Minutes before Oswald
appeared in the basement, Ruby was in the Western Union office located
on the same block of Main Street some 350 feet from the top of the
Main Street ramp. The time stamp on a money order which he sent and
on the receipt found in his pocket establish that the order was
accepted for transmission at almost exactly 11:17 a.m. Ruby was then
observed to depart the office walking in the direction of the police
building.[C5-143] Video tapes taken without interruption before the
shooting establish that Lieutenant Pierce’s car cleared the crowd
at the foot of the ramp 55 seconds before the shooting. They also
show Ruby standing at the foot of the ramp on the Main Street side
before the shooting.[C5-144] (See Commission Exhibit No. 2635, p.
220.) The shooting occurred very close to 11:21 a.m. This time has
been established by observing the time on a clock appearing in motion
pictures of Oswald in the basement jail office, and by records giving
the time of Oswald’s departure from the city jail and the time at which
an ambulance was summoned for Oswald.[C5-145]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2635

Ruby in basement (extreme right) immediately before shooting (Sunday,
November 24).]

The Main Street ramp provided the most direct route to the basement
from the Western Union office. At normal stride, it requires
approximately 1 minute to walk from that office to the top of the Main
Street ramp and about 20-25 seconds to descend the ramp.[C5-146] It is
certain, therefore, that Ruby entered the basement no more than 2-3
minutes before the shooting. This timetable indicates that a little
more than 2 of the 4 minutes between Ruby’s departure from the Western
Union office and the time of the shooting are unaccounted for. Ruby
could have consumed this time in loitering along the way, at the top of
the ramp, or inside the basement. However, if Ruby is correct that he
passed Pierce’s car at the top of the ramp, he could have been in the
basement no more than 30 seconds before the shooting.[C5-147]

The testimony of two witnesses partially corroborates Ruby’s claim
that he entered by the Main Street ramp. James Turner, an employee
of WBAP-TV Fort Worth, testified that while he was standing near
the railing on the east side of the Main Street ramp, perhaps 30
seconds before the shooting, he observed a man he is confident was
Jack Ruby moving slowly down the Main Street ramp about 10 feet from
the bottom.[C5-148] Two other witnesses testified that they thought
they had seen Ruby on the Main Street side of the ramp before the

One other witness has testified regarding the purported movements
of a man on the Main Street ramp, but his testimony merits little
credence. A former police officer, N. J. Daniels, who was standing at
the top of the ramp with the single patrolman guarding this entrance,
R. E. Vaughn, testified that “3 or 4 minutes, I guess”[C5-150] before
the shooting, a man walked down the Main Street ramp in full view of
Vaughn but was not stopped or questioned by the officer. Daniels did
not identify the man as Ruby. Moreover, he gave a description which
differed in important respects from Ruby’s appearance on November 24,
and he has testified that he doesn’t think the man was Ruby.[C5-151]
On November 24, Vaughn telephoned Daniels to ask him if he had seen
anybody walk past him on the morning of the 24th and was told that he
had not; it was not until November 29 that Daniels came forward with
the statement that he had seen a man enter.[C5-152]

Although the sum of this evidence tends to support Ruby’s claim that
he entered by the Main Street ramp, there is other evidence not fully
consistent with Ruby’s story. Patrolman Vaughn stated that he checked
the credentials of all unknown persons seeking to enter the basement,
and his testimony was supported by several persons.[C5-153] Vaughn
denied that the emergence of Lieutenant Pierce’s car from the building
distracted him long enough to allow Ruby to enter the ramp unnoticed,
and neither he nor any of the three officers in Lieutenant Pierce’s car
saw Ruby enter.[C5-154]

Despite Vaughn’s denial the Commission has found no credible evidence
to support any other entry route. Two Dallas detectives believed
they observed three men pushing a WBAP-TV camera into the basement
minutes before the shooting, while only two were with the camera after
Oswald had been shot.[C5-155] However, films taken in the basement
show the WBAP-TV camera being pushed past the detectives by only two
men.[C5-156] The suspicion of the detectives is probably explained by
testimony that a third WBAP-TV employee ran to help steady the incoming
camera as it entered the basement, probably just before the camera
became visible on the films.[C5-157] Moreover, since the camera entered
the basement close to 4 minutes before the shooting,[C5-158] it is
virtually impossible that Ruby could have been in the basement at that

The possibility that Ruby entered the basement by some other route
has been investigated, but the Commission has found no evidence to
support it. Ruby could have walked from the Western Union office to
the Commerce Street ramp on the other side of the building in about 2½
minutes.[C5-159] However, during the minutes preceding the shooting
video tapes show the armored truck in the entranceway to this ramp
with only narrow clearance on either side. (See Commission Exhibit No.
2710, p. 223.) Several policemen were standing near the truck and a
large crowd of spectators was gathered across the street.[C5-160] It is
improbable that Ruby could have squeezed past the truck without having
been observed. If Ruby entered by any other means, he would have had
to pass first through the Police and Courts Building or the attached
Municipal Building, and then secondly through one of the five doors
into the basement, all of which, according to the testimony of police
officers, were secured. The testimony was not completely positive about
one of the doors.[C5-161]

There is no evidence to support the speculations that Ruby used
a press badge to gain entry to the basement or that he concealed
himself in a police car. Police found no form of press card on Ruby’s
person after his apprehension, nor any discarded badges within the
basement.[C5-162] There is no evidence that any police officer admitted
Ruby on the pretense that he was a member of the press or any other

Police vehicles in the basement were inspected during the course of
the search supervised by Sergeant Dean.[C5-164] According to Patrolman
Vaughn, the only vehicles that entered the basement while he was at the
top of the Main Street ramp were two patrol cars, one of which entered
twice, and a patrol wagon which was searched by another policeman
after it entered the basement. All entered on official police business
and considerably more than 4 minutes before Oswald was shot.[C5-165]
None of the witnesses at the top of the Main Street ramp recalled any
police car entering the basement in the 4-minute period after Ruby
left the Western Union office and preceding the shooting.[C5-166] The
possibility that Ruby could have entered the basement in a car may
therefore be completely discounted.

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2710]

The Dallas Police Department, concerned at the failure of its security
measures, conducted an extensive investigation that revealed no
information indicating complicity between any police officer and Jack
Ruby.[C5-167] Ruby denied to the Commission that he received any
form of assistance.[C5-168] The FBI interviewed every member of the
police department who was on duty in the basement on November 24, and
Commission staff members took sworn depositions from many. With few
exceptions, newsmen who were present in the basement at the time also
gave statements and/or depositions. As the record before the Commission
indicated, Ruby had had rather free access to the Dallas police
quarters during the period subsequent to the assassination, but there
was no evidence that implicated the police or newsmen in Ruby’s actions
on that day.[C5-169]

Ruby was known to have a wide acquaintanceship with Dallas policemen
and to seek their favor. According to testimony from many sources, he
gave free coffee at his clubs to many policemen while they were on
duty and free admittance and discounts on beverages when they were off
duty.[C5-170] Although Chief Curry’s estimate that approximately 25 to
50 of the 1,175 men in the Dallas Police Department knew Ruby[C5-171]
may be too conservative, the Commission found no evidence of any
suspicious relationships between Ruby and any police officer.

The Commission found no substantial evidence that any member of the
Dallas Police Department recognized Jack Ruby as an unauthorized person
in the basement prior to the time Sgt. P. T. Dean, according to his
testimony, saw Ruby dart forward toward Oswald. But Dean was then
part way up the Commerce Street ramp, too far removed to act.[C5-172]
Patrolman W. J. Harrison, Capt. Glen King, and reserve officers Capt.
C. O. Arnett and Patrolman W. M. Croy were among those in front of
Ruby at the time Dean saw him. They all faced away from Ruby, toward
the jail office.[C5-173] Video tapes show that Harrison turned in the
direction of the ramp at the time Lieutenant Pierce’s car passed,
and once again 25 seconds later, but there is no indication that he
observed or recognized Ruby.[C5-174] The policemen standing on the
south side of the passageway from the jail office, who might have
been looking in Ruby’s direction, had the glare of television and
photographer’s lights in their eyes.[C5-175]

The Commission also considered the possibility that a member of the
police department called Ruby at his apartment and informed him, either
intentionally or unintentionally, of the time of the planned transfer.
From at least 10:19 a.m., until close to 11 a.m., on Sunday, Ruby was
at his apartment,[C5-176] where he could have received a call that the
transfer was imminent. He apparently left his apartment between 10:45
and 11 a.m.[C5-177] However, the drive from Ruby’s apartment to the
Western Union office takes approximately 15 minutes.[C5-178] Since
the time of the contemplated transfer could not have been known to
anyone until a few minutes before 11:15 a.m., a precise time could not
have been conveyed to Ruby while he was at his apartment. Moreover,
the television and radio publicized the transfer plans throughout
the morning, obviating the need for Ruby to obtain information


The shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald obviously resulted from the failure
of the security precautions which the Dallas Police Department had
taken to protect their prisoner. In assessing the causes of the
security failure, the Commission has not overlooked the extraordinary
circumstances which prevailed during the days that the attention of the
world was turned on Dallas. Confronted with a unique situation, the
Dallas police took special security measures to insure Oswald’s safety.
Unfortunately these did not include adequate control of the great crowd
of newsmen that inundated the police department building.

The Dallas police had in custody a man whose alleged act had brought
upon him immediate and universal opprobrium. There were many possible
reasons why people might have attempted to kill him if given the
opportunity. Concerned that there might be an attempt on Oswald’s life,
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a message to Chief Curry on November
22 through Special Agent Manning C. Clements of the FBI’s Dallas
office, urging that Oswald be afforded the utmost security. Curry does
not recall receiving the message.[C5-179]

Although the presence of a great mass of press representatives
created an extraordinary security problem in the building, the
police department pursued its normal policy of admitting the press.
That policy, set forth in General Order No. 81 of the Dallas Police
Department, provided--

    * * * that members of this Department render every assistance,
    except such as obviously may seriously hinder or delay the
    proper functioning of the Department, to the accredited
    members of the official news-gathering agencies and this
    includes newspaper, television cameramen and news-reel

In a letter to all members of the police department, dated February 7,
1963, Chief Curry explained the general order, in part, as follows:

    The General Order covering this subject is not merely
    permissive. It does not state that the Officer may, if he
    so chooses, assist the press. It rather places on him a
    responsibility to lend active assistance.

       *       *       *       *       *

    * * * as a Department we deal with public affairs. It is the
    right of the public to know about these affairs, and one of
    the most accurate and useful avenues we have of supplying this
    information is through the newspapers and radio and television

    Implied in the General Order is a prohibition for the Officer
    to improperly attempt to interfere with the news media
    representative, who is functioning in his capacity as such.
    Such activity on the part of any Police Officer is regarded
    by the press as an infringement of rights, and the Department
    shares this view.[C5-181]

Under this policy, news representatives ordinarily had access to the
Police and Courts Building. The first newsmen to arrive on Friday
afternoon were admitted in accordance with the policy; others who
came later simply followed behind them. Shortly after Oswald arrived,
Captain King granted permission to bring television cameras to the
third floor.[C5-182] By the time the unwieldy proportions of the crowd
of newsmen became apparent, it had already become well entrenched on
the third floor. No one suggested reversing the department’s policy
expressed in General Order No. 81. Chief Curry testified that at no
time did he consider clearing the crowd from the building; he “saw no
particular harm in allowing the media to observe the prisoner.”[C5-183]
Captain King later stated candidly that he simply became “accustomed to
the idea of them being out there.”[C5-184]

The general policy of the Dallas police recognized that the rule
of full cooperation did not apply when it might jeopardize an
investigation.[C5-185] In retrospect, most members of the department
believed that the general rule allowing admittance of the press to the
police quarters should not have been followed after the assassination.
Few, if any, thought this at the time.[C5-186] By failing to exclude
the press from the building on Friday and Saturday, the Dallas police
made it possible for the uncontrolled crowd to nearly surround Oswald
on the frequent occasions that he moved through the third floor
corridor. The decision to allow newsmen to observe the transfer on
Sunday followed naturally the policy established during these first 2
days of Oswald’s detention.

The reporters and cameramen descended upon the third floor of the
Police and Courts Building in such numbers that the pressroom on the
third floor proved wholly inadequate. Rather than the “two or three
or maybe a half dozen reporters” who normally appeared to cover local
police stories,[C5-187] the police were faced with upward of 100.
Bringing with them cameras, microphones, cables, and spotlights, the
newsmen inevitably spilled over into areas where they interfered
with the transaction of police business and the maintenance of

Aside from numbers, the gathering of reporters presented a problem
because most of them were representatives of the national and foreign
press, rather than the local press.[C5-189] These newsmen carried
individual press cards rather than identification cards issued by the
Dallas police. Therefore, it was impossible for the police to verify
quickly the identity of this great number of unfamiliar people who
appeared almost simultaneously.[C5-190] Because of the close physical
proximity of the milling mass of insistent newsmen to the prisoner, the
failure to authenticate press credentials subjected the prisoner to a
serious security risk.

Although steps were taken on Friday afternoon to insure that persons
seeking entry to the third floor were there for a legitimate purpose,
reasons could be fabricated. Moreover, because of the large crowd,
it was easier for unauthorized persons to slip by those guarding
the entrances. Jack Ruby, for one, was able to gain entry to the
third-floor corridor on Friday night.[C5-191]

The third-floor corridor provided the only passageway between the
homicide and robbery bureau and the jail elevator. No thought seems to
have been given, however, to the possibility of questioning Oswald on
some other floor.[C5-192] Moreover, Oswald’s most extended exposure to
the press, at the Friday evening press conference, was unrelated to any
phase of the investigation and was motivated primarily by the desire to
satisfy the demands of the news media to see the prisoner.[C5-193] The
risks attendant upon this appearance were emphasized by the presence of
unauthorized persons, including Jack Ruby, at the press conference in
the basement assembly room.[C5-194]

Although Oswald was repeatedly exposed to possible assaults on Friday
and Saturday, he met his death on Sunday, when police took the most
extensive security precautions. The assembly of more than 70 police
officers, some of them armed with tear gas, and the contemplated use
of an armored truck, appear to have been designed primarily to repel
an attempt of a mob to seize the prisoner.[C5-195] Chief Curry’s own
testimony indicated that such a focus resulted not from any appraisal
of the varied risks to Oswald’s life but came about in response to the
telephone threat Sunday morning that a hundred men were going to attack

A more balanced appraisal would have given thought to protection
against any attack. For example, the acceptance of inadequate press
credentials posed a clear avenue for a one-man assault. The likelihood
of an unauthorized person obtaining entry by such means is confirmed
not alone by the fact that Jack Ruby managed to get by a guard at one
entrance. Several newsmen related that their credentials were not
checked as they entered the basement Sunday morning. Seconds before
Oswald was shot, the double doors from the hallway next to the jail
office afforded a means of entry to the basement without presentation
of credentials earlier demanded of newsmen.[C5-197]

The swarm of newspeople in the basement also substantially limited the
ability of the police to detect an unauthorized person, once he had
entered the basement. While Jack Ruby might have been easily spotted
if only police officers had been in the basement,[C5-198] he remained
apparently unnoticed in the crowd of newsmen until he lunged forward
toward Oswald. The near-blinding television and motion picture lights
which were allowed to shine upon the escort party further increased the
difficulty of observing unusual movements in the basement.

Moreover, by making public the plans for the transfer, the police
attracted to the city jail many persons who otherwise might not
have learned of the move until it had been completed. This group
included the onlookers gathered on Commerce Street and a few people
on Main Street. Also, continuous television and radio coverage of the
activities in the basement might have resulted in compromise of the
transfer operation.

These risks to Oswald’s safety, growing in part out of adherence to
the general policy of the police department, were also accepted for
other reasons. Many members of the police department believed that the
extraordinary public attention aroused by the tragic death of President
Kennedy obliged them to make special efforts to accommodate the press.
Captain King carefully articulated one reason why the newsmen were

    * * * to remain in the hallways, * * * to view the
    investigation and to keep in constant touch with progress of
    the investigation.

       *       *       *       *       *

    We realized that if we arrested a suspect, that if we brought
    him into the police station and then conducted all of our
    investigations behind closed doors, that if we gave no reports
    on the progress of our investigation and did not permit the
    newsmen to see the suspect--if we excluded them from it--we
    would leave ourselves open not only to criticisms that we were
    fabricating a suspect and were attempting to pin something on
    someone, but even more importantly, we would cause people to
    lose faith in our fairness and, through losing faith in our
    fairness, to lose faith to a certain extent in the processes of

    We felt it was mandatory that as many people knew about it as
    possible. We knew, too, that if we did exclude the newsmen,
    we would be leaving ourselves open to a charge that we were
    using improper action, duress, physical abuse, all of these

While Oswald was in custody, the Dallas police kept the press informed
about the treatment Oswald was receiving. The public could have been
assured that the prisoner was not mistreated and that his rights
were fully respected by the police, without each one of hundreds
of cameramen and reporters being permitted to satisfy himself that
the police had not abused the prisoner. This result could have been
accomplished by obtaining reports from members of the family who
visited him, or by a committee of the bar or other substantial citizens
of the community. When it became known on Saturday that Oswald did
not have an attorney, the president of the Dallas Bar Association
visited him to inquire whether he wished assistance in obtaining

Moreover, the right of the public to know does not give the press
license to interfere with the efficient operation of law-enforcement
agencies. Permitting the press to remain on the third floor of the
building served no valid purpose that could not have been met if the
press had been excluded from the third floor, as it was from the fourth
and fifth floors, and informed of developments either through press
releases or at press conferences elsewhere in the building.

Having failed to exclude the mass of the press from the basement during
the transfer of Oswald, the police department’s security measures could
not be completely effective. Despite the pressures that prevailed,
planning and coordination of security arrangements could have been
more thorough and precise. No single member of the Dallas Police
Department ever assumed full responsibility for the details of Oswald’s
transfer.[C5-201] Chief Curry participated in some of the planning, but
he felt that primary authority for the transfer should be Fritz’, since
Fritz had charge of the investigation. According to Chief Curry--

    Fritz and I, I think, discussed this briefly, the possibility
    of getting that prisoner out of the city hall during the night
    hours and by another route and slipping him to the jail, but
    actually Fritz was not too much in favor of this and I more or
    less left this up to Fritz as to when and how this transfer
    would be made, because he has in the past transferred many of
    his prisoners to the county jail and I felt that since it was
    his responsibility, the prisoner was, to let him decide when
    and how he wanted to transfer this prisoner.[C5-202]

Fritz, on the other hand, felt that Curry was directing the transfer
arrangements: “I was transferring him like the chief told me to
transfer him.”[C5-203] When Capt. W. B. Frazier notified Fritz by
telephone early Sunday morning about the threats to Oswald’s life,
Fritz replied that Curry should be notified, since he was handling
the transfer.[C5-204] When urged to modify the transfer plans to
avoid the press, as he later testified he would have preferred to do,
Fritz declined on the ground that Curry had already decided to the
contrary.[C5-205] Hence, if the recollection of both officials is
accurate, the basic decision to move Oswald at an announced time and
in the presence of the news media was never carefully thought through
by either man. Curry and Fritz had agreed Saturday evening that Oswald
should not be moved at night, but their discussion apparently went
little further.[C5-206]

Perhaps the members of the Dallas Police Department were, as many
testified, accustomed to working together so that formal instructions
were sometimes unnecessary. On the other hand, it is clear, at least
in retrospect, that this particular occasion demanded more than the
usual informal unspoken understandings. The evidence indicates that no
member of the department at any time considered fully the implications
of moving Oswald through the basement. Nor did any single official or
group of officials coordinate and direct where the transfer vehicle
would be stationed to accept Oswald, where the press would stand, and
the number and positioning of police officers in the basement. Captain
Jones indicated that there were to be two solid lines of policemen from
the jail office door to the transfer vehicle,[C5-207] but lines were
formed only along the walls of the areaway between the jail office
door and the ramp. The newsmen were not kept east of the auto ramp
where a railing would have separated them from Oswald. No strong ranks
of policemen were ever placed in front of the newsmen once they were
allowed to gather in the area of the Main Street ramp.[C5-208] Many
policemen in the basement did not know the function they were supposed
to perform. No instructions were given that certain policemen should
watch the crowd rather than Oswald.[C5-209] Apparently no one gave any
thought to the blinding effect of television and other camera lights
upon the escort party.

Largely on his own initiative, Captain Talbert undertook to secure the
basement, with only minimal coordination with those responsible for
and familiar with the route Oswald would take through the basement.
Several officials recalled that Lt. Woodrow Wiggins was directed to
clear the basement jail office, but Wiggins testified that he received
no such assignment.[C5-210] In any event, less than 20 minutes before
the transfer, Captain Jones observed newsmen in the jail office and had
them removed. But no official removed news personnel from the corridor
beside the jail office; indeed, cameramen took pictures through the
glass windows of the jail office as Oswald walked through it toward
the basement, and then approached to within 20 feet of Oswald from
the rear at the same time that Jack Ruby moved toward Oswald from the

A clear example of the inadequacy of coordination was the last-minute
change in plans to transfer Oswald in an unmarked police car rather
than by armored truck.[C5-212] The plan to use an armored vehicle was
adopted without informing Fritz. When Fritz was told of the arrangement
shortly after 11 o’clock, he objected, and hurried steps were taken
to modify the arrangements. Fritz was then prematurely informed that
the basement arrangements were complete. When Oswald and the escorting
detectives entered the basement, the transfer car had not yet been
backed into position, nor had the policemen been arranged to block the
newsmen’s access to Oswald’s path.[C5-213] If the transfer car had been
carefully positioned between the press and Oswald, Ruby might have been
kept several yards from his victim and possibly without a clear view
of him. Detective Leavelle, who accompanied Oswald into the basement,

    * * * I was surprised when I walked to the door and the car was
    not in the spot it should have been, but I could see it was in
    back, and backing into position, but had it been in position
    where we were told it would be, that would have eliminated
    a lot of the area in which anyone would have access to him,
    because it would have been blocked by the car. In fact, if the
    car had been sitting where we were told it was going to be,
    see--it would have been sitting directly upon the spot where
    Ruby was standing when he fired the shot.[C5-214]

Captain Jones described the confusion with which Oswald’s entry into
the basement was in fact received:

    Then the change--going to put two cars up there. There is no
    reason why that back car can’t get all the way back to the jail
    office. The original plan would be that the line of officers
    would be from the jail door to the vehicle. Then they say,
    “Here he comes.” * * * It is too late to get the people out of
    the way of the car and form the line. I am aware that Oswald is
    already coming because of the furor, so, I was trying to keep
    everybody out of the way and keep the way clear and I heard a

Therefore, regardless of whether the press should have been allowed to
witness the transfer, security measures in the basement for Oswald’s
protection could and should have been better organized and more
thorough. These additional deficiencies were directly related to the
decision to admit newsmen to the basement. The Commission concludes
that the failure of the police to remove Oswald secretly or to control
the crowd in the basement at the time of the transfer were the major
causes of the security breakdown which led to Oswald’s death.


Consistent with its policy of allowing news representatives to remain
within the working quarters of the Police and Courts Building, the
police department made every effort to keep the press fully informed
about the progress of the investigation. As a result, from Friday
afternoon until after the killing of Oswald on Sunday, the press was
able to publicize virtually all of the information about the case
which had been gathered until that time. In the process, a great deal
of misinformation was disseminated to a worldwide audience. (For some
examples see app. XII.)

As administrative assistant to Chief Curry, Captain King also handled
departmental press relations and issued press releases. According to
King, it was “the responsibility of each member of the department
to furnish to the press information on incidents in which they,
themselves, were involved, except on matters which involved * *
* personnel policies of the department, or * * * unless it would
obviously interfere with an investigation underway.”[C5-216] In
Oswald’s case, Chief Curry released most of the information to the
press. He and Assistant Chief Batchelor agreed on Friday that Curry
would make all announcements to the press.[C5-217] However, there is no
evidence that this decision was ever communicated to the rest of the
police force. The chief consequence appears to have been that Batchelor
refrained from making statements to the news media during this period.

Most of the information was disclosed through informal oral statements
or answers to questions at impromptu and clamorous press conferences in
the third floor corridor. Written press releases were not employed. The
ambulatory press conference became a familiar sight during these days.
Whenever Curry or other officials appeared in the hallway, newsmen
surrounded them, asking questions and requesting statements. Usually
the officials complied. (See Commission Exhibit No. 2632, p. 232.)

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2632

Press interview with Chief Curry in third floor corridor.]

Curry appeared in interviews on television and radio at least a
dozen times during November 22-24. He did not attend any of the
interrogations of Oswald in Captain Fritz’ office except at the
beginning and toward the end of Sunday morning’s session; he received
his information through Captain Fritz and other sources.[C5-218]
Nevertheless, in sessions with the newsmen on Friday and Saturday he
gave detailed information on the progress of the case against Oswald.
Recorded statements of television and radio interviews with Curry and
other officials in Dallas during November 22-24 have been transcribed
and included in the record compiled by the Commission.[C5-219] An
example of these interviews is the following transcript of remarks made
by Curry to newsmen on Saturday:

    Q. Chief Curry, I understand you have some new information in
    this case. Could you relate what that is?

    A. Yes, we’ve just been informed by the Federal Bureau of
    Investigation, that they, the FBI, have the order letter from
    a mail order house, and the order was sent to their laboratory
    in Washington and the writing on this order was compared with
    known samples of our suspect, Oswald’s handwriting and found to
    be the same.

    Q. This order was for the rifle?

    A. This order was for the rifle to a mail order house in
    Chicago. It was [inaudible]. The return address was to Dallas,
    Texas, to the post office box under the name of A. Hidell,
    H-I-D-E-double L. This is the post office box of our suspect.
    This gun was mailed parcel post March 20, 1963. I understand
    he left Dallas shortly after this and didn’t come back until I
    think about two months ago.

    Q. Do you know again on what date this rifle was ordered and
    are you able to link it definitely as the rifle which you
    confiscated at the School Book Depository?

    A. That we have not done so far. If the FBI has been able to do
    it I have not been informed of it yet. We do know that this man
    ordered a rifle of the type that was used in the assassination
    of the President from this mail order house in Chicago and
    the FBI has definitely identified the writing as that of our

    Q. On another subject--I understand you have photographs of
    the suspect, Oswald, with a rifle like that used. Could you
    describe that picture?

    A. This is the picture of Oswald standing facing a camera with
    a rifle in his hand which is very similar to the rifle that we
    have in our possession. He also had a pistol strapped on his
    hip. He was holding two papers in his hand, with one of them
    seemed to be The Worker and the other says Be Militant--I
    don’t know whether that was headlines or the name of the paper.

    Q. How much did the gun cost from the mail order house?

    A. I understand the gun was advertised for $12.78, I believe.

    Q. Have you received any results on the ballistics test
    conducted on the gun and on Oswald?

    A. They’re going to be favorable. I don’t have a formal report

    Q. But you are sure at this time they will be favorable?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Do you feel now that you have the case completely wrapped
    up, or are you continuing?

    A. We will continue as long as there is a shred of evidence to
    be gathered. We have a strong case at this time.

    Q. I believe you said earlier this afternoon that you have a
    new development which does wrap up the case--the first time you
    said the case definitely is secure. Is that correct?

    A. That was this morning. This additional evidence just makes a
    stronger case.

    Q. But this is not the same evidence you were referring to then?

    A. No, that’s true.

    Q. Would you be willing to say what that evidence was?

    A. No, sir. I don’t wish to reveal it. It might jeopardize our

    Commentator: Thank you very much Chief Jesse Curry of the
    Dallas Police Department.[C5-220]

Although Captain Fritz permitted himself to be interviewed by the
news media less frequently than did Chief Curry, he nevertheless
answered questions and ventured opinions about the progress of the
investigation. On Saturday he told reporters that he was convinced
beyond a doubt that Oswald had killed the President. He discussed some
of the evidence in the case, especially the rifle, but his contribution
to the knowledge of the reporters was small compared with that of Chief

Many other members of the police department, including high
officials, detectives, and patrolmen, were also interviewed by news
representatives during these days.[C5-222] Some of these men had
participated in specific aspects of the case, such as the capture of
Oswald at the Texas Theatre and the search for evidence at the Texas
School Book Depository Building. Few, if any, seemed reluctant to
submit to questions and to being televised. It seemed to District
Attorney Wade that the newsmen “just followed everybody everywhere they
went * * * they interviewed some of your patrolmen * * * on the corner
* * * they were interviewing anybody.”[C5-223]

Wade himself also made several statements to the press. He visited
police headquarters twice on Friday, twice on Saturday, and twice on
Sunday. On most of these occasions he was interviewed by the press
and appeared on television.[C5-224] After Oswald had appeared before
the press on Friday night, Wade held an impromptu conference with
reporters in the overflowing assembly room.[C5-225] Wade told the
press on Saturday that he would not reveal any evidence because it
might prejudice the selection of a jury.[C5-226] On other occasions,
however, he mentioned some items of evidence and expressed his opinions
regarding Oswald’s guilt. He told the press on Friday night that
Oswald’s wife had told the police that her husband had a rifle in the
garage at the house in Irving and that it was missing the morning of
the assassination. On one occasion he repeated the error that the
murder rifle had been a Mauser. Another time, he stated his belief that
Oswald had prepared for the assassination months in advance, including
what he would tell the police. He also said that Oswald had practiced
with the rifle to improve his marksmanship.[C5-227]

The running commentary on the investigation by the police inevitably
carried with it the disclosure of many details that proved to be
erroneous. In their efforts to keep the public abreast of the
investigation, the police reported hearsay items and unverified
leads; further investigation proved many of these to be incorrect or
inaccurate. For example, the rifle found on the sixth floor of the
Texas School Book Depository Building was initially identified as a
Mauser 7.65 rather than a Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 because a deputy
constable who was one of the first to see it thought it looked like a
Mauser. He neither handled the weapon nor saw it at close range.[C5-228]

Police sources were also responsible for the mistaken notion that the
chicken bones found on the sixth floor were the remains of Oswald’s
lunch. They had in fact been left by another employee who ate his lunch
there at least 15 minutes before the assassination.[C5-229] Curry
repeated the erroneous report that a Negro had picked up Oswald near
the scene of the assassination and driven him across town.[C5-230]
It was also reported that the map found in Oswald’s room contained a
marked route of the Presidential motorcade when it actually contained
markings of places where Oswald may have applied for jobs, including,
of course, the Texas School Book Depository.[C5-231]

Concern about the effects of the unlimited disclosures was being
voiced by Saturday morning. According to District Attorney Wade,
he received calls from lawyers in Dallas and elsewhere expressing
concern about providing an attorney for Oswald and about the amount of
information being given to the press by the police and the district
attorney.[C5-232] Curry continued to answer questions on television and
radio during the remainder of the day and Sunday morning.[C5-233]

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover became concerned because “almost as
soon as * * * [FBI Laboratory reports] would reach the Dallas Police
Department, the chief of police or one of the representatives of the
department would go on TV or radio and relate findings of the FBI,
giving information such as the identification of the gun and other
items of physical evidence.”[C5-234] On Sunday, after Oswald was
shot, Hoover dispatched a personal message to Curry requesting him
“not to go on the air any more until this case * * * [is] resolved.”
Hoover testified later that Curry agreed not to make any more

The shooting of Oswald shocked the Dallas police, and after the
interviews that immediately followed the shooting they were disposed
to remain silent. Chief Curry made only one more television appearance
after the shooting. At 1:30 p.m., he descended to the assembly room
where, tersely and grimly, he announced Oswald’s death. He refused to
answer any of the questions shouted at him by the persistent reporters,
concluding the conference in less than a minute.[C5-236]

District Attorney Wade also held one more press conference. Before
doing so on Sunday evening, he returned once more to the police
station and held a meeting with “all the brass” except Curry. Wade
told them that “people are saying * * * you had the wrong man and you
all were the one who killed him or let him out here to have him killed
intentionally.” Wade told the police that “somebody ought to go out in
television and lay out the evidence that you had on Oswald, and tell
them everything.” He sat down and listed from memory items of evidence
in the case against Oswald. According to Wade, Chief Curry refused to
make any statements because he had told an FBI inspector that he would
say no more. The police refused to furnish Wade with additional details
of the case.[C5-237]

Wade nonetheless proceeded to hold a lengthy formal press conference
that evening, in which he attempted to list all of the evidence that
had been accumulated at that point tending to establish Oswald as the
assassin of President Kennedy. Unfortunately, at that time, as he
subsequently testified, he lacked a thorough grasp of the evidence and
made a number of errors.[C5-238] He stated that Oswald had told a woman
on a bus that the President had been killed, an error apparently caused
by the busdriver having confused Oswald with another passenger who was
on the bus after Oswald had left. Wade also repeated the error about
Oswald’s having a map marked with the route of the motorcade. He told
reporters that Oswald’s description and name “went out by the police
to look for him.”[C5-239] The police never mentioned Oswald’s name in
their broadcast descriptions before his arrest.[C5-240]

Wade was innocent of one error imputed to him since November 24.
The published transcript of part of the press conference furnished
to newspapers by the Associated Press represented Wade as having
identified the cabdriver who took Oswald to North Beckley Avenue
after the shooting, as one named “Darryl Click.” The transcript as it
appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post of November 26,

    A. [Wade] a lady. He then--the bus, he asked the bus driver to
    stop, got off at a stop, caught a taxicab driver, Darryl Click.
    I don’t have his exact place--and went to his home in Oak
    Cliff, changed his clothes hurriedly, and left.[C5-241]

The correct transcript of the press conference, taken from an audio
tape supplied by station WBAP, Fort Worth, is as follows:

    A. [Wade] A lady. He then--the bus, he asked the bus driver to
    stop, got off at a stop, caught a taxicab driver.

    Q. Where?

    A. In Oak Cliff. I don’t have the exact place--and went to
    his home in Oak Cliff, changed his clothes hurriedly and

In this manner, a section of Dallas, “Oak Cliff,” became a nonexistent
taxicab driver, “Darryl Click.” Wade did not mention the cabdriver
by name at any time. In transcribing the conference from the sound
tape, a stenographer apparently made an error that might have become
permanently imbedded in the literature of the event but for the
preservation and use of an original sound tape.

Though many of the inaccuracies were subsequently corrected by the
police and are negated by findings of the Commission included elsewhere
in this report, the publicizing of unchecked information provided much
of the basis for the myths and rumors that came into being soon after
the President’s death. The erroneous disclosures became the basis for
distorted reconstruction and interpretations of the assassination.
The necessity for the Dallas authorities to correct themselves or
to be corrected by other sources gave rise not only to criticism of
the police department’s competence but also to doubts regarding the
veracity of the police. Skeptics sought to cast doubt on much of the
correct evidence later developed and to find support for their own
theories in these early police statements.

The immediate disclosure of information by the police created a further
risk of injuring innocent citizens by unfavorable publicity. This
was the unfortunate experience of Joe R. Molina, a Dallas-born Navy
veteran who had been employed by the Texas School Book Depository
since 1947 and on November 22, 1963, held the position of credit
manager. Apparently because of Molina’s employment at the Depository
and his membership in a veterans’ organization, the American G.I.
Forum, that the Dallas police considered possibly subversive, Dallas
policemen searched Molina’s home with his permission, at about 1:30
a.m., Saturday, November 23. During the day Molina was intermittently
interrogated at police headquarters for 6 or 7 hours, chiefly about his
membership in the American G.I. Forum, and also about Oswald. He was
never arrested, charged, or held in custody.[C5-243]

While Molina was being questioned, officials of the police department
made statements or answered questions[C5-244] that provided the basis
for television reports about Molina during the day. These reports spoke
of a “second suspect being picked up,” insinuated that the Dallas
police had reason to suspect another person who worked in the Texas
School Book Depository, stated that the suspect had been arrested and
his home searched, and mentioned that Molina may have been identified
by the U.S. Department of Justice as a possible subversive.[C5-245]

No evidence was ever presented to link Molina with Oswald except as
a fellow employee of the Texas School Book Depository. According to
Molina, he had never spoken to Oswald.[C5-246] The FBI notified the
Commission that Molina had never been the subject of an investigation
by it and that it had never given any information about Molina to
the Dallas police concerning any alleged subversive activities by
him.[C5-247] The Dallas police explained in a statement to the FBI that
they had never had a file on Molina, but that they did have one on the
American G.I. Forum.[C5-248]

Molina lost his job in December. He felt that he was being discharged
because of the unfavorable publicity he had received, but officials of
the Depository claimed that automation was the reason. Molina testified
that he had difficulty in finding another position, until finally, with
the help of a fellow church member, he secured a position at a lower
salary than his previous one.[C5-249]

If Oswald had been tried for his murders of November 22, the effects
of the news policy pursued by the Dallas authorities would have proven
harmful both to the prosecution and the defense. The misinformation
reported after the shootings might have been used by the defense to
cast doubt on the reliability of the State’s entire case. Though each
inaccuracy can be explained without great difficulty, the number
and variety of misstatements issued by the police shortly after the
assassination would have greatly assisted a skillful defense attorney
attempting to influence the attitudes of jurors.

A fundamental objection to the news policy pursued by the Dallas
police, however, is the extent to which it endangered Oswald’s
constitutional right to a trial by an impartial jury. Because of the
nature of the crime, the widespread attention which it necessarily
received, and the intense public feelings which it aroused, it would
have been a most difficult task to select an unprejudiced jury, either
in Dallas or elsewhere. But the difficulty was markedly increased
by the divulgence of the specific items of evidence with which the
police linked Oswald to the two killings. The disclosure of evidence
encouraged the public, from which a jury would ultimately be impaneled,
to prejudge the very questions that would be raised at trial.

Moreover, rules of law might have prevented the prosecution from
presenting portions of this evidence to the jury. For example, though
expressly recognizing that Oswald’s wife could not be compelled to
testify against him, District Attorney Wade revealed to the Nation that
Marina Oswald had affirmed her husband’s ownership of a rifle like that
found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.[C5-250]
Curry stated that Oswald had refused to take a lie detector test,
although such a statement would have been inadmissible in a
trial.[C5-251] The exclusion of such evidence, however, would have been
meaningless if jurors were already familiar with the same facts from
previous television or newspaper reports. Wade might have influenced
prospective jurors by his mistaken statement that the paraffin test
showed that Oswald had fired a gun. The tests merely showed that he had
nitrate traces on his hands, which did not necessarily mean that he had
fired either a rifle or a pistol.[C5-252]

The disclosure of evidence was seriously aggravated by the statements
of numerous responsible officials that they were certain of Oswald’s
guilt. Captain Fritz said that the case against Oswald was “cinched.”
Curry reported on Saturday that “we are sure of our case.”[C5-253]
Curry announced that he considered Oswald sane, and Wade told the
public that he would ask for the death penalty.[C5-254]

The American Bar Association declared in December 1963 that “widespread
publicizing of Oswald’s alleged guilt, involving statements by
officials and public disclosures of the details of ‘evidence,’ would
have made it extremely difficult to impanel an unprejudiced jury and
afford the accused a fair trial.”[C5-255] Local bar associations
expressed similar feelings.[C5-256] The Commission agrees that
Lee Harvey Oswald’s opportunity for a trial by 12 jurors free of
preconception as to his guilt or innocence would have been seriously
jeopardized by the premature disclosure and weighing of the evidence
against him.

The problem of disclosure of information and its effect on trials is,
of course, further complicated by the independent activities of the
press in developing information on its own from sources other than
law enforcement agencies. Had the police not released the specific
items of evidence against Oswald, it is still possible that the other
information presented on television and in the newspapers, chiefly of a
biographical nature, would itself have had a prejudicial effect on the

In explanation of the news policy adopted by the Dallas authorities,
Chief Curry observed that “it seemed like there was a great demand by
the general public to know what was going on.”[C5-257] In a prepared
statement, Captain King wrote:

    At that time we felt a necessity for permitting the newsmen as
    much latitude as possible. We realized the magnitude of the
    incident the newsmen were there to cover. We realized that not
    only the nation but the world would be greatly interested in
    what occurred in Dallas. We believed that we had an obligation
    to make as widely known as possible everything we could
    regarding the investigation of the assassination and the manner
    in which we undertook that investigation.[C5-258]

The Commission recognizes that the people of the United States, and
indeed the world, had a deep-felt interest in learning of the events
surrounding the death of President Kennedy, including the development
of the investigation in Dallas. An informed public provided the
ultimate guarantee that adequate steps would be taken to apprehend
those responsible for the assassination and that all necessary
precautions would be taken to protect the national security. It was
therefore proper and desirable that the public know which agencies were
participating in the investigation and the rate at which their work
was progressing. The public was also entitled to know that Lee Harvey
Oswald had been apprehended and that the State had gathered sufficient
evidence to arraign him for the murders of the President and Patrolman
Tippit, that he was being held pending action of the grand jury, that
the investigation was continuing, and that the law enforcement agencies
had discovered no evidence which tended to show that any other person
was involved in either slaying.

However, neither the press nor the public had a right to be
contemporaneously informed by the police or prosecuting authorities
of the details of the evidence being accumulated against Oswald.
Undoubtedly the public was interested in these disclosures, but
its curiosity should not have been satisfied at the expense of the
accused’s right to a trial by an impartial jury. The courtroom, not the
newspaper or television screen, is the appropriate forum in our system
for the trial of a man accused of a crime.

If the evidence in the possession of the authorities had not been
disclosed, it is true that the public would not have been in a position
to assess the adequacy of the investigation or to apply pressures for
further official undertakings. But a major consequence of the hasty
and at times inaccurate divulgence of evidence after the assassination
was simply to give rise to groundless rumors and public confusion.
Moreover, without learning the details of the case, the public could
have been informed by the responsible authority of the general scope of
the investigation and the extent to which State and Federal agencies
were assisting in the police work.


While appreciating the heavy and unique pressures with which the
Dallas Police Department was confronted by reason of the assassination
of President Kennedy, primary responsibility for having failed to
control the press and to check the flow of undigested evidence to the
public must be borne by the police department. It was the only agency
that could have established orderly and sound operating procedures to
control the multitude of newsmen gathered in the police building after
the assassination.

The Commission believes, however, that a part of the responsibility
for the unfortunate circumstances following the President’s death
must be borne by the news media. The crowd of newsmen generally
failed to respond properly to the demands of the police. Frequently
without permission, news representatives used police offices on the
third floor, tying up facilities and interfering with normal police
operations. Police efforts to preserve order and to clear passageways
in the corridor were usually unsuccessful. On Friday night the
reporters completely ignored Curry’s injunction against asking Oswald
questions in the assembly room and crowding in on him. On Sunday
morning, the newsmen were instructed to direct no questions at Oswald;
nevertheless, several reporters shouted questions at him when he
appeared in the basement.[C5-259]

Moreover, by constantly pursuing public officials, the news
representatives placed an insistent pressure, upon them to disclose
information. And this pressure was not without effect, since the police
attitude toward the press was affected by the desire to maintain
satisfactory relations with the news representatives and to create a
favorable image of themselves. Chief Curry frankly told the Commission

    I didn’t order them out of the building, which if I had it
    to do over I would. In the past like I say, we had always
    maintained very good relations with our press, and they had
    always respected us. * * * [C5-260]

Curry refused Fritz’ request to put Oswald behind the screen in the
assembly room at the Friday night press conference because this might
have hindered the taking of pictures.[C5-261] Curry’s subordinates had
the impression that an unannounced transfer of Oswald to the county
jail was unacceptable because Curry did not want to disappoint the
newsmen; he had promised that they could witness the transfer.[C5-262]
It seemed clear enough that any attempt to exclude the press from the
building or to place limits on the information disclosed to them would
have been resented and disputed by the newsmen, who were constantly and
aggressively demanding all possible information about anything related
to the assassination.

Although the Commission has found no corroboration in the video and
audio tapes, police officials recall that one or two representatives of
the press reinforced their demands to see Oswald by suggesting that the
police had been guilty of brutalizing him. They intimated that unless
they were given the opportunity to see him, these suggestions would be
passed on to the public.[C5-263] Captain King testified that he had
been told that

    A short time after Oswald’s arrest one newsman held up a
    photograph and said, “This is what the man charged with the
    assassination of the President looks like. Or at least this is
    what he did look like. We don’t know what he looks like after
    an hour in the custody of the Dallas Police Department.”[C5-264]

City Manager Elgin Crull stated that when he visited Chief Curry in
his office on the morning of November 23, Curry told him that he “felt
it was necessary to cooperate with the news media representatives, in
order to avoid being accused of using Gestapo tactics in connection
with the handling of Oswald.” Crull agreed with Curry.[C5-265] The
Commission deems any such veiled threats to be absolutely without

The general disorder in the Police and Courts Building during November
22-24 reveals a regrettable lack of self-discipline by the newsmen.
The Commission believes that the news media, as well as the police
authorities, who failed to impose conditions more in keeping with the
orderly process of justice, must share responsibility for the failure
of law enforcement which occurred in connection with the death of
Oswald. On previous occasions, public bodies have voiced the need
for the exercise of self-restraint by the news media in periods when
the demand for information must be tempered by other fundamental
requirements of our society.

At its annual meeting in Washington in April 1964, the American
Society of Newspaper Editors discussed the role of the press in Dallas
immediately after President Kennedy’s assassination. The discussion
revealed the strong misgivings among the editors themselves about the
role that the press had played and their desire that the press display
more self-discipline and adhere to higher standards of conduct in the
future.[C5-266] To prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate events which
followed the assassination, however, more than general concern will be
needed. The promulgation of a code of professional conduct governing
representatives of all news media would be welcome evidence that the
press had profited by the lesson of Dallas.

The burden of insuring that appropriate action is taken to establish
ethical standards of conduct for the news media must also be borne,
however, by State and local governments, by the bar, and ultimately
by the public. The experience in Dallas during November 22-24 is a
dramatic affirmation of the need for steps to bring about a proper
balance between the right of the public to be kept informed and the
right of the individual to a fair and impartial trial.


Investigation of Possible Conspiracy

This chapter sets forth the findings of the Commission as to whether
Lee Harvey Oswald had any accomplices in the planning or execution of
the assassination. Particularly after the slaying of Oswald by Jack
Ruby under the circumstances described in the preceding chapter, rumors
and suspicions developed regarding the existence of a conspiracy to
assassinate President Kennedy. As discussed in appendix XII, many of
these rumors were based on a lack of information as to the nature and
extent of evidence that Oswald alone fired the shots which killed
President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally. Others of the more
widely publicized rumors maintained that Oswald must have received aid
from one or more persons or political groups, ranging from the far
left to the far right of the political spectrum, or from a foreign
government, usually either the Castro regime in Cuba or the Soviet

The Commission faced substantial difficulties in determining whether
anyone conspired with or assisted the person who committed the
assassination. Prior to his own death Oswald had neither admitted his
own involvement nor implicated any other persons in the assassination
of the President. The problem of determining the existence or
nonexistence of a conspiracy was compounded because of the possibility
of subversive activity by a foreign power. Witnesses and evidence
located in other countries were not subject to subpena, as they would
have been if they had been located in the United States. When evidence
was obtained from a foreign nation, it could not be appraised as
effectively as if it had been derived from a domestic source. The
Commission has given the closest scrutiny to all available evidence
which related or might have related to a foreign country. All such
evidence was tested, whenever possible, against the contingency that it
had been fabricated or slanted to mislead or confuse.

In order to meet its obligations fully, the Commission has investigated
each rumor and allegation linking Oswald to a conspiracy which
has come to its attention, regardless of source. In addition,
the Commission has explored the details of Lee Harvey Oswald’s
activities and life, especially in the months immediately preceding
the assassination, in order to develop any investigative lead
relevant to the issue of conspiracy. All of Oswald’s known writings
or other possessions which might have been used for code or other
espionage purposes have been examined by either the Federal Bureau of
Investigation or the National Security Agency, or both agencies, to
determine whether they were so used.[C6-1]

In setting forth the results of this investigation, the first section
of this chapter reviews the facts related to the assassination itself,
previously considered in more detail in chapter IV. If any conspiracy
did exist, it might have manifested itself at some point during
Oswald’s preparation for the shooting, his execution of the plan, or
his escape from the scene of the assassination. The Commission has
therefore studied the precise means by which the assassination occurred
for traces of evidence that Oswald received any form of assistance in
effecting the killing.

The second section of the chapter deals more broadly with Oswald’s life
since 1959. During the period following his discharge from the Marines
in 1959, Oswald engaged in several activities which demand close
scrutiny to determine whether, through these pursuits, he developed
any associations which were connected with the planning or execution
of the assassination. Oswald professed commitment to Marxist ideology;
he defected to the Soviet Union in 1959; he attempted to expatriate
himself and acquire Soviet citizenship; and he resided in the Soviet
Union until June of 1962. After his return to the United States he
sought to maintain contacts with the Communist Party, Socialist Workers
Party, and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee; he associated with various
Russian-speaking citizens in the Dallas-Fort Worth area--some of whom
had resided in Russia; he traveled to Mexico City where he visited
both the Cuban and Soviet Embassies 7 weeks before the assassination;
and he corresponded with the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. In
view of these activities, the Commission has instituted a thorough
investigation to determine whether the assassination was in some manner
directed or encouraged through contacts made abroad or through Oswald’s
politically oriented activities in this country. The Commission has
also considered whether any connections existed between Oswald and
certain right-wing activity in Dallas which, shortly before the
assassination, led to the publication of hostile criticism of President

The final section of this chapter considers the possibility that Jack
Ruby was part of a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. The
Commission explored Ruby’s background and his activities in the months
prior to the assassination, and especially his activities in the 2 days
after the assassination, in an effort to determine whether there was
any indication that Ruby was implicated in that event. The Commission
also sought to ascertain the truth or falsity of assertions that Oswald
and Ruby were known to one another prior to the assassination.

In considering the question of foreign involvement, the Commission
has received valuable assistance from the Department of State, the
Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and
other Federal agencies with special competence in the field of foreign
investigation. Some of the information furnished by these agencies is
of a highly confidential nature. Nevertheless, because the disclosure
of all facts relating to the assassination of President Kennedy is of
great public importance, the Commission has included in this report all
information furnished by these agencies which the Commission relied
upon in coming to its conclusions, or which tended to contradict those
conclusions. Confidential sources of information, as contrasted with
the information itself, have, in a relatively few instances, been


Earlier chapters have set forth the evidence upon which the Commission
concluded that President Kennedy was fired upon from a single window
in the southeast corner of the sixth floor of the Texas School
Book Depository, and that Lee Harvey Oswald was the person who
fired the shots from this point. As reflected in those chapters, a
certain sequence of events necessarily took place in order for the
assassination to have occurred as it did. The motorcade traveled past
the Texas School Book Depository; Oswald had access to the sixth
floor of the building; Oswald brought the rifle into the building;
the cartons were arranged at the sixth-floor window; and Oswald
escaped from the building before the police had sealed off the exits.
Accordingly, the Commission has investigated these circumstances
to determine whether Oswald received help from any other person in
planning or performing the shooting.

Selection of Motorcade Route

The factors involved in the choice of the motorcade route by the Secret
Service have been discussed in chapter II of this report.[C6-2] It
was there indicated that after passing through a portion of suburban
Dallas, the motorcade was to travel west on Main Street, and then
to the Trade Mart by way of the Stemmons Freeway, the most direct
route from that point. This route would take the motorcade along the
traditional parade route through downtown Dallas; it allowed the
maximum number of persons to observe the President; and it enabled the
motorcade to cover the distance from Love Field to the Trade Mart in
the 45 minutes allocated by members of the White House staff planning
the President’s schedule in Dallas. No member of the Secret Service,
the Dallas Police Department, or the local host committee who was
consulted felt that any other route would be preferable.

To reach Stemmons Freeway from Main Street, it was determined that
the motorcade would turn right from Main Street onto Houston Street
for one block and then left onto Elm Street, proceeding through the
Triple Underpass to the Stemmons Freeway access road. This route took
the motorcade past the Texas School Book Depository Building on the
northwest corner of Elm and Houston Streets. Because of the sharp turn
at this corner, the motorcade also reduced its speed. The motorcade
would have passed approximately 90 yards further from the Depository
Building and made no turn near the building if it had attempted to
reach the Stemmons Freeway directly from Main Street. The road plan in
Dealey Plaza, however, is designed to prevent such a turn. In order to
keep motorists from reaching the freeway from Main Street, a concrete
barrier has been erected between Main and Elm Streets extending beyond
the freeway entrance. (See Commission Exhibits Nos. 2114-2116, pp.
35-37.) Hence, it would have been necessary for the motorcade either
to have driven over this barrier or to have made a sharp =S=-turn
in order to have entered the freeway from Main Street. Selection
of the motorcade route was thus entirely appropriate and based on
such legitimate considerations as the origin and destination of the
motorcade, the desired opportunity for the President to greet large
numbers of people, and normal patterns of traffic.

Oswald’s Presence in the Depository Building

Oswald’s presence as an employee in the Texas School Book Depository
Building was the result of a series of happenings unrelated to the
President’s trip to Dallas. He obtained the Depository job after
almost 2 weeks of job hunting which began immediately upon his arrival
in Dallas from Mexico on October 3, 1963.[C6-3] At that time he was
in poor financial circumstances, having arrived from Mexico City
with approximately $133 or less,[C6-4] and with his unemployment
compensation benefits due to expire on October 8.[C6-5] Oswald and
his wife were expecting the birth of their second child, who was
in fact born on October 20.[C6-6] In attempting to procure work,
Oswald utilized normal channels, including the Texas Employment

On October 4, 1963, Oswald applied for a position with Padgett Printing
Corp., which was located at 1313 Industrial Boulevard, several blocks
from President Kennedy’s parade route.[C6-8] Oswald favorably impressed
the plant superintendent who checked his prior job references, one
of which was Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall, the firm where Oswald had done
photography work from October 1962 to April 1963.[C6-9] The following
report was written by Padgett’s plant superintendent on the reverse
side of Oswald’s job application: “Bob Stovall does not recommend this
man. He was released because of his record as a troublemaker.--Has
Communistic tendencies.”[C6-10] Oswald received word that Padgett
Printing had hired someone else.[C6-11]

Oswald’s employment with the Texas School Book Depository came about
through a chance conversation on Monday, October 14, between Ruth
Paine, with whom his family was staying while Oswald was living in
a roominghouse in Dallas, and two of Mrs. Paine’s neighbors.[C6-12]
During a morning conversation over coffee, at which Marina Oswald was
present, Oswald’s search for employment was mentioned. The neighbors
suggested several places where Oswald might apply for work. One of
the neighbors present, Linnie Mae Randle, said that her brother had
recently been hired as a schoolbook order filler at the Texas School
Book Depository and she thought the Depository might need additional
help. She testified, “and of course you know just being neighborly and
everything, we felt sorry for Marina because her baby was due right
away as we understood it, and he didn’t have any work * * *.”[C6-13]

When Marina Oswald and Mrs. Paine returned home, Mrs. Paine promptly
telephoned the Texas School Book Depository and spoke to Superintendent
Roy Truly, whom she did not know.[C6-14] Truly agreed to interview
Oswald, who at the time was in Dallas seeking employment. When Oswald
called that evening, Mrs. Paine told him of her conversation with
Truly.[C6-15] The next morning Oswald went to the Texas School Book
Depository where he was interviewed and hired for the position of order

On the same date, the Texas Employment Commission attempted to refer
Oswald to an airline company which was looking for baggage and cargo
handlers at a salary which was $100 per month higher than that offered
by the Depository Co.[C6-17] The Employment Commission tried to advise
Oswald of this job at 10:30 a.m. on October 16, 1963. Since the records
of the Commission indicate that Oswald was then working,[C6-18] it
seems clear that Oswald was hired by the Depository Co. before the
higher paying job was available. It is unlikely that he ever learned of
this second opportunity.

Although publicity concerning the President’s trip to Dallas appeared
in Dallas newspapers as early as September 13, 1963, the planning of
the motorcade route was not started until after November 4, when the
Secret Service was first notified of the trip.[C6-19] A final decision
as to the route could not have been reached until November 14, when
the Trade Mart was selected as the luncheon site.[C6-20] Although
news reports on November 15 and November 16 might have led a person
to believe that the motorcade would pass the Depository Building, the
route was not finally selected until November 18; it was announced
in the press on November 19, only 3 days before the President’s
arrival.[C6-21] Based on the circumstances of Oswald’s employment and
the planning of the motorcade route, the Commission has concluded that
Oswald’s employment in the Depository was wholly unrelated to the
President’s trip to Dallas.

Bringing Rifle Into Building

On the basis of the evidence developed in chapter IV the Commission
concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald carried the rifle used in the
assassination into the Depository Building on Friday, November 22,
1963, in the handmade brown paper bag found near the window from
which the shots were fired.[C6-22] The arrangement by which Buell
Wesley Frazier drove Oswald between Irving and Dallas was an innocent
one, having commenced when Oswald first started working at the
Depository.[C6-23] As noted above, it was Frazier’s sister, Linnie May
Randle, who had suggested to Ruth Paine that Oswald might be able to
find employment at the Depository. When Oswald started working there,
Frazier, who lived only a half block away from the Paines, offered to
drive Oswald to and from Irving whenever he was going to stay at the
Paines’ home.[C6-24] Although Oswald’s request for a ride to Irving on
Thursday, November 21, was a departure from the normal weekend pattern,
Oswald gave the explanation that he needed to obtain curtain rods for
an “apartment” in Dallas.[C6-25] This served also to explain the long
package which he took with him from Irving to the Depository Building
the next morning.[C6-26] Further, there is no evidence that Ruth Paine
or Marina Oswald had reason to believe that Oswald’s return was in
any way related to an attempt to shoot the President the next day.
Although his visit was a surprise, since he arrived on Thursday instead
of Friday for his usual weekend visit, both women testified that they
thought he had come to patch up a quarrel which he had with his wife a
few days earlier when she learned that he was living in Dallas under an
assumed name.[C6-27]

It has also been shown that Oswald had the opportunity to work in
the Paines’ garage on Thursday evening and prepare the rifle by
disassembling it, if it were not already disassembled, and packing
it in the brown bag.[C6-28] It has been demonstrated that the paper
and tape from which the bag was made came from the shipping room of
the Texas School Book Depository and that Oswald had access to this
material.[C6-29] Neither Ruth Paine nor Marina Oswald saw the paper
bag or the paper and tape out of which the bag was constructed.[C6-30]
If Oswald actually prepared the bag in the Depository out of materials
available to him there, he could have concealed it in the jacket or
shirt which he was wearing.[C6-31] The Commission has found no evidence
which suggests that Oswald required or in fact received any assistance
in bringing the rifle into the building other than the innocent
assistance provided by Frazier in the form of the ride to work.

Accomplices at the Scene of the Assassination

The arrangement of boxes at the window from which the shots were fired
was studied to determine whether Oswald required any assistance in
moving the cartons to the window. Cartons had been stacked on the
floor, a few feet behind the window, thus shielding Oswald from the
view of anyone on the sixth floor who did not attempt to go behind
them.[C6-32] (See Commission Exhibit No. 723, p. 80.) Most of those
cartons had been moved there by other employees to clear an area for
laying a new flooring on the west end of the sixth floor.[C6-33]
Superintendent Roy Truly testified that the floor-laying crew moved
a long row of books parallel to the windows on the south side
and had “quite a lot of cartons” in the southeast corner of the
building.[C6-34] He said that there was not any particular pattern that
the men used in putting them there. “They were just piled up there more
or less at that time.”[C6-35] According to Truly, “several cartons”
which had been in the extreme southeast corner had been placed on
top of the ones that had been piled in front of the southeast corner

The arrangement of the three boxes in the window and the one on which
the assassin may have sat has been described previously.[C6-37] Two
of these four boxes, weighing approximately 55 pounds each, had been
moved by the floor-laying crew from the west side of the floor to the
area near the southwest corner.[C6-38] The carton on which the assassin
may have sat might not even have been moved by the assassin at all.
A photograph of the scene depicts this carton on the floor alongside
other similar cartons. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1301, p. 138.)
Oswald’s right palmprint on this carton may have been placed there as
he was sitting on the carton rather than while carrying it. In any
event both of these 55-pound cartons could have been carried by one
man. The remaining two cartons contained light block-like reading aids
called “Rolling Readers” weighing only about 8 pounds each.[C6-39]
Although they had been moved approximately 40 feet[C6-40] from their
normal locations at the southeast corner window, it would appear that
one man could have done this in a matter of seconds.

In considering the possibility of accomplices at the window, the
Commission evaluated the significance of the presence of fingerprints
other than Oswald’s on the four cartons found in and near the window.
Three of Oswald’s prints were developed on two of the cartons.[C6-41]
In addition a total of 25 identifiable prints were found on the 4
cartons.[C6-42] Moreover, prints were developed which were considered
as not identifiable, i.e., the quality of the print was too fragmentary
to be of value for identification purposes.[C6-43]

As has been explained in chapter IV, the Commission determined that
none of the warehouse employees who might have customarily handled
these cartons left prints which could be identified.[C6-44] This was
considered of some probative value in determining whether Oswald moved
the cartons to the window. All but 1 of the 25 definitely identifiable
prints were the prints of 2 persons--an FBI employee and a member of
the Dallas Police Department who had handled the cartons during the
course of the investigation.[C6-45] One identifiable palmprint was not

The presence on these cartons of unidentified prints, whether or
not identifiable, does not appear to be unusual since these cartons
contained commercial products which had been handled by many people
throughout the normal course of manufacturing, warehousing, and
shipping. Unlike other items of evidence such as, for example, a
ransom note in a kidnaping, these cartons could contain the prints of
many people having nothing to do with the assassination. Moreover,
the FBI does not maintain a filing system for palmprints because,
according to the supervisor of the Bureau’s latent fingerprint section,
Sebastian F. Latona, the problems of classification make such a system
impracticable.[C6-47] Finally, in considering the significance of the
unidentified prints, the Commission gave weight to the opinion of
Latona to the effect that people could handle these cartons without
leaving prints which were capable of being developed.[C6-48]

Though the fingerprints other than Oswald’s on the boxes thus provide
no indication of the presence of an accomplice at the window, two
Depository employees are known to have been present briefly on the
sixth floor during the period between 11:45 a.m., when the floor-laying
crew stopped for lunch, and the moment of the assassination. One of
these was Charles Givens, a member of the floor-laying crew, who went
down on the elevator with the others and then, returned to the sixth
floor to get his jacket and cigarettes.[C6-49] He saw Oswald walking
away from the southeast corner, but saw no one else on the sixth floor
at that time. He then took one of the elevators back to the first floor
at approximately 11:55 a.m.[C6-50]

Bonnie Ray Williams, who was also working with the floor-laying crew,
returned to the sixth floor at about noon to eat his lunch and watch
the motorcade.[C6-51] He looked out on Elm Street from a position
in the area of the third or fourth set of windows from the east
wall.[C6-52] At this point he was approximately 20-30 feet away from
the southeast corner window. He remained for about “5, 10, maybe 12
minutes” eating his lunch which consisted of chicken and a bottle of
soda pop.[C6-53] Williams saw no one on the sixth floor during this
period, although the stacks of books prevented his seeing the east side
of the building.[C6-54] After finishing his lunch Williams took the
elevator down because no one had joined him on the sixth floor to watch
the motorcade.[C6-55] He stopped at the fifth floor where he joined
Harold Norman and James Jarman, Jr., who watched the motorcade with
him from a position on the fifth floor directly below the point from
which the shots were fired. Williams left the remains of his lunch,
including chicken bones and a bottle of soda, near the window where he
was eating.[C6-56]

Several witnesses outside the building claim to have seen a person in
the southeast corner window of the sixth floor. As has already been
indicated, some were able to offer better descriptions than others and
one, Howard L. Brennan, made a positive identification of Oswald as
being the person at the window.[C6-57] Although there are differences
among these witnesses with regard to their ability to describe the
person they saw, none of these witnesses testified to seeing more than
one person in the window.[C6-58]

One witness, however, offered testimony which, if accurate, would
create the possibility of an accomplice at the window at the time of
the assassination. The witness was 18-year-old Arnold Rowland, who
testified in great detail concerning his activities and observations
on November 22, 1963. He and his wife were awaiting the motorcade,
standing on the east side of Houston Street between Maine and
Elm,[C6-59] when he looked toward the Depository Building and noticed
a man holding a rifle standing back from the southwest corner window
on the sixth floor. The man was rather slender in proportion to his
size and of light complexion with dark hair.[C6-60] Rowland said that
his wife was looking elsewhere at the time and when they looked back
to the window the man “was gone from our vision.”[C6-61] They thought
the man was most likely someone protecting the President. After the
assassination Rowland signed an affidavit in which he told of seeing
this man, although Rowland was unable to identify him.[C6-62]

When Rowland testified before the Commission on March 10, 1964, he
claimed for the first time to have seen another person on the sixth
floor. Rowland said that before he had noticed the man with the rifle
on the southwest corner of the sixth floor he had seen an elderly Negro
man “hanging out that window” on the southeast corner of the sixth
floor.[C6-63] Rowland described the Negro man as “very thin, an elderly
gentleman, bald or practically bald, very thin hair if he wasn’t
bald,” between 50 and 60 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10
inches tall, with fairly dark complexion.[C6-64] Rowland claimed that
he looked back two or three times and noticed that the man remained
until 5 or 6 minutes prior to the time the motorcade came. Rowland did
not see him thereafter. He made no mention of the Negro man in his
affidavit.[C6-65] And, while he said he told FBI agents about the man
in the southeast corner window when interviewed on the Saturday and
Sunday following the assassination,[C6-66] no such statement appears in
any FBI report.[C6-67]

Mrs. Rowland testified that her husband never told her about seeing
any other man on the sixth floor except the man with the rifle in
the southwest corner that he first saw. She also was present during
Rowland’s interview with representatives of the FBI[C6-68] and said
she did not hear him make such a statement,[C6-69] although she also
said that she did not hear everything that was discussed.[C6-70]
Mrs. Rowland testified that after her husband first talked about
seeing a man with the rifle, she looked back more than once at the
Depository Building and saw no person looking out of any window on
the sixth floor.[C6-71] She also said that “At times my husband is
prone to exaggerate.”[C6-72] Because of inconsistencies in Rowland’s
testimony and the importance of his testimony to the question of a
possible accomplice, the Commission requested the FBI to conduct an
inquiry into the truth of a broad range of statements made by Rowland
to the Commission. The investigation showed that numerous statements
by Rowland concerning matters about which he would not normally be
expected to be mistaken--such as subjects he studied in school, grades
he received, whether or not he had graduated from high school, and
whether or not he had been admitted to college--were false.[C6-73]

The only possible corroboration for Rowland’s story is found in the
testimony of Roger D. Craig, a deputy sheriff of Dallas County, whose
testimony on other aspects of the case has been discussed in chapter
IV. Craig claimed that about 10 minutes after the assassination he
talked to a young couple, Mr. and Mrs. Rowland,

    * * * and the boy said he saw two men on the sixth floor of
    the Book Depository Building over there; one of them had a
    rifle with a telescopic sight on it--but he thought they were
    Secret Service agents or guards and didn’t report it. This
    was about--oh, he said, 15 minutes before the motorcade ever

According to Craig, Rowland said that he looked back a few minutes
later and “the other man was gone, and there was just one man--the man
with the rifle.”[C6-75] Craig further testified that Rowland told him
that when he first saw the two men, they were walking back and forth in
front of the window for several minutes. They were both white men and
one of them had a rifle with a scope on it.[C6-76] This report by Craig
is contradicted by the testimony of both the Rowlands, and by every
recorded interview with them conducted by law enforcement agencies
after the assassination.

As part of its investigation of Rowland’s allegation and of the
general question of accomplices at the scene of the assassination,
the Commission undertook an investigation of every person employed
in the Texas School Book Depository Building. Two employees might
possibly fit the general description of an elderly Negro man, bald or
balding. These two men were on the first floor of the building during
the period before and during the assassination.[C6-77] Moreover, all
of the employees were asked whether they saw any strangers in the
building on the morning of November 22.[C6-78] Only one employee saw
a stranger whom he described as a feeble individual who had to be
helped up the front steps of the building. He went to a public restroom
and left the building 5 minutes later, about 40 minutes before the

Rowland’s failure to report his story despite several interviews
until his appearance before the Commission, the lack of probative
corroboration, and the serious doubts about his credibility, have led
the Commission to reject the testimony that Rowland saw an elderly
balding Negro man in the southeast corner window of the sixth floor of
the Depository Building several minutes before the assassination.

Oswald’s Escape

The Commission has analyzed Oswald’s movements between the time of
the assassination and the shooting of Patrolman Tippit to determine
whether there is any evidence that Oswald had assistance in his flight
from the building. Oswald’s activities during this period have been
traced through the testimony of seven witnesses and discussed in detail
in chapter IV.[C6-80] (See Commission Exhibit No. 1119-A, p. 158
and Commission Exhibit No. 1118, p. 150.) Patrolman M. L. Baker and
Depository superintendent Roy Truly saw him within 2 minutes of the
assassination on the second floor of the building. Mrs. R. A. Reid saw
him less than 1 minute later walking through the second-floor offices
toward the front of the building. A busdriver, Cecil J. McWatters,
and Oswald’s former landlady, Mrs. Mary Bledsoe, saw him board a bus
at approximately 12:40 p.m., and get off about 4 minutes later. A
cabdriver, William W. Whaley, drove Oswald from a cabstand located a
few blocks from where Oswald left the bus to a point in Oak Cliff about
four blocks from his roominghouse; and Earlene Roberts, the housekeeper
at Oswald’s roominghouse, saw him enter the roominghouse at about 1
p.m. and leave a few minutes later. When seen by these seven witnesses
Oswald was always alone.

Particular attention has been directed to Oswald’s departure from
the Depository Building in order to determine whether he could have
left the building within approximately 3 minutes of the assassination
without assistance. As discussed more fully in chapter IV, the building
was probably first sealed off no earlier than 12:37 by Inspector
Herbert Sawyer.[C6-81] The shortest estimate of the time taken to seal
off the building comes from Police Officer W. E. Barnett, one of the
officers assigned to the corner of Elm and Houston Streets for the
Presidential motorcade, who estimated that approximately 3 minutes
elapsed between the time he heard the last of the shots and the time he
started guarding the front door.[C6-82] According to Barnett, “there
were people going in and out” during this period.[C6-83] The evidence
discussed in chapter IV shows that 3 minutes would have been sufficient
time for Oswald to have descended from the sixth floor and left the
building without assistance.[C6-84]

One witness, James R. Worrell, Jr., claims to have seen a man running
from the rear of the building shortly after the assassination, but in
testimony before the Commission he stated that he could not see his
face.[C6-85] Two other witnesses who watched the rear of the building
during the first 5 minutes after the shooting saw no one leave.[C6-86]
The claim of Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig that he saw Oswald leave the
Depository Building approximately 15 minutes after the assassination
has been discussed in chapter IV.[C6-87] Although Craig may have seen
someone enter a station wagon 15 minutes after the assassination, the
person he saw was not Lee Harvey Oswald, who was far removed from the
building at that time.

The possibility that accomplices aided Oswald in connection with
his escape was suggested by the testimony of Earlene Roberts, the
housekeeper at the 1026 North Beckley roominghouse.[C6-88] She
testified that at about 1 p.m. on November 22, after Oswald had
returned to the roominghouse, a Dallas police car drove slowly by the
front of the 1026 North Beckley premises and stopped momentarily; she
said she heard its horn several times.[C6-89] Mrs. Roberts stated that
the occupants of the car were not known to her even though she had
worked for some policemen who would occasionally come by.[C6-90] She
said the policeman she knew drove car No. 170 and that this was not the
number on the police car that honked on November 22. She testified that
she first thought the car she saw was No. 106 and then said that it was
No. 107.[C6-91] In an FBI interview she had stated that she looked out
the front window and saw police car No. 207.[C6-92] Investigation has
not produced any evidence that there was a police vehicle in the area
of 1026 North Beckley at about 1 p.m. on November 22.[C6-93] Squad car
207 was at the Texas School Book Depository Building, as was car 106.
Squad cars 170 and 107 were sold in April 1963 and their numbers were
not reassigned until February 1964.[C6-94]

Whatever may be the accuracy of Mrs. Roberts’ recollection concerning
the police car, it is apparent from Mrs. Roberts’ further testimony
that she did not see Oswald enter a car when he hurriedly left the
house. She has stated that when she last saw Oswald, shortly after
1 p.m., he was standing at a bus stop in front of the house.[C6-95]
Oswald was next seen less than 1 mile away, at the point where he shot
Patrolman Tippit. Oswald could have easily reached this point on foot
by about 1:16 p.m., when Tippit was shot. Finally, investigation has
produced no evidence that Oswald had prearranged plans for a means to
leave Dallas after the assassination or that any other person was to
have provided him assistance in hiding or in departing the city.


Finding no evidence in the circumstances immediately surrounding
the assassination that any person other than Lee Harvey Oswald was
involved in the killing of the President, the Commission directed an
intensive investigation into his life for the purpose, among others,
of detecting any possible traces that at some point he became involved
in a conspiracy culminating in the deed of November 22, 1963. As a
product of this investigation, the Commission has compiled a detailed
chronological biography of Oswald which is set forth as appendix XIII.
Study of the period from Oswald’s birth in 1939 to his military service
from 1956 to 1959 has revealed no evidence that he was associated with
any type of sinister or subversive organization during that period.
Though his personality and political views took shape during these
early years, the events of that period are significant primarily to an
understanding of the personality of Lee Harvey Oswald and are discussed
in that connection in chapter VII. Beginning with his preparation for
defection to the Soviet Union in 1959, however, Oswald engaged in
several activities which required close scrutiny by the Commission.
In an appraisal of Oswald’s actions since 1959 for the purpose of
determining whether he was part of a conspiracy, several aspects of
his background and character must be borne in mind. He was young,
inexperienced, and had only a limited education. As will be more fully
discussed in chapter VII, he was unable to establish relationships
with others and had a resentment for authority and any discipline
flowing from it. While he demonstrated the ability to act secretively
and alone, without regard to the consequences to himself, as in his
defection to the Soviet Union, he does not appear to have been the
kind of person whom one would normally expect to be selected as a

Residence in the Soviet Union

Lee Harvey Oswald was openly committed to Marxist ideology, he defected
to the Soviet Union in 1959, and resided there until June of 1962,
eventually returning to the United States with a Russian wife. In
order to evaluate rumors and speculations[C6-96] that Oswald may have
been an agent of the Soviet Union, the Commission investigated the
facts surrounding Oswald’s stay in Russia. The Commission was thus
fulfilling its obligation to probe all facts of possible relevance to
the assassination, and does not suggest by this investigation that the
rulers of the Soviet Union believed that their political interests
would be advanced by the assassination of President Kennedy. On this
question, the Secretary of State testified before the Commission on
June 10, 1964 as follows:

    I have seen no evidence that would indicate to me that the
    Soviet Union considered that it had an interest in the removal
    of President Kennedy or that it was in any way involved in the
    removal of President Kennedy.

       *       *       *       *       *

    I have not seen or heard of any scrap of evidence indicating
    that the Soviet Union had any desire to eliminate President
    Kennedy nor in any way participated in any such event.

    Now, standing back and trying to look at that question
    objectively despite the ideological differences between our two
    great systems, I can’t see how it could be to the interest of
    the Soviet Union to make any such effort.

       *       *       *       *       *

    I do think that the Soviet Union, again objectively considered,
    has an interest in the correctness of state relations. This
    would be particularly true among the great powers, with which
    the major interests of the Soviet Union are directly engaged.

       *       *       *       *       *

    I think that although there are grave differences between
    the Communist world and the free world, between the Soviet
    Union and other major powers, that even from their point of
    view there needs to be some shape and form to international
    relations, that it is not in their interest to have this world
    structure dissolve into complete anarchy, that great states
    and particularly nuclear powers have to be in a position to
    deal with each other, to transact business with each other, to
    try to meet problems with each other, and that requires the
    maintenance of correct relations and access to the leadership
    on all sides.

    I think also that although there had been grave differences
    between Chairman Khrushchev and President Kennedy, I think
    there were evidences of a certain mutual respect that had
    developed over some of the experiences, both good and bad,
    through which these two men had lived.

    I think both of them were aware of the fact that any Chairman
    of the Soviet Union, and any President of the United States,
    necessarily bear somewhat special responsibility for the
    general peace of the world. Indeed without exaggeration, one
    could almost say the existence of the northern hemisphere in
    this nuclear age.

       *       *       *       *       *

    So that it would be an act of rashness and madness for Soviet
    leaders to undertake such an action as an active policy.
    Because everything would have been put in jeopardy or at stake
    in connection with such an act.

    It has not been our impression that madness has characterized
    the actions of the Soviet leadership in recent years.[C6-97]

The Commission accepts Secretary Rusk’s estimate as reasonable
and objective, but recognizes that a precise assessment of Soviet
intentions or interests is most difficult. The Commission has thus
examined all the known facts regarding Oswald’s defection, residence
in the Soviet Union, and return to the United States. At each step the
Commission sought to determine whether there was any evidence which
supported a conclusion that Soviet authorities may have directly or
indirectly influenced Oswald’s actions in assassinating the President.

_Oswald’s entry into the Soviet Union._--Although the evidence is
inconclusive as to the factors which motivated Oswald to go to the
Soviet Union, there is no indication that he was prompted to do so by
agents of that country. He may have begun to study the Russian language
when he was stationed in Japan, which was intermittently from August
1957 to November 1958.[C6-98] After he arrived in Moscow in October
1959 he told several persons that he had been planning his defection
for 2 years, which suggests that the decision was made while he was
in the Far East.[C6-99] George De Mohrenschildt, who met Oswald after
his return from the Soviet Union, testified that Oswald once told him
much the same thing: “I met some Communists in Japan and they got me
excited and interested, and that was one of my inducements in going
to Soviet Russia, to see what goes on there.”[C6-100] This evidence,
however, is somewhat at variance with Oswald’s statements made to two
American newspaper reporters in Moscow shortly after his defection
in 1959,[C6-101] and to other people in the United States after his
return in 1962.[C6-102] Though his remarks were not inconsistent as to
the time he decided to defect, to these people he insisted that before
going to the Soviet Union he had “never met a Communist” and that the
intent to defect derived entirely from his own reading and thinking.
He said much the same to his brother in a letter he wrote to him from
Russia explaining why he had defected.[C6-103] Which of Oswald’s
statements was the more accurate remains unknown.

There is no evidence that Oswald received outside assistance in
financing his trip to the Soviet Union. After he arrived in Moscow,
Oswald told a newspaper correspondent, Aline Mosby, that he had saved
$1,500 out of his Marine Corps salary to finance his defection,[C6-104]
although the news story based upon Oswald’s interview with Aline Mosby
unaccountably listed the sum of $1,600 instead of $1,500.[C6-105]
After this article had appeared, Marguerite Oswald also related the
$1,600 figure to an FBI agent.[C6-106] Either amount could have been
accumulated out of Oswald’s earnings in the Marine Corps; during
his 2 years and 10 months of service he received $3,452.20, after
all taxes, allotments and other deductions.[C6-107] Moreover Oswald
could certainly have made the entire trip on less than $1,000. The
ticket on the ship he took from New Orleans to Le Havre, France, cost
$220.75;[C6-108] it cost him about $20 to reach London from Le Havre;
his plane fare from London to Helsinki, where he received his visa,
cost him $111.90; he probably purchased Russian “tourist vouchers”
normally good for room and board for 10 days for $300; his train fare
from Helsinki to Moscow was about $44; in Moscow he paid only $1.50 to
$3 a night for his room and very little for his meals after his tourist
vouchers ran out;[C6-109] and apparently he did not pay his hotel bill
at all after November 30, 1959.[C6-110] Oswald’s known living habits
indicate that he could be extraordinarily frugal when he had reason to
be, and it seems clear that he did have a strong desire to go to the
Soviet Union.

While in Atsugi, Japan, Oswald studied the Russian language, perhaps
with some help from an officer in his unit who was interested in
Russian and used to “talk about it” with Oswald occasionally.[C6-111]
He studied by himself a great deal in late 1958 and early 1959 after
he was transferred from Japan to California.[C6-112] He took an Army
aptitude test in Russian in February 1959 and rated “Poor.”[C6-113]
When he reached the Soviet Union in October of the same year he could
barely speak the language.[C6-114] During the period in Moscow while
he was awaiting decision on his application for citizenship, his diary
records that he practiced Russian 8 hours a day.[C6-115] After he was
sent to Minsk in early January 1960 he took lessons from an interpreter
assigned to him for that purpose by the Soviet Government.[C6-116]
Marina Oswald said that by the time she met him in March 1961 he spoke
the language well enough so that at first she thought he was from one
of the Baltic areas of her country, because of his accent. She stated
that his only defects were that his grammar was sometimes incorrect and
that his writing was never good.[C6-117]

Thus, the limited evidence provides no indication that Oswald was
recruited by Soviet agents in the Far East with a view toward defection
and eventual return to the United States. Moreover, on its face such a
possibility is most unlikely. If Soviet agents had communicated with
Oswald while he was in the Marine Corps, one of the least probable
instructions they would have given him would have been to defect. If
Oswald had remained a Marine radar specialist, he might at some point
have reached a position of value as a secret agent. However, his
defection and the disloyal statements he made publicly in connection
with it eliminated the possibility that he would ever gain access to
confidential information or programs of the United States. The very
fact that he defected, therefore, is itself persuasive evidence that he
was not recruited as an agent prior to his defection.

The Commission has investigated the circumstances under which Oswald
obtained a visa to enter the Soviet Union for possible evidence that
he received preferential treatment in being permitted to enter the
country. Oswald left New Orleans, La., for Europe on September 20,
1959,[C6-118] having been released from active duty in the Marine Corps
on September 11, 1959.[C6-119] He went directly to Helsinki, Finland,
by way of Le Havre, France, and London, England, arriving at Helsinki
on Saturday, October 10, 1959.[C6-120] Oswald probably arrived in
Helsinki too late in the evening to have applied for a visa at the
Soviet Union consulate that night.[C6-121] In light of the rapidity
with which he made connections throughout his entire trip,[C6-122] he
probably applied for a visa early on Monday, October 12. On October 14,
he was issued Soviet Tourist Visa No. 403339, good for one 6-day visit
in the U.S.S.R.[C6-123] He left Helsinki on a train destined for Moscow
on October 15.[C6-124]

The Department of State has advised the Commission that it has some
information that in 1959 it usually took an American tourist in
Helsinki 1 to 2 weeks to obtain a visa,[C6-125] and that it has other
information that the normal waiting period during the past 5 years has
been a week or less.[C6-126] According to the Department’s information,
the waiting period has always varied frequently and widely, with one
confirmed instance in 1963 of a visa routinely issued in less than
24 hours.[C6-127] The Central Intelligence Agency has indicated that
visas during the 1964 tourist season were being granted in about 5 to 7

This information from the Department of State and the Central
Intelligence Agency thus suggests that Oswald’s wait for a visa may
have been shorter than usual but not beyond the range of possible
variation. The prompt issuance of Oswald’s visa may have been merely
the result of normal procedures, due in part to the fact that the
summer rush had ended. It might also mean that Oswald was unusually
urgent in his demands that his visa be issued promptly. Oswald himself
told officials at the American Embassy in Moscow on October 31, when
he appeared to renounce his citizenship, that he had said nothing to
the Soviets about defecting until he arrived in Moscow.[C6-129] In
any event, the Commission has found nothing in the circumstances of
Oswald’s entry into the Soviet Union which indicates that he was at the
time an agent of the U.S.S.R.

_Defection and admission to residence._--Two months and 22 days elapsed
from Oswald’s arrival in Moscow until he left that city to take up
residence in Minsk. The Commission has considered the possibility that
Oswald was accepted for residence in the Soviet Union and sent to Minsk
unusually soon after he arrived, either because he had been expected
or because during his first weeks in Moscow he developed an undercover
relationship with the Soviet Government. In doing so, the Commission
has attempted to reconstruct the events of those months, though it is,
of course, impossible to account for Oswald’s activities on every day
of that period.

Oswald’s “Historic Diary,”[C6-130] which commences on October 16,
1959, the date Oswald arrived in Moscow, and other writings he later
prepared,[C6-131] have provided the Commission with one source of
information about Oswald’s activities throughout his stay in the
Soviet Union. Even assuming the diary was intended to be a truthful
record, it is not an accurate guide to the details of Oswald’s
activities. Oswald seems not to have been concerned about the accuracy
of dates and names,[C6-132] and apparently made many of his entries
subsequent to the date the events occurred. Marina Oswald testified
that she believed that her husband did not begin to keep the diary
until he reached Minsk, 3 months after his arrival in Russia,[C6-133]
and scraps of paper found in Oswald’s possession, containing much the
same information as appears in his diary,[C6-134] suggest that he
transcribed the entries into the diary at a later time. The substance
of Oswald’s writings has been carefully examined for consistency
with all other related information available to the Commission. In
addition, the writings have been checked for handwriting,[C6-135] and
for consistency of style, grammar, and spelling with earlier and later
writings which are known to be his.[C6-136] No indication has been
found that entries were written or coached by other persons.[C6-137]

However, the most reliable information concerning the period Oswald
spent in Moscow in the latter part of 1962 comes from the records
of the American Embassy in Moscow,[C6-138] the testimony of Embassy
officials,[C6-139] and the notes of two American newspaper reporters,
Aline Mosby [C6-140] and Priscilla Johnson,[C6-141] who interviewed
Oswald during this period. Oswald’s correspondence with his brother and
mother has also been relied upon for some relatively minor information.
The findings upon which the Commission based its conclusion concerning
Soviet involvements in the assassination were supported by evidence
other than material provided by the Soviet Union[C6-142] or Oswald’s
writings. The Central Intelligence Agency has also contributed data
on the normal practices and procedures of the Soviet authorities in
handling American defectors.

The “Historic Diary” indicates that on October 16, 1959, the day Oswald
arrived in Moscow, he told his Intourist guide, Rima Shirokova, that
he wished to renounce his American citizenship and become a Soviet
citizen. The same day, the guide reportedly helped Oswald prepare a
letter to the Soviet authorities requesting citizenship.[C6-143] The
diary indicates, however, that on October 21 he was informed that
his visa had expired and that he would be required to leave Moscow
within 2 hours.[C6-144] During the preceding days, according to the
diary, he had been interviewed once and perhaps twice by Soviet
officials.[C6-145] During this period the KGB,[B] the agency with
primary responsibility for examining defectors arriving in Russia,
undoubtedly investigated Oswald as fully as possible. In 1959,
virtually all Intourist guides were KGB informants, and there is no
reason to believe that this was not true of Oswald’s guide.[C6-146]

    [B] The Committee for State Security, best known by its
        Russian initials, “KGB,” is a lineal descendant of the
        revolutionary ChEKA and has passed through numerous
        changes of name since 1917 with little change of function.
        Presently the KGB handles all Soviet counterintelligence
        operations and is the instrument for various types of
        subversive activities. It is responsible for the internal
        security of the Soviet state and the safety of its leaders.
        In addition it shares responsibility for foreign espionage
        activities with the intelligence component of the Ministry
        of Defense, the “GRU.” The KGB would have the primary
        responsibility for keeping track of a defector such as

        The Ministry of Internal Affairs or “MVD” was for many years
        the designation of the organization responsible for civil
        law enforcement and administration of prisons and forced
        labor camps in the Soviet Union. During a part of its
        history it also directed vast economic combines. In January
        1960, the central or all-union MVD was abolished and its
        powers transferred to the MVD’s of the several Soviet
        republics. A further change took place in the summer of
        1962, when the republic MVD’s were renamed Ministries for
        the Preservation of Public Order and Safety. In the past
        few years the republic MVD’s have been gradually divesting
        themselves of their economic functions. When Lee Harvey
        Oswald was in the Soviet Union though, the MVD still
        carried on substantial economic activities. For example,
        inmates of the MVD-administered “corrective labor colonies”
        engaged in brickmaking, heavy construction work, and

        In the Commission’s report, the term KGB will be used, as
        above, to describe the principal Soviet counterintelligence
        and espionage service. Oswald often inaccurately referred
        to the “secret police” as the MVD; and in any quotations
        from him, the Commission will reproduce his actual words.
        Whenever the Commission refers to the MVD, it will be
        referring to it as defined in this footnote.

According to Oswald’s diary he attempted suicide when he learned
his application for citizenship had been denied.[C6-147] If true,
this would seem to provide strong evidence that, at least prior to
October 21, there was no undercover relationship between Oswald and
the Soviet Government. Though not necessarily conclusive, there is
considerable direct evidence which indicates that Oswald did slash his
wrist. Oswald’s autopsy showed that he had a scar on his left wrist
and that it was of the kind which could have been caused by a suicide
attempt.[C6-148] The medical records from the Botkinskaya Hospital in
Moscow, furnished by the Soviet Government, reveal that from October
21 to October 28 he was treated there for a self-inflicted wound on
the left wrist.[C6-149] The information contained in these records is
consistent with the facts disclosed by the autopsy examination relating
to Oswald’s wrist and to other facts known about Oswald. Although no
witness recalled Oswald mentioning a suicide attempt,[C6-150] Marina
Oswald testified that when she questioned her husband about the
scar on his wrist, he became “very angry,” and avoided giving her a
reply.[C6-151] Oswald’s character, discussed in the following chapter,
does not seem inconsistent with a suicide or feigned suicide attempt,
nor with his having failed to disclose the suicide attempt. Many
witnesses who testified before the Commission observed that he was not
an “open” or trusting person, had a tendency toward arrogance, and was
not the kind of man who would readily admit weaknesses.[C6-152]

Oswald appeared at the American Embassy in Moscow on October 31,
1959, 3 days after his release from the Botkinskaya Hospital.[C6-153]
He did not give the officials at the Embassy any indication that he
had recently received medical treatment.[C6-154] Oswald’s appearance
was the first notification to the American Government that he was
in Russia, since he had failed to inform the Embassy upon his
arrival,[C6-155] as most American tourists did at the time.[C6-156]
In appendix XV, Oswald’s dealings with the Embassy in 1959 until his
return to the United States in 1962 are described in full, and all
action taken by the American officials on his case is evaluated. His
conduct at the Embassy has also been considered by the Commission for
any indication it may provide as to whether or not Oswald was then
acting under directions of the Soviet Government.

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 913


At the Embassy, Oswald declared that he wished to renounce his U.S.
citizenship,[C6-157] but the consul to whom he spoke, Richard E.
Snyder, refused to accept his renunciation at that time, telling him
that he would have to return to complete the necessary papers.[C6-158]
However, Oswald did give the consul his passport[C6-159] and a
handwritten statement requesting that his American citizenship be
“revoked” and “affirm[ing] [his] * * * allegiance” to the Soviet
Union.[C6-160] (See Commission Exhibit No. 913, p. 261.) The FBI has
confirmed that this statement is in Oswald’s handwriting,[C6-161]
and Snyder has testified that the letter’s phrases are consistent
with the way Oswald talked and conducted himself.[C6-162] During the
approximately 40-minute interview, Oswald also informed Snyder that he
had been a radar operator in the Marine Corps, intimating that he might
know something of special interest, and that he had informed a Soviet
official that he would give the Soviets any information concerning
the Marine Corps and radar operation which he possessed.[C6-163]
Although Oswald never filed a formal renunciation, in a letter to the
Embassy dated November 3, 1959, he again requested that his American
citizenship be revoked and protested the refusal to accept his
renunciation on October 31.[C6-164] (See Commission Exhibit No. 912, p.

While at the Embassy,[C6-165] and in a subsequent interview with
an American journalist,[C6-166] Oswald displayed familiarity with
Communist ideological arguments, which led those with whom he spoke
to speculate that he may have received some instruction from Soviet
authorities. Oswald’s familiarity with the law regarding renunciation
of citizenship, observed by both Embassy officials,[C6-167] could also
be construed as a sign of coaching by Soviet authorities. However,
Oswald is known to have been an avid reader[C6-168] and there is
evidence that he had read Communist literature without guidance while
in the Marine Corps and before that time.[C6-169] After his arrival in
Moscow, Oswald most probably had discussions with his Intourist guide
and others,[C6-170] but none of the Americans with whom he talked in
Moscow felt that his conversations necessarily revealed any type of
formal training.[C6-171] The “Historic Diary” indicates that Oswald did
not tell his guide that he intended to visit the Embassy because he
feared she would disapprove.[C6-172] (See Commission Exhibit No. 24,
p. 264.) Though Oswald gave Snyder the impression “of an intelligent
person who spoke in a manner and on a level, which seemed to befit
his apparent level of intelligence,”[C6-173] correspondent Priscilla
Johnson, who spent about 5 hours talking with him,[C6-174] received a
much less favorable impression:

    He liked to create the pretense, the impression that he was
    attracted to abstract discussion and was capable of engaging in
    it, and was drawn to it. But it was like pricking a balloon.
    I had the feeling that if you really did engage him on this
    ground, you very quickly would discover that he didn’t have
    the capacity for a logical sustained argument about an abstract
    point on economics or on noneconomic, political matters or any
    matter, philosophical.[C6-175]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 912


[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 24

OCT. 31, 1959

Excerpts from his “Historic Diary”]

A comparison of the formal note Oswald handed Snyder[C6-176] and his
letter of November 3[C6-177] with the provisions of section 349(a)
of the Immigration and Nationality Act[C6-178] suggests that Oswald
had read the statute but understood it imperfectly; he apparently was
trying to use three out of the four ways set out in the statute to
surrender his citizenship, but he succeeded in none.

Moreover, persuasive evidence that Oswald’s conduct was not carefully
coached by Soviet agents is provided by some of his actions at the
Embassy. The single statement which probably caused Oswald the most
future trouble was his declaration that he had already volunteered to a
Soviet official that he would, if asked, tell the Soviet Government all
that he knew about his job in radar as a Marine. Certainly a statement
of this type would prejudice any possibility of his being an effective
pro-Communist agent.

Further, though unquestionably evidencing anti-American sentiments,
Oswald’s behavior at the Embassy, which brought him exceedingly close
to expatriation, was unlikely to have increased his value in any
capacity to the Soviet Union. Richard E. Snyder, the official who
interviewed Oswald on October 31, testified that he “had every reason
to believe” that Oswald would have carried through a formal--and
therefore effective--renunciation of his American citizenship
immediately if he had let him.[C6-179] However, as a defector, Oswald
could have had considerable propaganda value without expatriating
himself; and if he had expatriated himself his eventual return to
the United States would have been much more difficult and perhaps
impossible. If Snyder’s assessment of Oswald’s intentions is accurate,
it thus tends to refute the suggestion that Oswald was being coached
by the Soviets. In addition, reporters noticed Oswald’s apparent
ambivalence in regard to renouncing his citizenship--stormily demanding
that he be permitted to renounce while failing to follow through by
completing the necessary papers[C6-180]--behavior which might have
detracted from his propaganda value.

According to Oswald’s “Historic Diary”[C6-181] and the documents
furnished to the Commission by the Soviet Government,[C6-182] Oswald
was not told that he had been accepted as a resident of the Soviet
Union until about January 4, 1960. Although on November 13 and 16
Oswald informed Aline Mosby[C6-183] and Priscilla Johnson[C6-184] that
he had been granted permission to remain in the country indefinitely,
the diary indicates that at that time he had been told only that
he could remain “until some solution is found with what to do with
me.”[C6-185] The diary is more consistent with the letter Oswald
wrote to his brother Robert on December 17, saying that he was then,
more than a month after he saw Johnson and Mosby, about to leave his
hotel,[C6-186] and with some later correspondence with his mother.
Oswald mailed a short note to his mother which she received in Texas on
January 5; that same day she mailed a money order to him in Moscow,
but it apparently got there too late, because she received it back,
unopened, on February 25.[C6-187] Oswald’s conflicting statement to the
correspondents also seems reconcilable with his very apparent desire to
appear important to others. Moreover, so long as Oswald continued to
stay in a hotel in Moscow, the inference is that the Soviet authorities
had not yet decided to accept him.[C6-188] This inference is supported
by information supplied by the CIA on the handling of other defectors
in the Soviet Union.[C6-189]

Thus, the evidence is strong that Oswald waited at least until November
16, when he saw Miss Johnson, and it is probable that he was required
to wait until January 4, a little over 2½ months from October 16,
before his application to remain in Russia was granted. In mid-November
Miss Johnson asked Oswald whether the Russians were encouraging his
defection, to which Oswald responded: “The Russians are treating
it like a legal formality. They don’t encourage you and they don’t
discourage you.”[C6-190] And, when the Soviet Government finally acted,
Oswald did not receive Soviet citizenship, as he had requested, but
merely permission to reside in Russia on a year-to-year basis.[C6-191]

Asked to comment upon the length of time, 2 months and 22 days, that
probably passed before Oswald was granted the right to remain in the
Soviet Union, the CIA has advised that “when compared to five other
defector cases, this procedure seems unexceptional.”[C6-192] Similarly,
the Department of State reports that its information “indicated that a
2-month waiting period is not unusual.”[C6-193] The full response of
the CIA is as follows:

    Oswald said that he asked for Soviet citizenship on 16 October
    1959. According to his diary, he received word a month later
    that he could stay in the USSR pending disposition of his
    request, but it was another month and a half before he was
    given his stateless passport.

    When compared to five other defector cases, this procedure
    seems unexceptional. Two defectors from US Army intelligence
    units in West Germany appear to have been given citizenship
    immediately, but both had prior KGB connections and fled as
    a result of Army security checks. Of the other three cases,
    one was accepted after not more than five weeks and given a
    stateless passport apparently at about the same time. The
    second was immediately given permission to stay for a while,
    and his subsequent request for citizenship was granted three
    months later. The third was allowed to stay after he made his
    citizenship request, but almost two months passed before he was
    told that he had been accepted. Although the Soviet Ministry of
    Foreign Affairs soon after told the US Embassy that he was a
    Soviet citizen, he did not receive his document until five or
    six months after initial application. We know of only one case
    in which an American asked for Soviet citizenship but did not
    take up residence in the USSR. In that instance, the American
    changed his mind and voluntarily returned to the United
    States less than three weeks after he had requested Soviet

The Department of State has commented as follows:

    The files of the Department of State reflect the fact that
    Oswald first applied for permission to remain in Russia
    permanently, or at least for a long period, when he arrived in
    Moscow, and that he obtained permission to remain within one or
    two months.

    A. Is the fact that he obtained permission to stay within this
    period of time usual?

    _Answer_--Our information indicates that a two months waiting
    period is not unusual. In the case of [name withheld] the
    Supreme Soviet decided within two months to give Soviet
    citizenship and he was thereafter, of course, permitted to stay.

    B. Can you tell us what the normal procedures are under similar

    _Answer_--It is impossible for us to state any “normal”
    procedures. The Soviet Government never publicizes the
    proceedings in these cases or the reasons for its action.
    Furthermore, it is, of course, extremely unusual for an
    American citizen to defect.[C6-195]

The information relating to Oswald’s suicide attempt indicates that
his application to remain in the Soviet Union was probably rejected
about 6 days after his arrival in Moscow. Since the KGB is the Soviet
agency responsible for the initial handling of all defectors,[C6-196]
it seems likely that the original decision not to accept Oswald was
made by the KGB. That Oswald was permitted to remain in Moscow after
his release from the hospital suggests that another ministry of the
Soviet Government may have intervened on his behalf. This hypothesis
is consistent with entries in the “Historic Diary” commenting that the
officials Oswald met after his hospital treatment were different from
those with whom he had dealt before.[C6-197] The most plausible reason
for any such intervention may well have been apprehension over the
publicity that would follow the rejection of a devout convert to the
Communist cause.

_Oswald’s Life in Minsk._--According to the “Historic Diary”[C6-198]
and documents received from the Soviet Government,[C6-199] Oswald
resided in the city of Minsk from January 1960 until June 1962.
Oswald’s life in Minsk is the portion of his life concerning which the
least is known. The primary sources of information are Oswald’s own
writings and the testimony of Marina Oswald. Other evidence, however,
establishes beyond doubt that Oswald was in fact located in Minsk on
at least two occasions. The Commission has obtained two photographs
which were taken by American tourists in Minsk in August 1961 in which
Oswald appears.[C6-200] The tourists did not know Oswald, nor did
they speak with him; they remembered only that several men gathered
near their car.[C6-201] (See Kramer Exhibit 1, p. 268.) In addition,
Oswald was noticed in Minsk by a student who was traveling with the
University of Michigan band on a tour of Russia in the spring of
1961.[C6-202] Oswald corresponded with the American Embassy in Moscow
from Minsk,[C6-203] and wrote letters from Minsk to his family in
the United States.[C6-204] Oswald and his wife have many photographs
taken of themselves which show Minsk backgrounds and persons who are
identifiable as residents of Minsk.[C6-205] After he returned to the
United States, Oswald conversed about the city with Russian-born
American citizens who were familiar with it.[C6-206] Marina Oswald
is also familiar with the city.[C6-207] The Commission has also
been able independently to verify the existence in Minsk of many of
the acquaintances of Oswald and his wife whom they said they knew
there.[C6-208] (See Commission Exhibits Nos. 1392, 1395, 2606, 2609,
2612 and 2623, pp. 270-271.)




Once he was accepted as a resident alien in the Soviet Union, Oswald
was given considerable benefits which ordinary Soviet citizens in his
position in society did not have. The “Historic Diary” recites that
after Oswald was informed that he could remain in the Soviet Union and
was being sent to Minsk he was given 5,000 rubles[C] ($500) by the “Red
Cross, * * * for expenses.” He used 2,200 rubles to pay his hotel bill,
and another 150 rubles to purchase a train ticket. With the balance
of slightly over 2,500 rubles, Oswald felt, according to the diary,
like a rich man.[C6-209] Oswald did not receive free living quarters,
as the diary indicates the “Mayor” of Minsk promised him,[C6-210] but
about 6 weeks after his arrival he did receive an apartment, very
pleasant by Soviet standards, for which he was required to pay only 60
rubles ($6.00) a month. Oswald considered the apartment “almost rent
free.”[C6-211] Oswald was given a job in the “Byelorussian Radio and
Television Factory,” where his pay on a per piece basis ranged from
700 to 900 rubles ($70-$90) a month.[C6-212] According to his wife,
this rate of pay was average for people in his occupation but good
by Soviet standards generally.[C6-213] She explained that piecework
rates throughout the Soviet Union have generally grown out of line
with compensation for other jobs.[C6-214] The CIA has confirmed that
this condition exists in many areas and occupations in the Soviet
Union.[C6-215] In addition to his salary, Oswald regularly received
700 rubles ($70) per month from the Soviet “Red Cross.”[C6-216] The
well-paying job, the monthly subsidy, and the “almost rent-free”
apartment combined to give Oswald more money than he needed. The only
complaint recorded in the “Historic Diary” is that there was “no place
to spend the money.”[C6-217]

    [C] About a year after Oswald received this money, the ruble
        was revalued to about 10 times its earlier value.

The Commission has found no basis for associating Oswald’s preferred
income with Soviet undercover activity. Marina Oswald testified that
foreign nationals are commonly given special treatment in the Soviet
Union,[C6-218] and the Central Intelligence Agency has confirmed that
it is standard practice in the Soviet Union for Americans and other
foreign defectors from countries with high standards of living to be
“subsidized.”[C6-219] Apparently it is Soviet practice to attempt
to make life sufficiently pleasant for a foreign defector so that
he will not become disillusioned and return to his native country.
The Commission has also assumed that it is customary for Soviet
intelligence agencies to keep defectors under surveillance during their
residence in the Soviet Union, through periodic interviews of neighbors
and associates of the defector.[C6-220] Oswald once mentioned that the
Soviet police questioned his neighbors occasionally.[C6-221]















Moreover, it is from Oswald’s personal writings alone that the
Commission has learned that he received supplementary funds from the
Soviet “Red Cross.” In the notes he made during the return trip to
the United States Oswald recognized that the “Red Cross” subsidy had
nothing to do with the well-known International Red Cross. He frankly
stated that the money was paid to him for having “denounced” the
United States and that it had come from the “MVD.”[C6-222] Oswald’s
papers reveal that the “Red Cross” subsidy was terminated as soon as
he wrote the American Embassy in Moscow in February 1961 asking that
he be permitted to return.[C6-223] (See Commission Exhibit No. 25, p.
273.) Marina Oswald’s testimony confirmed this; she said that when she
knew Oswald he no longer was receiving the monthly grant but still
retained some of the savings accumulated in the months when he had been
receiving it.[C6-224] Since she met Oswald in March and married him in
April of 1961, her testimony was consistent with his records.

The nature of Oswald’s employment while in Minsk has been examined
by the Commission. The factory in which he worked was a large plant
manufacturing electronic parts and radio and television sets. Marina
Oswald has testified that he was an “apprentice machinist” and “ground
small metallic parts for radio receivers, on a lathe.”[C6-225] So far
as can be determined, Oswald never straightforwardly described to
anyone else in the United States exactly what his job was in the Soviet
Union.[C6-226] Some of his acquaintances in Dallas and Fort Worth had
the impression that he was disappointed in having been given a menial
job and not assigned to an institution of higher learning in the Soviet
Union.[C6-227] Marina Oswald confirmed this and also testified that
her husband was not interested in his work and not regarded at the
factory as a very good worker.[C6-228] The documents furnished to the
Commission by the Soviet government were consistent with her testimony
on this point, since they included a report from Oswald’s superior at
the factory which is critical of his performance on the job.[C6-229]
Oswald’s employment and his job performance are thus consistent with
his known occupational habits in this country and otherwise afford no
ground for suspicion.

Oswald’s membership in a hunting club while he was in the Soviet Union
has been a matter of special interest to the Commission. One Russian
emigre testified that this was a suspicious circumstance because no one
in the Soviet Union is permitted to own a gun for pleasure.[C6-230] The
Commission’s investigation, however, has established that this is not
so. The Central Intelligence Agency has advised the Commission that
hunting societies such as the one to which Oswald belonged are very
popular in the Soviet Union.[C6-231] They are frequently sponsored
by factories for their employees, as was Oswald’s.[C6-232] Moreover,
Soviet citizens (or foreigners residing in the Soviet Union) are
permitted to own shotguns, but not rifles, without joining a society;
all that is necessary is that the gun be registered at the local
militia office immediately after it has been purchased.[C6-233] Experts
from the Central Intelligence Agency have examined Oswald’s club
membership certificate and gun permit and expressed the opinion that
its terms and numbers are consistent with other information the CIA has
about the Soviet Union.[C6-234]

[Illustration: (COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 25)


Marina Oswald testified that her husband went hunting only on one
occasion during the time of their marriage.[C6-235] However, Oswald
apparently joined the Byelorussian Society of Hunters and Fishermen
in the summer of 1960[C6-236] and did not marry until April 30,
1961,[C6-237] so he could have been more active while he was still a
bachelor. Oswald made no secret of his membership in the hunting club.
He mentioned it on occasion to friends after he returned to the United
States;[C6-238] discussed it at some length in a speech at a Jesuit
Seminary in Mobile, Ala., in the summer of 1962;[C6-239] included it
in his correspondence with his brother Robert;[C6-240] and kept his
membership certificate[C6-241] and gun permit[C6-242] until the day
he was killed. In view of these facts, it is unlikely that Oswald’s
membership in a hunting club was contrived to conceal some sort of
secret training. Moreover, the CIA has informed the Commission that it
is in possession of considerable information on the location of secret
Soviet training institutions and that it knows of no such institution
in or near Minsk during the time Oswald was there.[C6-243]

Oswald’s marriage to Marina Prusakova on April 30, 1961,[C6-244] is
itself a fact meriting consideration. A foreigner living in Russia
cannot marry without the permission of the Soviet Government.[C6-245]
It seems unlikely that the Soviet authorities would have permitted
Oswald to marry and to take his wife with him to the United States if
they were contemplating using him alone as an agent. The fact that
he had a Russian wife would be likely, in their view, to increase
any surveillance under which he would be kept by American security
agencies, would make him even more conspicuous to his neighbors as “an
ex-Russian,” and would decrease his mobility. A wife’s presence in the
United States would also constitute a continuing risk of disclosure.
On the other hand, Marina Oswald’s lack of English training and her
complete ignorance of the United States and its customs[C6-246] would
scarcely recommend her to the Soviet authorities as one member of
an “agent team” to be sent to the United States on a difficult and
dangerous foreign enterprise.

_Oswald’s departure from the Soviet Union._--On February 13, 1961, the
American Embassy in Moscow received a letter from Oswald postmarked
Minsk, February 5, asking that he be readmitted to the United
States.[C6-247] This was the first time that the Embassy had heard
from or about Oswald since November 16, 1959.[C6-248] The end of the
15-month silence came only a few days after the Department of State in
Washington had forwarded a request to the Moscow Embassy on February
1, 1961, informing the Embassy that Oswald’s mother was worried about
him, and asking that he get in touch with her if possible.[C6-249]
The simultaneity of the two events was apparently coincidental. The
request from Marguerite Oswald went from Washington to Moscow by
sealed diplomatic pouch and there was no evidence that the seal had
been tampered with.[C6-250] The officer of the Department of State
who carried the responsibility for such matters has testified that
the message was not forwarded to the Russians after it arrived in

Oswald’s letter does not seem to have been designed to ingratiate him
with the Embassy officials. It starts by incorrectly implying that he
had written an earlier letter that was not answered, states that he
will return to the United States only if he can first “come to some
agreement” on there being no legal charges brought against him, and
ends with a reminder to the officials at the Embassy that they have a
responsibility to do everything they can to help him, since he is an
American citizen.[C6-252]

The Embassy’s response to this letter was to invite Oswald to
come personally to Moscow to discuss the matter.[C6-253] Oswald
at first protested because of the difficulty of obtaining Soviet
permission.[C6-254] He wrote two more protesting letters during the
following 4 months,[C6-255] but received no indication that the Embassy
would allow him to handle the matter by mail.[C6-256] While the
Department of State was clarifying its position on this matter,[C6-257]
Oswald unexpectedly appeared in Moscow on Saturday, July 8,
1961.[C6-258] On Sunday, Marina Oswald flew to Moscow,[C6-259] and was
interviewed by officials in the American Embassy on Tuesday.[C6-260]

The Commission asked the Department of State and the Central
Intelligence Agency to comment on whether the Oswalds’ travel to Moscow
without permission signified special treatment by the Soviet Union.
From their responses, it appears that since Marina Oswald possessed a
Soviet citizen’s internal passport, she did not require prior approval
to make the trip.[C6-261] Although Soviet law did require her husband,
as the holder of a “stateless passport,” to obtain advance permission
for the trip, his failure to do so would not normally have been
considered a serious violation. In this respect, the CIA has advised
the Commission as follows:

    OSWALD’S travel from Minsk to Moscow and return in July 1961
    would normally have required prior authorization. Bearers of a
    Soviet “passport for foreigners” (_vid na zhitelstov v. SSSR
    dlya innostrantsa_) are required to obtain travel authorization
    from the Visa and Registration Department (OVIR) (or Passport
    Registration Department (PRO) in smaller towns) if they desire
    to leave the city (or oblast) where they are domiciled.
    This same requirement is believed to apply to persons, such
    as OSWALD, holding Soviet “stateless passports” (_vid na
    zhitelstvo_ v. _SSSR dlya lits bez grazhdanstva_).

    The practicality of even “unauthorized” travel was demonstrated
    by events related by a United States citizen who defected
    in 1960, and subsequently was sent to Kiev to study. After
    repatriating this defector told U.S. authorities he had made
    a total of seven unauthorized trips from Kiev during his stay
    in the USSR. He was apprehended on two of his flights and was
    returned to Kiev each time, the second time under escort. On
    both occasions he was merely reprimanded by the deputy chief
    of the institute at which he was studying. Since Marina had a
    Soviet citizen’s internal passport there would have been no
    restrictions against her making the trip to Moscow.[C6-262]

The answers of the Department of State, together with the Commission’s
specific questions, are as follows:

    B. Could resident foreigners normally travel in this manner
    without first obtaining such permission?

    _Answer_--There are only a few U.S. nationals now living in the
    Soviet Union. They include an American Roman Catholic priest,
    an American Protestant minister, a number of correspondents,
    some students and technical advisers to Soviet businesses. We
    know that the priest, the minister, the correspondents and the
    students must obtain permission from Soviet authorities before
    taking any trips. The technical advisers notify officials of
    their project before they travel and these officials personally
    inform the militia.

    C. If travel of this type was not freely permitted, do you
    believe that Oswald normally would have been apprehended during
    the attempt or punished after the fact for traveling without

    _Answer_--Based on the information we have, we believe that
    if Oswald went to Moscow without permission, and this was
    known to the Soviet authorities, he would have been fined or
    reprimanded. Oswald was not, of course, an average foreign
    resident. He was a defector from a foreign country and the
    bearer of a Soviet internal “stateless” passport * * * during
    the time when he was contemplating the visit to Moscow to come
    to the Embassy * * *

    The Soviet authorities probably knew about Oswald’s trip
    even if he did not obtain advance permission, since in most
    instances the Soviet militia guards at the Embassy ask for the
    documents of unidentified persons entering the Embassy grounds
    * * *

    An American citizen who, with her American citizen husband,
    went to the Soviet Union to live permanently and is now trying
    to obtain permission to leave, informed the Embassy that she
    had been fined for not getting permission to go from Odessa to
    Moscow on a recent trip to visit the Embassy.

    D. Even if such travel did not have to be authorized, do you
    have any information or observations regarding the practicality
    of such travel by Soviet citizens or persons in Oswald’s status?

    _Answer_--It is impossible to generalize in this area. We
    understand from interrogations of former residents in the
    Soviet Union who were considered “stateless” by Soviet
    authorities that they were not permitted to leave the town
    where they resided without permission of the police. In
    requesting such permission they were required to fill out a
    questionnaire giving the reason for travel, length of stay,
    addresses of individuals to be visited, etc.

    Notwithstanding these requirements, we know that at least
    one “stateless” person often traveled without permission of
    the authorities and stated that police stationed at railroad
    stations usually spotchecked the identification papers of
    every tenth traveler, but that it was an easy matter to avoid
    such checks. Finally, she stated that persons who were caught
    evading the registration requirements were returned to their
    home towns by the police and sentenced to short jail terms
    and fined. These sentences were more severe for repeated

When Oswald arrived at the Embassy in Moscow, he met Richard E. Snyder,
the same person with whom he had dealt in October of 1959.[C6-264]
Primarily on the basis of Oswald’s interview with Snyder on Monday,
July 10, 1961, the American Embassy concluded that Oswald had not
expatriated himself.[C6-265] (See app. XV, pp. 752-760.) On the
basis of this tentative decision, Oswald was given back his American
passport, which he had surrendered in 1959.[C6-266] The document was
due to expire in September 1961,[C6-267] however, and Oswald was
informed that its renewal would depend upon the ultimate decision by
the Department of State on his expatriation.[C6-268] On July 11, Marina
Oswald was interviewed at the Embassy and the steps necessary for her
to obtain an American visa were begun.[C6-269] In May 1962, after 15
months of dealings with the Embassy, Oswald’s passport was ultimately
renewed and permission for his wife to enter the United States was

The files on Oswald and his wife compiled by the Department of State
and the Immigration and Naturalization Service contain no indication
of any expert guidance by Soviet authorities in Oswald’s dealings with
the Department or the Service. For example, the letters from Minsk to
the Embassy in Moscow,[C6-271] which are in his handwriting,[C6-272]
display the arrogant attitude which was characteristic of him both
before and after he lived in Russia, and, when compared with other
letters that were without doubt composed and written by him,[C6-273]
show about the same low level of sophistication, fluency, and spelling.
The Department officer who most frequently dealt with Oswald when he
began negotiations to return to the United States, Richard E. Snyder,
testified that he can recall nothing that indicated Oswald was being
guided or assisted by a third party when he appeared at the Embassy
in July 1961.[C6-274] On the contrary, the arrogant and presumptuous
attitude which Oswald displayed in his correspondence with the Embassy
from early 1961 until June 1962,[C6-275] when he finally departed from
Russia, undoubtedly hindered his attempts to return to the United
States. Snyder has testified that although he made a sincere effort to
treat Oswald’s application objectively, Oswald’s attitude made this
very difficult.[C6-276]

In order to leave Russia, it was also necessary for the Oswalds
to obtain permission from the Soviet Government. The timing and
circumstances under which the Oswalds obtained this permission have
also been considered by the Commission. Marina Oswald, although her
memory is not clear on the point, said that she and Oswald first
made their intentions to go to the United States known to Soviet
officials in Minsk in May, even before coming to Moscow in July for the
conference at the American Embassy.[C6-277] The Oswalds’ correspondence
with the Embassy and the documents furnished the Commission by the
Soviet Government show that the Oswalds made a series of formal
applications to the Soviets from July 15 to August 21.[C6-278]
Presumably the most difficult question for the Soviet authorities
was whether to allow Marina Oswald to accompany her husband. She was
called to the local passport office in Minsk on December 25, 1961, and
told that authority had been received to issue exit visas to her and
Oswald.[C6-279] Obtaining the permission of the Soviet Government to
leave may have been aided by a conference which Marina Oswald had, at
her own request, with a local MVD official, Colonel Aksenov, sometime
in late 1961. She testified that she applied for the conference at her
husband’s urging, after he had tried unsuccessfully to arrange such
a conference for himself.[C6-280] She believed that it may have been
granted her because her uncle with whom she had lived in Minsk before
her marriage was also an MVD official.[C6-281]

The correspondence with the American Embassy at this time reflected
that the Oswalds did not pick up their exit visas immediately.[C6-282]
On January 11, 1962, Marina Oswald was issued her Soviet exit visa.
It was marked valid until December 1, 1962.[C6-283] The Oswalds did
not leave Russia until June 1962, but the additional delay was caused
by problems with the U.S. Government and by the birth of a child in
February.[C6-284] Permission of the Soviet authorities to leave, once
given, was never revoked. Oswald told the FBI in July 1962, shortly
after he returned to the United States, that he had been interviewed
by the MVD twice, once when he first came to the Soviet Union and once
just before he departed.[C6-285] His wife testified that the second
interview did not occur in Moscow but that she and her husband dealt
with the MVD visa officials frequently in Minsk.[C6-286]

Investigation of the circumstances, including the timing, under which
the Oswalds obtained permission from the Soviet Government to leave
Russia for the United States show that they differed in no discernible
manner from the normal. The Central Intelligence Agency has informed
the Commission that normally a Soviet national would not be permitted
to emigrate if he might endanger Soviet national security once he
went abroad.[C6-287] Those persons in possession of confidential
information, for example, would constitute an important category of
such “security risks.” Apparently Oswald’s predeparture interview by
the MVD was part of an attempt to ascertain whether he or his wife
had access to any confidential information. Marina Oswald’s reported
interview with the MVD in late 1961, which was arranged at her request,
may have served the same purpose. The Commission’s awareness of both
interviews derives entirely from Oswald’s and his wife’s statements and
letters to the American Embassy, which afford additional evidence that
the conferences carried no subversive significance.

It took the Soviet authorities at least 5½ months, from about July 15,
1961, until late December, to grant permission for the Oswalds to leave
the country. When asked to comment upon the alleged rapidity of the
Oswalds’ departure, the Department of State advised the Commission:

    * * * In the immediate post-war period there were about fifteen
    marriages in which the wife had been waiting for many years
    for a Soviet exit permit. After the death of Stalin the Soviet
    Government showed a disposition to settle these cases. In the
    summer of 1953 permission was given for all of this group
    of Soviet citizen wives to accompany their American citizen
    husbands to the United States.

    Since this group was given permission to leave the Soviet
    Union, there have been from time to time marriages in the
    Soviet Union of American citizens and Soviet citizens. With
    one exception, it is our understanding that all of the Soviet
    citizens involved have been given permission to emigrate to the
    United States after waiting periods which were, in some cases
    from three to six months and in others much longer.[C6-288]

Both the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency
compiled data for the Commission on Soviet wives of American citizens
who received exit visas to leave the Soviet Union, where the relevant
information was available. In both cases the data were consistent
with the above conclusion of the State Department. The Department of
State had sufficient information to measure the timespan in 14 cases.
The Department points out that it has information on the dates of
application for and receipt of Soviet exit visas only on those cases
that have been brought to its attention. A common reason for bringing
a case to the attention of the Department is that the granting of the
exit visa by the Soviet Union has been delayed, so that the American
spouse seeks the assistance of his own government. It therefore
appears that the sampling data carry a distinct bias toward lengthy
waiting periods. Of the 14 cases tested, 6 involve women who applied
for visas after 1953, when the liberalized post-Stalin policy was
in effect. The approximate waiting periods for these wives were, in
decreasing order, 13 months, 6 months, 3 months, 1 month, and 10
days.[C6-289] Of the 11 cases examined by the Central Intelligence
Agency in which the time period is known or can be inferred, the Soviet
wives had to wait from 5 months to a year to obtain exit visas.[C6-290]

In his correspondence with the American Embassy and his brother
while he was in Russia,[C6-291] in his diary,[C6-292] and in
his conversations with people in the United States after he
returned,[C6-293] Oswald claimed that his wife had been subjected
to pressure by the Soviet Government in an effort to induce her not
to emigrate to the United States. In the Embassy correspondence,
Oswald claimed that the pressure had been so intense that she had
to be hospitalized for 5 days for “nervous exhaustion.”[C6-294]
Marina Oswald testified that her husband exaggerated and that no such
hospitalization or “nervous exhaustion” ever occurred.[C6-295] However,
she did testify that she was questioned on the matter occasionally
and given the impression that her government was not pleased with her
decision.[C6-296] Her aunt and uncle in Minsk did not speak to her “for
a long time”; she also stated that she was dropped from membership in
the Communist Youth Organization (Komsomol) when the news of her visit
to the American Embassy in Moscow reached that organization.[C6-297]
A student who took Russian lessons from her in Texas testified that
she once referred to the days when the pressure was applied as “a
very horrible time.”[C6-298] Despite all this Marina Oswald testified
that she was surprised that their visas were granted as soon as they
were--and that hers was granted at all.[C6-299] This evidence thus
indicates that the Soviet authorities, rather than facilitating the
departure of the Oswalds, first tried to dissuade Marina Oswald from
going to the United States and then, when she failed to respond to
the pressure, permitted her to leave without undue delay. There are
indications that the Soviet treatment of another recent defector who
left the Soviet Union to return to the United States resembled that
accorded to the Oswalds.[C6-300]

On the basis of all the foregoing evidence, the Commission concluded
that there was no reason to believe that the Oswalds received unusually
favorable treatment in being permitted to leave the Soviet Union.

Associations in the Dallas-Fort Worth Community

_The Russian-speaking community._--Shortly after his return from Russia
in June 1962, Oswald and his family settled in Fort Worth, Tex., where
they met a group of Russian-born or Russian-speaking persons in the
Dallas-Fort Worth area.[C6-301] The members of this community were
attracted to each other by common background, language, and culture.
Many of them were well-educated, accomplished, and industrious
people, several being connected with the oil exploration, production,
and processing industry that flourishes in the Dallas-Fort Worth
area.[C6-302] As described more fully in chapter VII and in appendix
XIII, many of these persons assisted the Oswalds in various ways. Some
provided the Oswalds with gifts of such things as food, clothing, and
baby furniture.[C6-303] Some arranged appointments and transportation
for medical and dental treatment, and assumed the cost in some
instances.[C6-304] When Oswald undertook to look for employment in
Dallas in early October of 1962 and again when marital difficulties
arose between the Oswalds in November of the same year, Marina Oswald
and their child were housed at times in the homes of various members
of the group.[C6-305] The Commission has examined the background of
many of these individuals and has thoroughly investigated Oswald’s
relationship with them.

There is no basis to suppose that Oswald came to Fort Worth upon his
return from Russia for the purpose of establishing contacts with the
Russian-speaking community located in that area. Oswald had spent
several of his grammar-school years in Fort Worth.[C6-306] In 1962, his
brother Robert lived in Fort Worth and his mother resided in nearby
Vernon, Tex. In January of that year, Oswald indicated to American
officials in Russia that he intended to stay with his mother upon his
return to the United States; however, sometime after mid-February, he
received an invitation to stay with Robert and his family until he
became settled, and he did spend the first several weeks after his
return at Robert’s home.[C6-307] In July, Oswald’s mother moved to Fort
Worth and Oswald and his wife and child moved into an apartment with
her.[C6-308] While in that apartment, Oswald located a job in Fort
Worth and then rented and moved with his family into an apartment on
Mercedes Street.[C6-309]

Upon his arrival in 1962, Oswald did not know any members of the
relatively small and loosely knit Russian-speaking community.[C6-310]
Shortly after his arrival Oswald obtained the name of two
Russian-speaking persons in Fort Worth from the office of the Texas
Employment Commission in that city.[C6-311] Attempts to arrange a
prompt visit with one of them failed.[C6-312] The second person,
Peter Paul Gregory, was a consulting petroleum engineer and part-time
Russian-language instructor at the Fort Worth Public Library. Oswald
contacted him in order to obtain a letter certifying to his proficiency
in Russian and Marina Oswald later tutored his son in the Russian
language.[C6-313] Gregory introduced the Oswalds to George Bouhe and
Anna Meller, both of whom lived in Dallas and became interested in
the welfare of Marina Oswald and her child.[C6-314] Through them,
other members of the Russian community became acquainted with the

The Oswalds met some 30 persons in the Russian-speaking community,
of whom 25 testified before the Commission or its staff; others
were interviewed on behalf of the Commission.[C6-316] This range of
testimony has disclosed that the relationship between Lee Harvey Oswald
and the Russian-speaking community was short lived and generally quite
strained.[C6-317] During October and November of 1962 Marina Oswald
lived at the homes of some of the members of the Russian-speaking
community.[C6-318] She stayed first with Elena Hall while Oswald
was looking for work in Dallas.[C6-319] In early November, Marina
Oswald and the baby joined Oswald in Dallas, but soon thereafter, she
spent approximately 2 weeks with different Russian-speaking friends
during another separation.[C6-320] Oswald openly resented the help
Marina’s “Russian friends” gave to him and his wife and the efforts
of some of them to induce Marina to leave him.[C6-321] George Bouhe
attempted to dissuade Marina from returning to her husband in November
1962, and when she rejoined him, Bouhe became displeased with her as
well.[C6-322] Relations between the Oswalds and the members of the
Russian community had practically ceased by the end of 1962. Katherine
Ford, one of the members of the group, summed up the situation as it
existed at the end of January 1963: “So it was rather, sort of, Marina
and her husband were dropped at that time, nobody actually wanted to
help. * * *”[C6-323]

In April of 1963, Oswald left Fort Worth for New Orleans, where he
was later joined by his wife and daughter, and remained until his
trip to Mexico City in late September and his subsequent return to
the Dallas-Fort Worth area in early October of 1963.[C6-324] With
only minor exceptions,[C6-325] there is no evidence that any member
of the Russian-speaking community had further contact with Oswald or
his family after April.[C6-326] In New Orleans, Oswald made no attempt
to make new Russian-speaking acquaintances for his wife and there is
no evidence that he developed any friendships in that city.[C6-327]
Similarly, after the return from New Orleans, there seems to have been
no communication between the Oswalds and this group until the evening
of November 22, 1963, when the Dallas Police enlisted Ilya Mamantov
to serve as an interpreter for them in their questioning of Marina

George De Mohrenschildt and his wife, both of whom speak Russian
as well as several other languages, however, did continue to see
the Oswalds on occasion up to about the time Oswald went to New
Orleans on April 24, 1963. De Mohrenschildt was apparently the
only Russian-speaking person living in Dallas for whom Oswald had
appreciable respect, and this seems to have been true even though De
Mohrenschildt helped Marina Oswald leave her husband for a period in
November of 1962.[C6-329]

In connection with the relations between Oswald and De Mohrenschildt,
the Commission has considered testimony concerning an event which
occurred shortly after Oswald shot at General Walker. The De
Mohrenschildts came to Oswald’s apartment on Neely Street for the
first time on the evening of April 13, 1963, apparently to bring
an Easter gift for the Oswald child.[C6-330] Mrs. De Mohrenschildt
testified that while Marina Oswald was showing her the apartment, she
saw a rifle with a scope in a closet. Mrs. De Mohrenschildt then told
her husband, in the presence of the Oswalds, that there was a rifle
in the closet.[C6-331] Mrs. De Mohrenschildt testified that “George,
of course, with his sense of humor--Walker was shot at a few days
ago, within that time. He said, ‘Did you take a pot shot at Walker by
any chance?’”[C6-332] At that point, Mr. De Mohrenschildt testified,
Oswald “sort of shriveled, you see, when I asked this question. *
* * made a peculiar face * * * [and] changed the expression on his
face” and remarked that he did targetshooting.[C6-333] Marina Oswald
testified that the De Mohrenschildts came to visit a few days after the
Walker incident and that when De Mohrenschildt made his reference to
Oswald’s possibly shooting at Walker, Oswald’s “face changed, * * * he
almost became speechless.”[C6-334] According to the De Mohrenschildts,
Mr. De Mohrenschildt’s remark was intended as a joke, and he had no
knowledge of Oswald’s involvement in the attack on Walker.[C6-335]
Nonetheless, the remark appears to have created an uncomfortable
silence, and the De Mohrenschildts left “very soon afterwards.” They
never saw either of the Oswalds again.[C6-336] They left in a few days
on a trip to New York City and did not return until after Oswald had
gone to New Orleans.[C6-337] A postcard from Oswald to De Mohrenschildt
was apparently the only contact they had thereafter.[C6-338] The De
Mohrenschildts left in early June for Haiti on a business venture, and
they were still residing there at the time they testified on April 23,

Extensive investigation has been conducted into the background of
both De Mohrenschildts.[C6-340] The investigation has revealed that
George De Mohrenschildt is a highly individualistic person of varied
interests. He was born in the Russian Ukraine in 1911 and fled Russia
with his parents in 1921 during the civil disorder following the
revolution. He was in a Polish cavalry military academy for 1½ years.
Later he studied in Antwerp and attended the University of Liege from
which he received a doctor’s degree in international commerce in
1928. Soon thereafter, he emigrated to the United States; he became
a U.S. citizen in 1949.[C6-341] De Mohrenschildt eventually became
interested in oil exploration and production; he entered the University
of Texas in 1944 and received a master’s degree in petroleum geology
and petroleum engineering in 1945.[C6-342] He has since become active
as a petroleum engineer throughout the world.[C6-343] In 1960, after
the death of his son, he and his wife made an 8-month hike from the
United States-Mexican border to Panama over primitive jungle trails.
By happenstance they were in Guatemala City at the time of the Bay of
Pigs invasion.[C6-344] A lengthy film and complete written log was
prepared by De Mohrenschildt and a report of the trip was made to
the U.S. Government.[C6-345] Upon arriving in Panama they journeyed
to Haiti where De Mohrenschildt eventually became involved in a
Government-oriented business venture in which he has been engaged
continuously since June 1963 until the time of this report.[C6-346]

The members of the Dallas-Fort Worth Russian community and others
have variously described De Mohrenschildt as eccentric, outspoken,
and a strong believer in individual liberties and in the U.S. form
of government, but also of the belief that some form of undemocratic
government might be best for other peoples.[C6-347] De Mohrenschildt
frankly admits his provocative personality.[C6-348]

Jeanne De Mohrenschildt was born in Harbin, China, of White Russian
parents. She left during the war with Japan, coming to New York in 1938
where she became a successful ladies dress and sportswear apparel
designer. She married her present husband in 1959.[C6-349]

The Commission’s investigation has developed no signs of subversive
or disloyal conduct on the part of either of the De Mohrenschildts.
Neither the FBI, CIA, nor any witness contacted by the Commission has
provided any information linking the De Mohrenschildts to subversive
or extremist organizations.[C6-350] Nor has there been any evidence
linking them in any way with the assassination of President Kennedy.

The Commission has also considered closely the relations between the
Oswalds and Michael and Ruth Paine of Irving, Tex. The Paines were
not part of the Russian community which has been discussed above.
Ruth Paine speaks Russian, however, and for this reason was invited
to a party in February of 1963 at which she became acquainted with
the Oswalds.[C6-351] The host had met the Oswalds through the De
Mohrenschildts.[C6-352] Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine subsequently
became quite friendly, and Mrs. Paine provided considerable assistance
to the Oswalds.[C6-353] Marina Oswald and her child resided with
Ruth Paine for a little over 2 weeks while Oswald sought a job in
New Orleans in late April and early May 1963.[C6-354] In May, she
transported Marina Oswald to New Orleans, paying all of the traveling
and other expenses.[C6-355] While the Oswalds were in New Orleans,
the two women corresponded.[C6-356] Mrs. Paine came to New Orleans in
late September and took Marina Oswald and her child to her home in

Since Oswald left for Mexico City promptly after Mrs. Paine and his
family departed New Orleans,[C6-358] the Commission has considered
whether Ruth Paine’s trip to New Orleans was undertaken to assist
Oswald in this venture, but the evidence is clear that it was not. In
her letters to Ruth Paine during the summer of 1963, Marina Oswald
confided that she was having continuing difficulties with her husband,
and Mrs. Paine urged Marina Oswald to live with her in Irving; the
letters of the two women prior to Mrs. Paine’s arrival in New Orleans
on September 20, 1963, however, contain no mention that Oswald was
planning a trip to Mexico City or elsewhere.[C6-359] In New Orleans,
Mrs. Paine was told by Oswald that he planned to seek employment in
Houston, or perhaps Philadelphia. Though Marina Oswald knew this to
be false, she testified that she joined in this deception.[C6-360] At
no time during the entire weekend was Mexico City mentioned.[C6-361]
Corroboration for this testimony is found in a letter Mrs. Paine wrote
her mother shortly after she and Marina Oswald had returned to Irving
on September 24, in which she stated that Marina Oswald was again
living with her temporarily and that Oswald was job-hunting.[C6-362]
When Oswald arrived at the Paine home on October 4, he continued his
deception by telling Mrs. Paine, in his wife’s presence, that he had
been unsuccessful in finding employment.[C6-363] At Oswald’s request,
Marina Oswald remained silent.[C6-364]

Marina Oswald lived with Ruth Paine through the birth of her second
daughter on October 20, 1963, and until the assassination of President
Kennedy.[C6-365] During this period, Oswald obtained a room in Dallas
and found employment in Dallas, but spent weekends with his family at
the Paine home.[C6-366] On November 1 and 5, Ruth Paine was interviewed
by agents of the FBI who were investigating Oswald’s activities since
his return from the Soviet Union, as set forth in greater detail in
chapter VIII. She did not then know Oswald’s address in Dallas.[C6-367]
She was not asked for, nor did she volunteer, Oswald’s telephone number
in Dallas, which she did know.[C6-368] She advised the Bureau agent to
whom she spoke of Oswald’s periodic weekend visits, and she informed
him that Oswald was employed at the Texas School Book Depository

On November 10, Ruth Paine discovered a draft of Oswald’s letter
written the day before to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, in which
he indicated that he had journeyed to Mexico City and conferred with
a “comrade Kostine in the Embassy of the Soviet Union, Mexico City,
Mexico.”[C6-370] (This letter is discussed later in this chapter.)
Mr. and Mrs. Paine testified that although they initially assumed the
letter was a figment of Oswald’s imagination, the letter gave Mrs.
Paine considerable misgivings.[C6-371] She determined that if the FBI
agents returned she would deliver to them the copy of a draft of the
letter which, unknown to Oswald, she had made.[C6-372] However, the
agents did not return before the assassination.[C6-373] On November 19,
Mrs. Paine learned that Oswald was living in his Dallas rooming-house
under an assumed name.[C6-374] She did not report this to the FBI
because, as she testified, she “had no occasion to see them, and * * *
did not think it important enough to call them after that until the 23d
of November.”[C6-375]

The Commission has thoroughly investigated the background of both
Paines. Mrs. Paine was born Ruth Hyde in New York City on September 3,
1932. Her parents moved to Columbus, Ohio, in the late 1930’s.[C6-376]
They were divorced in 1961.[C6-377] Ruth Paine graduated from Antioch
College in 1955.[C6-378] While in high school she first became
interested in Quaker activities; she and her brother became Quakers
in 1951.[C6-379] In 1952, following completion of her sophomore year
at Antioch College, she was a delegate to two Friends conferences in

At the time the Paines met in 1955, Mrs. Paine was active in the work
of the Young Friends Committee of North America, which, with the
cooperation of the Department of State, was making an effort to lessen
the tensions between Soviet Russia and the United States by means of
the stimulation of contacts and exchange of cultures between citizens
of the two nations through “pen-pal” correspondence and exchanges of
young Russians and Americans.[C6-381] It was during this period that
Mrs. Paine became interested in the Russian language.[C6-382] Mrs.
Paine participated in a Russian-American student exchange program
sponsored by the Young Friends Committee of North America, and has
participated in the “pen-pal” phase of the activities of the Young
Friends Committee.[C6-383] She has corresponded until recently with a
schoolteacher in Russia.[C6-384] Although her active interest in the
Friends’ program for the lessening of East-West tensions ceased upon
her marriage in December 1957, she has continued to hold to the tenets
of the Quaker faith.[C6-385]

Michael Paine is the son of George Lyman Paine and Ruth Forbes
Paine, now Ruth Forbes Young, wife of Arthur Young of Philadelphia,
Pa.[C6-386] His parents were divorced when he was 4 years of age.
His father, George Lyman Paine, is an architect and resides in
California.[C6-387] Michael Paine testified that during his late
grammar and early high school days his father participated actively in
the Trotskyite faction of the Communist movement in the United States
and that he attended some of those meetings.[C6-388] He stated that
his father, with whom he has had little contact throughout most of his
life, has not influenced his political thinking. He said that he has
visited his father four or five times in California since 1959, but
their discussions did not include the subject of communism.[C6-389]
Since moving to Irving, Tex., in 1959, he has been a research engineer
for Bell Helicopter Co. in Fort Worth.[C6-390] Mr. Paine has security
clearance for his work.[C6-391] He has been a long-time member of the
American Civil Liberties Union.[C6-392] Though not in sympathy with
rightist political aims, he has attended a few meetings of far-right
organizations in Dallas for the purpose, he testified, of learning
something about those organizations and because he “was interested in
seeing more communication between the right and the left.”[C6-393]

The Commission has conducted a thorough investigation of the Paines’
finances and is satisfied that their income has been from legitimate
and traceable sources, and that their expenditures were consistent with
their income and for normal purposes. Although in the course of their
relationship with the Oswalds, the Paines assumed expenses for such
matters as food and transportation, with a value of approximately $500,
they made no direct payments to, and received no moneys or valuables
from, the Oswalds.[C6-394]

Although prior to November 22, Mrs. Paine had information relating
to Oswald’s use of an alias in Dallas, his telephone number, and
his correspondence with the Soviet Embassy, which she did not pass
on to the FBI,[C6-395] her failure to have come forward with this
information must be viewed within the context of the information
available to her at that time. There is no evidence to contradict her
testimony that she did not then know about Oswald’s attack on General
Walker, the presence of the rifle on the floor of her garage, Oswald’s
ownership of a pistol, or the photographs of Oswald displaying the
firearms.[C6-396] She thus assumed that Oswald, though a difficult and
disturbing personality, was not potentially violent, and that the FBI
was cognizant of his past history and current activities.[C6-397]

Moreover, it is from Mrs. Paine herself that the Commission has
learned that she possessed the information which she did have. Mrs.
Paine was forthright with the agent of the FBI with whom she spoke
in early November 1963, providing him with sufficient information to
have located Oswald at his job if he had deemed it necessary to do
so,[C6-398] and her failure to have taken immediate steps to notify the
Bureau of the additional information does not under the circumstances
appear unusual. Throughout the Commission’s investigation, Ruth
Paine has been completely cooperative, voluntarily producing all
correspondence, memoranda, and other written communications in her
possession that had passed between her and Marina Oswald both before
and after November 22, 1963.[C6-399] The Commission has had the benefit
of Mrs. Paine’s 1963 date book and calendar and her address book and
telephone notation book, in both of which appear many entries relating
to her activities with the Oswalds.[C6-400] Other material of a purely
personal nature was also voluntarily made available.[C6-401] The
Commission has found nothing in the Paines’ background, activities, or
finances which suggests disloyalty to the United States,[C6-402] and it
has concluded that Ruth and Michael Paine were not involved in any way
with the assassination of President Kennedy.

A fuller narrative of the social contacts between the Oswalds and the
various persons of the Dallas-Fort Worth community is incorporated
in chapter VII and appendix XIII, and the testimony of all members
of the group who testified before the Commission is included in the
printed record which accompanies the report. The evidence establishes
that the Oswalds’ contacts with these people were originated and
maintained under normal and understandable circumstances. The files
maintained by the FBI contain no information indicating that any of the
persons in the Dallas-Fort Worth community with whom Oswald associated
were affiliated with any Communist, Fascist, or other subversive
organization.[C6-403] During the course of this investigation, the
Commission has found nothing which suggests the involvement of any
member of the Russian-speaking community in Oswald’s preparations to
assassinate President Kennedy.

Political Activities Upon Return to the United States

Upon his return from the Soviet Union, Oswald had dealings with the
Communist Party, U.S.A., the Socialist Workers Party, and the Fair
Play for Cuba Committee, and he also had minor contacts with at least
two other organizations with political interests. For the purpose
of determining whether Oswald received any advice, encouragement,
or assistance from these organizations in planning or executing the
assassination of President Kennedy, the Commission has conducted a full
investigation of the nature and extent of Oswald’s relations with them.
The Commission has also conducted an investigation to determine whether
certain persons and organizations expressing hostility to President
Kennedy prior to the assassination had any connection with Lee Harvey
Oswald or with the shooting of the President.

_Communist Party, U.S.A.; Socialist Workers Party._--In August of 1962,
Oswald subscribed to the Worker, a publication of the Communist Party,
U.S.A.[C6-404] He also wrote the Communist Party to obtain pamphlets
and other literature which, the evidence indicates, were sent to him
as a matter of course.[C6-405]

Oswald also attempted to initiate other dealings with the Communist
Party, U.S.A., but the organization was not especially responsive.
From New Orleans, he informed the party of his activities in
connection with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, discussed below,
submitting membership cards in his fictitious chapter to several party
officials.[C6-406] In a letter from Arnold S. Johnson, director of
the information and lecture bureau of the party, Oswald was informed
that although the Communist Party had no “organizational ties” with
the committee, the party issued much literature which was “important
for anybody who is concerned about developments in Cuba.”[C6-407] In
September 1963 Oswald inquired how he might contact the party when
he relocated in the Baltimore-Washington area, as he said he planned
to do in October, and Johnson suggested in a letter of September 19
that he “get in touch with us here [New York] and we will find some
way of getting in touch with you in that city [Baltimore].”[C6-408]
However, Oswald had also written asking whether, “handicapped as it
were, by * * * [his] past record,” he could “still * * * compete with
antiprogressive forces, above ground or whether in your opinion * * *
[he] should always remain in the background, i.e., underground,” and in
the September 19 letter received the reply that “often it is advisable
for some people to remain in the background, not underground.”[C6-409]

In a letter postmarked November 1, Oswald informed the party that
he had moved to Dallas, and reported his attendance at a meeting at
which General Walker had spoken, and at a meeting of the American
Civil Liberties Union; he asked Johnson for the party’s “general view”
of the latter organization and “to what degree, if any, [he] should
attempt to highten its progressive tendencies.” According to Johnson,
this letter was not received by the Communist Party until after the
assassination.[C6-410] At different times, Oswald also wrote the
Worker and the Hall-Davis Defense Committee, enclosing samples of his
photographic work and offering to assist in preparing posters; he was
told that “his kind offer [was] most welcomed and from time to time we
shall call on you,” but he was never asked for assistance.[C6-411] The
correspondence between Oswald and the Communist Party, and with all
other organizations, is printed in the record accompanying this report.

When Oswald applied for a visa to enter Cuba during his trip to
Mexico City, discussed below,[C6-412] Senora Silvia Duran, the Cuban
consular employee who dealt with Oswald, wrote on the application
that Oswald said he was a member of the Communist Party and that he
had “displayed documents in proof of his membership.”[C6-413] When
Oswald went to Mexico, he is believed to have carried his letters from
the Soviet Embassy in Washington and from the Communist Party in the
United States, his 1959 passport, which contained stamps showing that
he had lived in Russia for 2½ years, his Russian work permit, his
Russian marriage certificate, membership cards and newspaper clippings
purporting to show his role in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and
a prepared statement of his qualifications as a “Marxist.”[C6-414]
Because of the mass of papers Oswald did present showing his affinity
for communism, some in the Russian language, which was foreign to
Senora Duran, and because further investigation, discussed below,
indicated that Oswald was not a member of the party, Senora Duran’s
notation was probably inaccurate.

Upon his arrest after the assassination, Oswald attempted to contact
John J. Abt, a New York attorney, to request Abt to represent him. Abt
was not in New York at the time, and he was never reached in connection
with representing Oswald. Abt has testified that he at no time had any
dealings with Oswald and that prior to the assassination he had never
heard of Lee Harvey Oswald.[C6-415]

After his return from the Soviet Union, Oswald also carried on a
limited correspondence with the Socialist Workers Party. In October
of 1962 he attempted to join the party, but his application was not
accepted since there was then no chapter in the Dallas area.[C6-416]
Oswald also wrote the Socialist Workers Party offering his assistance
in preparing posters. From this organization too he received the
response that he might be called upon if needed. He was asked for
further information about his photographic skills, which he does not
appear to have ever provided.[C6-417] Oswald did obtain literature from
the Socialist Workers Party, however, and in December 1962 he entered
a subscription to the affiliated publication, the Militant.[C6-418]
Apparently in March of 1963 Oswald wrote the party of his activities
and submitted a clipping with his letter. In response, he was told that
his name was being sent to the Young Socialist Alliance for further
correspondence, but the files of the alliance apparently contain no
reference to Oswald. Neither the letter nor the clipping which Oswald
sent has been located.[C6-419]

Investigation by the Commission has produced no plausible evidence that
Lee Harvey Oswald had any other significant contacts with the Communist
Party, U.S.A., the Socialist Workers Party, or with any other extreme
leftist political organization. The FBI and other Federal security
agencies have made a study of their records and files and contacted
numerous confidential informants of the agencies and have produced no
such evidence.[C6-420] The Commission has questioned persons who, as
a group, knew Oswald during virtually every phase of his adult life,
and from none of these came any indication that Oswald maintained a
surreptitious relationship with any organization. Arnold S. Johnson,
of the American Communist Party; James T. Tormey, executive secretary
of the Hall-Davis Defense Committee; and Farrell Dobbs, secretary of
the Socialist Workers Party, voluntarily appeared before the Commission
and testified under oath that Oswald was not a member of these
organizations and that a thorough search of their files had disclosed
no records relating to Oswald other than those which they produced for
the Commission.[C6-421] The material that has been disclosed is in all
cases consistent with other data in the possession of the Commission.

_Socialist Labor Party._--Oswald also wrote to the Socialist Labor
Party in New York in November 1962 requesting literature. Horace
Twiford, a national committeeman at large for the party in the State
of Texas, was informed by the New York headquarters in July 1963 of
Oswald’s request, and on September 11, 1963, he did mail literature
to Oswald at his old post office box in Dallas.[C6-422] On his way to
Mexico City in September 1963, Oswald attempted to contact Twiford
at his home in Houston; Oswald spoke briefly with Twiford’s wife,
identifying himself as a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee,
but since Twiford was out of town at the time, Oswald was unable
to speak with him.[C6-423] Arnold Peterson, national secretary and
treasurer of the Socialist Labor Party, has stated that a search of the
records of the national headquarters reveals no record pertaining to
Oswald; he explained that letters requesting literature are routinely
destroyed.[C6-424] The Socialist Party-Social Democratic Federation
has also advised that a review of its records fails to reflect any
information or correspondence pertaining to Oswald.[C6-425]

_Fair Play for Cuba Committee._--During the period Oswald was in New
Orleans, from the end of April to late September 1963, he was engaged
in activity purportedly on behalf of the now defunct Fair Play for
Cuba Committee (FPCC), an organization centered in New York which
was highly critical of U.S. policy toward the Cuban Government under
Fidel Castro. In May 1963, after having obtained literature from the
FPCC,[C6-426] Oswald applied for and was granted membership in the
organization.[C6-427] When applying for membership, Oswald wrote
national headquarters that he had

    * * * been thinking about renting a small office at my own
    expense for the purpose of forming a F.P.C.C. branch here in
    New Orleans.

    Could you give me a charter?[C6-428]

With his membership card, Oswald apparently received a copy of the
constitution and bylaws for FPCC chapters, and a letter, dated May 29,
which read in part as follows (with spelling as in original):

    It would be hard to concieve of a chapter with as few members
    as seem to exist in the New Orleans area. I have just gone
    through our files and find that Louisiana seams somewhat
    restricted for Fair Play activities. However, with what is
    there perhaps you could build a larger group if a few people
    would undertake the disciplined responsibility of concrete
    organizational work.

    We certainly are not at all adverse to a very small Chapter
    but certainly would expect that there would be at least twice
    the amount needed to conduct a legal executive board for the
    Chapter. Should this be reasonable we could readily issue a
    charter for a New Orleans Chapter of FPCC. In fact, we would
    be very, very pleased to see this take place and would like to
    do everything possible to assist in bringing it about.

       *       *       *       *       *

    You must realize that you will come under tremendous pressures
    with any attempt to do FPCC work in that area and that you will
    not be able to operate in the manner which is conventional
    here in the north-east. Even most of our big city Chapters
    have been forced to Abandon the idea of operating an office in
    public. * * * Most Chapters have discovered that it is easier
    to operate semi-privately out of a home and maintain a P.O.
    Box for all mailings and public notices. (A P.O. Box is a must
    for any Chapter in the organization to guarnatee the continued
    contact with the national even if an individual should move or
    drop out.) We do have a serious and often violent opposition
    and this proceedure helps prevent many unnecessary incidents
    which frighten away prospective supporters. I definitely
    would not recommend an office, at least not one that will be
    easily identifyable to the lunatic fringe in your community.
    Certainly, I would not recommend that you engage in one at the
    very beginning but wait and see how you can operate in the
    community through several public experiences.[C6-429]

Thereafter Oswald informed national headquarters that he had opened
post office box No. 30061, and that against its advice he had decided
“to take an office from the very beginning”; he also submitted copies
of a membership application form and a circular headed “Hands Off
Cuba!” which he had had printed, and informed the headquarters that he
intended to have membership cards for his chapter printed, which he
subsequently did.[C6-430] He wrote three further letters to the New
York office to inform it of his continued activities.[C6-431] In one
he reported that he had been evicted from the office he claimed to
have opened, so that he “worked out of a post office box and by useing
street demonstrations and some circular work * * * sustained a great
deal of interest but no new members.”[C6-432]

Oswald did distribute the handbills he had printed on at least
three occasions.[C6-433] Once, while doing so, he was arrested and
fined for being involved in a disturbance with anti-Castro Cuban
refugees,[C6-434] one of whom he had previously met by presenting
himself as hostile to Premier Castro in an apparent effort to
gain information about anti-Castro organizations operating in New
Orleans.[C6-435] When arrested, he informed the police that his
chapter had 35 members.[C6-436] His activities received some attention
in the New Orleans press, and he twice appeared on a local radio
program representing himself as a spokesman for the Fair Play for Cuba
Committee.[C6-437] After his return to Dallas, he listed the FPCC as an
organization authorized to receive mail at his post office box.[C6-438]

Despite these activities, the FPCC chapter which Oswald purportedly
formed in New Orleans was entirely fictitious. Vincent T. Lee, formerly
national director of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, has testified
that the New York office did not authorize the creation of a New
Orleans chapter, nor did it provide Oswald with funds to support his
activities there.[C6-439] The national office did not write Oswald
again after its letter of May 29. As discussed more fully in chapter
VII, Oswald’s later letters to the national office purporting to inform
it of his progress in New Orleans contained numerous exaggerations
about the scope of his activities and the public reaction to
them.[C6-440] There is no evidence that Oswald ever opened an office as
he claimed to have done. Although a pamphlet taken from him at the time
of his arrest in New Orleans contains the rubber stamp imprint “FPCC,
544 CAMP ST., NEW ORLEANS, LA.,” investigation has indicated that
neither the Fair Play for Cuba Committee nor Lee Harvey Oswald ever
maintained an office at that address.[C6-441] The handbills and other
materials bearing the name of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee were
printed commercially by Oswald without the approval of the national
headquarters.[C6-442] Oswald’s membership card in the “New Orleans
chapter” of the committee carried the signature of “A. J. Hidell,”
purportedly the president of the chapter, but there is no evidence that
an “A. J. Hidell” existed and, as pointed out in chapter IV, there is
conclusive evidence that the name was an alias which Oswald used on
various occasions. Marina Oswald herself wrote the name “Hidell” on the
membership card at her husband’s insistence.[C6-443]

No other member of the so-called New Orleans chapter of the committee
has ever been found. The only occasion on which anyone other than
Oswald was observed taking part in these activities was on August 9,
1963, when Oswald and two young men passed out leaflets urging “Hands
Off Cuba!” on the streets of New Orleans. One of the two men, who was
16 years old at the time, has testified that Oswald approached him
at the Louisiana State Employment Commission and offered him $2 for
about an hour’s work. He accepted the offer but later, when he noticed
that television cameras were being focused on him, he obtained his
money and left. He testified that he had never seen Oswald before and
never saw him again. The second individual has never been located; but
according to the testimony of the youth who was found, he too seemed
to be someone not previously connected with Oswald.[C6-444] Finally,
the FBI has advised the Commission that its information on undercover
Cuban activities in the New Orleans area reveals no knowledge of Oswald
before the assassination.[C6-445]

_Right-wing groups hostile to President Kennedy._--The Commission also
considered the possibility that there may have been a link between
Oswald and certain groups which had bitterly denounced President
Kennedy and his policies prior to the time of the President’s trip to
Dallas. As discussed in chapter II, two provocative incidents took
place concurrently with President Kennedy’s visit and a third but a
month prior thereto. The incidents were (1) the demonstration against
the Honorable Adlai E. Stevenson, U.S. Ambassador to the United
Nations, in late October 1963, when he came to Dallas on United Nations
Day; (2) the publication in the Dallas Morning News on November 22 of
the full page, black-bordered paid advertisement entitled, “Welcome Mr.
Kennedy”; and (3) the distribution of a throwaway handbill entitled
“Wanted for Treason” throughout Dallas on November 20 and 21. Oswald
was aware of the Stevenson incident; there is no evidence that he
became aware of either the “Welcome Mr. Kennedy” advertisement or
the “Wanted for Treason” handbill, though neither possibility can be

The only evidence of interest on Oswald’s part in rightist groups in
Dallas was his alleged attendance at a rally at the Dallas Auditorium
the evening preceding Ambassador Stevenson’s address on United Nations
Day, October 24, 1963. On the evening of October 25, 1963, at the
invitation of Michael Paine, Oswald attended a monthly meeting of the
Dallas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in which he was
later to seek membership.[C6-446] During the course of the discussion
at this meeting, a speaker mentioned Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker
(Resigned, U.S. Army). Oswald arose in the midst of the meeting to
remark that a “night or two nights before” he had attended a meeting at
which General Walker had spoken in terms that led Oswald to assert that
General Walker was both anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic.[C6-447] General
Walker testified that he had been the speaker at a rally the night
before Ambassador Stevenson’s appearance, but that he did not know and
had never heard of Oswald prior to the announcement of his name on
radio and television on the afternoon of November 22.[C6-448] Oswald
confirmed his attendance at the U.S. Day rally in an undated letter he
wrote to Arnold Johnson, director of the information and lecture bureau
of the Communist Party, mailed November 1, 1963, in which he reported:

    On October 23rd, I had attended a ultra-right meeting headed by
    General Edwin a. Walker, who lives in Dallas.

    This meeting preceded by one day the attack on a. e. Stevenson
    at the United Nations Day meeting at which he spoke.

    As you can see, political friction between ‘left’ and ‘right’
    is very great here.[C6-449]

In the light of Oswald’s attack upon General Walker on the evening of
April 10, 1963, discussed in chapter IV,[C6-450] as well as Oswald’s
known political views,[C6-451] his asserted attendance at the political
rally at which General Walker spoke may have been induced by many
possible motives. However, there is no evidence that Oswald attended
any other rightist meetings or was associated with any politically
conservative organizations.

While the black-bordered “Welcome Mr. Kennedy” advertisement in
the November 22 Dallas Morning News, which addressed a series of
critical questions to the President, probably did not come to Oswald’s
attention, it was of interest to the Commission because of its
appearance on the day of the assassination and because of an allegation
made before the Commission concerning the person whose name appeared
as the chairman of the committee sponsoring the advertisement.
The black-bordered advertisement was purported to be sponsored by
“The American Fact-Finding Committee,” which was described as “An
unaffiliated and nonpartisan group of citizens who wish truth.” Bernard
Weissman was listed as “Chairman” and a post office box in Dallas was
the only address. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1031, p. 294.)

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 1031]

The Commission has conducted a full investigation into the genesis of
this advertisement and the background of those responsible for it.
Three of the four men chiefly responsible, Bernard W. Weissman, William
B. Burley III, and Larrie H. Schmidt, had served together in the U.S.
Army in Munich, Germany, in 1962. During that time they had with
others devised plans to develop two conservative organizations, one
political and the other business. The political entity was to be named
Conservatism--USA, or CUSA, and the business entity was to be named
American Business, or AMBUS.[C6-452] While in Munich, according to
Weissman, they attempted to develop in their “own minds * * * ways to
build up various businesses that would support us and at the same time
support our political activities.”[C6-453] According to a subsequent
letter from Schmidt to Weissman, “Cusa was founded for patriotic
reasons rather than for personal gain--even though, as a side effect,
Ambus was to have brought great return, as any business endeavor
should.”[C6-454] To establish their organizations, Weissman testified
that they:

    * * * had planned while in Munich that in order to accomplish
    our goals, to try to do it from scratch would be almost
    impossible, because it would be years before we could even get
    the funds to develop a powerful organization. So we had planned
    to infiltrate various rightwing organizations and by our own
    efforts become involved in the hierarchy of these various
    organizations and eventually get ourselves elected or appointed
    to various higher offices in these organizations, and by doing
    this bring in some of our own people, and eventually take over
    the leadership of these organizations, and at that time having
    our people in these various organizations, we would then, you
    might say, call a conference and have them unite, and while no
    one knew of the existence of CUSA aside from us, we would then
    bring them all together, unite them, and arrange to have it
    called CUSA.[C6-455]

Schmidt was the first to leave the service; settling in Dallas in
October 1962, he became a life insurance salesman and quickly engaged
in numerous political activities in pursuit of the objectives devised
in Munich.[C6-456] He became affiliated with several organizations and
prepared various political writings.[C6-457]

Upon their release from the military, Weissman and Burley did not
immediately move to Dallas, though repeatedly urged to do so by
Schmidt.[C6-458] On October 1, 1963, Schmidt wrote Weissman: “Adlai
Stevenson is scheduled here on the 24th on UN Day. Kennedy is scheduled
in Dallas on Nov. 24th. There are to be protests. All the big things
are happening _now_--if we don’t get in right now we may as well
forget it.”[C6-459] The day of the Stevenson demonstration, Schmidt
telephoned Weissman, again urging him to move to Dallas. Recalling that
conversation with Schmidt, Weissman testified:

    And he said, “If we are going to take advantage of the
    situation * * * you better hurry down here and take advantage
    of the publicity, and at least become known among these various
    right-wingers, because this is the chance we have been looking
    for to infiltrate some of these organizations and become
    known,” in other words, go along with the philosophy we had
    developed in Munich.[C6-460]

Five days later he wrote to Weissman and Burley to report that as
the “only organizer of the demonstration to have publicly identified
himself,” he had “become, overnight, a ‘fearless spokesman’ and
‘leader’ of the rightwing in Dallas. What I worked so hard for in one
year--and nearly failed--finally came through one incident in one
night!” He ended, “Politically, CUSA is set. It is now up to you to get
Ambus going.”[C6-461]

Weissman and Burley accepted Schmidt’s prompting and traveled to
Dallas, arriving on November 4, 1963.[C6-462] Both obtained employment
as carpet salesmen. At Schmidt’s solicitation they took steps to join
the John Birch Society, and through Schmidt they met the fourth person
involved in placing the November 22 advertisement, Joseph P. Grinnan,
Dallas independent oil operator and a John Birch Society coordinator in
the Dallas area.[C6-463]

Within a week to 10 days after Weissman and Burley had arrived in
Dallas, the four men began to consider plans regarding President
Kennedy’s planned visit to Dallas.[C6-464] Weissman explained the
reason for which it was decided that the ad should be placed:

    * * * after the Stevenson incident, it was felt that a
    demonstration would be entirely out of order, because we
    didn’t want anything to happen in the way of physical violence
    to President Kennedy when he came to Dallas. But we thought
    that the conservatives in Dallas--I was told--were a pretty
    downtrodden lot after that, because they were being oppressed
    by the local liberals, because of the Stevenson incident. We
    felt we had to do something to build up the morale of the
    conservative element, in Dallas. So we hit upon the idea of the

Weissman, Schmidt, and Grinnan worked on the text for the
advertisement.[C6-466] A pamphlet containing 50 questions critical
of American policy was employed for this purpose, and was the source
of the militant questions contained in the ad attacking President
Kennedy’s administration.[C6-467] Grinnan undertook to raise the
$1,465 needed to pay for the ad.[C6-468] He employed a typed draft of
the advertisement to support his funds solicitation.[C6-469] Grinnan
raised the needed money from three wealthy Dallas businessmen: Edgar
R. Crissey, Nelson Bunker Hunt, and H. R. Bright, some of whom in
turn collected contributions from others.[C6-470] At least one of
the contributors would not make a contribution unless a question he
suggested was inserted.[C6-471] Weissman, believing that Schmidt,
Grinnan, and the contributors were active members of the John Birch
Society, and that Grinnan eventually took charge of the project,
expressed the opinion that the advertisement was the creation of the
John Birch Society,[C6-472] though Schmidt and Grinnan have maintained
that they were acting “solely as individuals.”[C6-473]

A fictitious sponsoring organization was invented out of whole
cloth.[C6-474] The name chosen for the supposed organization was The
American Fact-Finding Committee.[C6-475] This was “Solely a name,”
Weissman testified; “* * * As a matter of fact, when I went to place
the ad, I could not remember the name * * * I had to refer to a piece
of paper for the name.”[C6-476] Weissman’s own name was used on the
ad in part to counter charges of anti-Semitism which had been leveled
against conservative groups in Dallas.[C6-477] Weissman conceived
the idea of using a black border,[C6-478] and testified he intended
it to serve the function of stimulating reader attention.[C6-479]
Before accepting the advertisement, the Dallas Morning News apparently
submitted it to its attorneys for their opinion as to whether its
publication might subject them to liability.[C6-480]

Weissman testified that the advertisement drew 50 or 60 mailed
responses.[C6-481] He took them from the post office box early on
Sunday morning, November 24.[C6-482] He said that those postmarked
before the attack on President Kennedy were “favorable” in
tone;[C6-483] those of later postmark were violently unfavorable,
nasty, and threatening;[C6-484] and, according to a report from
Schmidt, those postmarked some weeks later were again of favorable

The four promoters of the ad deny that they had any knowledge of or
familiarity with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to November 22, or Jack Ruby
prior to November 24.[C6-486] Each has provided a statement of his
role in connection with the placement of the November 22 advertisement
and other matters, and investigation has revealed no deception.
The Commission has found no evidence that any of these persons was
connected with Oswald or Ruby, or was linked to a conspiracy to
assassinate President Kennedy.

The advertisement, however, did give rise to one allegation concerning
Bernard Weissman which required additional investigation. On March 4,
1964, Mark Lane, a New York attorney, testified before the Commission
that an undisclosed informant had told him that Weissman had met
with Jack Ruby and Patrolman J. D. Tippit at Ruby’s Carousel Club on
November 14, 1963. Lane declined to state the name of his informant
but said that he would attempt to obtain his informant’s permission
to reveal his name.[C6-487] On July 2, 1964, after repeated requests
by the Commission that he disclose the name of his informant, Lane
testified a second time concerning this matter, but declined to
reveal the information, stating as his reason that he had promised
the individual that his name would not be revealed without his
permission.[C6-488] Lane also made this allegation during a radio
appearance, whereupon Weissman twice demanded that Lane reveal the name
of the informant.[C6-489] As of the date of this report Lane has failed
to reveal the name of his informant and has offered no evidence to
support his allegation. The Commission has investigated the allegation
of a Weissman-Ruby-Tippit meeting and has found no evidence that such
a meeting took place anywhere at any time. The investigation into this
matter is discussed in a later section of this chapter dealing with
possible conspiracies involving Jack Ruby.

A comparable incident was the appearance of the “Wanted for Treason”
handbill on the streets of Dallas 1 to 2 days before President
Kennedy’s arrival. These handbills bore a reproduction of a front
and profile photograph of the President and set forth a series of
inflammatory charges against him.[C6-490] Efforts to locate the
author and the lithography printer of the handbill at first met with
evasive responses[C6-491] and refusals to furnish information.[C6-492]
Robert A. Surrey was eventually identified as the author of the
handbill.[C6-493] Surrey, a 38-year-old printing salesman employed
by Johnson Printing Co. of Dallas, Tex., has been closely associated
with General Walker for several years in his political and business
activities.[C6-494] He is president of American Eagle Publishing Co.
of Dallas, in which he is a partner with General Walker.[C6-495] Its
office and address is the post office box of Johnson Printing Co. Its
assets consist of cash and various printed materials composed chiefly
of General Walker’s political and promotional literature,[C6-496] all
of which is stored at General Walker’s headquarters.[C6-497]

Surrey prepared the text for the handbill and apparently used Johnson
Printing Co. facilities to set the type and print a proof.[C6-498]
Surrey induced Klause, a salesman employed by Lettercraft Printing
Co. of Dallas,[C6-499] whom Surrey had met when both were employed
at Johnson Printing Co.,[C6-500] to print the handbill “on the
side.”[C6-501] According to Klause, Surrey contacted him initially
approximately 2 or 2½ weeks prior to November 22.[C6-502] About a
week prior to November 22, Surrey delivered to Klause two slick paper
magazine prints of photographs of a front view and profile of President
Kennedy,[C6-503] together with the textual page proof.[C6-504] Klause
was unable to make the photographic negative of the prints needed to
prepare the photographic printing plate,[C6-505] so that he had this
feature of the job done at a local shop.[C6-506] Klause then arranged
the halftone front and profile representations of President Kennedy at
the top of the textual material he had received from Surrey so as to
simulate a “man wanted” police placard. He then made a photographic
printing plate of the picture.[C6-507] During the night, he and his
wife surreptitiously printed approximately 5,000 copies on Lettercraft
Printing Co. offset printing equipment without the knowledge of his
employers.[C6-508] The next day he arranged with Surrey a meeting
place, and delivered the handbills.[C6-509] Klause’s charge for the
printing of the handbills was, including expenses, $60.[C6-510]

At the outset of the investigation Klause stated to Federal agents
that he did not know the name of his customer, whom he incorrectly
described;[C6-511] he did say, however, that the customer did not
resemble either Oswald or Ruby.[C6-512] Shortly before he appeared
before the Commission, Klause disclosed Surrey’s identity.[C6-513] He
explained that no record of the transaction had been made because “he
saw a chance to make a few dollars on the side.”[C6-514]

Klause’s testimony receives some corroboration from Bernard Weissman’s
testimony that he saw a copy of one of the “Wanted for Treason”
handbills on the floor of General Walker’s station wagon shortly after
November 22.[C6-515] Other details of the manner in which the handbills
were printed have also been verified.[C6-516] Moreover, Weissman
testified that neither he nor any of his associates had anything to do
with the handbill or were acquainted with Surrey, Klause, Lettercraft
Printing Co., or Johnson Printing Co.[C6-517] Klause and Surrey, as
well as General Walker, testified that they were unacquainted with
Lee Harvey Oswald and had not heard of him prior to the afternoon
of November 22.[C6-518] The Commission has found no evidence of any
connection between those responsible for the handbill and Lee Harvey
Oswald or the assassination.

Contacts With the Cuban and Soviet Embassies in Mexico City and the
Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Eight weeks before the assassination, Oswald traveled to Mexico City
where he visited both the Cuban and Soviet Embassies.[D] Oswald’s wife
knew of this trip before he went,[C6-519] but she denied such knowledge
until she testified before the Commission.[C6-520] The Commission
undertook an intensive investigation to determine Oswald’s purpose and
activities on this journey, with specific reference to reports that
Oswald was an agent of the Cuban or Soviet Governments. As a result of
its investigation, the Commission believes that it has been able to
reconstruct and explain most of Oswald’s actions during this time. A
detailed chronological account of this trip appears in appendix XIII.

    [D] The Soviet Embassy in Mexico City includes consular as
        well as diplomatic personnel in a single building. The
        Cuban Embassy and Cuban Consulate in Mexico City, though
        in separate buildings, are in the same compound. Both the
        Soviet and the Cuban establishments will be referred to
        throughout the report simply as Embassies.

_Trip to Mexico._--Oswald was in Mexico from September 26, 1963, until
October 3, 1963.[C6-521] (See Commission Exhibits Nos. 2478, 2481, p.
300.) Marina Oswald testified that Oswald had told her that the purpose
of the trip was to evade the American prohibition on travel to Cuba and
to reach that country.[C6-522] He cautioned her that the trip and its
purpose were to be kept strictly secret.[C6-523] She testified that he
had earlier laid plans to reach Cuba by hijacking an airliner flying
out of New Orleans, but she refused to cooperate and urged him to give
it up, which he finally did.[C6-524] Witnesses who spoke with Oswald
while he was on a bus going to Mexico City also testified that Oswald
told them he intended to reach Cuba by way of Mexico, and that he hoped
to meet Fidel Castro after he arrived.[C6-525] When Oswald spoke to
the Cuban and Soviet consular officials in Mexico City, he represented
that he intended to travel to the Soviet Union and requested an
“in-transit” Cuban visa to permit him to enter Cuba on September 30 on
the way to the Soviet Union. Marina Oswald has testified that these
statements were deceptions designed to get him to Cuba.[C6-526] Thus,
although it is possible that Oswald intended to continue on to Russia
from Cuba, the evidence makes it more likely that he intended to remain
in Cuba.[C6-527]






Oswald departed from New Orleans probably about noon on September 25
and arrived in Mexico City at about 10 a.m. on September 27.[C6-528] In
Mexico City he embarked on a series of visits to the Soviet and Cuban
Embassies, which occupied most of his time during the first 2 days of
his visit. At the Cuban Embassy, he requested an “in-transit” visa to
permit him to visit Cuba on his way to the Soviet Union.[C6-529] Oswald
was informed that he could not obtain a visa for entry into Cuba unless
he first obtained a visa to enter the U.S.S.R.,[C6-530] and the Soviet
Embassy told him that he could not expect an answer on his application
for a visa for the Soviet Union for about 4 months.[C6-531] Oswald
carried with him newspaper clippings, letters and various documents,
some of them forged or containing false information, purporting to
show that he was a “friend” of Cuba.[C6-532] With these papers and his
record of previous residence in the Soviet Union and marriage to a
Soviet national, he tried to curry favor with both Embassies.[C6-533]
Indeed, his wife testified that in her opinion Oswald’s primary purpose
in having engaged in Fair Play for Cuba Committee activities was to
create a public record that he was a “friend” of Cuba.[C6-534] He made
himself especially unpopular at the Cuban Embassy by persisting in his
demands that as a sympathizer in Cuban objectives he ought to be given
a visa. This resulted in a sharp argument with the consul, Eusebio

By Saturday, September 28, 1963, Oswald had failed to obtain visas at
both Embassies.[C6-536] From Sunday, September 29, through Wednesday
morning, October 2, when he left Mexico City on a bus bound for the
United States, Oswald spent considerable time making his travel
arrangements, sightseeing and checking again with the Soviet Embassy to
learn whether anything had happened on his visa application.[C6-537]
Marina Oswald testified that when she first saw him after his return to
the United States he was disappointed and discouraged at his failure to
reach Cuba.[C6-538]

The general outlines of Oswald’s activities in Mexico, particularly the
nature and extent of his contacts at the Cuban Embassy, were learned
very early in the investigation. An important source of information
relating to his business at the Cuban Embassy was Senora Silvia Tirado
de Duran, a Mexican national employed in the visa section of the Cuban
Embassy, who was questioned intensively by Mexican authorities soon
after the assassination.[C6-539] An excerpt from the report of the
Mexican Government summarized the crucial portion of Senora Duran’s
recollection of Oswald. In translation it reads as follows:

    * * * she remembered * * * [that Lee Harvey Oswald] was the
    name of an American who had come to the Cuban Consulate to
    obtain a visa to travel to Cuba in transit to Russia, the
    latter part of September or the early part of October of this
    year, and in support of his application had shown his passport,
    in which it was noted that he had lived in that country for a
    period of three years; his labor card from the same country
    written in the Russian language; and letters in that same
    language. He had presented evidence that he was married to
    a Russian woman, and also that he was apparently the leader
    of an organization in the city of New Orleans called “Fair
    * * * [Play] for Cuba,” claiming that he should be accepted
    as a “friend” of the Cuban Revolution. Accordingly, the
    declarant, complying with her duties, took down all of the
    information and completed the appropriate application form;
    and the declarant, admittedly exceeding her responsibilities,
    informally telephoned the Russian consulate, with the intention
    of doing what she could to facilitate issuance of the Russian
    visa to Lee Harvey Oswald. However, they told her that there
    would be a delay of about four months in processing the case,
    which annoyed the applicant since, according to his statement,
    he was in a great hurry to obtain visas that would enable
    him to travel to Russia, insisting on his right to do so in
    view of his background and his loyalty and his activities in
    behalf of the Cuban movement. The declarant was unable to
    recall accurately whether or not the applicant told her he
    was a member of the Communist Party, but he did say that his
    wife * * * was then in New York City, and would follow him, *
    * * [Senora Duran stated] that when Oswald understood that it
    was not possible to give him a Cuban visa without his first
    having obtained the Russian visa, * * * he became very excited
    or angry, and accordingly, the affiant called Consul Ascue
    [sic], * * * [who] came out and began a heated discussion in
    English with Oswald, that concluded by Ascue telling him that
    “if it were up to him, he would not give him the visa,” and “a
    person of his type was harming the Cuban Revolution rather than
    helping it,” it being understood that in their conversation
    they were talking about the Russian Socialist Revolution and
    not the Cuban. Oswald maintained that he had two reasons for
    requesting that his visa be issued promptly, and they were:
    one, that his tourist permit in Mexico was about to expire; and
    the other, that he had to get to Russia as quickly as possible.
    Despite her annoyance, the declarant gave Oswald a paper * * *
    in which she put down her name, “Silvia Durán,” and the
    number of the telephone at the consulate, which is “11-28-47”
    and the visa application was processed anyway. It was sent
    to the Ministry of [Foreign] Relations of Cuba, from which a
    routine reply was received some fifteen to thirty days later,
    approving the visa, but on the condition that the Russian visa
    be obtained first, although she does not recall whether or not
    Oswald later telephoned her at the Consulate number that she
    gave him.[C6-540]






With the dates of Oswald’s entry into and departure from Mexico,
which had been obtained from the records of the Mexican Immigration
Service very shortly after the assassination, the Government of Mexico
initiated a thorough investigation to uncover as much information as
possible on Oswald’s trip.[C6-541] Representatives of U.S. agencies
worked in close liaison with the Mexican law enforcement authorities.
The result of this investigative effort was to corroborate the
statements of Senora Duran and to verify the essentials of Oswald’s
activities in Mexico as outlined above.

Senora Duran is a well-educated native of Mexico, who was 26 years
old at the time of her interrogation. She is married to Senor Horacio
Duran Navarro, a 40-year-old industrial designer, and has a young
child. Although Senora Duran denies being a member of the Communist
Party or otherwise connected with it, both Durans have been active in
far left political affairs in Mexico, believe in Marxist ideology, and
sympathize with the government of Fidel Castro,[C6-542] and Senor Duran
has written articles for El Dia, a pro-Communist newspaper in Mexico
City.[C6-543] The Commission has reliable evidence from a confidential
source that Senora Duran as well as other personnel at the Cuban
Embassy were genuinely upset upon receiving news of President Kennedy’s
death. Senora Duran’s statements were made to Mexican officials soon
after the assassination,[C6-544] and no significant inaccuracies in
them have been detected. Documents fitting the description given by
Senora Duran of the documents Oswald had shown her, plus a notation
which she said she had given him, were found among his possessions
after his arrest.[C6-545]

The Cuban Government was asked to document and confirm the essentials
of Senora Duran’s testimony. Its response, which has been included
in its entirety in this Report, included a summary statement of
Oswald’s activities at the Cuban Embassy;[C6-546] a photograph of the
application for a visa he completed there,[C6-547] and a photograph
of the communication from Havana rejecting the application unless he
could first present a Soviet visa.[C6-548] (See Commission Exhibit No.
2564, p. 306.) The information on these documents concerning Oswald’s
date of birth, American passport number and activities and statements
at the Embassy is consistent with other information available to the
Commission.[C6-549] CIA experts have given their opinion that the
handwriting on the visa application which purports to be Oswald’s
is in fact his and that, although the handwritten notations on
the bottom of the document are too brief and faint to permit a
conclusive determination, they are probably Senora Duran’s.[C6-550]
The clothes which Oswald was wearing in the photograph which appears
on the application appear to be the same as some of those found
among his effects after the assassination, and the photograph itself
appears to be from the same negative as a photograph found among his
effects.[C6-551] Nothing on any of the documents raises a suspicion
that they might not be authentic.

By far the most important confirmation of Senora Duran’s testimony,
however, has been supplied by confidential sources of extremely high
reliability available to the United States in Mexico. The information
from these sources establishes that her testimony was truthful and
accurate in all material respects. The identities of these sources
cannot be disclosed without destroying their future usefulness to the
United States.

The investigation of the Commission has produced considerable
testimonial and documentary evidence establishing the precise time of
Oswald’s journey, his means of transportation, the hotel at which he
stayed in Mexico City, and a restaurant at which he often ate. All
known persons whom Oswald may have met while in Mexico, including
passengers on the buses he rode,[C6-552] and the employees and guests
of the hotel where he stayed,[C6-553] were interviewed. No credible
witness has been located who saw Oswald with any unidentified person
while in Mexico City; to the contrary, he was observed traveling
alone to and from Mexico City,[C6-554] at his hotel,[C6-555] and at
the nearby restaurant where he frequently ate.[C6-556] A hotel guest
stated that on one occasion he sat down at a table with Oswald at the
restaurant because no empty table was available, but that neither spoke
to the other because of the language barrier.[C6-557] Two Australian
girls who saw Oswald on the bus to Mexico City relate that he occupied
a seat next to a man who has been identified as Albert Osborne, an
elderly itinerant preacher.[C6-558] Osborne denies that Oswald was
beside him on the bus.[C6-559] To the other passengers on the bus it
appeared that Osborne and Oswald had not previously met,[C6-560] and
extensive investigation of Osborne has revealed no further contact
between him and Oswald. Osborne’s responses to Federal investigators on
matters unrelated to Oswald have proved inconsistent and unreliable,
and, therefore, based on the contrary evidence and Osborne’s lack of
reliability, the Commission has attached no credence to his denial
that Oswald was beside him on the bus. Investigation of his background
and activities, however, disclose no basis for suspecting him of any
involvement in the assassination.[C6-561]

Investigation of the hotel at which Oswald stayed has failed to uncover
any evidence that the hotel is unusual in any way that could relate to
Oswald’s visit. It is not especially popular among Cubans, and there
is no indication that it is used as a meeting place for extremist or
revolutionary organizations.[C6-562] Investigation of other guests of
the hotel who were there when Oswald was has failed to uncover anything
creating suspicion.[C6-563] Oswald’s notebook which he carried with him
to Mexico City contained the telephone number of the Cuban Airlines
Office in Mexico City;[C6-564] however, a Cuban visa is required by
Mexican authorities before an individual may enplane for Cuba,[C6-565]
and a confidential check of the Cuban Airlines Office uncovered no
evidence that Oswald visited their offices while in the city.[C6-566]

_Allegations of conspiracy._--Literally dozens of allegations of
a conspiratorial contact between Oswald and agents of the Cuban
Government have been investigated by the Commission. Among the
claims made were allegations that Oswald had made a previous trip to
Mexico City in early September to receive money and orders for the
assassination,[C6-567] that he had been flown to a secret airfield
somewhere in or near the Yucatan Peninsula,[C6-568] that he might
have made contacts in Mexico City with a Communist from the United
States shortly before the assassination,[C6-569] and that Oswald
assassinated the President at the direction of a particular Cuban agent
who met with him in the United States and paid him $7,000.[C6-570]
A letter was received from someone in Cuba alleging the writer had
attended a meeting where the assassination had been discussed as part
of a plan which would soon include the death of other non-Communist
leaders in the Americas.[C6-571] The charge was made in a Cuban
expatriate publication that in a speech he delivered 5 days after the
assassination, while he was under the influence of liquor, Fidel
Castro made a slip of the tongue and said, “The first time Oswald was
in Cuba,” thereby giving away the fact that Oswald had made one or more
surreptitious trips to that country.[C6-572]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 1400


Some stories linked the assassination to anti-Castro groups who
allegedly were engaged in obtaining illicit firearms in the United
States, one such claim being that these groups killed the President as
part of a bargain with some illicit organizations who would then supply
them with firearms as payment.[C6-573] Other rumors placed Oswald
in Miami, Fla., at various times, allegedly in pro-Cuban activities
there.[C6-574] The assassination was claimed to have been carried out
by Chinese Communists operating jointly with the Cubans.[C6-575] Oswald
was also alleged to have met with the Cuban Ambassador in a Mexico
City restaurant and to have driven off in the Ambassador’s car for a
private talk.[C6-576] Castro himself, it was alleged, 2 days after
the assassination called for the files relating to Oswald’s dealings
with two members of the Cuban diplomatic mission in the Soviet Union;
the inference drawn was that the “dealings” had occurred and had
established a secret subversive relationship which continued through
Oswald’s life.[C6-577] Without exception, the rumors and allegations of
a conspiratorial contact were shown to be without any factual basis, in
some cases the product of mistaken identification.

Illustrative of the attention given to the most serious allegations is
the case of “D,” a young Latin American secret agent who approached
U.S. authorities in Mexico shortly after the assassination and declared
that he saw Lee Harvey Oswald receiving $6,500 to kill the President.
Among other details, “D” said that at about noon on September 18,
waiting to conduct some business at the Cuban consulate, he saw a group
of three persons conversing in a patio a few feet away. One was a
tall, thin Negro with reddish hair, obviously dyed, who spoke rapidly
in both Spanish and English, and another was a man he said was Lee
Harvey Oswald. A tall Cuban joined the group momentarily and passed
some currency to the Negro. The Negro then allegedly said to Oswald
in English, “I want to kill the man.” Oswald replied, “You’re not man
enough, I can do it.” The Negro then said in Spanish, “I can’t go with
you, I have a lot to do.” Oswald replied, “The people are waiting for
me back there.” The Negro then gave Oswald $6,500 in large-denomination
American bills, saying, “This isn’t much.” After hearing this
conversation, “D” said that he telephoned the American Embassy in
Mexico City several times prior to the assassination in an attempt to
report his belief that someone important in the United States was to be
killed, but was finally told by someone at the Embassy to stop wasting
his time.

“D” and his allegations were immediately subjected to intensive
investigation. His former employment as an agent for a Latin American
country was confirmed, although his superiors had no knowledge of his
presence in Mexico or the assignment described by “D.” Four days after
“D” first appeared the U.S. Government was informed by the Mexican
authorities that “D” had admitted in writing that his whole narrative
about Oswald was false. He said that he had never seen Oswald anyplace,
and that he had not seen anybody paid money in the Cuban Embassy. He
also admitted that he never tried to telephone the American Embassy
in September and that his first call to the Embassy was after the
assassination. “D” said that his motive in fabricating the story was
to help get himself admitted into the United States so that he could
there participate in action against Fidel Castro. He said that he hated
Castro and hoped that the story he made up would be believed and would
cause the United States to “take action” against him.

Still later, when questioned by American authorities, “D” claimed that
he had been pressured into retracting his statement by the Mexican
police and that the retraction, rather than his first statement, was
false. A portion of the American questioning was carried on with the
use of a polygraph machine, with the consent of “D.” When told that
the machine indicated that he was probably lying, “D” said words to
the effect that he “must be mistaken.” Investigation in the meantime
had disclosed that the Embassy extension number “D” said he had
called would not have given him the person he said he spoke to, and
that no one at the Embassy--clerks, secretaries, or officers--had
any recollection of his calls. In addition, Oswald spoke little, if
any, Spanish. That he could have carried on the alleged conversation
with the red-headed Negro in the Cuban Embassy, part of which was
supposed to have been in Spanish, was therefore doubtful. “D” now said
that he was uncertain as to the date when he saw “someone who looked
like Oswald” at the Cuban Embassy, and upon reconsideration, he now
thought it was on a Tuesday, September 17, rather than September 18. On
September 17, however, Oswald visited the Louisiana State Unemployment
Commission in New Orleans and also cashed a check from the Texas
Employment Commission at the Winn-Dixie Store No. 1425 in New Orleans.
On the basis of the retractions made by “D” when he heard the results
of the polygraph examination, and on the basis of discrepancies which
appeared in his story, it was concluded that “D” was lying.[C6-578]

The investigation of the Commission has thus produced no evidence that
Oswald’s trip to Mexico was in any way connected with the assassination
of President Kennedy, nor has it uncovered evidence that the Cuban
Government had any involvement in the assassination. To the contrary,
the Commission has been advised by the CIA and FBI that secret and
reliable sources corroborate the statements of Senora Duran in all
material respects, and that the Cuban Government had no relationship
with Lee Harvey Oswald other than that described by Senora Duran.
Secretary of State Rusk also testified that after the assassination
“there was very considerable concern in Cuba as to whether they would
be held responsible and what the effect of that might be on their own
position and their own safety.”[C6-579]

_Contacts with the Soviet Embassy in the United States._--Soon after
the Oswalds reached the United States in June 1962 they wrote to the
Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. Oswald requested information about
subscriptions to Russian newspapers and magazines and ultimately did
subscribe to several Russian journals. Soviet law required Marina
Oswald, as a Soviet citizen living abroad, to remain in contact with
her nation’s Embassy and to file various papers occasionally.[C6-580]
In 1963, after Oswald had experienced repeated employment difficulties,
there were further letters when the Oswalds sought permission to return
to the Soviet Union. The first such request was a letter written by
Marina Oswald on February 17, 1963. She wrote that she wished to
return to Russia but that her husband would stay in the United States
because “he is an American by nationality.”[C6-581] She was informed
on March 8, 1963, that it would take from 5 to 6 months to process the
application.[C6-582] The Soviet Union made available to the Commission
what purports to be the entire correspondence between the Oswalds
and the Russian Embassy in the United States.[C6-583] This material
has been checked for codes and none has been detected.[C6-584] With
the possible exception of a letter which Oswald wrote to the Soviet
Embassy after his return from Mexico City, discussed below, there is
no material which gives any reason for suspicion. The implications of
all of this correspondence for an understanding of Lee Harvey Oswald’s
personality and motivation is discussed in the following chapter.

Oswald’s last letter to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., dated
November 9, 1963, began by stating that it was written “to inform you
of recent events since my meetings with Comrade Kostin in the Embassy
of the Soviet Union, Mexico City, Mexico.”[C6-585] The envelope bears
a postmark which appears to be November 12, 1963.[C6-586] Ruth Paine
has testified that Oswald spent the weekend at her home working on the
letter and that she observed one preliminary draft.[C6-587] A piece
of paper which was identified as one of these drafts was found among
Oswald’s effects after the assassination. (See Commission Exhibits
Nos. 15, 103, p. 311.) According to Marina Oswald, her husband retyped
the envelope 10 times.[C6-588]

Information produced for the Commission by the CIA is to the effect
that the person referred to in the letter as “comrade Kostin” was
probably Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov, a member of the consular staff
of the Soviet Union in Mexico City. He is also one of the KGB officers
stationed at the Embassy.[C6-589] It is standard Soviet procedure for
KGB officers stationed in embassies and in consulates to carry on
the normal duties of such a position in addition to the undercover
activities.[C6-590] The Commission has identified the Cuban consul
referred to in Oswald’s letter as Senor Eusebio Azque (also “Ascue”),
the man with whom Oswald argued at the Cuban Embassy, who was in fact
replaced. The CIA advised the Commission:

    We surmise that the references in Oswald’s 9 November letter to
    a man who had since been replaced must refer to Cuban Consul
    Eusebio Azque, who left Mexico for Cuba on permanent transfer
    on 18 November 1963, four days before the assassination. Azque
    had been in Mexico for 18 years and it was known as early as
    September 1963 that Azque was to be replaced. His replacement
    did arrive in September. Azque was scheduled to leave in
    October but did not leave until 18 November.

    We do not know who might have told Oswald that Azque or any
    other Cuban had been or was to be replaced, but we speculate
    that Silvia Duran or some Soviet official might have mentioned
    it if Oswald complained about Azque’s altercation with

When asked to explain the letter, Marina Oswald was unable to add
anything to an understanding of its contents.[C6-592] Some light
on its possible meaning can be shed by comparing it with the early
draft. When the differences between the draft and the final document
are studied, and especially when crossed-out words are taken into
account, it becomes apparent that Oswald was intentionally beclouding
the true state of affairs in order to make his trip to Mexico sound as
mysterious and important as possible.

For example, the first sentence in the second paragraph of the letter
reads, “I was unable to remain in Mexico indefinily because of my
mexican visa restrictions which was for 15 days only.” The same
sentence in the draft begins, before the words are crossed out, “I was
unable to remain in Mexico City because I considered useless * * *” As
already mentioned, the Commission has good evidence that Oswald’s trip
to Mexico was indeed “useless” and that he returned to Texas with that
conviction. The first draft, therefore, spoke the truth; but Oswald
rewrote the sentence to imply that he had to leave because his visa was
about to expire. This is false; Oswald’s tourist card still had a full
week to run when he departed from Mexico on October 3.[C6-593]

The next sentence in the letter reads, “I could not take a chance on
reqesting a new visa unless I used my real name, so I returned to the
United States.” The fact is that he did use his real name for his
tourist card, and in all dealings with the Cuban Embassy, the Russian
Embassy and elsewhere. Oswald did use the name of “Lee” on the trip,
but as indicated below, he did so only sporadically and probably as the
result of a clerical error. In the opinion of the Commission, based
upon its knowledge of Oswald, the letter constitutes no more than a
clumsy effort to ingratiate himself with the Soviet Embassy.

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT 15




Investigation of Other Activities

_Oswald’s use of post office boxes and false names._--After his return
from the Soviet Union, Lee Harvey Oswald is known to have received
his mail at post office boxes and to have used different aliases on
numerous occasions. Since either practice is susceptible of use for
clandestine purposes, the Commission has directed attention to both
for signs that Oswald at some point made undercover contact with other
persons who might have been connected with the assassination.

Oswald is known to have opened three post office boxes during 1962 and
1963. On October 9, 1962, the same day that he arrived in Dallas from
Fort Worth, and before establishing a residence there, he opened box
No. 2915 at the Dallas General Post Office. This box was closed on
May 14, 1963, shortly after Oswald had moved to New Orleans.[C6-594]
That portion of the post office box application listing the names of
those persons other than the applicant entitled to receive mail at
the box was discarded in accordance with postal regulations after the
box was closed; hence, it is not known what names other than Oswald’s
were listed on that form.[C6-595] However, as discussed in chapter IV,
Oswald is known to have received the assassination rifle under the
name of A. Hidell and his Smith & Wesson revolver under the name of
A. J. Hidell at that box.[C6-596] On June 3, 1963, Oswald opened box
No. 30061 at the Lafayette Square Substation in New Orleans. Marina
Oswald and A. J. Hidell were listed as additional persons entitled to
receive mail at this box.[C6-597] Immediately before leaving for Mexico
City in late September, Oswald submitted a request to forward his mail
to the Paines’ address in Irving, and the box was closed on September
26.[C6-598] On November 1, 1963, he opened box No. 6225 at the Dallas
Post Office Terminal Annex. The Fair Play for Cuba Committee and the
American Civil Liberties Union were listed as also being entitled to
receive mail at this box.[C6-599]

Oswald’s use of post office boxes is consistent with other information
known about him. His frequent changes of address and receipt of
Communist and other political literature would appear to have provided
Oswald reason to have rented postal boxes. These were the explanations
for his use of the boxes which he provided Postal Inspector H. D.
Holmes on November 24.[C6-600] Moreover, on October 14, 1963, he had
moved into a room on Beckley Avenue under the name of O. H. Lee[C6-601]
and it would have been extremely difficult for Oswald to have received
his mail at that address without having disclosed his true name. The
boxes cost Oswald only $1.50 or less per month.[C6-602]

Although the possibilities of investigation in this area are limited,
there is no evidence that any of the three boxes was ever used for
the surreptitious receipt of messages or was used by persons other
than Oswald or his family. No unexplainable notes were found among
Oswald’s possessions after his arrest. Oswald’s box on the day of the
assassination, No. 6225, was kept under constant personal surveillance
by postal inspectors from about 5 p.m. November 22 until midnight
November 24. A modified surveillance was maintained thereafter. No one
called for mail out of this box; indeed the only mail in the box was a
Russian magazine addressed to Oswald. The single outstanding key was
recovered from Oswald immediately after he was taken in custody.[C6-603]

In appraising the import of Oswald’s rental of post office boxes, it is
significant that he was not secretive about their use. All three boxes
were rented by Oswald using his true name.[C6-604] His application
for box No. 2915 showed his home address as that of Alexandra De
Mohrenschildt (Taylor), whose husband had agreed to allow Oswald to use
his address.[C6-605] His application for the New Orleans box listed
his address as 657 French Street; his aunt, Lillian Murret, lived at
757 French Street.[C6-606] On the application for box No. 6225, Oswald
gave an incorrect street number, though he did show Beckley Avenue,
where he was then living.[C6-607] He furnished the box numbers to
his brother, to an employer, to Texas and New Orleans unemployment
commissions, and to others.[C6-608] Based on all the facts disclosed
by its investigation, the Commission has attached no conspiratorial
significance to Oswald’s rental of post office boxes.

Oswald’s use of aliases is also well established. In chapter IV, the
evidence relating to his repeated use of the name “A. J. Hidell,”
and close variants thereof, is set forth.[C6-609] Because Oswald’s
use of this pseudonym became known quickly after the assassination,
investigations were conducted with regard to persons using the name
Hidell or names similar to it. Subversive files, public carrier
records, telegraph company records, banking and other commercial
records, and other matters investigated and persons interviewed
have been examined with regard to Oswald’s true name and his known
alias.[C6-610] No evidence has been produced that Oswald ever used the
name Hidell as a means of making undercover contact with any person.
Indeed, though Oswald did prepare a counterfeit selective service card
and other identification using this name, he commonly used “Hidell”
to represent persons other than himself, such as the president of his
nonexistent Fair Play for Cuba Committee chapter, the doctor whose name
appeared on his counterfeit international certificate of vaccination,
and as references on his job applications.[C6-611]

Alwyn Cole, questioned document expert for the Treasury Department,
testified that the false identification found on Oswald upon his arrest
could have been produced by employing elementary techniques used in
a photographic printing plant.[C6-612] (See app. X, pp. 571-578.)
Though to perform the necessary procedures would have been difficult
without the use of expensive photographic equipment, such equipment
and the needed film and photographic paper were available to Oswald
when he was employed from October 1962 through early April 1963 at
Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall, a commercial advertising photography firm in
Dallas.[C6-613] While so employed, Oswald is known to have become
familiar with the mechanics of photographic enlargements, contraction,
and image distortion that would have been necessary to produce his
false identification, and to have used the facilities of his employer
for some personal work.[C6-614] Cole testified that the cards in
Oswald’s wallet did not exhibit a great deal of skill, pointing out
various errors that had been committed.[C6-615] Oswald’s supervisor at
Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall has stated that Oswald seemed unable to perform
photographic work with precision, which was one of the main reasons for
which he was ultimately discharged.[C6-616] The retouched negatives
used to make Oswald’s counterfeit certificate of service identification
were found among Oswald’s personal effects after his arrest, as was
a rubber stamping kit apparently employed to produce his spurious
international certificate of vaccination.[C6-617] There is strong
evidence, therefore, that Oswald himself made the various pieces of
counterfeit identification which he carried, and there is no reason to
believe that he received assistance from any person in establishing his

Oswald also used incorrect names other than Hidell, but these too
appear unconnected with any form of conspiracy. Oswald’s last name
appears as “Lee” in three places in connection with his trip to Mexico
City, discussed above. His tourist card was typed by the Mexican
consulate in New Orleans, “Lee, Harvey Oswald.”[C6-618] However, the
comma seems to have been a clerical error, since Oswald signed both
the application and the card itself, “Lee H. Oswald.” Moreover, Oswald
seems originally to have also printed his name, evenly spaced, as “Lee
H Oswald,” but, noting that the form instructed him to “Print full
name. No initials,” printed the remainder of his middle name after
the “H.” The clerk who typed the card thus saw a space after “Lee,”
followed by “Harvey Oswald” crowded together, and probably assumed
that “Lee” was the applicant’s last name. (See Commission Exhibit
2481, p. 300.) The clerk who prepared Oswald’s bus reservation for his
return trip wrote “H. O. Lee.” He stated that he did not remember the
occasion, although he was sure from the handwriting and from other
facts that he had dealt with Oswald. He surmised that he probably made
out the reservation directly from the tourist card, since Oswald spoke
no Spanish, and, seeing the comma, wrote the name “H. O. Lee.”[C6-619]
Oswald himself signed the register at the hotel in Mexico City as “Lee,
Harvey Oswald,”[C6-620] but since the error is identical to that on the
tourist card and since he revealed the remainder of his name, “Harvey
Oswald,” it is possible that Oswald inserted the comma to conform to
the tourist card, or that the earlier mistake suggested a new pseudonym
to Oswald which he decided to continue.

In any event, Oswald used his correct name in making reservations for
the trip to Mexico City, in introducing himself to passengers on the
bus, and in his dealings with the Cuban and Soviet Embassies.[C6-621]
When registering at the Beckley Avenue house in mid-October, Oswald
perpetuated the pseudonym by giving his name as “O. H. Lee,”[C6-622]
though he had given his correct name to the owner of the previous
roominghouse where he had rented a room after his return from Mexico
City.[C6-623] Investigations of the Commission have been conducted
with regard to persons using the name “Lee,” and no evidence has been
found that Oswald used this alias for the purpose of making any type of
secret contacts.

Oswald is also known to have used the surname “Osborne” in ordering
Fair Play for Cuba Committee handbills in May 1963.[C6-624] He
also used the false name D. F. Drittal as a certifying witness on
the mail-order coupon with which he purchased his Smith & Wesson
revolver.[C6-625] He used the name Lt. J. Evans as a reference on an
employment application in New Orleans.[C6-626]

Oswald’s repeated use of false names is probably not to be
disassociated from his antisocial and criminal inclinations. No doubt
he purchased his weapons under the name of Hidell in attempt to prevent
their ownership from being traced. Oswald’s creation of false names
and ficititious personalities is treated in the discussion of possible
motives set forth in chapter VII. Whatever its significance in that
respect may be, the Commission has found no indication that Oswald’s
use of aliases was linked with any conspiracy with others.

_Ownership of a second rifle._--The Commission has investigated a
report that, during the first 2 weeks of November 1963, Oswald had a
telescopic sight mounted and sighted on a rifle at a sporting goods
store in Irving, Tex. The main evidence that Oswald had such work
performed for him is an undated repair tag bearing the name “Oswald”
from the Irving Sports Shop in Irving, Tex. On November 25, 1963, Dial
D. Ryder, an employee of the Irving Sports Shop, presented this tag
to agents of the FBI, claiming that the tag was in his handwriting.
The undated tag indicated that three holes had been drilled in an
unspecified type of rifle and a telescopic sight had been mounted on
the rifle and boresighted.[C6-627]

As discussed in chapter IV, the telescopic sight on the C2766
Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was already mounted when shipped to Oswald,
and both Ryder and his employer, Charles W. Greener, feel certain
that they never did any work on this rifle.[C6-628] If the repair
tag actually represented a transaction involving Lee Harvey Oswald,
therefore, it would mean that Oswald owned another rifle. Although this
would not alter the evidence which establishes Oswald’s ownership of
the rifle used to assassinate President Kennedy, the possession of a
second rifle warranted investigation because it would indicate that a
possibly important part of Oswald’s life had not been uncovered.

Since all of Oswald’s known transactions in connection with firearms
after his return to the United States were undertaken under an assumed
name,[C6-629] it seems unlikely that if he did have repairs made at
the sports shop he would have used his real name. Investigation has
revealed that the authenticity of the repair tag bearing Oswald’s name
is indeed subject to grave doubts. Ryder testified that he found the
repair tag while cleaning his workbench on November 23, 1963.[C6-630]
However, Ryder spoke with Greener repeatedly during the period between
November 22-28 and, sometime prior to November 25, he discussed
with him the possibility that Oswald had been in the store. Neither
he nor Greener could remember that he had been. But despite these
conversations with Greener, it is significant that Ryder never called
the repair tag to his employer’s attention. Greener did not learn about
the tag until November 28, when he was called by TV reporters after the
story had appeared in the Dallas Times-Herald.[C6-631] The peculiarity
of Ryder’s silence is compounded by the fact that, when speaking to
the FBI on November 25, Ryder fixed the period during which the tag
had been issued as November 1-14, 1963, yet, from his later testimony,
it appears that he did so on the basis that it must have occurred
when Greener was on vacation since Greener did not remember the
transaction.[C6-632] Moreover, the FBI had been directed to the Irving
Sports Shop by anonymous telephone calls received by its Dallas office
and by a local television station. The anonymous male who telephoned
the Bureau attributed his information to an unidentified sack boy at a
specified supermarket in Irving, but investigation has failed to verify
this source.[C6-633]

Neither Ryder nor Greener claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald had ever been
a customer in the Irving Sports Shop. Neither has any recollection of
either Oswald or his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, nor does either recall
the transaction allegedly represented by the repair tag or the person
for whom the repair was supposedly made.[C6-634] Although Ryder stated
to the FBI that he was “quite sure” that he had seen Oswald and that
Oswald may have been in the store at one time, when shown a photograph
of Oswald during his deposition, Ryder testified he knew the picture to
be of Oswald, “as the pictures in the paper, but as far as seeing the
guy personally, I don’t think I ever have.”[C6-635]

Subsequent events also reflect on Ryder’s credibility. In his
deposition, Ryder emphatically denied that he talked to any reporters
about this matter prior to the time a story about it appeared in the
November 28, 1963, edition of the Dallas Times-Herald.[C6-636] Earlier,
however, he told an agent of the U.S. Secret Service that the newspaper
had misquoted him.[C6-637] Moreover, a reporter for the Dallas
Times-Herald has testified that on November 28, 1963, he called Ryder
at his home and obtained from him all of the details of the alleged
transaction, and his story is supported by the testimony of a second
reporter who overheard one end of the telephone conversation.[C6-638]
No other person by the name of Oswald in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has
been found who had a rifle repaired at the Irving Sports Shop.[C6-639]

Possible corroboration for Ryder’s story is provided by two women,
Mrs. Edith Whitworth, who operates the Furniture Mart, a furniture
store located about 1½ blocks from the Irving Sports Shop, and Mrs.
Gertrude Hunter, a friend of Mrs. Whitworth. They testified that in
early November of 1963, a man who they later came to believe was
Oswald drove up to the Furniture Mart in a two-tone blue and white 1957
Ford automobile, entered the store and asked about a part for a gun,
presumably because of a sign that appeared in the building advertising
a gunsmith shop that had formerly occupied part of the premises. When
he found that he could not obtain the part, the man allegedly returned
to his car and then came back into the store with a woman and two young
children to look at furniture, remaining in the store for about 30 to
40 minutes.[C6-640]

Upon confronting Marina Oswald, both women identified her as the woman
whom they had seen in the store on the occasion in question, although
Mrs. Hunter could not identify a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald and Mrs.
Whitworth identified some pictures of Oswald but not others. Mrs.
Hunter purported to identify Marina Oswald by her eyes, and did not
observe the fact that Marina Oswald had a front tooth missing at the
time she supposedly saw her.[C6-641] After a thorough inspection of the
Furniture Mart, Marina Oswald testified that she had never been on the
premises before.[C6-642]

The circumstances surrounding the testimony of the two women are
helpful in evaluating the weight to be given to their testimony, and
the extent to which they lend support to Ryder’s evidence. The women
previously told newspaper reporters that the part for which the man
was looking was a “plunger,” which the Commission has been advised is
a colloquial term used to describe a firing pin.[C6-643] This work was
completely different from the work covered by Ryder’s repair tag, and
the firing pin of the assassination weapon does not appear to have
been recently replaced.[C6-644] At the time of their depositions,
neither woman was able to recall the type of work which the man wanted

Mrs. Whitworth related to the FBI that the man told her that the
younger child with him was born on October 20, 1963, which was in
fact Rachel Oswald’s birthday.[C6-646] In her testimony before the
Commission, however, Mrs. Whitworth could not state that the man had
told her the child’s birthdate was October 20, 1963, and in fact
expressed uncertainty about the birthday of her own grandchild, which
she had previously used as a guide to remembering the birthdate of the
younger child in the shop.[C6-647] Mrs. Hunter thought that the man she
and Mrs. Whitworth believed was Oswald drove the car to and from the
store;[C6-648] however, Lee Harvey Oswald apparently was not able to
drive an automobile by himself and does not appear to have had access
to a car.[C6-649]

The two women claimed that Oswald was in the Furniture Mart on a
weekday, and in midafternoon. However, Oswald had reported to work
at the Texas School Book Depository on the dates referred to by the
women and there is no evidence that he left his job during business
hours.[C6-650] In addition, Ruth Paine has stated that she always
accompanied Marina Oswald whenever Marina left the house with her
children and that they never went to the Furniture Mart, either with or
without Lee Harvey Oswald, at any time during October or November of
1963.[C6-651] There is nothing to indicate that in November the Oswalds
were interested in buying furniture.[C6-652]

Finally, investigation has produced reason to question the credibility
of Mrs. Hunter as a witness. Mrs. Hunter stated that one of the reasons
she remembers the description of the car in which Oswald supposedly
drove to the furniture store was that she was awaiting the arrival of a
friend from Houston, who drove a similar automobile.[C6-653] However,
the friend in Houston has advised that in November 1963, she never
visited or planned to visit Dallas, and that she told no one that she
intended to make such a trip. Moreover the friend added, according to
the FBI interview report, that Mrs. Hunter has “a strange obsession
for attempting to inject herself into any big event which comes to her
attention” and that she “is likely to claim some personal knowledge of
any major crime which receives much publicity.”[C6-654] She concluded
that “the entire family is aware of these ‘tall tales’ Mrs. Hunter
tells and they normally pay no attention to her.”[C6-655]

Another allegation relating to the possible ownership of a second
rifle by Oswald comes from Robert Adrian Taylor, a mechanic at a
service station in Irving. Some 3 weeks after the assassination, Taylor
reported to the FBI that he thought that, in March or April of 1963,
a man he believed to be Oswald had been a passenger in an automobile
that stopped at his station for repairs; since neither the driver nor
the passenger had sufficient funds for the repair work, the person
believed to be Oswald sold a U.S. Army rifle to Mr. Taylor, using the
proceeds to pay for the repairs.[C6-656] However, a second employee at
the service station, who recalled the incident, believed that, despite
a slight resemblance, the passenger was not Oswald.[C6-657] Upon
reflection, Taylor himself stated that he is very doubtful that the man
was Oswald.[C6-658]

_Rifle practice._--Several witnesses believed that in the weeks
preceding the assassination, they observed a man resembling Oswald
practicing with a rifle in the fields and wooded areas surrounding
Dallas, and at rifle ranges in that area. Some witnesses claimed Oswald
was alone, while others said he was accompanied by one or more other
persons. In most instances, investigation has disclosed that there is
no substantial basis for believing that the person reported by the
various witnesses was Oswald.[C6-659]

One group of witnesses, however, believed that they observed Lee
Harvey Oswald at the Sports Drome Rifle Range in Dallas at various
times from September through November of 1963. In light of the number
of witnesses, the similarity of the descriptions of the man they saw,
and the type of weapon they thought the individual was shooting, there
is reason to believe that these witnesses did see the same person at
the firing range, although the testimony of none of these witnesses is
fully consistent with the reported observations of the other witnesses.

The witnesses who claimed to have seen Oswald at the firing range
had more than a passing notice of the person they observed. Malcolm
H. Price, Jr., adjusted the scope on the individual’s rifle on one
occasion;[C6-660] Garland G. Slack had an altercation with the
individual on another occasion because he was shooting at Slack’s
target;[C6-661] and Sterling C. Wood, who on a third date was present
at the range with his father, Dr. Homer Wood, spoke with his father and
very briefly with the man himself about the individual’s rifle.[C6-662]
All three of these persons, as well as Dr. Wood, expressed confidence
that the man they saw was Oswald.[C6-663] Two other persons believed
they saw a person resembling Oswald firing a similar rifle at another
range near Irving 2 days before the assassination.[C6-664]

Although the testimony of these witnesses was partially corroborated
by other witnesses,[C6-665] there was other evidence which prevented
the Commission from reaching the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald
was the person these witnesses saw. Others who were at the firing
range remembered the same individual but, though noting a similarity
to Oswald, did not believe that the man was Oswald;[C6-666] others
either were unable to state whether the man was Oswald or did not
recall seeing anybody who they feel may have been Oswald.[C6-667]
Moreover, when interviewed on December 2, 1963, Slack recalled that the
individual whom he saw had blond hair,[C6-668] and on December 3, 1963,
Price stated that on several occasions when he saw the individual,
he was wearing a “Bulldogger Texas style” hat and had bubble gum or
chewing tobacco in his cheek.[C6-669] None of these characteristics
match those known about Lee Harvey Oswald.

Moreover, the date on which Price adjusted the scope for the unknown
person was September 28, 1963, but Oswald is known to have been in
Mexico City at that time;[C6-670] since a comparison of the events
testified to by Price and Slack strongly suggests that they were
describing the same man,[C6-671] there is reason to believe that
Slack was also describing a man other than Oswald. In addition,
Slack believed he saw the same person at the rifle range on November
10[C6-672] and there is persuasive evidence that on November 10, Oswald
was at the Paine’s home in Irving and did not leave to go to the rifle
range.[C6-673] Finally, the man whom Price assisted on September 28
drove an old car, possibly a 1940 or 1941 Ford.[C6-674] However,
there is evidence that Oswald could not drive at that time, and there
is no indication that Oswald ever had access to such a car.[C6-675]
Neither Oswald’s name nor any of his known aliases was found in the
register maintained at the Sports Drome Rifle Range, though
many customers did not sign this register.[C6-676] The allegations
pertaining to the companions who reportedly accompanied the man
believed to be Oswald are also inconsistent among themselves[C6-677]
and conform to no other credible information ascertained by the
Commission. Several witnesses noticed a bearded man at the club when
the person believed to be Oswald was there, although only one witness
thought the two men were together;[C6-678] the bearded gentleman
was located, and he was not found to have any connection with

It seems likely that the identification of Price, Slack, and the
Woods was reinforced in their own minds by the belief that the man
whom they saw was firing a rifle perhaps identical to Oswald’s
Mannlicher-Carcano. The witnesses agreed that the man they observed
was firing a Mauser-type bolt-action rifle with the ammunition clip
immediately in front of the trigger action, and that a scope was
mounted on the rifle.[C6-680] These features are consistent with the
rifle Oswald used for the assassination.[C6-681] The witnesses agreed
that the man had accurate aim with the rifle.[C6-682]

However, the evidence demonstrated that the weapon fired by the
man they observed was different from the assassination rifle. The
witnesses agreed that the barrel of the gun which the individual
was firing had been shortened in the process of “sporterizing” the
weapon.[C6-683] In addition, Price and Slack recalled that certain
pieces were missing from the top of the weapon,[C6-684] and Dr. Wood
and his son, and others, remembered that the weapon spouted flames
when fired.[C6-685] None of these characteristics correspond with
Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano.[C6-686] Price and Slack believed that the
gun did not have a sling, but the assassination weapon did have one.
Sterling Wood, on the other hand, recalled that the rifle which he saw
had a sling.[C6-687] Price also recalled that he examined the rifle
briefly for some indication as to where it had been manufactured, but
saw nothing, whereas the words “MADE ITALY” are marked on the top of
Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano.[C6-688]

The scope on the rifle observed at the firing range does not appear to
be the same as the one on the assassination weapon. Price remembered
that the individual told him that his scope was Japanese, that he had
paid $18 for it, and that he had it mounted in a gunshop in Cedar
Hills, though apparently no such shop exists in that area.[C6-689]
The scope on the Mannlicher-Carcano was of Japanese origin but it was
worth a little more than $7 and was already mounted when he received
the rifle from a mail-order firm in Chicago.[C6-690] Sterling Wood and
Slack agreed that the scope had a somewhat different appearance from
the scope on the assassination rifle.[C6-691]

Though the person believed to be Oswald retained his shell casings,
presumably for reuse,[C6-692] all casings recovered from areas where it
is believed that Oswald may have practiced have been examined by the
FBI Laboratory, and none has been found which was fired from Oswald’s
rifle.[C6-693] Finally, evidence discussed in chapter IV tends to prove
that Oswald brought his rifle to Dallas from the home of the Paines in
Irving on November 22, and there is no other evidence which indicates
that he took the rifle or a package which might have contained the
rifle out of the Paine’s garage, where it was stored, prior to that

_Automobile demonstration._--The testimony of Albert Guy Bogard has
been carefully evaluated because it suggests the possibility that
Oswald might have been a proficient automobile driver and, during
November 1963, might have been expecting funds with which to purchase
a car. Bogard, formerly an automobile salesman with a Lincoln-Mercury
firm in Dallas, testified that in the early afternoon of November
9, 1963, he attended a prospective customer who he believes was Lee
Harvey Oswald. According to Bogard, the customer, after test driving
an automobile over the Stemmons Freeway at 60 to 70 miles per hour,
told Bogard that in several weeks he would have the money to make a
purchase. Bogard asserted that the customer gave his name as “Lee
Oswald,” which Bogard wrote on a business card. After Oswald’s name
was mentioned on the radio on November 22, Bogard assertedly threw the
card in a trash can, making the comment to coemployees that he supposed
Oswald would no longer wish to buy a car.[C6-695]

Bogard’s testimony has received corroboration.[C6-696] The assistant
sales manager at the time, Frank Pizzo, and a second salesman, Eugene
M. Wilson, stated that they recall an instance when the customer
described by Bogard was in the showroom.[C6-697] Another salesman,
Oran Brown, recalled that Bogard asked him to assist the customer if
he appeared during certain evenings when Bogard was away from the
showroom. Brown stated that he too wrote down the customer’s name and
both he and his wife remember the name “Oswald” as being on a paper in
his possession before the assassination.[C6-698]

However, doubts exist about the accuracy of Bogard’s testimony. He,
Pizzo, and Wilson differed on important details of what is supposed to
have occurred when the customer was in the showroom. Whereas Bogard
stated that the customer said he did not wish credit and wanted to
purchase a car for cash,[C6-699] Pizzo and Wilson both indicated that
the man did attempt to purchase on credit.[C6-700] According to Wilson,
when the customer was told that he would be unable to purchase a car
without a credit rating, substantial cash or a lengthy employment
record, he stated sarcastically, “Maybe I’m going to have to go back to
Russia to buy a car.”[C6-701] While it is possible that Oswald would
have made such a remark, the statement is not consistent with Bogard’s
story. Indeed, Bogard has made no mention that the customer ever spoke
with Wilson while he was in the showroom.[C6-702] More important, on
November 23, a search through the showroom’s refuse was made, but no
paper bearing Oswald’s name was found.[C6-703] The paper on which Brown
reportedly wrote Oswald’s name also has never been located.[C6-704]

The assistant sales manager, Mr. Pizzo, who saw Bogard’s prospect on
November 9 and shortly after the assassination felt that Oswald may
have been this man, later examined pictures of Oswald and expressed
serious doubts that the person with Bogard was in fact Oswald. While
noting a resemblance, he did not believe that Oswald’s hairline
matched that of the person who had been in the showroom on November
9.[C6-705] Wilson has stated that Bogard’s customer was only about 5
feet tall.[C6-706] Several persons who knew Oswald have testified that
he was unable to drive,[C6-707] although Mrs. Paine, who was giving
Oswald driving lessons, stated that Oswald was showing some improvement
by November.[C6-708] Moreover, Oswald’s whereabouts on November 9,
as testified to by Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine, would have made it
impossible for him to have visited the automobile showroom as Mr.
Bogard claims.[C6-709]

_Alleged association with various Mexican or Cuban individuals._--The
Commission has examined Oswald’s known or alleged contacts and
activities in an effort to ascertain whether or not he was involved
in any conspiracy may be seen in the investigation it conducted as
a result of the testimony given by Mrs. Sylvia Odio. The Commission
investigated her statements in connection with its consideration of
the testimony of several witnesses suggesting that Oswald may have
been seen in the company of unidentified persons of Cuban or Mexican
background. Mrs. Odio was born in Havana in 1937 and remained in
Cuba until 1960; it appears that both of her parents are political
prisoners of the Castro regime. Mrs. Odio is a member of the Cuban
Revolutionary Junta (JURE), an anti-Castro organization.[C6-710] She
testified that late in September 1963, three men came to her apartment
in Dallas and asked her to help them prepare a letter soliciting funds
for JURE activities. She claimed that the men, who exhibited personal
familiarity with her imprisoned father, asked her if she were “working
in the underground,” and she replied that she was not.[C6-711] She
testified that two of the men appeared to be Cubans, although they also
had some characteristics that she associated with Mexicans. Those two
men did not state their full names, but identified themselves only by
their fictitious underground “war names.” Mrs. Odio remembered the name
of one of the Cubans as “Leopoldo.”[C6-712] The third man, an American,
allegedly was introduced to Mrs. Odio as “Leon Oswald,” and she was
told that he was very much interested in the Cuban cause.[C6-713]
Mrs. Odio said that the men told her that they had just come from New
Orleans and that they were then about to leave on a trip.[C6-714] Mrs.
Odio testified that the next day Leopoldo called her on the telephone
and told her that it was his idea to introduce the American into the
underground “because he is great, he is kind of nuts.”[C6-715] Leopoldo
also said that the American had been in the Marine Corps and was an
excellent shot, and that the American said the Cubans “don’t have any
guts * * * because President Kennedy should have been assassinated
after the Bay of Pigs, and some Cubans should have done that, because
he was the one that was holding the freedom of Cuba actually.”[C6-716]

Although Mrs. Odio suggested doubts that the men were in fact members
of JURE,[C6-717] she was certain that the American who was introduced
to her as Leon Oswald was Lee Harvey Oswald.[C6-718] Her sister, who
was in the apartment at the time of the visit by the three men, and
who stated that she saw them briefly in the hallway when answering the
door, also believed that the American was Lee Harvey Oswald.[C6-719]
By referring to the date on which she moved from her former apartment,
October 1, 1963, Mrs. Odio fixed the date of the alleged visit on the
Thursday or Friday immediately preceding that date, i.e., September
26 or 27. She was positive that the visit occurred prior to October

During the course of its investigation, however, the Commission
concluded that Oswald could not have been in Dallas on the evening
of either September 26 or 27, 1963. It also developed considerable
evidence that he was not in Dallas at any time between the beginning
of September and October 3, 1963. On April 24, Oswald left Dallas for
New Orleans, where he lived until his trip to Mexico City in late
September and his subsequent return to Dallas. Oswald is known to have
been in New Orleans as late as September 23, 1963, the date on which
Mrs. Paine and Marina Oswald left New Orleans for Dallas.[C6-721]
Sometime between 4 p.m. on September 24 and 1 p.m. on September 25,
Oswald cashed an unemployment compensation check at a store in New
Orleans;[C6-722] under normal procedures this check would not have
reached Oswald’s postal box in New Orleans until at least 5 a.m. on
September 25.[C6-723] The store at which he cashed the check did not
open until 8 a.m.[C6-724] Therefore, it appeared that Oswald’s presence
in New Orleans until sometime between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on September 25
was quite firmly established.

Although there is no firm evidence of the means by which Oswald
traveled from New Orleans to Houston, on the first leg of his Mexico
City trip, the Commission noted that a Continental Trailways bus
leaving New Orleans at 12:30 p.m. on September 25 would have brought
Oswald to Houston at 10:50 p.m. that evening.[C6-725] His presence
on this bus would be consistent with other evidence before the
Commission.[C6-726] There is strong evidence that on September 26,
1963, Oswald traveled on Continental Trailways bus No. 5133 which left
Houston at 2:35 a.m. for Laredo, Tex. Bus company records disclose
that one ticket from Houston to Laredo was sold during the night
shift on September 25-26, and that such ticket was the only one of
its kind sold in the period of September 24 through September 26. The
agent who sold this ticket has stated that Oswald could have been
the purchaser.[C6-727] Two English passengers, Dr. and Mrs. John B.
McFarland, testified that they saw Oswald riding alone on this bus
shortly after they awoke at 6 a.m.[C6-728] The bus was scheduled to
arrive in Laredo at 1:20 p.m. on September 26, and Mexican immigration
records show that Oswald in fact crossed the border at Laredo to Nuevo
Laredo, Mexico, between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. on that day.[C6-729] Evidence
set out in appendix XIII establishes that Oswald did not leave Mexico
until October 3, and that he arrived in Dallas the same day.

The Commission noted that the only time not strictly accounted for
during the period that Mrs. Odio thought Oswald might have visited
her is the span between the morning of September 25 and 2:35 a.m.
on September 26. The only public means of transportation by which
Oswald could have traveled from New Orleans to Dallas in time to
catch his bus from Houston to Laredo, would have been the airlines.
Investigation disclosed no indication that he flew between these
points.[C6-730] Moreover, it did not seem probable that Oswald would
speed from New Orleans, spend a short time talking to Sylvia Odio,
and then travel from Dallas to Mexico City and back on the bus.
Automobile travel in the time available, though perhaps possible,
would have been difficult.[C6-731] The Commission noted, however,
that if Oswald had reached Dallas on the evening of September 25,
he could have traveled by bus to Alice, Tex., and there caught the
bus which had left Houston for Laredo at 2:35 a.m. on September 26,
1963.[C6-732] Further investigation in that regard indicated, however,
that no tickets were sold, during the period September 23-26, 1963 for
travel from Dallas to Laredo or points beyond by the Dallas office of
Continental Trailways, the only bus line on which Oswald could have
made connections with the bus on which he was later seen. Furthermore,
if Oswald had traveled from Dallas to Alice, he would not have reached
the Houston to Laredo bus until after he was first reportedly observed
on it by the McFarlands.[C6-733] Oswald had also told passengers on the
bus to Laredo that he had traveled from New Orleans by bus, and made
no mention of an intervening trip to Dallas.[C6-734] In addition, the
Commission noted evidence that on the evening of September 25, 1963,
Oswald made a telephone call to a party in Houston proposing to visit a
resident of Houston that evening[C6-735] and the fact that such a call
would appear to be inconsistent with Oswald’s having been in Dallas at
the time. It thus appeared that the evidence was persuasive that Oswald
was not in Dallas on September 25, and, therefore, that he was not in
that city at the time Mrs. Odio said she saw him.

In spite of the fact that it appeared almost certain that Oswald
could not have been in Dallas at the time Mrs. Odio thought he was,
the Commission requested the FBI to conduct further investigation to
determine the validity of Mrs. Odio’s testimony.[C6-736] The Commission
considered the problems raised by that testimony as important in view
of the possibility it raised that Oswald may have had companions on
his trip to Mexico.[C6-737] The Commission specifically requested the
FBI to attempt to locate and identify the two men who Mrs. Odio stated
were with the man she thought was Oswald.[C6-738] In an effort to do
that the FBI located and interviewed Manuel Ray, a leader of JURE who
confirmed that Mrs. Odio’s parents were political prisoners in Cuba,
but stated that he did not know anything about the alleged Oswald
visit.[C6-739] The same was true of Rogelio Cisneros,[C6-740] a former
anti-Castro leader from Miami who had visited Mrs. Odio in June of 1962
in connection with certain anti-Castro activities.[C6-741] Additional
investigation was conducted in Dallas and in other cities in search of
the visitors to Mrs. Odio’s apartment.[C6-742] Mrs. Odio herself was

On September 16, 1964, the FBI located Loran Eugene Hall in
Johnsandale, Calif.[C6-744] Hall has been identified as a participant
in numerous anti-Castro activities.[C6-745] He told the FBI that in
September of 1963 he was in Dallas, soliciting aid in connection
with anti-Castro activities. He said he had visited Mrs. Odio. He
was accompanied by Lawrence Howard, a Mexican-American from East Los
Angeles and one William Seymour from Arizona. He stated that Seymour
is similar in appearance to Lee Harvey Oswald; he speaks only a few
words of Spanish,[C6-746] as Mrs. Odio had testified one of the men
who visited her did.[C6-747] While the FBI had not yet completed its
investigation into this matter at the time the report went to press,
the Commission has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was not at Mrs.
Odio’s apartment in September of 1963.

The Commission has also noted the testimony of Evaristo Rodriguez,
a bartender in the Habana Bar in New Orleans, to the effect that
he saw Oswald in that bar in August of 1963 in the company of a
Latin-appearing man.[C6-748] Rodriguez’ description of the man
accompanying the person he thought to be Oswald was similar in respects
to the description given by Sylvia Odio since both testified that the
man may have been of either Cuban or Mexican extraction, and had a
slight bald spot on the forepart of his hairline.[C6-749] Rodriguez’
identification of Oswald was uncorroborated except for the testimony
of the owner of the bar, Orest Pena; according to Rodriguez, Pena was
not in a position to observe the man he thought later to have been
Oswald.[C6-750] Although Pena has testified that he did observe the
same person as did Rodriguez, and that this person was Oswald,[C6-751]
an FBI interview report indicated that a month earlier Pena had
stated that he “could not at this time or at any time say whether
or not the person was identical with Lee Harvey Oswald.”[C6-752]
Though when testifying, Pena identified photographs of Oswald, the
FBI report also recorded that Pena “stated the only reason he was
able to recognize Oswald was because he had seen Oswald’s picture in
the news media so often after the assassination of President John F.
Kennedy.”[C6-753] When present at Pena’s bar, Oswald was supposed to
have been intoxicated to the extent that he became ill,[C6-754] which
is inconsistent with other evidence that Oswald did not drink alcoholic
beverages to excess.[C6-755]

The Commission has also noted the testimony of Dean Andrews, an
attorney in New Orleans. Andrews stated that Oswald came to his office
several times in the summer of 1963 to seek advice on a less than
honorable discharge from the Armed Forces, the citizenship status of
his wife and his own citizenship status. Andrews, who believed that he
was contacted on November 23 to represent Oswald, testified that Oswald
was always accompanied by a Mexican and was at times accompanied by
apparent homosexuals.[C6-756] Andrews was able to locate no records of
any of Oswald’s alleged visits, and investigation has failed to locate
the person who supposedly called Andrews on November 23, at a time
when Andrews was under heavy sedation.[C6-757] While one of Andrews’
employees felt that Oswald might have been at his office, his secretary
has no recollection of Oswald being there.[C6-758]

Oswald Was Not an Agent for the U.S. Government

From the time of his release from the Marine Corps until the
assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald dealt in various transactions with
several agencies of the U.S. Government. Before departing the United
States for the Soviet Union in 1959, he obtained an American passport,
which he returned to the Embassy in Moscow in October 1959 when he
attempted to renounce his U.S. citizenship. Thereafter, while in the
Soviet Union, Oswald had numerous contacts with the American Embassy,
both in person and through correspondence. Two years later, he applied
for the return and renewal of his passport, which was granted him.
His application concerning the admittance of his wife to this country
was passed upon by the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the
Department of Justice in addition to the State Department. And before
returning to this country, he secured a loan from the State Department
to help cover his transportation costs from Moscow to New York.
These dealings with the Department of State and the Immigration and
Naturalization Service have been reviewed earlier in this chapter and
are considered in detail in appendix XV. After his return, Oswald was
interviewed on three occasions by agents of the FBI, and Mrs. Paine was
also questioned by the FBI about Oswald’s activities. Oswald obtained a
second passport in June of 1963. And both the FBI and the CIA took note
of his Fair Play for Cuba Committee activities in New Orleans and his
appearance at the Soviet consulate in Mexico City. For reasons which
will be discussed fully in chapter VIII, Oswald’s name was never given
to the U.S. Secret Service.

These dealings have given rise to numerous rumors and allegations
that Oswald may have been a paid informant or some type of undercover
agent for a Federal agency, usually the FBI or the CIA. The Commission
has fully explored whether Oswald had any official or unofficial
relationship with any Federal agency beyond that already described.

Oswald’s mother, Mrs. Marguerite Oswald, testified before the
Commission that she believes her son went to Russia and returned as
an undercover agent for the U.S. Government.[C6-759] Mrs. Oswald
mentioned the belief that her son was an agent to a State Department
representative whom she visited in January 1961, when she was trying
to locate her son.[C6-760] She had been interviewed earlier by FBI
Agent John W. Fain, within some 6 months of Oswald’s departure for
Russia, and did not at that time suggest such an explanation for
Oswald’s departure.[C6-761] Though provided the opportunity to present
any material she considered pertinent, Mrs. Oswald was not able to
give the Commission any reasonable basis for her speculation.[C6-762]
As discussed later in this chapter, the Commission has investigated
Marguerite Oswald’s claim that an FBI agent showed her a picture of
Jack Ruby after the assassination but before Lee Harvey Oswald had been
killed; this allegation was inaccurate, since the picture was not of

After the assassination it was reported that in 1962 Oswald had told
Pauline Bates, a public stenographer in Fort Worth, Tex., that he
had become a “secret agent” of the U.S. Government and that he was
soon going back to Russia “for Washington.”[C6-763] Mrs. Bates in her
sworn testimony denied that Oswald ever told her anything to that
effect.[C6-764] She testified that she had stated “that when he first
said that he went to Russia and had gotten a visa that I thought--it
was just a thought--that maybe he was going over under the auspices of
the State Department--as a student or something.”[C6-765]

In order to evaluate the nature of Oswald’s dealings with the
Department of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service,
the Commission has obtained the complete files of both the Department
and the Service pertaining to Lee Harvey Oswald. Officials who were
directly involved in dealing with the Oswald case on these matters have
testified before the Commission. A critical evaluation of the manner in
which they were handled by these organizations is set forth in appendix
XV. The record establishes that Oswald received no preferential
treatment and that his case involved no impropriety on the part of any
Government official.

Director John A. McCone and Deputy Director Richard Helms of the
Central Intelligence Agency testified before the Commission that no
one connected with the CIA had ever interviewed Oswald or communicated
with him in any way.[C6-766] In his supplementing affidavit, Director
McCone stated unequivocally that Oswald was not an agent, employee, or
informant of the CIA, that the Agency never communicated with him in
any manner or furnished him any compensation, and that Oswald was never
directly or indirectly associated with the CIA.[C6-767] The Commission
has had access to the full CIA file on Oswald which is entirely
consistent with Director McCone’s statements.

The Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, Assistant to the Director
Alan H. Belmont, FBI Agents John W. Fain and John L. Quigley, who
interviewed Oswald, and FBI Agent James P. Hosty, Jr., who was in
charge of his case at the time of the assassination, have also
testified before the Commission. All declared, in substance, that
Oswald was not an informant or agent of the FBI, that he did not act
in any other capacity for the FBI, and that no attempt was made to
recruit him in any capacity.[C6-768] Director Hoover and each Bureau
agent, who according to the FBI would have been responsible for or
aware of any attempt to recruit Oswald as an informant, have also
provided the Commission with sworn affidavits to this effect.[C6-769]
Director Hoover has sworn that he caused a search to be made of the
records of the Bureau, and that the search discloses that Oswald “was
never an informant of the FBI, and never assigned a symbol number in
that capacity, and was never paid any amount of money by the FBI in any
regard.”[C6-770] This testimony is corroborated by the Commission’s
independent review of the Bureau files dealing with the Oswald

The Commission also investigated the circumstances which led to the
presence in Oswald’s address book of the name of Agent Hosty together
with his office address, telephone number, and license number.[C6-771]
Hosty and Mrs. Paine testified that on November 1, 1963, Hosty left his
name and phone number with Mrs. Paine so that she could advise Hosty
when she learned where Oswald was living in Dallas.[C6-772] Mrs. Paine
and Marina Oswald have testified that Mrs. Paine handed Oswald the
slip of paper on which Hosty had written this information.[C6-773] In
accordance with prior instructions from Oswald,[C6-774] Marina Oswald
noted Hosty’s license number which she gave to her husband.[C6-775] The
address of the Dallas office of the FBI could have been obtained from
many public sources.

Thus, close scrutiny of the records of the Federal agencies involved
and the testimony of the responsible officials of the U.S. Government
establish that there was absolutely no type of informant or undercover
relationship between an agency of the U.S. Government and Lee Harvey
Oswald at any time.

Oswald’s Finances

In search of activities or payments demonstrating the receipt of
unexplained funds, the Commission undertook a detailed study of
Oswald’s receipts and expenditures starting with the date of his return
from the Soviet Union on June 13, 1962, and continuing to the date of
his arrest on November 22, 1963. In appendix XIV there appears a table
listing Oswald’s estimated receipts and expenditures on a monthly basis
during this period.

The Commission was assisted in this phase of the investigation by able
investigators of the Internal Revenue Service of the Department of
the Treasury and by agents of the FBI. The investigation extended far
beyond interrogation of witnesses who appeared before the Commission.
At banks in New Orleans, La.; Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, and Laredo,
Tex., inquiries were made for any record of a checking, savings, or
loan accounts or a safe deposit box rented in the names of Lee Harvey
Oswald, his known aliases, or members of his immediate family. In many
cases a photograph of Oswald was exhibited to bank officials who were
in a position to see a person in the safe deposit box area of their
banks. No bank account or safe deposit boxes were located which could
be identified with Oswald during this period of his life, although
evidence was developed of a bank account which he had used prior to
his trip to the Soviet Union in 1959. Telegraph companies were checked
for the possibility of money orders that may have been sent to Oswald.
All known locations where Oswald cashed checks which he received
were queried as to the possibility of his having cashed other checks
there. Further inquiries were made at Oswald’s places of employment,
his residences and with local credit associations, hospitals,
utility companies, State and local government offices, post offices,
periodicals, newspapers, and employment agencies.[C6-776]

Marina Oswald testified that she knew of no sources of income Oswald
other than his wages and his unemployment compensation.[C6-777] No
evidence of other cash income has been discovered. The Commission has
found that the funds known to have been available to Oswald during
the period June 13, 1962, through November 22, 1963, were sufficient
to cover all of his known expenditures during this period. Including
cash on hand of $63 when he arrived from the Soviet Union, the Oswalds
received a total of $3,665.89 in cash from wages, unemployment
compensation benefits, loans, and gifts from acquaintances. His cash
disbursements during this period were estimated at $3,501.79, leaving
a balance of $164.10. (See app. XIV.) This estimated balance is within
$19 of the $183.87 in cash which was actually in Oswald’s possession
at the time of his arrest, consisting of $13.87 on his person and $170
in his wallet left at the Paine house.[C6-778]

In computing Oswald’s expenditures, estimates were made for food,
clothing, and incidental expenses. The incidental expenses included
telephone calls, the cost of local newspapers, money order and
check-cashing fees, postage, local transportation costs, personal care
goods and services, and other such small items. All of these expenses,
including food and clothing, were estimated at a slightly higher figure
than would be normal for a family with the income of the Oswalds, and
probably higher than the Oswalds actually spent on such items.[C6-779]
This was done in order to be certain that even if some of Oswald’s
minor expenditures are not known, he had adequate funds to cover his
known expenditures.

During the 17-month period preceding his death, Oswald’s pattern of
living was consistent with his limited income. He lived with his family
in furnished apartments whose cost, including utilities, ranged from
about $60 to $75 per month.[C6-780] Witnesses testified to his wife’s
disappointment and complaints and to their own shock and misgivings
about several of the apartments in which the Oswalds lived during
the period.[C6-781] Moreover, the Oswalds, particularly Marina,
frequently lived with relatives and acquaintances at no cost. Oswald
and his family lived with his brother Robert and then with Marguerite
Oswald from June until sometime in August 1962.[C6-782] As discussed
previously, Marina Oswald lived with Elena Hall and spent a few nights
at the Taylors’ house during October of 1962;[C6-783] in November
of that same year, Marina Oswald lived with two families.[C6-784]
When living away from his family Oswald rented rooms for $7 and $8
per week or stayed at the YMCA in Dallas where he paid $2.25 per
day.[C6-785] During late April and early May 1963, Oswald lived with
relatives in New Orleans, while his wife lived with Ruth Paine in
Irving, Tex.[C6-786] From September 24, 1963, until November 22, Marina
Oswald stayed with Ruth Paine, while Oswald lived in roominghouses
in Dallas.[C6-787] During the period Marina Oswald resided with
others, neither she nor her husband made any contribution to her

The Oswalds owned no major household appliances, had no automobile,
and resorted to dental and hospital clinics for medical care.[C6-789]
Acquaintances purchased baby furniture for them, and paid dental
bills in one instance.[C6-790] After his return to the United States,
Oswald did not smoke or drink, and he discouraged his wife from
doing so.[C6-791] Oswald spent much of his time reading books which
he obtained from the public library, and periodicals to which he
subscribed.[C6-792] He resided near his place of employment and used
buses to travel to and from work.[C6-793] When he visited his wife
and the children on weekends in October and November 1963, he rode
in a neighbor’s car, making no contribution for gasoline or other
expenses.[C6-794] Oswald’s personal wardrobe was also very modest.
He customarily wore T-shirts, cheap slacks, well-worn sweaters, and
well-used zipper jackets. Oswald owned one suit, of Russian make
and purchase, poor fitting and of heavy fabric which, despite its
unsuitability to the climates of Texas and Louisiana and his obvious
discomfort, he wore on the few occasions that required dress.[C6-795]

Food for his family was extremely meager. Paul Gregory testified
that during the 6 weeks that Marina Oswald tutored him he took the
Oswalds shopping for food and groceries on a number of occasions
and that he was “amazed at how little they bought.”[C6-796] Their
friends in the Dallas-Fort Worth area frequently brought them food and
groceries.[C6-797] Marina testified that her husband ate “very little.”
He “never had breakfast. He just drank coffee and that is all. Not
because he was trying to economize. Simply he never liked to eat.” She
estimated that when he was living by himself in a roominghouse, he
would spend “about a dollar, $1.30” for dinner and have a sandwich and
soft drink for lunch.[C6-798]

The thrift which Oswald exercised in meeting his living expenses
allowed him to accumulate sufficient funds to meet other expenses which
he incurred after his return from the Soviet Union. From his return
until January of 1963, Oswald repaid the $435.71 he had borrowed from
the State Department for travel expenses from Moscow, and the $200
loan he had obtained from his brother Robert to fly from New York to
Dallas upon his return to this country. He completed the retirement
of the debt to his brother in October 1962.[C6-799] His cash receipts
from all sources from the day of his arrival in Fort Worth through
October 1962 aggregated $719.94; it is estimated that he could have
made the repayments to Robert and met his other known expenses and
still have been left with savings of $122.06 at the end of the month.
After making initial $10 monthly payments to the State Department,
Oswald paid the Government $190 in December and $206 in January, thus
liquidating that debt.[C6-800] From his net earning of $805.96 from
November through January plus his prior savings, Oswald could have made
these payments to the State Department, met his other known expenses,
and still have had a balance of $8.59 at the end of January 1963. In
discussing the repayment of these debts, Marina Oswald testified: “Of
course we did not live in luxury. We did not buy anything that was not
absolutely needed, because Lee had to pay his debt to Robert and to the
Government. But it was not particularly difficult.”[C6-801]

Included in the total figure for Oswald’s disbursements were $21.45
for the rifle used in the assassination and $31.22 for the revolver
with which Oswald shot Officer Tippit. The major portion of the
purchase price for these weapons was paid in March 1963, when Oswald
had finished paying his debts, and the purchases were compatible with
the total funds then available to him.[C6-802] During May, June, and
July of 1963, Oswald spent approximately $23 for circulars, application
blanks, and membership cards for his one-man New Orleans chapter of
the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.[C6-803] In August he paid $2 to
one and possibly two young men to assist in passing out circulars
and then paid a $10 court fine after pleading guilty to a charge of
disturbing the peace.[C6-804] Although some of these expenses were
incurred after Oswald lost his job on July 19, 1963, his wages during
June and July, and his unemployment compensation thereafter, provided
sufficient funds to enable him to finance these activities out of his
own resources.[C6-805]

Although Oswald paid his own busfare to New Orleans on April 24, 1963,
his wife and the baby were taken there, at no cost to Oswald, by Ruth
Paine.[C6-806] Similarly, Ruth Paine drove to New Orleans in September
and brought Marina Oswald and the baby back to Irving, Tex.[C6-807]
Oswald’s uncle, Charles Murret, also paid for the short trip taken by
Oswald and his family from New Orleans to Mobile, Ala., on July 27,
1963.[C6-808] It is estimated that when Oswald left for Mexico City in
September 1963, he had accumulated slightly over $200. Marina Oswald
testified that when he left for Mexico City he had “a little over
$100,” though she may not have taken into account the $33 unemployment
compensation check which Oswald collected after her departure from New
Orleans.[C6-809] In any event, expenses in Mexico have been estimated
as approximately $85, based on transportation costs of $50 and a hotel
expense of about $1.28 per day. Oswald ate inexpensively and, allowing
$15 for entertainment and miscellaneous items, it would appear that he
had the funds available to finance the trip.[C6-810]

The Commission has considered the testimony of Leonard E. Hutchison,
proprietor of Hutch’s Market in Irving, in connection with Oswald’s
finances. Hutchison has testified that on a Friday during the first
week in November, a man he believes to have been Lee Harvey Oswald
attempted to cash a “two-party,” or personal check for $189, but that
he refused to cash the check since his policy is to cash personal
checks for no more than $25.[C6-811] Oswald is not known to have
received a check for this amount from any source.

On Friday, November 1, Oswald did cash a Texas Unemployment Commission
check for $33 at another supermarket in Irving,[C6-812] so that a
possible explanation of Hutchison’s testimony is that he refused to
cash this $33 check for Oswald and is simply in error as to the amount
of the instrument. However, since the check cashed at the supermarket
was issued by the State comptroller of Texas, it is not likely that
Hutchison could have confused it with a personal check.

Examination of Hutchison’s testimony indicates that a more likely
explanation is that Oswald was not in his store at all. Hutchison
testified that the man who attempted to cash the check was a customer
in his store on previous occasions; in particular, Hutchison recalled
that the man, accompanied by a woman he believes was Marina Oswald and
an elderly woman, were shopping in his store in October or November
of 1963 on a night he feels certain was a Wednesday evening.[C6-813]
Oswald, however, is not known to have been in Irving on any Wednesday
evening during this period.[C6-814] Neither of the two checkers at
the market recall such a visit by a person matching the description
provided by Hutchison, and both Marina Oswald and Marguerite Oswald
deny that they were ever in Hutchison’s store.[C6-815] Hutchison
further stated that the man made irregular calls at his grocery between
7:20 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. on weekday mornings, and always purchased
cinnamon rolls and a full gallon of milk.[C6-816] However, the evidence
indicates that except for rare occasions Oswald was in Irving only on
weekends; moreover, Buell Wesley Frazier, who drove Oswald to and from
Irving on these occasions, testified that on Monday mornings he picked
Oswald up at a point which is many blocks from Hutchison’s store and
ordinarily by 7:20 a.m.[C6-817] Hutchison also testified that Ruth
Paine was an occasional customer in his store;[C6-818] however, Mrs.
Paine indicated that she was not in the store as often as Hutchison
testified;[C6-819] and her appearance is dissimilar to the description
of the woman Hutchison stated was Mrs. Paine.[C6-820] In light of the
strong reasons for doubting the correctness of Hutchison’s testimony
and the absence of any other sign that Oswald ever possessed a personal
check for $189, the Commission was unable to conclude that he ever
received such a check.

The Commission has also examined a report that, not long before the
assassination, Oswald may have received unaccounted funds through money
orders sent to him in Dallas. Five days after the assassination, C.A.
Hamblen, early night manager for the Western Union Telegraph Co. in
Dallas, told his superior that about 2 weeks earlier he remembered
Oswald sending a telegram from the office to Washington, D.C., possibly
to the Secretary of the Navy, and that the application was completed
in an unusual form of hand printing.[C6-821] The next day Hamblen
told a magazine correspondent who was in the Western Union office on
other business that he remembered seeing Oswald in the office on prior
occasions collecting money orders for small amounts of money.[C6-822]
Soon thereafter Hamblen signed a statement relating to both the
telegram and the money orders, and specifying two instances in which
he had seen the person he believed to be Oswald in the office; in each
instance the man had behaved disagreeably and one other Western Union
employee had become involved in assisting him.[C6-823]

During his testimony, Hamblen did not recall with clarity the
statements he had previously made, and was unable to state whether
the person he reportedly had seen in the Western Union office was or
was not Lee Harvey Oswald.[C6-824] Investigation has disclosed that
a second employee does recall one of the occurrences described by
Hamblen, and believes that the money order in question was delivered
“to someone at the YMCA”; however, he is unable to state whether or
not the man involved was Oswald.[C6-825] The employee referred to by
Hamblen in connection with the second incident feels certain that the
unusual episode described by Hamblen did not occur, and that she at no
time observed Oswald in the Western Union office.[C6-826]

At the request of Federal investigators, officers of Western Union
conducted a complete search of their records in Dallas and in other
cities, for the period from June through November 1963, for money
orders payable to Lee Harvey Oswald or his known aliases and for
telegrams sent by Oswald or his known aliases. In addition, all money
orders addressed to persons at the YMCA in Dallas during October
and November 1963 were inspected, and all telegrams handled from
November 1 through November 22 by the employee who Hamblen assertedly
saw service Oswald were examined, as were all telegrams sent from
Dallas to Washington during November. No indication of any such money
order or telegram was found in any of these records.[C6-827] Hamblen
himself participated in this search, and was “unable * * * to pin down
any of these telegrams or money orders that would indicate it was
Oswald.”[C6-828] Hamblen’s superiors have concluded “that this whole
thing was a figment of Mr. Hamblen’s imagination,”[C6-829] and the
Commission accepts this assessment.


Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald at 11:21 a.m., on Sunday, November
24, 1963, shortly after Ruby entered the basement of the Dallas Police
Department. Almost immediately, speculation arose that Ruby had acted
on behalf of members of a conspiracy who had planned the killing of
President Kennedy and wanted to silence Oswald. This section of chapter
VI sets forth the Commission’s investigation into the possibility
that Ruby, together with Oswald or with others, conspired to kill the
President, or that Ruby, though not part of any such conspiracy, had
accomplices in the slaying of Oswald. Presented first are the results
of the Commission’s detailed inquiry into Ruby’s actions from November
21 to November 24. In addition, this section analyzes the numerous
rumors and suspicions that Ruby and Oswald were acquainted and examines
Ruby’s background and associations for evidence of any conspiratorial
relationship or motive. A detailed life of Ruby is given in appendix
XVI which provides supplemental information about Ruby and his

Ruby’s Activities From November 21 to November 24, 1963

The Commission has attempted to reconstruct as precisely as possible
the movements of Jack Ruby during the period November 21-November 24,
1963. It has done so on the premise that, if Jack Ruby were involved
in a conspiracy, his activities and associations during this period
would, in some way, have reflected the conspiratorial relationship.
The Commission has not attempted to determine the time at which Ruby
first decided to make his attack on Lee Harvey Oswald, nor does it
purport to evaluate the psychiatric and related legal questions which
have arisen from the assault upon Oswald. Ruby’s activities during
this 3-day period have been scrutinized, however, for the insight they
provide into whether the shooting of Oswald was grounded in any form of

_The eve of the President’s visit._--On Thursday, November 21, Jack
Ruby was attending to his usual duties as the proprietor of two
Dallas night spots--the Carousel Club, a downtown nightclub featuring
striptease dancers, and the Vegas Club, a rock-and-roll establishment
in the Oaklawn section of Dallas. Both clubs opened for business each
day in the early evening and continued 7 days a week until after
midnight.[C6-830] Ruby arrived at the Carousel Club at about 3 p.m.
Thursday afternoon, as was his custom,[C6-831] and remained long
enough to chat with a friend and receive messages from Larry Crafard,
a handyman and helper who lived at the Carousel.[C6-832] Earlier in
the day Ruby had visited with a young lady who was job hunting in
Dallas,[C6-833] paid his rent for the Carousel premises,[C6-834]
conferred about a peace bond he had been obliged to post as a result
of a fight with one of his striptease dancers,[C6-835] consulted
with an attorney about problems he was having with Federal tax
authorities,[C6-836] distributed membership cards for the Carousel
Club,[C6-837] talked with Dallas County Assistant District Attorney
William F. Alexander about insufficient fund checks which a friend had
passed,[C6-838] and submitted advertising copy for his nightclubs to
the Dallas Morning News.[C6-839]

Ruby’s evening activities on Thursday, November 21, were a combination
of business and pleasure. At approximately 7:30 p.m., he drove Larry
Crafard to the Vegas Club which Crafard was overseeing because Ruby’s
sister, Eva Grant, who normally managed the club, was convalescing
from a recent illness.[C6-840] Thereafter, Ruby returned to the
Carousel Club and conversed for about an hour with Lawrence Meyers,
a Chicago businessman.[C6-841] Between 9:45 and 10:45 p.m., Ruby had
dinner with Ralph Paul, his close friend and financial backer. While
dining Ruby spoke briefly with a Dallas Morning News employee, Don
Campbell, who suggested that they go to the Castaway Club, but Ruby
declined.[C6-842] Thereafter, Ruby returned to the Carousel Club where
he acted as master of ceremonies for his show and peacefully ejected an
unruly patron.[C6-843] At about midnight Ruby rejoined Meyers at the
Bon Vivant Room of the Dallas Cabana where they met Meyers’ brother
and sister-in-law.[C6-844] Neither Ralph Paul nor Lawrence Meyers
recalled that Ruby mentioned the President’s trip to Dallas.[C6-845]
Leaving Meyers at the Cabana after a brief visit, Ruby returned to
close the Carousel Club and obtain the night’s receipts.[C6-846] He
then went to the Vegas Club which he helped Larry Crafard close for the
night;[C6-847] and, as late as 2:30 a.m., Ruby was seen eating at a
restaurant near the Vegas Club.[C6-848]

_Friday morning at the Dallas Morning News._--Jack Ruby learned of the
shooting of President Kennedy while in the second-floor advertising
offices of the Dallas Morning News, five blocks from the Texas School
Book Depository, where he had come Friday morning to place regular
weekend advertisements for his two nightclubs.[C6-849] On arriving at
the newspaper building at about 11 or 11:30 a.m., he talked briefly
with two newspaper employees concerning some diet pills he had
recommended to them.[C6-850] Ruby then went to the office of Morning
News columnist, Tony Zoppi, where he states he obtained a brochure
on his new master of ceremonies that he wanted to use in preparing
copy for his advertisements.[C6-851] Proceeding to the advertising
department, he spoke with advertising employee Don Campbell from
about noon until 12:25 p.m. when Campbell left the office.[C6-852] In
addition to the business at hand, much of the conversation concerned
Ruby’s unhappiness over the financial condition of his clubs and
his professed ability to handle the physical fights which arose in
connection with the clubs.[C6-853] According to Campbell, Ruby did
not mention the Presidential motorcade nor did he display any unusual

About 10 minutes after the President had been shot but before word had
spread to the second floor, John Newnam, an advertising department
employee, observed Ruby sitting at the same spot where Campbell had
left him. At that time Ruby had completed the advertisement, which
he had apparently begun to compose when Campbell departed, and was
reading a newspaper.[C6-855] To Newnam, Ruby voiced criticism of the
black-bordered advertisement entitled “Welcome, Mr. Kennedy” appearing
in the morning paper and bearing the name of Bernard Weissman as the
chairman of the committee sponsoring the advertisement.[C6-856] (See
Commission Exhibit No. 1031, p. 294.) According to Eva Grant, Ruby’s
sister, he had telephoned her earlier in the morning to call her
attention to the ad.[C6-857] At about 12:45 p.m., an employee entered
the office and announced that shots had been fired at the President.
Newnam remembered that Ruby responded with a look of “stunned

Shortly afterward, according to Newnam, “confusion reigned” in
the office as advertisers telephoned to cancel advertising they
had placed for the weekend.[C6-859] Ruby appears to have believed
that some of those cancellations were motivated by the Weissman
advertisement.[C6-860] After Newnam accepted a few telephone calls,
he and Ruby walked toward a room where other persons were watching
television.[C6-861] One of the newspaper employees recalled that Ruby
then appeared “obviously shaken, and an ashen color--just very pale * *
*”[C6-862] showed little disposition to converse,[C6-863] and sat for a
while with a dazed expression in his eyes.[C6-864]

After a few minutes, Ruby placed telephone calls to Andrew Armstrong,
his assistant at the Carousel Club, and to his sister, Mrs. Grant. He
told Armstrong, “If anything happens we are going to close the club”
and said he would see him in about 30 minutes.[C6-865] During the call
to his sister, Ruby again referred to the Weissman advertisement;
at one point he put the telephone to Newnam’s ear, and Newnam heard
Mrs. Grant exclaim, “My God, what do they want?” It was Newnam’s
recollection that Ruby tried to calm her.[C6-866]

Ruby testified that after calling his sister he said, “John, I will
have to leave Dallas.”[C6-867] Ruby explained to the Commission:

    I don’t know why I said that, but it is a funny reaction that
    you feel; the city is terribly let down by the tragedy that
    happened. And I said, “John, I am not opening up tonight.”

    And I don’t know what else transpired. I know people were just
    heartbroken * * *.

    I left the building and I went down and I got in my car and I
    couldn’t stop crying. * * * [C6-868]

Newnam estimated that Ruby departed from the Morning News at about
1:30 p.m., but other testimony indicated that Ruby may have left

_Ruby’s alleged visit to Parkland Hospital._--The Commission has
investigated claims that Jack Ruby was at Parkland Hospital at about
1:30 p.m., when a Presidential press secretary, Malcolm Kilduff,
announced that President Kennedy was dead. Seth Kantor, a newspaperman
who had previously met Ruby in Dallas, reported and later testified
that Jack Ruby stopped him momentarily inside the main entrance to
Parkland Hospital some time between 1:30 and 2 p.m., Friday, November
22, 1963.[C6-870] The only other person besides Kantor who recalled
seeing Ruby at the hospital did not make known her observation until
April 1964, had never seen Ruby before, allegedly saw him only briefly
then, had an obstructed view, and was uncertain of the time.[C6-871]
Ruby has firmly denied going to Parkland and has stated that he went to
the Carousel Club upon leaving the Morning News.[C6-872] Video tapes of
the scene at Parkland do not show Ruby there, although Kantor can be

Investigation has limited the period during which Kantor could have
met Ruby at Parkland Hospital on Friday to a few minutes before and
after 1:30 p.m. Telephone company records and the testimony of Andrew
Armstrong established that Ruby arrived at the Carousel Club no later
than 1:45 p.m. and probably a few minutes earlier.[C6-874] Kantor was
engaged in a long-distance telephone call to his Washington office
from 1:02 p.m. until 1:27 p.m.[C6-875] Kantor testified that, after
completing that call, he immediately left the building from which he
had been telephoning, traveled perhaps 100 yards, and entered the main
entrance of the hospital. It was there, as he walked through a small
doorway, that he believed he saw Jack Ruby, who, Kantor said, tugged at
his coattails and asked, “Should I close my places for the next three
nights, do you think?” Kantor recalled that he turned briefly to Ruby
and proceeded to the press conference at which the President’s death
was announced. Kantor was certain he encountered Ruby at Parkland but
had doubts about the exact time and place.[C6-876]

Kantor probably did not see Ruby at Parkland Hospital in the few
minutes before or after 1:30 p.m., the only time it would have been
possible for Kantor to have done so. If Ruby immediately returned to
the Carousel Club after Kantor saw him, it would have been necessary
for him to have covered the distance from Parkland in approximately 10
or 15 minutes in order to have arrived at the club before 1:45 p.m.,
when a telephone call was placed at Ruby’s request to his entertainer,
Karen Bennett Carlin.[C6-877] At a normal driving speed under normal
conditions the trip can be made in 9 or 10 minutes.[C6-878] However, it
is likely that congested traffic conditions on November 22 would have
extended the driving time.[C6-879] Even if Ruby had been able to drive
from Parkland to the Carousel in 15 minutes, his presence at the Dallas
Morning News until after 1 p.m., and at the Carousel prior to 1:45
p.m., would have made his visit at Parkland exceedingly brief. Since
Ruby was observed at the Dallas Police Department during a 2 hour
period after 11 p.m. on Friday,[C6-880] when Kantor was also present,
and since Kantor did not remember seeing Ruby there,[C6-881] Kantor
may have been mistaken about both the time and the place that he saw
Ruby. When seeing Ruby, Kantor was preoccupied with the important event
that a press conference represented. Both Ruby and Kantor were present
at another important event, a press conference held about midnight,
November 22, in the assembly room of the Dallas Police Department. It
is conceivable that Kantor’s encounter with Ruby occurred at that time,
perhaps near the small doorway there.[C6-882]

_Ruby’s decision to close his clubs._--Upon arriving at the Carousel
Club shortly before 1:45 p.m., Ruby instructed Andrew Armstrong, the
Carousel’s bartender, to notify employees that the club would be
closed that night.[C6-883] During much of the next hour Ruby talked
by telephone to several persons who were or had been especially close
to him, and the remainder of the time he watched television and spoke
with Armstrong and Larry Crafard about the assassination.[C6-884] At
1:51 p.m., Ruby telephoned Ralph Paul in Arlington, Tex., to say that
he was going to close his clubs. He urged Paul to do likewise with his
drive-in restaurant.[C6-885] Unable to reach Alice Nichols, a former
girl friend, who was at lunch, Ruby telephoned his sister, Eileen
Kaminsky, in Chicago.[C6-886] Mrs. Kaminsky described her brother as
completely unnerved and crying about President Kennedy’s death.[C6-887]
To Mrs. Nichols, whose return call caused Ruby to cut short his
conversation with Mrs. Kaminsky, Ruby expressed shock over the
assassination.[C6-888] Although Mrs. Nichols had dated Ruby for nearly
11 years, she was surprised to hear from him on November 22 since they
had not seen one another socially for some time.[C6-889] Thereafter,
Ruby telephoned at 2:37 p.m. to Alex Gruber, a boyhood friend from
Chicago who was living in Los Angeles.[C6-890] Gruber recalled that in
their 3-minute conversation Ruby talked about a dog he had promised to
send Gruber, a carwash business Gruber had considered starting, and the
assassination.[C6-891] Ruby apparently lost his self-control during the
conversation and terminated it.[C6-892] However, 2 minutes after that
call ended, Ruby telephoned again to Ralph Paul.[C6-893]

Upon leaving the Carousel Club at about 3:15 p.m., Ruby drove to Eva
Grant’s home but left soon after he arrived, to obtain some weekend
food for his sister and himself.[C6-894] He first returned to the
Carousel Club and directed Larry Crafard to prepare a sign indicating
that the club would be closed; however, Ruby instructed Crafard not
to post the sign until later in the evening to avoid informing his
competitors that he would be closed.[C6-895] (See Commission Exhibit
2427, p. 339.) Before leaving the club, Ruby telephoned Mrs. Grant who
reminded him to purchase food.[C6-896] As a result he went to the Ritz
Delicatessen, about two blocks from the Carousel Club, and bought a
great quantity of cold cuts.[C6-897]

Ruby probably arrived a second time at his sister’s home close to 5:30
p.m. and remained for about 2 hours. He continued his rapid rate of
telephone calls, ate sparingly, became ill, and attempted to get some
rest.[C6-898] While at the apartment, Ruby decided to close his clubs
for 3 days. He testified that after talking to Don Saffran, a columnist
for the Dallas Times-Herald:

    I put the receiver down and talked to my sister, and I said,
    “Eva, what shall we do?”

    And she said, “Jack, let’s close for the 3 days.” She said, “We
    don’t have anything anyway, but we owe it to--” (chokes up.)

    So I called Don Saffran back immediately and I said, “Don, we
    decided to close for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.”

    And he said, “Okay.”[C6-899]

Ruby then telephoned the Dallas Morning News to cancel his
advertisement and, when unable to do so, he changed his ad to read
that his clubs would be closed for the weekend.[C6-900] Ruby also
telephoned Cecil Hamlin, a friend of many years. Sounding very “broken
up,” he told Hamlin that he had closed the clubs since he thought
most people would not be in the mood to visit them and that he felt
concern for President Kennedy’s “kids.”[C6-901] Thereafter he made two
calls to ascertain when services at Temple Shearith Israel would be
held.[C6-902] He placed a second call to Alice Nichols to tell her of
his intention to attend those services[C6-903] and phoned Larry Crafard
at the Carousel to ask whether he had received any messages.[C6-904]
Eva Grant testified:

    When he was leaving, he looked pretty bad. This I remember. I
    can’t explain it to you. He looked too broken, a broken man
    already. He did make the remark, he said, “I never felt so bad
    in my life, even when Ma or Pa died.”

    So I said, “Well, Pa was an old man. He was almost 89 years. *
    * *”[C6-905]

_Friday evening._--Ruby is uncertain whether he went directly from his
sister’s home to his apartment or possibly first to his club.[C6-906]
At least 5 witnesses recall seeing a man they believe was Ruby on the
third floor of police headquarters at times they have estimated between
6 and 9 p.m.;[C6-907] however, it is not clear that Ruby was present
at the Police and Courts Building before 11 p.m. With respect to three
of the witnesses, it is doubtful that the man observed was Ruby. Two
of those persons had not known Ruby previously and described wearing
apparel which differed both from Ruby’s known dress that night and
from his known wardrobe.[C6-908] The third, who viewed from the rear
the person he believed was Ruby, said the man unsuccessfully attempted
to enter the homicide office.[C6-909] Of the police officers on duty
near homicide at the time of the alleged event, only one remembered
the episode, and he said the man in question definitely was not
Ruby.[C6-910] The remaining witnesses knew or talked with Ruby, and
their testimony leaves little doubt that they did see him on the third
floor at some point on Friday night; however the possibility remains
that they observed Ruby later in the evening, when his presence is
conclusively established.[C6-911] Ruby has denied being at the police
department Friday night before approximately 11:15 p.m.[C6-912]

In any event, Ruby eventually returned to his own apartment before 9
p.m. There he telephoned Ralph Paul but was unable to persuade Paul
to join him at synagogue services.[C6-913] Shortly after 9 p.m., Ruby
called the Chicago home of his oldest brother, Hyman Rubenstein,
and two of his sisters, Marion Carroll and Ann Volpert.[C6-914]
Hyman Rubenstein testified that, during the call, his brother was so
disturbed about the situation in Dallas that he mentioned selling his
business and returning to Chicago.[C6-915] From his apartment, Ruby
drove to Temple Shearith Israel, arriving near the end of a 2-hour
service which had begun at 8 p.m.[C6-916] Rabbi Hillel Silverman, who
greeted him among the crowd leaving the services[C6-917] was surprised
that Ruby, who appeared depressed, mentioned only his sister’s recent
illness and said nothing about the assassination.[C6-918]

[Illustration: (COMMISSION EXHIBIT 2427)



Ruby related that, after joining in the postservice
refreshments,[C6-919] he drove by some night clubs, noticing whether
or not they had been closed as his were.[C6-920] He testified that,
as he drove toward town, a radio announcement that the Dallas police
were working overtime prompted the thought that he might bring those at
police headquarters something to eat.[C6-921] At about 10:30 p.m., he
stopped at a delicatessen near the Vegas Club and purchased 8 kosher
sandwiches and 10 soft drinks.[C6-922] From the delicatessen, he called
the police department but was told that the officers had already
eaten.[C6-923] He said he then tried to offer the food to employees
at radio station KLIF but failed in several attempts to obtain the
private night line number to the station.[C6-924] On three occasions
between phone calls, Ruby spoke with a group of students whom he did
not know, lamenting the President’s death, teasing one of the young men
about being too young for his clubs, borrowing their copy of the Dallas
Times Herald to see how his advertisements had been run, and stating
that his clubs were the only ones that had closed because of the
assassination. He also expressed the opinion, as he had earlier in the
day, that the assassination would be harmful to the convention business
in Dallas.[C6-925] Upon leaving the delicatessen with his purchases,
Ruby gave the counterman as a tip a card granting free admission to his
clubs.[C6-926] He drove downtown to the police station where he has
said he hoped to find an employee from KLIF who could give him the “hot
line” phone number for the radio station.[C6-927]

_The third floor of police headquarters._--Ruby is known to have
made his way, by about 11:30 p.m., to the third floor of the Dallas
Police Department where reporters were congregated near the homicide
bureau.[C6-928] Newsman John Rutledge, one of those who may well have
been mistaken as to time, gave the following description of his first
encounter with Ruby at the police station:

    I saw Jack and two out-of-state reporters, whom I did not know,
    leave the elevator door and proceed toward those television
    cameras, to go around the corner where Captain Fritz’s office
    was. Jack walked between them. These two out-of-state reporters
    had big press cards pinned on their coats, great big red ones,
    I think they said “President Kennedy’s Visit to Dallas--Press”,
    or something like that. And Jack didn’t have one, but the man
    on either side of him did. And they walked pretty rapidly from
    the elevator area past the policeman, and Jack was bent over
    like this--writing on a piece of paper, and talking to one
    of the reporters, and pointing to something on the piece of
    paper, he was kind of hunched over.[C6-929]

[Illustration: COMMISSION EXHIBIT NO. 2424

Jack Ruby at press conference in basement assembly room about midnight
November 22, 1963. (Jack Ruby is the individual in the dark suit, back
row, right-hand side, wearing horn-rimmed glasses.)] Detective Augustus
M. Eberhardt, who also recalled that he first saw Ruby earlier in the
evening, said Ruby carried a note pad and professed to be a translator
for the Israeli press. He remembered Ruby’s remarking how unfortunate
the assassination was for the city of Dallas and that it was “hard to
realize that a complete nothing, a zero like that, could kill a man
like President Kennedy * * *.”[C6-930]

Video tapes confirm Ruby’s statement that he was present on the
third floor when Chief Jesse E. Curry and District Attorney Henry M.
Wade announced that Oswald would be shown to the newsmen at a press
conference in the basement.[C6-931] Though he has said his original
purpose was only to locate a KLIF employee, Ruby has stated that while
at the police station he was “carried away with the excitement of
history.”[C6-932] He accompanied the newsmen to the basement to observe
Oswald. His presence at the midnight news conference is established
by television tapes and by at least 12 witnesses.[C6-933] When Oswald
arrived, Ruby, together with a number of newsmen, was standing atop
a table on one side of the room.[C6-934] (See Commission Exhibit No.
2424, p. 341.) Oswald was taken from the room after a brief appearance,
and Ruby remained to hear reporters question District Attorney Wade.
During the press conference, Wade stated that Oswald would probably be
moved to the county jail at the beginning of the next week.[C6-935] In
answer to one question, Wade said that Oswald belonged to the “Free
Cuba Committee.” A few reporters spoke up correcting Wade and among the
voices was that of Jack Ruby.[C6-936]

Ruby later followed the district attorney out of the press conference,
walked up to him and, according to Wade, said “Hi Henry * * * Don’t you
know me? * * * I am Jack Ruby, I run the Vegas Club. * * *”[C6-937]
Ruby also introduced himself to Justice of the Peace David L. Johnston,
shook his hand, gave Johnston a business card to the Carousel Club,
and, upon learning Johnston’s official position, shook Johnston’s hand
again.[C6-938] After talking with Johnston, he gave another card to
Icarus M. Pappas, a reporter for New York radio station WNEW.[C6-939]
From a representative of radio station KBOX in Dallas, Ruby obtained
the “hot line” telephone number to KLIF.[C6-940] He then called the
station and told one of the employees that he would like to come up to
distribute the sandwiches and cold drinks he had purchased.[C6-941]
Observing Pappas holding a telephone line open and attempting to get
the attention of District Attorney Wade, Ruby directed Wade to Pappas,
who proceeded to interview the district attorney.[C6-942] Ruby then
called KLIF a second time and offered to secure an interview with Wade;
he next summoned Wade to his phone, whereupon KLIF recorded a telephone
interview with the district attorney.[C6-943] A few minutes later. Ruby
encountered Russ Knight, a reporter from KLIF who had left the station
for the police department at the beginning of Ruby’s second telephone
call. Ruby directed Knight to Wade and waited a short distance away
while the reporter conducted another interview with the district

_At radio station KLIF._--When Ruby left police headquarters, he
drove to radio station KLIF, arriving at approximately 1:45 a.m. and
remaining for about 45 minutes.[C6-945] After first distributing his
sandwiches and soft drinks, Ruby settled in the newsroom for the 2 a.m.
newscast in which he was credited with suggesting that Russ Knight ask
District Attorney Wade whether or not Oswald was sane.[C6-946] After
the newscast, Ruby gave a Carousel card to one KLIF employee, although
another did not recall that Ruby was promoting his club as he normally
did.[C6-947] When speaking with KLIF’s Danny Patrick McCurdy, Ruby
mentioned that he was going to close his clubs for the weekend and
that he would rather lose $1,200 or $1,500 than remain open at that
time in the Nation’s history. McCurdy remembered that Ruby “looked
rather pale to me as he was talking to me and he kept looking at the
floor.”[C6-948] To announcer Glen Duncan, Ruby expressed satisfaction
that the evidence was mounting against Oswald. Duncan said that Ruby
did not appear to be grieving but, instead, seemed pleased about the
personal contact he had had with the investigation earlier in the

Ruby left the radio station accompanied by Russ Knight. Engaging Knight
in a short conversation, Ruby handed him a radio script entitled
“Heroism” from a conservative radio program called “Life Line.” It was
apparently one of the scripts that had come into Ruby’s hands a few
weeks before at the Texas Products Show when Hunt Foods were including
such scripts with samples of their products.[C6-950] The script
extolled the virtues of those who embark upon risky business ventures
and stand firmly for causes they believe to be correct.[C6-951] Ruby
asked Knight’s views on the script and suggested that there was a
group of “radicals” in Dallas which hated President Kennedy and that
the owner of the radio station should editorialize against this group.
Knight could not clearly determine whether Ruby had reference to
persons who sponsored programs like “Life Line” or to those who held
leftwing views.[C6-952] Knight gained the impression that Ruby believed
such persons, whoever they might be, were partially responsible for the

_Early morning of November 23._--At about 2:30 a.m., Ruby entered
his automobile and departed for the Dallas Times-Herald Building. En
route, he stopped for about an hour to speak with Kay Helen Coleman,
one of his dancers, and Harry Olsen, a member of the Dallas Police
Department, who had hailed him from a parking garage at the corner
of Jackson and Field Streets. The couple were crying and extremely
upset over the assassination. At one point, according to Ruby, the
police officer remarked that “they should cut this guy [Oswald] inch
by inch into ribbons,” and the dancer said that “in England they
would drag him through the streets and would have hung him.”[C6-954]
Although Ruby failed to mention this episode during his first two FBI
interviews,[C6-955] he later explained that his reason for failing to
do so was that he did not “want to involve them in anything, because
it was supposed to be a secret that he [the police officer] was going
with this young lady.”[C6-956] About 6 weeks after the assassination,
Olsen left the Dallas Police Department and married Miss Coleman. Both
Olsen and his wife testified that they were greatly upset during their
lengthy conversation with Ruby early Saturday morning; but Mrs. Olsen
denied and Olsen did not recall the remarks ascribed to them.[C6-957]
The Olsens claimed instead that Ruby had cursed Oswald.[C6-958] Mrs.
Olsen also mentioned that Ruby expressed sympathy for Mrs. Kennedy and
her children.[C6-959]

From Jackson and Field Streets, Ruby drove to the Dallas Times-Herald,
where he talked for about 15 minutes with composing room employee Roy
Pryor, who had just finished a shift at 4 a.m. Ruby mentioned that
he had seen Oswald earlier in the night, that he had corrected Henry
Wade in connection with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and that
he had set up a telephone interview with Wade. Pryor testified that
Ruby explicitly stated to him that he believed he was in good favor
with the district attorney.[C6-960] Recalling that Ruby described
Oswald as a “little weasel of a guy” and was emotionally concerned
about the President’s wife and children, Pryor also was impressed by
Ruby’s sorrowful mood and remembered that, as he talked, Ruby shook a
newspaper to emphasize his concern over the assassination.[C6-961]

When Pryor left the composing room, Ruby remained and continued
speaking with other employees, including Arthur Watherwax and the
foreman, Clyde Gadash. Ruby, who often visited the Times-Herald at
that early morning hour in connection with his ads, sought Watherwax’s
views on his decision to close his clubs and indicated he was going
to attempt to persuade other club owners to do likewise. Watherwax
described Ruby as “pretty shaken up” about the assassination and at the
same time “excited” that he had attended Oswald’s Friday night press

While at the Times-Herald, Ruby displayed to the composing room
employees a “twistboard” he had previously promised to Gadash.[C6-963]
The twistboard was an exercising device consisting of two pieces of
hardened materials joined together by a lazy susan bearing so that
one piece could remain stationary on the floor while a person stood
atop it and swiveled to and fro.[C6-964] Ruby had been trying to
promote sales of the board in the weeks before President Kennedy was
killed.[C6-965] Considerable merriment developed when one of the women
employees at the Times-Herald demonstrated the board, and Ruby himself,
put on a demonstration for those assembled.[C6-966] He later testified:
“* * * not that I wanted to get in with the hilarity of frolicking,
but he [Gadash] asked me to show him, and the other men gathered
around.”[C6-967] Gadash agreed that Ruby’s general mood was one of

At about 4:30 a.m., Ruby drove from the Dallas Times-Herald to his
apartment where he awakened his roommate George Senator.[C6-969] During
his visit in the composing room Ruby had expressed the view that the
Weissman advertisement was an effort to discredit the Jews.[C6-970]
Senator testified that when Ruby returned to the apartment, he began
to discuss the Weissman advertisement and also a signboard he had seen
in Dallas urging that Chief Justice Earl Warren be impeached.[C6-971]
Shortly thereafter, Ruby telephoned Larry Crafard at the Carousel
Club.[C6-972] He told Crafard to meet him and Senator at the Nichols
Garage adjacent to the Carousel Club and to bring a Polaroid camera
kept in the club.[C6-973] After Crafard joined Ruby and Senator, the
three men drove to the “Impeach Earl Warren” sign near Hall Avenue and
Central Expressway in Dallas. There Ruby instructed Crafard to take
three photographs of the billboard. Believing that the sign and the
Weissman newspaper ad might somehow be connected, Ruby noted on the
back of an envelope a name and post office box number that appeared on
the sign.[C6-974] According to George Senator:

    * * * when he was looking at the sign and taking pictures of
    it, and the newspaper ad, * * * this is where he really wanted
    to know the whys or why these things had to be out. He is
    trying to combine these two together, which I did hear him say,
    “This is the work of the John Birch Society or the Communist
    Party or maybe a combination of both.”[C6-975]

Pursuing a possible connection between the billboard and the newspaper
advertisement, Ruby drove to the post office and asked a postal
employee for the name of the man who had rented the box indicated on
the billboard, but the employee said that he could not provide such
information. Ruby inspected the box, however, and was upset to find it
stuffed with mail.[C6-976] The three men then drove to a coffeeshop
where Ruby continued to discuss the two advertisements. After about 30
minutes, they left the coffeeshop. Crafard was taken to the Carousel
Club; Ruby and Senator returned to their apartment,[C6-977] and Ruby
retired at about 6 a.m.[C6-978]

_The morning and afternoon of November 23._--At 8 or 8:30 a.m. Crafard,
who had been asked to feed Ruby’s dogs, telephoned Ruby at his
apartment to inquire about food for the animals.[C6-979] Ruby forgot
that he had told Crafard he did not plan to go to bed and reprimanded
Crafard for waking him.[C6-980] A few hours thereafter Crafard
assembled his few belongings, took from the Carousel cash register $5
of money due him from Ruby, left a receipt and thank-you note, and
began hitchhiking to Michigan. Later that day, Andrew Armstrong found
the note and telephoned Ruby.[C6-981]

Ruby apparently did not return to bed following Crafard’s call. During
the morning hours, he watched a rabbi deliver on television a moving
eulogy of President Kennedy.[C6-982] According to Ruby, the rabbi:

    went ahead and eulogized that here is a man that fought in
    every battle, went to every country, and had to come back to
    his own country to be shot in the back [starts crying] * * *.
    That created a tremendous emotional feeling for me, the
    way he said that. Prior to all the other times, I was carried

An employee from the Carousel Club who telephoned Ruby during the
morning remembered that his “voice was shaking” when he spoke of the

Ruby has stated that, upon leaving his apartment some time between
noon and 1:30 p.m., he drove to Dealey Plaza where a police officer,
who noted Ruby’s solemnity, pointed out to him the window from which
the rifleshots had been fired the day before.[C6-985] Ruby related
that he inspected the wreaths that had been placed in memory of the
President and became filled with emotion while speaking with the
police officer.[C6-986] Ruby introduced himself to a reporter for
radio station KRLD who was working inside a mobile news unit at the
plaza; the newsman mentioned to Ruby that he had heard of Ruby’s help
to KLIF in obtaining an interview with Henry Wade, and Ruby pointed
out to the reporter that Capt. J. Will Fritz and Chief Curry were then
in the vicinity. Thereafter, the newsman interviewed and photographed
the officers.[C6-987] Ruby said that he next drove home and returned
downtown to Sol’s Turf Bar on Commerce Street.[C6-988]

The evidence indicated, however, that sometime after leaving Dealey
Plaza, Ruby went to the Nichols Parking Garage adjacent to the Carousel
Club, where he was seen by Garnett C. Hallmark, general manager of
the garage, and Tom Brown, an attendant. Brown believed that at about
1:30 p.m. he heard Ruby mention Chief Curry’s name in a telephone
conversation from the garage. Brown also recalled that, before finally
departing, Ruby asked him to inform acquaintances whom he expected to
stop by the garage that the Carousel would be closed.[C6-989] Hallmark
testified that Ruby drove into the garage at about 3 p.m., walked to
the telephone, inquired whether or not a competing burlesque club would
be closed that night, and told Hallmark that he (Ruby) was “acting
like a reporter.”[C6-990] Hallmark then heard Ruby address someone
at the other end of the telephone as “Ken” and caught portions of a
conversation concerning the transfer of Oswald.[C6-991] Hallmark said
Ruby never called Oswald by name but used the pronoun “he” and remarked
to the recipient of the call, “you know I’ll be there.”[C6-992]

Ken Dowe, a KLIF announcer, to whom Ruby made at least two telephone
calls within a short span of time Saturday afternoon, confirmed that
he was probably the person to whom Hallmark and Brown overheard Ruby
speaking. In one call to Dowe, Ruby asked whether the station knew
when Oswald would be moved; and, in another, he stated he was going to
attempt to locate Henry Wade.[C6-993] After Ruby finished his calls, he
walked onto Commerce Street, passed the Carousel Club, and returned a
few minutes later to get his car.[C6-994]

Ruby’s comment that he was “acting like a reporter” and that he would
be at the Oswald transfer suggests that Ruby may have spent part of
Saturday afternoon shuttling back and forth from the Police and Courts
Building to Dealey Plaza. Such activity would explain the fact that
Tom Brown at the Nichols Garage believed he saw Ruby at 1:30 p.m.
while Garnett Hallmark placed Ruby at the garage at 3 p.m. It would
also explain Ken Dowe’s receiving two phone calls from Ruby. The
testimony of five news reporters supports the possibility that Ruby
was at the Police and Courts Building Saturday afternoon.[C6-995]
One stated that Ruby provided sandwiches for newsmen on duty there
Saturday afternoon, although no news representative has mentioned
personally receiving such sandwiches.[C6-996] Another testified that
he received a card to the Carousel Club from Ruby about 4 p.m. that
day at the police station.[C6-997] A third believed he saw Ruby enter
an office in which Henry Wade was working, but no one else reported
a similar event.[C6-998] The remaining two witnesses mentioned no
specific activities.[C6-999] None of the persons who believed they saw
Ruby at the police department on Saturday had known him previously,
and no police officer has reported Ruby’s presence on that day. Ruby
has not mentioned such a visit. The Commission, therefore, reached no
firm conclusion as to whether or not Ruby visited the Dallas Police
Department on Saturday.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Ruby went to Sol’s Turf Bar on Commerce Street
where he remained for about 45 minutes. Ruby, a nondrinker, stated
that he visited Sol’s for the purpose of talking with his accountant,
who customarily prepared the bar’s payroll on Saturday afternoon.
The accountant testified, however, that he saw Ruby only briefly
and mentioned no business conversation with Ruby.[C6-1000] Ruby
was first noticed at the Turf Bar by jeweler Frank Bellochio, who,
after seeing Ruby, began to berate the people of Dallas for the
assassination.[C6-1001] Ruby disagreed and, when Bellochio said he
might close his jewelry business and leave Dallas, Ruby attempted to
calm him, saying that there were many good citizens in Dallas.[C6-1002]
In response, Bellochio pointed to a copy of the Bernard Weissman
advertisement.[C6-1003] To Bellochio’s bewilderment, Ruby then said
he believed that the advertisement was the work of a group attempting
to create anti-Semitic feelings in Dallas and that he had learned
from the Dallas Morning News that the ad had been paid for partly in
cash.[C6-1004] Ruby thereupon produced one of the photographs he had
taken Saturday morning of the “Impeach Earl Warren” sign and excitedly
began to rail against the sign as if he agreed with Bellochio’s
original criticism of Dallas.[C6-1005] He “seemed to be taking two
sides--he wasn’t coherent,” Bellochio testified.[C6-1006] When
Bellochio saw Ruby’s photographs, which Bellochio thought supported
his argument against Dallas, he walked to the front of the bar and
showed them to Tom Apple, with whom he had been previously arguing. In
Apple’s presence, Bellochio asked Ruby for one of the pictures but Ruby
refused, mentioning that he regarded the pictures as a scoop.[C6-1007]
Bellochio testified: “I spoke to Tom and said a few more words to
Tom, and Ruby was gone--never said ‘Goodbye’ or ‘I’ll be seeing

Ruby may have left in order to telephone Stanley Kaufman, a friend
and attorney who had represented him in civil matters.[C6-1009]
Kaufman testified that, at approximately 4 p.m., Ruby called him
about the Bernard Weissman advertisement. According to Kaufman,
“Jack was particularly impressed with the [black] border as being a
tipoff of some sort--that this man knew the President was going to
be assassinated * * *.”[C6-1010] Ruby told Kaufman that he had tried
to locate Weissman by going to the post office and said that he was
attempting to be helpful to law enforcement authorities.[C6-1011]

Considerable confusion exists as to the place from which Ruby placed
the call to Kaufman and as to his activities after leaving Sol’s Turf
Bar. Eva Grant stated that the call was made from her apartment about
4 p.m.[C6-1012] Ruby, however, believed it was made from the Turf Bar.
He stated that from the Turf Bar he went to the Carousel and then home
and has not provided additional details on his activities during the
hours from about 4 to 9:30 p.m.[C6-1013] Robert Larkin saw him downtown
at about 6 p.m.[C6-1014] and Andrew Armstrong testified that Ruby
visited the Carousel Club between 6 and 7 p.m. and remained about an

_At Eva Grant’s apartment Saturday evening._--Eva Grant believed that,
for most of the period from 4 until 8 p.m., Ruby was at her apartment.
Mrs. Grant testified that her brother was still disturbed about the
Weissman advertisement when he arrived, showed her the photograph
of the Warren sign, and recounted his argument with Bellochio about
the city of Dallas. Still curious as to whether or not Weissman was
Jewish, Mrs. Grant asked her brother whether he had been able to find
the name Bernard Weissman in the Dallas city directory, and Ruby
said he had not. Their doubts about Weissman’s existence having been
confirmed, both began to speculate that the Weissman ad and the Warren
sign were the work of either “Commies or the Birchers,” and were
designed to discredit the Jews.[C6-1016] Apparently in the midst of
that conversation Ruby telephoned Russ Knight at KLIF and, according to
Knight, asked who Earl Warren was.[C6-1017]

Mrs. Grant has testified that Ruby eventually retired to her bedroom
where he made telephone calls and slept.[C6-1018] About 8:30 p.m.,
Ruby telephoned to Thomas J. O’Grady, a friend and former Dallas
police officer who had once worked for Ruby as a bouncer. To O’Grady,
Ruby mentioned closing the Carousel Club, criticized his competitors
for remaining open, and complained about the “Impeach Earl Warren”

_Saturday evening at Ruby’s apartment._--By 9:30 p.m., Ruby had
apparently returned to his apartment where he received a telephone call
from one of his striptease dancers, Karen Bennett Carlin, who, together
with her husband, had been driven from Fort Worth to Dallas that
evening by another dancer, Nancy Powell.[C6-1020] All three had stopped
at the Colony Club, a burlesque nightclub which competed with the
Carousel.[C6-1021] Mrs. Carlin testified that, in need of money, she
telephoned Ruby, asked whether the Carousel would be open that night,
and requested part of her salary.[C6-1022] According to Mrs. Carlin,
Ruby became angry at the suggestion that the Carousel Club might be
open for business but told her he would come to the Carousel in about
an hour.[C6-1023]

Thereafter, in a depressed mood, Ruby telephoned his sister Eva Grant,
who suggested he visit a friend.[C6-1024] Possibly in response to that
suggestion, Ruby called Lawrence Meyers, a friend from Chicago with
whom he had visited two nights previously.[C6-1025] Meyers testified
that, during their telephone conversation, Ruby asked him what he
thought of this “terrible thing,” Ruby then began to criticize his
competitors, Abe and Barney Weinstein, for failing to close their
clubs on Saturday night. In the course of his conversation about the
Weinsteins and the assassination, Ruby said “I’ve got to do something
about this.”[C6-1026] Meyers initially understood that remark to refer
to the Weinsteins. Upon reflection after Oswald was shot, Meyers was
uncertain whether Ruby was referring to his competitors, or to the
assassination of President Kennedy; for Ruby had also spoken at length
about Mrs. Kennedy and had repeated “those poor people, those poor
people.”[C6-1027] At the conclusion of their conversation, Meyers
declined Ruby’s invitation to join him for a cup of coffee but invited
Ruby to join him at the motel. When Ruby also declined, the two agreed
to meet for dinner the following evening.[C6-1028]

Meanwhile, Karen Carlin and her husband grew anxious over Ruby’s
failure to appear with the money they had requested.[C6-1029] After a
substantial wait, they returned together to the Nichols Garage where
Mr. Carlin telephoned to Ruby.[C6-1030] Carlin testified that he told
Ruby they needed money in order to return to Fort Worth[C6-1031]
although Nancy Powell testified that she drove the Carlins home that
evening.[C6-1032] Agreeing to advance a small sum, Ruby asked to speak
to Mrs. Carlin, who claimed that Ruby told her that if she needed
more money she should call him on Sunday.[C6-1033] Thereafter, at
Ruby’s request, garage attendant Huey Reeves gave Mrs. Carlin $5, and
she signed with her stage name “Little Lynn” a receipt which Reeves
time-stamped 10:33 p.m., November 23.[C6-1034] (See Commission Exhibit
No. 1476, p. 351.)

Inconsistent testimony was developed regarding Ruby’s activities
during the next 45 minutes. Eva Grant testified that she did not see
her brother on Saturday night after 8 p.m. and has denied calling
Ralph Paul herself that night.[C6-1035] Nonetheless, telephone
company records revealed that at 10:44 p.m. a call was made to Ralph
Paul’s Bull Pen Drive-In in Arlington, Tex., from Mrs. Grant’s
apartment.[C6-1036] It was the only call to Paul from her apartment
on Friday or Saturday;[C6-1037] she recalled her brother making such
a call that weekend;[C6-1038] and Ralph Paul has testified that Ruby
telephoned him Saturday night from Eva Grant’s apartment and said he
and his sister were there crying.[C6-1039]

Nineteen-year-old Wanda Helmick, a former waitress at the Bull Pen
Drive-In, first reported in June, 1964 that some time during the
evening she saw the cashier answer the Bull Pan’s pay telephone and
heard her call out to Paul, “It is for you. It is Jack.”[C6-1040]
Mrs. Helmick claimed she overheard Paul, speaking on the telephone,
mention something about a gun which, she understood from Paul’s
conversation, the caller had in his possession. She said she also heard
Paul exclaim “Are you crazy?”[C6-1041] She provided no other details
of the conversation. Mrs. Helmick claimed that on Sunday, November 24,
after Oswald had been shot, she heard Paul repeat the substance of the
call to other employees as she had related it and that Paul said Ruby
was the caller.[C6-1042] Ralph Paul denied the allegations of Mrs.
Helmick.[C6-1043] Both Paul and Mrs. Helmick agreed that Paul went home
soon after the call, apparently about 11 p.m.[C6-1044]

Shortly after 11 p.m., Ruby arrived at the Nichols Garage where
he repaid Huey Reeves and obtained the receipt Mrs. Carlin had
signed.[C6-1045] Outside the Carousel, Ruby exchanged greetings with
Police Officer Harry Olsen and Kay Coleman, whom he had seen late
the previous night.[C6-1046] Going upstairs to the club, Ruby made a
series of five brief long-distance phone calls, the first being to the
Bull Pen Drive-In at 11:18 p.m. and lasting only 1 minute.[C6-1047]
Apparently unable to reach Paul there, Ruby telephoned Paul’s home in
Arlington, Tex., for 3 minutes.[C6-1048] A third call was placed at
11:36 p.m. for 2 minutes, again to Paul’s home.[C6-1049] At 11:44 p.m.
Ruby telephoned Breck Wall, a friend and entertainer who had gone to
Galveston, Tex., when his show in Dallas suspended its performance out
of respect to President Kennedy. The call lasted 2 minutes.[C6-1050]
Thereafter, Ruby immediately placed a 1-minute phone call to Paul’s

Although Ruby has mentioned those calls, he has not provided details
to the Commission; however, he has denied ever indicating to Paul or
Wall that he was going to shoot Oswald and has said he did not consider
such action until Sunday morning.[C6-1052] Ralph Paul did not mention
the late evening calls in his interview with FBI agents on November
24, 1963.[C6-1053] Later Paul testified that Ruby called him from
downtown to say that nobody was doing any business.[C6-1054] Breck Wall
testified that Ruby called him to determine whether or not the American
Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA), which represented striptease dancers
in Dallas, had met concerning a dispute Ruby was having with the
union.[C6-1055] Ruby’s major difference with AGVA during the preceding
2 weeks had involved what Ruby considered to be AGVA’s failure to
enforce against his 2 competitors, Abe and Barney Weinstein, AGVA’s
ban on “striptease contests” and performances by “amateurs.”[C6-1056]
As recently as Wednesday, November 20, Ruby had telephoned an AGVA
representative in Chicago about that complaint and earlier in
November he had unsuccessfully sought to obtain assistance from a
San Francisco gambler and a Chicagoan reputed for his heavyhanded
union activities.[C6-1057] Wall testified that Ruby “was very upset
the President was assassinated and he called Abe Weinstein or Bernie
Weinstein * * * some names for staying open * * *.” Wall added, “he was
very upset * * * that they did not have the decency to close on such a
day and he thought out of respect they should close.”[C6-1058]

_Ruby’s activities after midnight._--After completing the series of
calls to Paul and Wall at 11:48 p.m., Ruby went to the Pago Club,
about a 10-minute drive from the Carousel Club.[C6-1059] He took a
table near the middle of the club and, after ordering a Coke, asked
the waitress in a disapproving tone, “Why are you open?”[C6-1060] When
Robert Norton, the club’s manager, joined Ruby a few minutes later he
expressed to Ruby his concern as to whether or not it was proper to
operate the Pago Club that evening. Ruby indicated that the Carousel
was closed but did not criticize Norton for remaining open.[C6-1061]
Norton raised the topic of President Kennedy’s death and said, “[W]e
couldn’t do enough to the person that [did] this sort of thing.”
Norton added, however, that “Nobody has the right to take the life of
another one.”[C6-1062] Ruby expressed no strong opinion, and closed the
conversation by saying he was going home because he was tired.[C6-1063]
Later, Ruby told the Commission: “he knew something was wrong with me
in the certain mood I was in.”[C6-1064]

[Illustration: (COMMISSION EXHIBIT 1476)

NOVEMBER 23, 1963


1963, STAMPED 11:17 A.M.


NOVEMBER 24, 1963, STAMPED 11:17 A.M.


24, 1963


24, 1963, STAMPED 11:16 A.M.]

Ruby testified that he went home after speaking with Norton and went to
bed about 1:30 a.m.[C6-1065] By that time, George Senator claimed, he
had retired for the night and did not remember Ruby’s return.[C6-1066]
Eva Grant testified that her brother telephoned her at about 12:45 a.m.
to learn how she was feeling.[C6-1067]

_Sunday morning._--Ruby’s activities on Sunday morning are the subject
of conflicting testimony. George Senator believed that Ruby did not
rise until 9 or 9:30 a.m.;[C6-1068] both Ruby and Senator maintained
that Ruby did not leave their apartment until shortly before 11:00
a.m., and two other witnesses have provided testimony which supports
that account of Ruby’s whereabouts.[C6-1069] On the other hand, three
WBAP-TV television technicians--Warren Richey, John Smith, and Ira
Walker--believed they saw Ruby near the Police and Courts Building
at various times between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.[C6-1070] But there are
substantial reasons to doubt the accuracy of their identifications.
None had ever seen Ruby on a prior occasion. None looked for an
extended period at the man believed to be Ruby,[C6-1071] and all were
occupied with their duties and had no reason to remember the man’s
appearance until they saw Ruby’s picture on television.[C6-1072]

Smith, for one, was not entirely positive about his identification
of Ruby as the man he saw;[C6-1073] and Richey was looking down from
atop a TV mobile unit when he observed on the sidewalk the man he
believed was Ruby.[C6-1074] In addition, Richey and Smith provided
descriptions of Ruby which differ substantially from information
about Ruby gathered from other sources. Smith described the man he
saw as being an “unkempt person that possibly could have slept with
his clothes on * * *.”[C6-1075] Ruby was characteristically clean and
well groomed.[C6-1076] In fact, Senator testified that Ruby shaved and
dressed before leaving their apartment that morning, and at the time
Ruby shot Oswald he was dressed in a hat and business suit.[C6-1077]
Richey described Ruby as wearing a grayish overcoat,[C6-1078] while
investigation indicated that Ruby did not own an overcoat and was
not wearing one at the time of the shooting.[C6-1079] (See Pappas
Deposition Exhibit No. 1, p. 356.) Although Walker’s identification
of Ruby is the most positive, his certainty must be contrasted with
the indefinite identification made by Smith, who had seen the man on
one additional occasion.[C6-1080] Both Smith and Walker saw a man
resembling Ruby when the man, on two occasions, looked through the
window of their mobile news unit and once asked whether Oswald had
been transferred. Both saw only the man’s head, and Smith was closer
to the window; yet Smith would not state positively that the man was
Ruby.[C6-1081] Finally, video tapes of scenes on Sunday morning near
the NBC van show a man close to the Commerce Street entrance who might
have been mistaken for Ruby.[C6-1082]

George Senator said that when he arose, before 9 a.m., he began to
do his laundry in the basement of the apartment building while Ruby
slept.[C6-1083] During Senator’s absence, Ruby received a telephone
call from his cleaning lady, Mrs. Elnora Pitts, who testified that she
called sometime between 8:30 and 9 a.m. to learn whether Ruby wanted
her to clean his apartment that day.[C6-1084] Mrs. Pitts remembered
that Ruby “sounded terrible strange to me.” She said that “there was
something wrong with him the way he was talking to me.”[C6-1085] Mrs.
Pitts explained that, although she had regularly been cleaning Ruby’s
apartment on Sundays, Ruby seemed not to comprehend who she was or
the reason for her call and required her to repeat herself several
times.[C6-1086] As Senator returned to the apartment after the call, he
was apparently mistaken for Ruby by a neighbor, Sidney Evans, Jr. Evans
had never seen Ruby before but recalled observing a man resembling
Ruby, clad in trousers and T-shirt, walk upstairs from the “washateria”
in the basement of their building and enter Ruby’s suite with a load
of laundry. Later in the morning, Malcolm Slaughter who shared an
apartment with Evans, saw an individual, similarly clad, on the same
floor as Ruby’s apartment.[C6-1087] Senator stated that it was not
Ruby’s custom to do his own washing and that Ruby did not do so that

While Senator was in the apartment, Ruby watched television, made
himself coffee and scrambled eggs, and received, at 10:19 a.m., a
telephone call from his entertainer, Karen Carlin.[C6-1089] Mrs. Carlin
testified that in her telephone conversation she asked Ruby for $25
inasmuch as her rent was delinquent and she needed groceries.[C6-1090]
She said that Ruby, who seemed upset, mentioned that he was going
downtown anyway and that he would send the money from the Western Union
office.[C6-1091] According to George Senator, Ruby then probably took a
half hour or more to bathe and dress.[C6-1092]

Supporting the accounts given by Mrs. Carlin and Mrs. Pitts of Ruby’s
emotional state, Senator testified that during the morning Ruby:

    * * * was even mumbling, which I didn’t understand. And right
    after breakfast he got dressed. Then after he got dressed he
    was pacing the floor from the living room to the bedroom,
    from the bedroom to the living room, and his lips were
    going. What he was jabbering I don’t know. But he was really

Ruby has described to the Commission his own emotions of Sunday morning
as follows:

    * * * Sunday morning * * * [I] saw a letter to Caroline, two
    columns about a 16-inch area. Someone had written a letter to
    Caroline. The most heartbreaking letter. I don’t remember the
    contents. * * * alongside that letter on the same sheet of
    paper was a small comment in the newspaper that, I don’t know
    how it was stated, that Mrs. Kennedy may have to come back for
    the trial of Lee Harvey Oswald. * * *

    I don’t know what bug got ahold of me. I don’t know what it is,
    but I am going to tell the truth word for word.

    I am taking a pill called Preludin. It is a harmless pill, and
    it is very easy to get in the drugstore. It isn’t a highly
    prescribed pill. I use it for dieting.

    I don’t partake of that much food. I think that was a stimulus
    to give me an emotional feeling that suddenly I felt, which was
    so stupid, that I wanted to show my love for our faith, being
    of the Jewish faith, and I never used the term and I don’t want
    to go into that--suddenly the feeling, the emotional feeling
    came within me that someone owed this debt to our beloved
    President to save her the ordeal of coming back. I don’t know
    why that came through my mind.[C6-1094]

(See Commission Exhibit No. 2426, p. 355.)

_Sunday morning trip to police department._--Leaving his apartment a
few minutes before 11 a.m., Ruby went to his automobile taking with him
his dachshund, Sheba, and a portable radio.[C6-1095] He placed in his
pocket a revolver which he routinely carried in a bank moneybag in the
trunk of his car.[C6-1096] Listening to the radio, he drove downtown,
according to his own testimony, by a route that took him past Dealey
Plaza where he observed the scattered wreaths. Ruby related that he
noted the crowd that had gathered outside the county jail and assumed
that Oswald had already been transferred. However, when he passed the
Main Street side of the Police and Courts Building, which is situated
on the same block as the Western Union office, he also noted the crowd
that was gathered outside that building.[C6-1097] Normal driving time
for the trip from his apartment would have been about 15 minutes, but
Ruby’s possible haste and the slow movement of traffic through Dealey
Plaza make a reliable estimate difficult.[C6-1098]

Ruby parked his car in a lot directly across the street from the
Western Union office. He apparently placed his keys and billfold in the
trunk of the car, then locked the trunk, which contained approximately
$1,000 in cash, and placed the trunk key in the glove compartment of
the car. He did not lock the car doors.[C6-1099]

With his revolver, more than $2,000 in cash, and no personal
identification, Ruby walked from the parking lot across the street to
the Western Union office where he filled out forms for sending $25 by
telegraph to Karen Carlin.[C6-1100] After waiting in line while one
other Western Union customer completed her business,[C6-1101] Ruby paid
for the telegram and retained as a receipt one of three time-stamped
documents which show that the transaction was completed at almost
exactly 11:17 a.m., c.s.t.[C6-1102] (See Commission Exhibits Nos. 1476,
2420, 2421; D. Lane Deposition Exhibits Nos. 5118, 5119, p. 351.)
The Western Union clerk who accepted Ruby’s order recalls that Ruby
promptly turned, walked out of the door onto Main Street, and proceeded
in the direction of the police department one block away.[C6-1103]
The evidence set forth in chapter V indicates that Ruby entered the
police basement through the auto ramp from Main Street and stood
behind the front rank of newsmen and police officers who were crowded
together at the base of the ramp awaiting the transfer of Oswald to
the county jail.[C6-1104] As Oswald emerged from a basement office
at approximately 11:21 a.m., Ruby moved quickly forward and, without
speaking,[C6-1105] fired one fatal shot into Oswald’s abdomen before
being subdued by a rush of police officers.[C6-1106]







_Evaluation of activities._--Examination of Ruby’s activities
immediately preceding and following the death of President Kennedy
revealed no sign of any conduct which suggests that he was involved
in the assassination. Prior to the tragedy, Ruby’s activities were
routine. Though persons who saw him between November 22 and 24 disagree
as to whether or not he appeared more upset than others around him, his
response to the assassination appears to have been one of genuine shock
and grief. His indications of concern over the possible effects of the
assassination upon his businesses seem consistent with other evidence
of his character.[C6-1107] During the course of the weekend, Ruby seems
to have become obsessed with the possibility that the Impeach Earl
Warren sign and the Bernard Weissman ad were somehow connected and
related to the assassination. However, Ruby’s interest in these public
notices was openly expressed and, as discussed below, the evidence
reveals no connection between him and any political organization.

Examination of Larry Crafard’s sudden departure from Dallas shortly
before noon on November 23 does not suggest that Ruby was involved in a
conspiracy. To be sure, Crafard started hitchhiking to Michigan, where
members of his family lived, with only $7 in his pocket.[C6-1108] He
made no attempt to communicate with law enforcement officials after
Oswald’s death;[C6-1109] and a relative in Michigan recalled that
Crafard spoke very little of his association with Ruby.[C6-1110] When
finally located by the FBI 6 days later, he stated that he left Ruby’s
employ because he did not wish to be subjected to further verbal abuse
by Ruby and that he went north to see his sister, from whom he had not
heard in some time.[C6-1111]

An investigation of Crafard’s unusual behavior confirms that his
departure from Dallas was innocent. After Oswald was shot, FBI
agents obtained from the Carousel Club an unmailed letter drafted
by Crafard to a relative in Michigan at least a week before the
assassination.[C6-1112] The letter revealed that he was considering
leaving Dallas at that time.[C6-1113] On November 17, Crafard, who had
been receiving only room, board, and incidental expenses, told Ruby he
wanted to stop working for him; however, Crafard agreed to remain when
Ruby promised a salary.[C6-1114] Then on the morning of November 23,
Ruby and Crafard had a minor altercation over the telephone.[C6-1115]
Although Crafard did not voluntarily make known to the authorities his
associations with Ruby, he spoke freely and with verifiable accuracy
when questioned. The automobile driver who provided Crafard his first
ride from Dallas has been located; his statement generally conforms
with Crafard’s story; and he did not recall any unusual or troubled
behavior by Crafard during that ride.[C6-1116]

Although Crafard’s peremptory decision to leave Dallas might be unusual
for most persons, such behavior does not appear to have been uncommon
for him. His family residence had shifted frequently among California,
Michigan, and Oregon.[C6-1117] During his 22 years, he had earned his
livelihood picking crops, working in carnivals, and taking other odd
jobs throughout the country.[C6-1118] According to his testimony, he
had previously hitchhiked across the country with his then wife and
two infant children.[C6-1119] Against such a background, it is most
probable that the factors motivating Crafard’s departure from Dallas on
November 23 were dissatisfaction with his existence in Ruby’s employ,
which he had never considered more than temporary, Ruby’s decision
to close his clubs for 3 days, the argument on Saturday morning,
and his own desire to see his relatives in Michigan. There is no
evidence to suggest any connection between Crafard’s departure and the
assassination of the President or the shooting of Oswald.

The allegations of Wanda Helmick raised speculation that Ruby’s
Saturday night phone calls to Ralph Paul and Breck Wall might have
concerned the shooting of Oswald, but investigation has found nothing
to indicate that the calls had conspiratorial implications. Paul
was a close friend, business associate, and adviser to Jack Ruby.
Ruby normally kept in close telephone contact with Paul, who had a
substantial sum of money committed to the Carousel Club.[C6-1120] Paul
explained that Ruby called him Saturday evening once to point out his
ads, another time to say that nobody seemed to be doing any business in
downtown Dallas, and a third time to relate that both he and his sister
were crying over the assassination.[C6-1121] Between two of those phone
calls to Paul, Ruby telephoned to Galveston, Tex., to speak with Wall,
a friend and former business associate who was an official of the
American Guild of Variety Artists. Wall related that during that call
Ruby criticized the Weinsteins for failing to close their clubs.

Having earlier made the same complaint to Lawrence Meyers to whom
he mentioned a need “to do something about this” it would have been
characteristic for Ruby to want to direct Breck Wall’s attention,
as an AGVA official, to what he regarded as the Weinsteins’ improper
conduct. The view that the calls to Wall and Paul could have had
conspiratorial implications also is belied in large measure by the
conduct of both men before and after the events of November 22-24. A
check of long-distance telephone records reveals no suspicious activity
by either man.[C6-1122] Paul, in fact, is not known to have visited
Dallas during the weekend of the assassination except to appear openly
in an effort to arrange counsel for Ruby within a few hours of the
attack on Oswald. Neither the FBI nor the CIA has been able to provide
any information that Ralph Paul or Breck Wall ever engaged in any form
of subversive activity.[C6-1123]

Moreover, Mrs. Helmick’s reliability is undermined by her failure to
report her information to any investigative official until June 9,
1964.[C6-1124] Although a sister-in-law confirms that Mrs. Helmick
wrote her “something about a gun” shortly after the shooting,[C6-1125]
the only mention of any statement by Paul which was included in a
letter written by Mrs. Helmick after the Ruby trial was that Paul
believed Ruby was “not in his right mind.”[C6-1126] No corroborating
witness named by Mrs. Helmick has been found who remembers the
conversations she mentioned.[C6-1127] Both Ruby and Paul have denied
that anything was said, as Mrs. Helmick suggests, about a gun or an
intent to shoot Oswald, and Wall has stated that Ruby did not discuss
such matters with him.[C6-1128] Even if Mrs. Helmick is accurate the
statements ascribed to Paul indicate only that he may have heard of a
possible reference by Ruby to shooting Oswald. According to her, Paul’s
response was to exclaim “Are you crazy?” But under no circumstances
does the report of Mrs. Helmick or any other fact support a belief that
Paul or Wall was involved in the shooting of Oswald.

The Commission has conducted an investigation of the telephone call
Ruby received from Karen Carlin at 10:19 Sunday morning to determine
whether that call was prearranged for the purpose of conveying
information about the transfer of Oswald or to provide Ruby an excuse
for being near the police department. The Commission has examined the
records of long-distance telephone calls on Sunday morning for Jack
Ruby,[C6-1129] the Carlins,[C6-1130] the Dallas police,[C6-1131] and
several other persons[C6-1132] and has found no sign of any indirect
communication to Ruby through Mr. or Mrs. Carlin. No other evidence
showing any link between the Carlins and the shooting of Oswald has
been developed.

Ruby and Oswald Were Not Acquainted

The possibility of a prior acquaintanceship between Ruby and Oswald has
been suggested by some persons who viewed the shooting on television
and believed that a look of recognition appeared on Oswald’s face as
Ruby moved toward him in the jail basement. The Commission has examined
the television tapes and movie films which were made as Oswald moved
through the basement and has observed no facial expressions which can
be interpreted as signifying recognition of Ruby by Oswald. It is
doubtful even that Oswald could have seen Ruby sufficiently clearly to
discern his identity since Oswald was walking from a dark corridor into
“the flash from the many cameras” and the lights of TV cameramen which
were “blinding.”[C6-1133] In addition to such generalized suspicion,
there have been numerous specific allegations that Oswald was seen in
the company of Ruby prior to November 22, often at Ruby’s Carousel
Club. All such allegations have been investigated, but the Commission
has found none which merits credence. In all but a few instances where
the Commission was able to trace the claim to its source, the person
responsible for the report either denied making it or admitted that he
had no basis for the original allegations.[C6-1134] Frequently those
responsible for the allegations have proved to be persons of erratic
memory or dubious mental stability.[C6-1135] In a few instances, the
source of the story has remained unidentified, and no person has come
forward to substantiate the rumor.[C6-1136]

The testimony of a few witnesses who claim to have seen Ruby with a
person who they feel may have been Oswald warrants further comment. One
such witness, Robert K. Patterson, a Dallas electronics salesman, has
stated that on a date established from sales records as November 1,
1963, Ruby, accompanied by a man who resembled Oswald, purchased some
equipment at his business establishment.[C6-1137] However, Patterson
did not claim positively that the man he saw was Oswald,[C6-1138] and
two of his associates who were also present at the time could not state
that the man was Oswald.[C6-1139] Other evidence indicates that Ruby’s
companion was Larry Crafard. Crafard, who lived at the Carousel Club
while working for Ruby from mid-October until November 23, 1963, stated
that sometime in late October or early November he accompanied Ruby to
an electronics store in connection with the purchase of electronics
equipment.[C6-1140] Ruth Paine testified that Crafard’s photograph
bears a strong resemblance to Oswald; and employment records of the
Texas School Book Depository show that Oswald worked a full day on
November 1, 1963.[C6-1141]

William D. Crowe, Jr., a young nightclub master of ceremonies
who had worked for Ruby on three occasions and had begun a 4- or
5-week engagement at the Carousel Club on November 11, 1963, was
the first person who reported a possible association between Ruby
and Oswald.[C6-1142] While attempting to enter the Carousel Club on
November 24, shortly after Oswald was shot, Crowe encountered two
news media representatives who were gathering information on Jack
Ruby.[C6-1143] At that time, Crowe, who included a memory act in
his repertoire,[C6-1144] mentioned the “possibility” that he had
seen Oswald at the Carousel Club.[C6-1145] As a result he was asked
to appear on television. In Crowe’s own words, the story “started
snowballing.” He testified:

    They built up the memory thing and they built up the bit of
    having seen Oswald there, and I never stated definitely,
    positively, and they said that I did, and all in all, what
    they had in the paper was hardly even close to what I told

Crowe added that his memory act involved a limited system which did
not, in fact, improve his memory and that his memory might not even be
as good as that of the average person. When asked how certain he was
that the man he saw was Oswald, Crowe testified: “* * * the face seemed
familiar as some faces do, and I had associated him with a patron that
I had seen in the club a week before. That was about it.”[C6-1147]

A possible explanation for Crowe’s belief that Oswald’s face seemed
familiar was supplied by a freelance photographer, Eddie Rocco, who
had taken pictures at the Carousel Club for Ruby at about the time
Crowe was employed there. Rocco produced one of those photographs
which depicted a man who might have been mistaken for Oswald by
persons having no reason to remember the man at the time they saw
him.[C6-1148] When shown the Rocco photograph, Crowe said that there
was as strong a possibility that the man he recalled seeing was the man
in the photograph as there was that he was Oswald.[C6-1149] Crowe’s
uncertainty was further underscored by his failure initially to provide
his information about Oswald to David Hoy, a news-media friend whom
Crowe telephoned in Evansville, Ind., less than 20 minutes after Oswald
was shot.[C6-1150] By then the possible recognition had occurred to
Crowe,[C6-1151] and Hoy said he was quite surprised that Crowe had
given the information first to other news representatives instead of
telling him in that early conversation.[C6-1152]

After Crowe’s identification had been publicized, four other persons
also reported seeing Oswald at the Carousel Club. One man said he
saw Ruby and Oswald seated at a table together and recalled that the
man resembling Oswald was addressed by a blond-haired waitress as
“Bettit” or “Pettit.” The witness was unable to give any description
of “Pettit” except that he was the man who had been shot by Ruby. He
could not describe the inside of the Carousel and was unable to give
a precise location for the club.[C6-1153] Another witness, a resident
of Tennessee, related seeing a man resembling Oswald at the Carousel
Club on November 10.[C6-1154] Ruth Paine has testified, however, that
Oswald spent the entire holiday weekend of November 9, 10, and 11 at
her home in Irving, Tex.[C6-1155] Two of Ruby’s former employees, Karen
Carlin and Billy Joe Willis, also believed they had seen a person who
resembled Oswald. Willis believed he saw the man at the Carousel Club
but did not think the man was Oswald.[C6-1156] Mrs. Carlin likewise was
not certain that the man was Oswald nor was she sure where she had seen
him.[C6-1157] Neither reported any connection between the man and Ruby.
No other employees recalled seeing Oswald or a person resembling him at
the Carousel Club.[C6-1158]

Wilbryn Waldon (Robert) Litchfield II also claimed to have seen at
the Carousel Club a man resembling Oswald. Litchfield stated that
during a visit to the Carousel Club in late October or early November
1963, he saw such a man enter Ruby’s office, apparently to confer with
Ruby.[C6-1159] Although there is substantial evidence that Litchfield
did see Ruby at the Carousel Club about that time,[C6-1160] there
is strong reason to believe that Litchfield did not see Lee Harvey
Oswald. Litchfield described the man he saw as having pockmarks
on the right side of his chin;[C6-1161] Oswald did not have such
identifying marks.[C6-1162] Moreover, the Commission has substantial
doubts concerning Litchfield’s credibility. Although present at an
FBI interview of another witness on November 29, Litchfield made no
mention of his observation to public officials until December 2,
1963.[C6-1163] Litchfield, who had twice been convicted for offenses
involving forged checks,[C6-1164] testified that he first recalled
that Oswald resembled the visitor he saw at the Carousel Club while
watching a television showing on Sunday morning, November 24, of the
shooting by Ruby.[C6-1165] At that time Litchfield was playing poker
with three friends, and he testified that he promptly informed them of
the resemblance he observed.[C6-1166] However, none of the three poker
companions remembered Litchfield’s making such a remark; and two added
that Litchfield’s statements were often untrustworthy.[C6-1167]

With regard to all of the persons who claimed to have seen Ruby and
Oswald together, it is significant that none had particular reason to
pay close attention to either man, that substantial periods of time
elapsed before the events they assertedly witnessed became meaningful,
and that, unlike the eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen Oswald
on November 22, none reported their observations soon after Oswald
was arrested. In the course of its investigation, the Commission has
encountered numerous clear mistakes of identification. For example, at
least four persons, other than Crafard, are known to have been mistaken
for Oswald.[C6-1168] Other persons have been misidentified as Jack
Ruby.[C6-1169] Under all the available evidence there is no substantial
likelihood that the person the various witnesses claimed to have seen
with Ruby was in fact Oswald.

In addition to probing the reported evidence that Ruby and Oswald had
been seen together, the Commission has examined other circumstances for
signs that the two men were acquainted. From the time Oswald returned
from Mexico, both he and Jack Ruby lived in the Oak Cliff section of
Dallas, slightly more than a mile apart. Numerous neighbors of both
Oswald and Ruby were interviewed, and none knew of any association
between the two.[C6-1170] Oswald’s work began at 8 each weekday
morning and terminated at 4:45 each afternoon.[C6-1171] Jack Ruby
usually remained in his apartment until past 9 a.m. each day.[C6-1172]
Although both men worked in downtown Dallas, they normally traveled
to their places of employment by different routes. Ruby owned an
automobile, and the shortest route downtown from his home was via
a freeway adjacent to his apartment.[C6-1173] Oswald did not own a
car and had, at best, a rudimentary ability to drive.[C6-1174] From
his roominghouses on North Beckley Avenue and on Marsalis Street, he
normally took public transportation which did not bring him within six
blocks of either Ruby’s apartment or his downtown nightclub, nor did
Oswald’s route from the bus stop to home or work bring him near Ruby’s
home or business.[C6-1175] Persons at Oswald’s roominghouse testified
that he regularly came home promptly after work and remained in his
room.[C6-1176] While in Dallas, he is not known to have visited any
nightclub.[C6-1177] Ruby was generally at the Carousel Club from 9
o’clock each evening until after 1 a.m.[C6-1178] In a few instances,
Ruby and Oswald patronized the same stores, but no indication has
been found that they ever met at such stores.[C6-1179] Ruby at one
time frequented a restaurant where Oswald occasionally ate breakfast,
but the times of their patronage were widely separated and restaurant
employees knew of no acquaintance between Ruby and Oswald.[C6-1180]
Likewise, Ruby has held various memberships in the Dallas YMCA and
Oswald lived there for brief periods; however, there is no indication
that they were there at the same time.[C6-1181]

Both Ruby and Oswald maintained post office boxes at the terminal annex
of the U.S. post office in Dallas, but there is no indication that
those facts were more than coincidental. On November 1, 1963, Oswald
rented box No. 6225, his third since October 1962.[C6-1182] Oswald’s
possible purpose has been discussed previously in this chapter. On
November 7, 1963, Jack Ruby rented post office box No. 5475 because he
hoped to receive mail responses to advertisements for the twistboard
exercise device which he was then promoting.[C6-1183] Although it is
conceivable that Oswald and Ruby coincidentally encountered one another
while checking their boxes, the different daily schedules of the two
men render even this possibility unlikely. Moreover, Oswald’s withdrawn
personality makes it improbable that the two would have spoken if their
paths had crossed.

The Commission has also examined the known friends and acquaintances of
Ruby and Oswald for evidence that the two were acquainted, but it has
found very few possible links. One conceivable association was through
John Carter, a boarder at 1026 North Beckley Avenue while Oswald lived
there. Carter was friendly with Wanda Joyce Killam, who had known Jack
Ruby since shortly after he moved to Dallas in 1947 and worked for him
from July 1963 to early November 1963. Mrs. Killam, who volunteered the
information about Carter’s residence during an interview with an agent
of the FBI, has stated that she did not believe Carter ever visited the
Carousel Club and that she did not think Carter knew Ruby.[C6-1184]
Carter stated that he had not heard of Ruby until Oswald was shot, had
talked briefly with Oswald only once or twice, and had never heard
Oswald mention Ruby or the Carousel Club.[C6-1185] The Commission has
no reason to disbelieve either Mrs. Killam or Mr. Carter.

A second possible link between Oswald and Ruby was through Earlene
Roberts, the housekeeper at 1026 North Beckley Avenue. Bertha Cheek,
the sister of Mrs. Roberts, is known to have visited Jack Ruby at
the Carousel Club during the afternoon of November 18, 1963. Mrs.
Cheek testified that she had met with Ruby and a person whom Ruby
represented to be an interior decorator for the purpose of discussing
the possibility of financially backing Ruby in a new nightclub which
he planned to open. Mrs. Cheek said she had met Ruby only once, a
few years before, and that she had not heard of Oswald until he shot
President Kennedy.[C6-1186] Mr. Frank Boerder, the decorator who
was present at the November 18 meeting, confirmed the substance of
the discussion reported by Mrs. Cheek,[C6-1187] and other witnesses
establish that Ruby was, in fact, seeking an associate for a new
nightclub venture.[C6-1188] There is no evidence that Jack Ruby ever
associated with Earlene Roberts, nor is there any indication that Mrs.
Cheek knew of Lee Harvey Oswald prior to November 22.[C6-1189]

Oswald’s trips to the home of Mrs. Ruth Paine at 2115 West Fifth
Street in Irving, Tex., presented another possible link to Ruby.
While Oswald’s family resided with Mrs. Paine, William F. Simmons,
pianoplayer in the musical combo which worked at the Carousel Club
from September 17, 1963, until November 21, 1963, lived at 2539 West
Fifth Street, in Irving. Simmons has stated that his only relationship
to Ruby was as an employee, that Ruby never visited him, that he did
not know Oswald, and that he had never seen Oswald at the Carousel
Club.[C6-1190] Other persons in the neighborhood knew of no connection
between Ruby and Oswald.[C6-1191]

The Commission has investigated rumors that Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey
Oswald were both homosexuals and, thus, might have known each other
in that respect. However, no evidence has been uncovered to support
the rumors, the closest acquaintances of both men emphatically deny
them,[C6-1192] and Ruby’s nightclubs were not known to have been
frequented by homosexuals.[C6-1193]

A final suggestion of a connection between Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey
Oswald arises from the testimony of Oswald’s mother, Marguerite
Oswald. When appearing before the Commission, Mrs. Oswald related that
on November 23, 1963, before Ruby shot Oswald, FBI Agent Bardwell
D. Odum showed her a picture of a man she believed was Jack Ruby,
and asked whether the man shown was familiar to her. Odum had first
attempted to see Marina Oswald, but Marguerite refused to allow Marina
to be disturbed at that time.[C6-1194] In the course of Marguerite’s
testimony, the Commission asked the FBI for a copy of the photograph
displayed by Odum to her. When Marguerite viewed the photograph
provided the Commission, she stated that the picture was different from
the one she saw in November, in part because the “top two corners” were
cut differently and because the man depicted was not Jack Ruby.[C6-1195]

The Commission has investigated this matter and determined that Special
Agent Odum did show a picture to Marguerite Oswald for possible
identification but that the picture was not of Jack Ruby. On November
22 the CIA had provided the FBI with a photograph of a man who, it was
thought at the time, might have been associated with Oswald. To prevent
the viewer from determining precisely where the picture had been
taken, FBI Agent Odum had trimmed the background from the photograph
by making a series of straight cuts which reduced the picture to an
irregular hexagonal shape.[C6-1196] The picture which was displayed
by the Commission to Marguerite Oswald was a copy of the same picture
shown her by Agent Odum; however, in supplying a duplicate photograph
for Commission use the FBI had cropped the background by cutting
along the contours of the body of the man shown,[C6-1197] resulting
in a photograph without any background, unlike the first photograph
Marguerite viewed on November 23. Affidavits obtained from the CIA and
from the two FBI agents who trimmed the photographs established that
the one shown to Mrs. Oswald before the Commission, though trimmed
differently from the one shown her on November 23, was a copy of the
same picture. Neither picture was of Jack Ruby.[C6-1198] The original
photograph had been taken by the CIA outside of the United States
sometime between July 1, 1963, and November 22, 1963, during all of
which time Ruby was within the country.[C6-1199]

Ruby’s Background and Associations

In addition to examining in detail Jack Ruby’s activities from November
21 to November 24 and his possible acquaintanceship with Lee Harvey
Oswald, the Commission has considered whether or not Ruby had ties
with individuals or groups that might have obviated the need for any
direct contact near the time of the assassination. Study of Jack Ruby’s
background, which is set out more fully in appendix XVI, leads to the
firm conclusion that he had no such ties.

_Business activities._--Ruby’s entire life is characteristic of a
rigorously independent person. He moved from his family home soon after
leaving high school at age 16, although a “family” residence has been
maintained in Chicago throughout the years.[C6-1200] Later, in 1947,
he moved from Chicago to Dallas and maintained only sporadic contact
with most of his family.[C6-1201] For most of his working years and
continuously since 1947, Jack Ruby was self-employed.[C6-1202] Although
he had partners from time to time, the partnerships were not lasting,
and Ruby seems to have preferred to operate independently.

Ruby’s main sources of income were his two nightclubs--the Carousel
Club and the Vegas Club--although he also frequently pursued a number
of independent, short-lived business promotions. (Ruby’s business
dealings are described in greater detail in app. XVI.) At the time of
the assassination, the United States claimed approximately $44,000
in delinquent taxes, and he was in substantial debt to his brother
Earl and to his friend Ralph Paul.[C6-1203] However, there are no
indications that Earl Ruby or Ralph Paul was exerting pressure for
payment or that Ruby’s tax liabilities were not susceptible to an
acceptable settlement. Ruby operated his clubs on a cash basis,
usually carrying large amounts of cash on his person; thus there is
no particular significance to the fact that approximately $3,000 in
cash was found on his person and in his automobile when arrested. Nor
do his meager financial records reflect any suspicious activities.
He used his bank accounts only infrequently, with no unexplained
large transactions; and no entries were made to Ruby’s safe-deposit
boxes in over a year prior to the shooting of Oswald.[C6-1204] There
is no evidence that Ruby received any sums after his arrest except
royalties from a syndicated newspaper article on his life and small
contributions for his defense from friends, sympathizers, and family

_Ruby’s political activities._--Jack Ruby considered himself a
Democrat, perhaps in part because his brother Hyman had been active
in Democratic ward politics in Chicago.[C6-1206] When Ruby was
arrested, police officers found in his apartment, 10 political cards
urging the election of the “Conservative Democratic slate,”[C6-1207]
but the Commission has found no evidence that Ruby had distributed
that literature and he is not known ever to have campaigned for any
political candidates.[C6-1208] None of his friends or associates
expressed any knowledge that he belonged to any groups interested in
political issues, nor did they remember that he had discussed political
problems except on rare occasions.[C6-1209]

As a young man, Ruby participated in attacks upon meetings of the
German-American Bund in Chicago, but the assaults were the efforts
of poolhall associates from his predominantly Jewish neighborhood
rather than the work of any political group. His only other known
activities which had any political flavor possessed stronger overtones
of financial self-interest. In early 1942 he registered a copyright for
a placard which displayed an American flag and bore the inscription
“Remember Pearl Harbor.” The placard was never successfully promoted.
At other times, he is reported to have attempted to sell busts
of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[C6-1210] The rabbi of Ruby’s
synagogue expressed the belief that Ruby was too unsophisticated to
grasp or have a significant interest in any political creed.[C6-1211]
Although various views have been given concerning Ruby’s attitude
toward President Kennedy prior to the assassination, the overwhelming
number of witnesses reported that Ruby had considerable respect for
the President, and there has been no report of any hostility toward

There is also no reliable indication that Ruby was ever associated
with any Communist or radical causes. Jack Ruby’s parents were born in
Poland in the 1870’s and his father served in the Czarist Russian army
from 1893-98. Though neither parent became a citizen after emigrating
to the United States in the early 1900’s, the evidence indicates
that neither Ruby nor his family maintained any ties with relatives
in Europe.[C6-1213] Jack Ruby has denied ever being connected with
any Communist activities. The FBI has reported that, prior to the
shooting of Oswald, its nationwide files contained no information of
any subversive activities by Ruby.[C6-1214] In addition, a Commission
staff member has personally examined all subversive activities reports
from the Dallas-Fort Worth office of the FBI for the year 1963 and
has found no reports pertaining to Jack Ruby or any of his known

The Commission has directed considerable attention to an allegation
that Jack Ruby was connected with Communist Party activities in Muncie,
Ind. On the day after Oswald’s death, a former resident of Muncie
claimed that between 1943 and 1947 a Chicagoan resembling Ruby and
known to him as Jack Rubenstein was in Muncie on three occasions and
associated with persons who the witness suspected were Communists.
The witness stated that the man resembling Ruby visited Muncie during
these years as a guest of the son-in-law of a now-deceased jeweler for
whom the witness worked.[C6-1216] A second son-in-law of the jewelry
store owner suggested that he may have known Ruby while the two resided
in Chicago,[C6-1217] but the son-in-law whom Ruby allegedly visited
disclaimed any acquaintanceship with Ruby.[C6-1218] Both sons-in-law
denied any Communist activities and the Commission has found no
contrary evidence other than the testimony of the witness.

On the first two occasions on which Ruby is alleged to have been in
Muncie, military records show him to have been on active military
duty in the South.[C6-1219] The witness also said that the man he
knew as Rubenstein owned or managed a nightclub when he met him, but
the Commission has no reliable evidence that Jack Ruby ever owned
or worked in any nightclubs when he lived in Chicago.[C6-1220] The
witness further stated that on one occasion he found the name of
Jack Rubenstein, or perhaps a similar name, together with the names
of others he believed were Communists, on a list which had been left
in a room above the jewelry store after a meeting held there. The
witness said he gave the list to his wife’s cousin, now deceased,
who was then the chief of detectives in Muncie.[C6-1221] However,
neither the list nor a person identifiable as Jack Ruby has been
located after a thorough search by the FBI of its own files and
those of the Muncie Police Department, the Indiana State Police,
and other agencies.[C6-1222] The witness did not recall seeing
Rubenstein in Muncie during the period of that meeting, and he had
never heard Rubenstein say anything which would indicate he was a

The FBI has interviewed all living persons who the witness stated
were involved with Ruby in Communist activities in Muncie. One person
named by the witness was known previously to have been involved in
Communist Party activities, but subversive activities files have
revealed no such activities for any of the others.[C6-1224] The
admitted former Communist denied knowing Ruby and stated that the
jewelry store owner was not known to him as a Communist and that
Communist meetings were never held above the store.[C6-1225] All
other Muncie residents named by the witness as possible associates of
Ruby denied knowing Ruby.[C6-1226] Similarly, fellow employees of the
witness whom he did not claim were Communists knew of no Communist
activities connected with the jewelry store owner or any visits of
Jack Ruby, and FBI informants familiar with Communist activities in
Indiana and Chicago did not know of any participation by Ruby.[C6-1227]
Finally, the witness testified that even though he believed as early
as 1947 that all of the persons named by him were Communists he had
never brought his information to the attention of any authority
investigating such activities, except for providing the alleged list to
his cousin.[C6-1228] The Commission finds no basis for accepting the
witness’s testimony.

The Commission has also investigated the possibility that Ruby was
associated with ultraconservative political endeavors in Dallas. Upon
his arrest, there were found in Ruby’s possession two radio scripts
of a right-wing program promoted by H. L. Hunt, whose political
views are highly conservative. Ruby had acquired the scripts a few
weeks earlier at the Texas Products Show, where they were enclosed
in bags of Hunt food products. Ruby is reported to have become
enraged when he discovered the scripts, and threatened to send one to
“Kennedy.”[C6-1229] He is not known to have done anything with them
prior to giving one to a radio announcer on Nevember 23; and on that
day he seemed to confuse organizations of the extreme right with those
of the far left.[C6-1230] On November 21, Ruby drove Connie Trammel,
a young college graduate whom he had met some months previously, to
the office of Lamar Hunt, the son of H. L. Hunt, for a job interview.
Although Ruby stated that he would like to meet Hunt, seemingly to
establish a business connection, he did not enter Hunt’s office with

An allegation that Ruby was a visitor at the home of Maj. Gen. Edwin A.
Walker (Resigned, U.S. Army) appears totally unfounded. The allegation
was made in late May 1964 to an agent of the U.S. Secret Service by
William McEwan Duff. Duff, who was discharged from military service
in June 1964 because of a fraudulent enlistment, disclaimed any
knowledge of Ruby or Oswald when questioned by FBI agents in January

Another allegation connecting Jack Ruby with right-wing activities was
Mark Lane’s assertion, mentioned previously, that an unnamed informant
told him of a meeting lasting more than 2 hours in the Carousel Club
on November 14, 1963, between Jack Ruby, Patrolman J. D. Tippit, and
Bernard Weissman.[C6-1233] Although the name of Lane’s informant has
never been revealed to the Commission, an investigation has been
conducted in an effort to find corroboration for the claimed Tippit,
Weissman, and Ruby meeting. No employee of the Carousel Club has any
knowledge of the meeting described by Lane.[C6-1234] Ruby and Weissman
both deny that such a meeting occurred, and Officer Tippit’s widow
has no knowledge that her late husband ever went to the Carousel

Some confusion has arisen, however, because early Friday afternoon,
November 22, Ruby remarked that he knew the Tippit who had been
shot by Oswald. Later Ruby stated that he did not know J. D. Tippit
but that his reference was to G. M. Tippit, a member of the special
services bureau of the Dallas Police Department who had visited
Ruby establishments occasionally in the course of his official
duties.[C6-1236] Larry Crafard was unable to recognize photographs of
J. D. Tippit and had no recollection of a Tippit, Weissman, and Ruby
meeting at any time.[C6-1237] However, uncertainty was introduced when
Crafard identified a photograph of Bernard Weissman as resembling a
man who had visited the Carousel Club and had been referred to by Ruby
as “Weissman.”[C6-1238] In a subsequent interview Crafard stated that
he believed Weissman was a detective on the Dallas Police Department,
that his first name may have been Johnny, and that he was in his late
thirties or early forties.[C6-1239] As set forth previously, Bernard
Weissman was a 26-year-old New York carpet salesman. Crafard added
“I could have my recollection of a Mr. Weissman mixed up with someone

Ruby’s conduct on November 22 and 23, 1963, corroborates his denial
that he knew Bernard Weissman. Ruby expressed hostility to the November
22 full-page advertisement to many persons. To none did he give any
indication that he was familiar with the person listed as responsible
for the advertisement.[C6-1241] His attempt on November 23 to trace the
holder of the post office box shown on the “Impeach Earl Warren” sign
and to locate Weissman’s name in a Dallas city directory[C6-1242] also
tends to indicate that in fact he was not familiar with Weissman. Had
he been involved in some type of unlawful activity with Weissman, it is
highly unlikely that Ruby would have called attention to Weissman as he

Investigation has disclosed no evidence that Officer J. D. Tippit was
acquainted with either Ruby or Oswald. Neither Tippit’s wife nor his
close friends knew of such an acquaintanceship.[C6-1243] Tippit was not
known to frequent nightclubs[C6-1244] and he had no reason during the
course of his police duties to enter Ruby’s clubs.[C6-1245] Although at
the time of the assassination Tippit was working weekends in a Dallas
restaurant owned by a member of the John Birch Society, the restaurant
owner stated that he never discussed politics with Tippit.[C6-1246]
Persons close to Tippit related that Tippit rarely discussed political
matters with any person and that he was a member of no political
organization.[C6-1247] Telephone records for the period following
September 26, 1963, revealed no suspicious long-distance calls from the
Tippit household.[C6-1248]

Tippit’s encounter with Oswald following the shooting of the President
is indicative of no prior association between the two men. Police radio
logs show that, as part of general directions issued to all officers
immediately after the assassination, Tippit was specifically directed
to patrol the Oak Cliff area where he came upon Oswald.[C6-1249] His
movement from the area which he had been patrolling into the central
Oak Cliff area was also in conformity with the normal procedure of the
Dallas Police Department for patrol cars to cover nearby districts when
the patrol cars in that district became otherwise engaged, as occurred
after the assassination.[C6-1250] Oswald fit the general description,
which, 15 minutes after the assassination, was broadcast to all police
cars of a suspect described by a bystander who had seen Oswald in the
sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository.[C6-1251] There
is thus no basis for any inference that, in approaching Oswald, Tippit
was acting other than in the line of police duty.

_Allegations of Cuban activity._--No substantiation has been found for
rumors linking Ruby with pro- or anti-Castro Cuban activities,[C6-1252]
except for one incident in January 1959 when Ruby made preliminary
inquiries, as a middleman, concerning the possible sale to Cuba of
some surplus jeeps located in Shreveport, La., and asked about the
possible release of prisoners from a Cuban prison. No evidence has
been developed that the project ever became more than a “possibility”.
Ruby explained that in early 1959 United States sentiment toward Cuba
was still favorable and that he was merely pursuing a money-making

During the period of the “jeep sale”, R. D. Matthews, a gambler and
a “passing acquaintance” of Ruby, returned to Dallas from Havana
where he had been living. In mid-1959, he returned to Cuba until
mid-1960.[C6-1254] On October 3, 1963, a telephone call was made from
the Carousel Club to Matthews’ former wife in Shreveport.[C6-1255] No
evidence has been uncovered that Matthews was associated with the sale
of jeeps or the release of prisoners or that he knew of Oswald prior to
the assassination.[C6-1256] Matthews’ ex-wife did not recall the phone
call in October of 1963, and she asserted that she did not know Jack
Ruby or anybody working for him.[C6-1257]

In September 1959, Ruby traveled to Havana as a guest of a close friend
and known gambler, Lewis J. McWillie. Both Ruby and McWillie state the
trip was purely social.[C6-1258] In January 1961, McWillie left Cuba
with strong feelings of hostility to the Castro regime. In early 1963,
Ruby purchased a pistol which he shipped to McWillie in Nevada, but
McWillie did not accept the package.[C6-1259] The Commission has found
no evidence that McWillie has engaged in any activities since leaving
Cuba that are related to pro- or anti-Castro political movements or
that he was involved in Ruby’s abortive jeep transaction.

The Commission has also received evidence that in April 1962, a
telegram sent to Havana, Cuba, was charged to the business telephone of
Earl Ruby, brother of Jack Ruby.[C6-1260] Earl Ruby stated that he was
unable to recall that telegram but testified that he had never traveled
to Cuba nor had any dealings with persons in Cuba.[C6-1261] Jack Ruby
is not known to have visited his brother at that time, and during that
period Earl and Jack did not maintain a close relationship.[C6-1262]
Earl Ruby is not known to have been involved in any subversive

Finally, examination of FBI information relative to Cuban groups in the
Dallas-Fort Worth area for the year 1963 fails to disclose any person
who might provide a link between Ruby and such groups.[C6-1264] The
Central Intelligence Agency has no information suggesting that Jack
Ruby or any of his closest associates have been involved in any type of
revolutionary or subversive Cuban activity.[C6-1265]

_Possible underworld connections._--The Commission has investigated
Ruby’s possible criminal activities, looking with particular concern
for evidence that he engaged in illegal activities with members of the
organized underworld or that, on his own, he was a promoter of illegal
endeavors. The results of that investigation are more fully detailed in
appendix XVI. Ruby was reared in a Chicago neighborhood where he became
acquainted with local criminals and with persons who later became
criminals. Throughout his life, Ruby’s friendships with persons of that
character were limited largely to professional gamblers, although his
night club businesses brought him in contact with persons who had been
convicted of other offenses. There is no credible evidence that Ruby,
himself, gambled on other than a social basis or that he had any unpaid
gambling debts.[C6-1266] He had never been charged with a felony prior
to his attack on Oswald; his only encounters in Chicago stemmed from
ticket scalping and the unauthorized sale of copyrighted music; and, in
Dallas, his law violations, excluding traffic charges, resulted from
the operation of his clubs or outbursts of temper.[C6-1267] Ruby has
disclaimed that he was associated with organized criminal activities,
and law enforcement agencies have confirmed that denial.[C6-1268]

_Investigation of George Senator._--In addition to examining Ruby’s own
activities and background, the Commission has paid careful attention to
the activities and background of George Senator, Ruby’s roommate and
one of his closest friends in Dallas. Senator was interrogated by staff
members over a 2-day period; he provided a detailed account of his own
life and cooperated fully in all aspects of the Commission’s inquiry
into the activities of Jack Ruby.

Senator was 50 years old at the time Ruby shot Oswald. He had been born
September 4, 1913, in Gloversville, N.Y., and had received an eighth
grade education. Upon leaving school, he worked in Gloversville and
New York City until about age 25. For the next few years he worked
in various restaurants and cafeterias in New York and Florida until
enlisting in the Army in August 1941.[C6-1269] After his honorable
discharge in September 1945, Senator was employed for most of the
next 13 years selling inexpensive dresses throughout the South and
Southwest. In the course of that employment he moved to Dallas where
he met Jack Ruby while visiting Ruby’s Vegas Club in about 1955
or 1956.[C6-1270] Ruby was one of many who helped Senator when he
encountered financial difficulties during the years 1958 to 1962. For a
while in 1962, Ruby provided room and board in exchange for Senator’s
help in his clubs and apartment. In August 1963, Senator was unable to
maintain his own apartment alone following his roommate’s marriage.
Ruby again offered to help and on November 1, 1963, Senator moved into
Ruby’s apartment.[C6-1271] The Commission has found no evidence that
Senator ever engaged in any political activities.[C6-1272]

Against this background the Commission has evaluated Senator’s account
of his own activities on November 22, 23, and 24. When questioned by
Dallas and Federal authorities hours after the shooting of Oswald,
Senator omitted mention of having accompanied Ruby to photograph the
“Impeach Earl Warren” sign on Saturday morning. Senator stated to
Commission staff members that in the interviews of November 24 he
omitted the incident because of oversight.[C6-1273] However, he spoke
freely about it in his sworn testimony and no inaccuracies have been
noted in that portion of his testimony. Senator also failed to mention
to the Commission and to previous interrogators that, shortly after
Ruby left their apartment Sunday morning, he called friends, Mr. and
Mrs. William Downey, and offered to visit their apartment and make
breakfast for them.[C6-1274] Downey stated, in June 1964, that Senator
said he was alone and that, after Downey declined the offer, Senator
remarked that he would then go downtown for breakfast.[C6-1275] When
told of Downey’s account, Senator denied it and explained that the two
were not friendly by the time Senator left Dallas about six weeks after
the assassination.[C6-1276]

The Commission also experienced difficulty in ascertaining the
activities of Senator on November 22 and 23. He was unable to
account specifically for large segments of time when he was not with
Ruby.[C6-1277] And, as to places and people Senator says he visited
on those days prior to the time Oswald was shot, the Commission has
been unsuccessful in obtaining verification.[C6-1278] Senator admitted
that he had spent much of that time drinking but denied that he was

It is difficult to know with complete certainty whether Senator had
any foreknowledge of the shooting of Oswald. Ruby testified that at
about 10:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, November 24, he said, in Senator’s
presence, “If something happened to this person, that then Mrs.
Kennedy won’t have to come back for the trial.”[C6-1280] According
to Ruby, this is the most explicit statement he made concerning
Oswald that morning.[C6-1281] Senator denies any knowledge of Ruby’s

Senator’s general response to the shooting was not like that of a
person seeking to conceal his guilt. Shortly before it was known that
Ruby was the slayer of Oswald, Senator visited the Eatwell Restaurant
in downtown Dallas. Upon being informed that Ruby was the attacker,
Senator exclaimed, “My God,” in what appeared to be a genuinely
surprised tone.[C6-1283] He then ran to a telephone, returned to gulp
down his coffee, and quickly departed.[C6-1284] He drove promptly to
the home of James Martin, an attorney and friend. Martin recalled that
Senator’s concern was for his friend Ruby and not for himself.[C6-1285]
Martin and Senator drove to the Dallas Police Department where
Senator voluntarily submitted himself to police questioning, and
gave interviews to newspaper and television reporters.[C6-1286] The
Commission has concluded, on the basis of its investigation into
Senator’s background, activities, and reaction to the shooting, that
Senator did not aid or conspire with Jack Ruby in the killing of Oswald.

_Ruby’s activities preceding President’s trip._--In addition to the
broad investigation into Ruby’s background and associations, the
Commission delved particularly into Ruby’s pattern of activities during
the 2 months preceding President Kennedy’s visit to Dallas in order to
determine whether there was unusual conduct which might be linked to
the President’s forthcoming trip.

The Commission has been able to account specifically for Jack Ruby’s
presence in Dallas on every day after September 26, 1963, except
five--September 29, 30 and October 11, 14, and 24--and there is no
evidence that he was out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area on those
days.[C6-1287] The report of one person who saw Ruby on September 28
indicates that Ruby probably remained in Dallas on September 29 and
30,[C6-1288] when Oswald was in Mexico City. The Commission has looked
for but has found no evidence that Ruby traveled to Mexico at that
time.[C6-1289] Both Ruby and Ralph Paul have stated that Ruby did not
leave the Dallas-Fort Worth area during September, October, or November

During October and November of 1963, Jack Ruby maintained his usual
vigorous pace of business activities. In particular, he directed
considerable attention to his two nightclubs and to other business
promotions.[C6-1291] During the final month before the Kennedy trip,
his time was increasingly occupied with personnel problems at both his
clubs. There is no indication that he devoted less than full attention
to these matters or that he appeared preoccupied with other affairs.
His acquaintances did feel that Ruby seemed depressed and concerned
that his friends were deserting him.[C6-1292] However, there were no
signs of secretive conduct.

Scrutiny of Ruby’s activities during the several days preceding the
President’s arrival in Dallas has revealed no indication of any
unusual activity. Ruby is remembered to have discussed the President’s
impending trip with only two persons and only briefly.[C6-1293] Two
newspapers containing a description of the expected motorcade routes
through Dallas and Fort Worth were found in Ruby’s car at the time of
this arrest. However, such papers circulated widely in Dallas, and
Ruby’s car, like his apartment, was so cluttered with other newspapers,
notebooks, brochures, cards, clothing, and personal items[C6-1294] that
there is no reason to attach any significance to the papers.

Aside from the results of the Commission’s investigation reported
above, there are other reasons to doubt that Jack Ruby would have shot
Oswald as he did if he had been involved in a conspiracy to carry out
the assassination, or that he would have been delegated to perform the
shooting of Oswald on behalf of others who were involved in the slaying
of the President. By striking in the city jail, Ruby was certain to
be apprehended. An attempt to silence Oswald by having Ruby kill him
would have presented exceptionally grave dangers to any other persons
involved in the scheme. If the attempt had failed, Oswald might have
been moved to disclose his confederates to the authorities. If it
succeeded, as it did, the additional killing might itself have produced
a trail to them. Moreover, Ruby was regarded by most persons who knew
him as moody and unstable--hardly one to have encouraged the confidence
of persons involved in a sensitive conspiracy.[C6-1295]

Since his apprehension, Jack Ruby has provided the Federal authorities
with several detailed accounts of his activities both preceding and
following the assassination of President Kennedy. Ruby has shown no
reluctance to answer any questions addressed to him. The accounts
provided by Ruby are consistent with evidence available to the
Commission from other sources.

These additional considerations are thus fully consistent with the
results of the Commission’s investigation. Rumors of a connection
between Ruby and Oswald have proved groundless, while examination
of Ruby’s background and associations, his behavior prior to the
assassination, and his activities during the November 22-24 weekend
has yielded no evidence that Ruby conspired with anyone in planning
or executing the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald. Whatever the legal
culpability of Jack Ruby for his act of November 24, the evidence is
persuasive that he acted independently in shooting Oswald.


Based upon the investigation reviewed in this chapter, the Commission
concluded that there is no credible evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald
was part of a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. Examination
of the facts of the assassination itself revealed no indication that
Oswald was aided in the planning or execution of his scheme. Review
of Oswald’s life and activities since 1959, although productive in
illuminating the character of Lee Harvey Oswald (which is discussed
in the next chapter), did not produce any meaningful evidence of a
conspiracy. The Commission discovered no evidence that the Soviet Union
or Cuba were involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. Nor
did the Commission’s investigation of Jack Ruby produce any grounds
for believing that Ruby’s killing of Oswald was part of a conspiracy.
The conclusion that there is no evidence of a conspiracy was also
reached independently by Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State; Robert S.
McNamara, the Secretary of Defense; C. Douglas Dillon, the Secretary of
the Treasury; Robert F. Kennedy, the Attorney General; J. Edgar Hoover,
the Director of the FBI; John A. McCone, the Director of the CIA; and
James J. Rowley, the Chief of the Secret Service, on the basis of the
information available to each of them.[C6-1296]


Lee Harvey Oswald: Background and Possible Motives

The evidence reviewed above identifies Lee Harvey Oswald as the
assassin of President Kennedy and indicates that he acted alone in
that event. There is no evidence that he had accomplices or that he
was involved in any conspiracy directed to the assassination of the
President. There remains the question of what impelled Oswald to
conceive and to carry out the assassination of the President of the
United States. The Commission has considered many possible motives
for the assassination, including those which might flow from Oswald’s
commitment to Marxism or communism, the existence of some personal
grievance, a desire to effect changes in the structure of society or
simply to go down in history as a well publicized assassin. None of
these possibilities satisfactorily explains Oswald’s act if it is
judged by the standards of reasonable men. The motives of any man,
however, must be analyzed in terms of the character and state of mind
of the particular individual involved. For a motive that appears
incomprehensible to other men may be the moving force of a man whose
view of the world has been twisted, possibly by factors of which
those around him were only dimly aware. Oswald’s complete state of
mind and character are now outside of the power of man to know. He
cannot, of course, be questioned or observed by those charged with the
responsibility for this report or by experts on their behalf. There is,
however, a large amount of material available in his writings and in
the history of his life which does give some insight into his character
and, possibly, into the motives for his act.

Since Oswald is dead, the Commission is not able to reach any definite
conclusions as to whether or not he was “sane” under prevailing legal
standards. Under our system of justice no forum could properly make
that determination unless Oswald were before it. It certainly could
not be made by this Commission which, as has been pointed out above,
ascertained the facts surrounding the assassination but did not draw
conclusions concerning Oswald’s legal guilt.

Indications of Oswald’s motivation may be obtained from a study of
the events, relationships and influences which appear to have been
significant in shaping his character and in guiding him. Perhaps
the most outstanding conclusion of such a study is that Oswald was
profoundly alienated from the world in which he lived. His life was
characterized by isolation, frustration, and failure. He had very
few, if any, close relationships with other people and he appeared to
have great difficulty in finding a meaningful place in the world. He
was never satisfied with anything. When he was in the United States
he resented the capitalist system which he thought was exploiting him
and others like him. He seemed to prefer the Soviet Union and he spoke
highly of Cuba.[C7-1] When he was in the Soviet Union, he apparently
resented the Communist Party members, who were accorded special
privileges and who he thought were betraying communism, and he spoke
well of the United States.[C7-2] He accused his wife of preferring
others to himself and told her to return to the Soviet Union without
him but without a divorce. At the same time he professed his love for
her and said that he could not get along without her.[C7-3] Marina
Oswald thought that he would not be happy anywhere, “Only on the moon,

While Oswald appeared to most of those who knew him as a meek and
harmless person, he sometimes imagined himself as “the Commander”[C7-5]
and, apparently seriously, as a political prophet--a man who said that
after 20 years he would be prime minister.[C7-6] His wife testified
that he compared himself with great leaders of history. Such ideas of
grandeur were apparently accompanied by notions of oppression.[C7-7]
He had a great hostility toward his environment, whatever it happened
to be, which he expressed in striking and sometimes violent acts long
before the assassination. There was some quality about him that led
him to act with an apparent disregard for possible consequences.[C7-8]
He defected to the Soviet Union, shot at General Walker, tried to go
to Cuba and even contemplated hijacking an airplane to get there. He
assassinated the President, shot Officer Tippit, resisted arrest and
tried to kill another policeman in the process.

Oswald apparently started reading about communism when he was about 15.
In the Marines, he evidenced a strong conviction as to the correctness
of Marxist doctrine, which one associate described as “irrevocable,”
but also as “theoretical”; that associate did not think that Oswald was
a Communist.[C7-9] Oswald did not always distinguish between Marxism
and communism.[C7-10] He stated several times that he was a Communist
but apparently never joined any Communist Party.[C7-11]

His attachment to Marxist and Communist doctrine was probably, in some
measure, an expression of his hostility to his environment. While there
is doubt about how fully Oswald understood the doctrine which he so
often espoused, it seems clear that his commitment to Marxism was an
important factor influencing his conduct during his adult years. It was
an obvious element in his decision to go to Russia and later to Cuba
and it probably influenced his decision to shoot at General Walker. It
was a factor which contributed to his character and thereby might have
influenced his decision to assassinate President Kennedy.

The discussion below will describe the events known to the Commission
which most clearly reveals the formation and nature of Oswald’s
character. It will attempt to summarize the events of his early life,
his experience in New York City and in the Marine Corps, and his
interest in Marxism. It will examine his defection to the Soviet Union
in 1959, his subsequent return to the United States and his life here
after June of 1962. The review of the latter period will evaluate his
personal and employment relations, his attempt to kill General Walker,
his political activities, and his unsuccessful attempt to go to Cuba in
late September of 1963. Various possible motives will be treated in the
appropriate context of the discussion outlined above.

The Early Years

Significant in shaping the character of Lee Harvey Oswald was the death
of his father, a collector of insurance premiums. This occurred 2
months before Lee was born in New Orleans on October 18, 1939.[C7-12]
That death strained the financial fortunes of the remainder of the
Oswald family. It had its effect on Lee’s mother, Marguerite, his
brother Robert, who had been born in 1934, and his half-brother
John Pic, who had been born in 1932 during Marguerite’s previous
marriage.[C7-13] It forced Marguerite Oswald to go to work to provide
for her family.[C7-14] Reminding her sons that they were orphans and
that the family’s financial condition was poor, she placed John Pic
and Robert Oswald in an orphans’ home.[C7-15] From the time Marguerite
Oswald returned to work until December 26, 1942, when Lee too was sent
to the orphans’ home, he was cared for principally by his mother’s
sister, by babysitters and by his mother, when she had time for

Marguerite Oswald withdrew Lee from the orphans’ home and took him
with her to Dallas when he was a little over 4 years old.[C7-17] About
6 months later she also withdrew John Pic and Robert Oswald.[C7-18]
Apparently that action was taken in anticipation of her marriage to
Edwin A. Ekdahl, which took place in May of 1945.[C7-19] In the fall of
that year John Pic and Robert Oswald went to a military academy where
they stayed, except for vacations, until the spring of 1948.[C7-20] Lee
Oswald remained with his mother and Ekdahl,[C7-21] to whom he became
quite attached. John Pic testified that he thought Lee found in Ekdahl
the father that he never had.[C7-22] That situation, however, was
short-lived, for the relations between Marguerite Oswald and Ekdahl
were stormy and they were finally divorced, after several separations
and reunions, in the summer of 1948.[C7-23]

After the divorce Mrs. Oswald complained considerably about how
unfairly she was treated, dwelling on the fact that she was a widow
with three children. John Pic, however, did not think her position was
worse than that of many other people.[C7-24] In the fall of 1948 she
told John Pic and Robert Oswald that she could not afford to send them
back to the military school and she asked Pic to quit school entirely
to help support the family, which he did for 4 months in the fall of
1948.[C7-25] In order to supplement their income further she falsely
swore that Pic was 17 years old so that he could join the Marine
Corps Reserves.[C7-26] Pic did turn over part of his income to his
mother, but he returned to high school in January of 1949, where he
stayed until 3 days before he was scheduled to graduate, when he left
school in order to get into the Coast Guard.[C7-27] Since his mother
did not approve of his decision to continue school he accepted the
responsibility for that decision himself and signed his mother’s name
to all his own excuses and report cards.[C7-28]

Pic thought that his mother overstated her financial problems and was
unduly concerned about money. Referring to the period after the divorce
from Ekdahl, which was apparently caused in part by Marguerite’s
desire to get more money from him, Pic said: “Lee was brought up in
this atmosphere of constant money problems, and I am sure it had quite
an effect on him, and also Robert.”[C7-29] Marguerite Oswald worked
in miscellaneous jobs after her divorce from Ekdahl.[C7-30] When she
worked for a time as an insurance saleslady, she would sometimes
take Lee with her, apparently leaving him alone in the car while she
transacted her business.[C7-31] When she worked during the school year,
Lee had to leave an empty house in the morning, return to it for lunch
and then again at night, his mother having trained him to do that
rather than to play with other children.[C7-32]

An indication of the nature of Lee’s character at this time was
provided in the spring of 1950, when he was sent to New Orleans to
visit the family of his mother’s sister, Mrs. Lillian Murret, for 2
or 3 weeks. Despite their urgings, he refused to play with the other
children his own age.[C7-33] It also appears that Lee tried to tag
along with his older brothers but apparently was not able to spend as
much time with them as he would have liked, because of the age gaps
of 5 and 7 years, which became more significant as the children grew

New York City

Whatever problems may have been created by Lee’s home life in Louisiana
and Texas, he apparently adjusted well enough there to have had an
average, although gradually deteriorating, school record with no
behavior or truancy problems. That was not the case, however, after
he and his mother moved to New York in August of 1952, shortly
before Lee’s 13th birthday. They moved shortly after Robert joined
the Marines; they lived for a time with John Pic who was stationed
there with the Coast Guard.[C7-35] Relations soon became strained,
however,[C7-36] so in late September Lee and his mother moved to
their own apartment in the Bronx.[C7-37] Pic and his wife would
have been happy to have kept Lee, however, who was becoming quite a
disciplinary problem for his mother, having struck her on at least one

The short-lived stay with the Pics was terminated after an incident in
which Lee allegedly pulled out a pocket knife during an argument and
threatened to use it on Mrs. Pic. When Pic returned home, Mrs. Oswald
tried to play down the event but Mrs. Pic took a different view and
asked the Oswalds to leave. Lee refused to discuss the matter with Pic,
whom he had previously idolized, and their relations were strained

On September 30, 1952, Lee enrolled in P.S. 117,[C7-40] a junior
high school in the Bronx, where the other children apparently teased
him because of his “western” clothes and Texas accent.[C7-41] He
began to stay away from school, preferring to read magazines and
watch television at home by himself.[C7-42] This continued despite
the efforts of the school authorities and, to a lesser extent, of
his mother to have him return to school.[C7-43] Truancy charges were
brought against him alleging that he was “beyond the control of his
mother insofar as school attendance is concerned.”[C7-44] Lee Oswald
was remanded for psychiatric observation to Youth House, an institution
in which children are kept for psychiatric observation or for detention
pending court appearance or commitment to a child-caring or custodial
institution such as a training school.[C7-45] He was in Youth House
from April 16 to May 7, 1953,[C7-46] during which time he was examined
by its Chief Psychiatrist, Dr. Renatus Hartogs, and interviewed and
observed by other members of the Youth House staff.[C7-47]

Marguerite Oswald visited her son at Youth House, where she recalled
that she waited in line “with Puerto Ricans and Negroes and
everything.”[C7-48] She said that her pocketbook was searched “because
the children in this home were such criminals, dope fiends, and had
been in criminal offenses, that anybody entering this home had to be
searched in case the parents were bringing cigarettes or narcotics or
anything.”[C7-49] She recalled that Lee cried and said, “Mother, I want
to get out of here. There are children in here who have killed people,
and smoke. I want to get out.”[C7-50] Marguerite Oswald said that she
had not realized until then in what kind of place her son had been

On the other hand, Lee told his probation officer, John Carro, that
“while he liked Youth House he miss[ed] the freedom of doing what he
wanted. He indicated that he did not miss his mother.”[C7-52] Mrs.
Evelyn Strickman Siegel, a social worker who interviewed both Lee and
his mother while Lee was confined in Youth House, reported that Lee
“confided that the worse thing about Youth House was the fact that he
had to be with other boys all the time, was disturbed about disrobing
in front of them, taking showers with them etc.”[C7-53]

Contrary to reports that appeared after the assassination, the
psychiatric examination did not indicate that Lee Oswald was
a potential assassin, potentially dangerous, that “his outlook
on life had strongly paranoid overtones” or that he should be
institutionalized.[C7-54] Dr. Hartogs did find Oswald to be a tense,
withdrawn, and evasive boy who intensely disliked talking about himself
and his feelings. He noted that Lee liked to give the impression that
he did not care for other people but preferred to keep to himself,
so that he was not bothered and did not have to make the effort of
communicating. Oswald’s withdrawn tendencies and solitary habits
were thought to be the result of “intense anxiety, shyness, feelings
of awkwardness and insecurity.”[C7-55] He was reported to have said
“I don’t want a friend and I don’t like to talk to people” and “I
dislike everybody.”[C7-56] He was also described as having a “vivid
fantasy life, turning around the topics of omnipotence and power,
through which he tries to compensate for his present shortcomings and
frustrations.”[C7-57] Dr. Hartogs summarized his report by stating:

    This 13 year old well built boy has superior mental resources
    and functions only slightly below his capacity level in spite
    of chronic truancy from school which brought him into Youth
    House. No finding of neurological impairment or psychotic
    mental changes could be made. Lee has to be diagnosed as
    “personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and
    passive-aggressive tendencies.” Lee has to be seen as an
    emotionally, quite disturbed youngster who suffers under the
    impact of really existing emotional isolation and deprivation,
    lack of affection, absence of family life and rejection by a
    self involved and conflicted mother.[C7-58]

Dr. Hartogs recommended that Oswald be placed on probation on condition
that he seek help and guidance through a child guidance clinic. There,
he suggested, Lee should be treated by a male psychiatrist who could
substitute for the lack of a father figure. He also recommended that
Mrs. Oswald seek “psychotherapeutic guidance through contact with a
family agency.” The possibility of commitment was to be considered only
if the probation plan was not successful.[C7-59]

Lee’s withdrawal was also noted by Mrs. Siegel, who described him as
a “seriously detached, withdrawn youngster.”[C7-60] She also noted
that there was “a rather pleasant, appealing quality about this
emotionally starved, affectionless youngster which grows as one speaks
to him.”[C7-61] She thought that he had detached himself from the
world around him because “no one in it ever met any of his needs for
love.”[C7-62] She observed that since Lee’s mother worked all day,
he made his own meals and spent all his time alone because he didn’t
make friends with the boys in the neighborhood. She thought that he
“withdrew into a completely solitary and detached existence where he
did as he wanted and he didn’t have to live by any rules or come into
contact with people.”[C7-63] Mrs. Siegel concluded that Lee “just
felt that his mother never gave a damn for him. He always felt like
a burden that she simply just had to tolerate.”[C7-64] Lee confirmed
some of those observations by saying that he felt almost as if there
were a veil between him and other people through which they could not
reach him, but that he preferred the veil to remain intact. He admitted
to fantasies about being powerful and sometimes hurting and killing
people, but refused to elaborate on them. He took the position that
such matters were his own business.[C7-65]

A psychological human figure-drawing test corroborated the
interviewer’s findings that Lee was insecure and had limited social
contacts. Irving Sokolow, a Youth House psychologist reported that:

    The Human Figure Drawings are empty, poor characterizations
    of persons approximately the same age as the subject. They
    reflect a considerable amount of impoverishment in the social
    and emotional areas. He appears to be a somewhat insecure
    youngster exhibiting much inclination for warm and satisfying
    relationships to others. There is some indication that he may
    relate to men more easily than to women in view of the more
    mature conceptualisation. He appears slightly withdrawn and in
    view of the lack of detail within the drawings this may assume
    a more significant characteristic. He exhibits some difficulty
    in relationship to the maternal figure suggesting more anxiety
    in this area than in any other.[C7-66]

Lee scored an IQ of 118 on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for
Children. According to Sokolow, this indicated a “present intellectual
functioning in the upper range of bright normal intelligence.”[C7-67]
Sokolow said that although Lee was “presumably disinterested in school
subjects he operates on a much higher than average level.”[C7-68] On
the Monroe Silent Reading Test, Lee’s score indicated no retardation in
reading speed and comprehension; he had better than average ability in
arithmetical reasoning for his age group.[C7-69]

Lee told Carro, his probation officer, that he liked to be by himself
because he had too much difficulty in making friends.[C7-70] The
reports of Carro and Mrs. Siegel also indicate an ambivalent attitude
toward authority on Oswald’s part. Carro reported that Lee was
disruptive in class after he returned to school on a regular basis in
the fall of 1953. He had refused to salute the flag and was doing very
little, if any, work. It appears that he did not want to do any of
the things which the authorities suggested in their efforts to bring
him out of the shell into which he appeared to be retreating.[C7-71]
He told Mrs. Siegel that he would run away if sent to a boarding
school. On the other hand he also told her that he wished his mother
had been more firm with him in her attempts to get him to return to

The reports of the New York authorities indicate that Lee’s mother gave
him very little affection and did not serve as any sort of substitute
for a father. Furthermore she did not appear to understand her own
relationship to Lee’s psychological problems. After her interview with
Mrs. Oswald, Mrs. Siegel described her as a “smartly dressed, gray
haired woman, very self-possessed and alert and superficially affable,”
but essentially a “defensive, rigid, self-involved person who had real
difficulty in accepting and relating to people” and who had “little
understanding” of Lee’s behavior and of the “protective shell he has
drawn around himself.”[C7-73] Dr. Hartogs reported that Mrs. Oswald
did not understand that Lee’s withdrawal was a form of “violent but
silent protest against his neglect by her and represents his reaction
to a complete absence of any real family life.”[C7-74] Carro reported
that when questioned about his mother Lee said, “well I’ve got to live
with her. I guess I love her.”[C7-75] It may also be significant that,
as reported by John Pic, “Lee slept with my mother until I joined the
service in 1950. This would make him approximately 10, well, almost 11
years old.”[C7-76]

The factors in Lee Oswald’s personality which were noted by those who
had contact with him in New York indicate that he had great difficulty
in adapting himself to conditions in that city. His usual reaction to
the problems which he encountered there was simply withdrawal. Those
factors indicated a severe inability to enter into relationships with
other people. In view of his experiences when he visited his relatives
in New Orleans in the spring of 1950, and his other solitary habits,
Lee had apparently been experiencing similar problems before going to
New York, and as will be shown below, this failure to adapt to his
environment was a dominant trait in his later life.

It would be incorrect, however, to believe that those aspects of Lee’s
personality which were observed in New York could have led anyone to
predict the outburst of violence which finally occurred. Carro was the
only one of Oswald’s three principal observers who recommended that
he be placed in a boy’s home or similar institution.[C7-77] But Carro
was quite specific that his recommendation was based primarily on the
adverse factors in Lee’s environment--his lack of friends, the apparent
unavailability of any agency assistance and the ineffectualness of
his mother--and not on any particular mental disturbance in the boy
himself.[C7-78] Carro testified that:

    There was nothing that would lead me to believe when I saw
    him at the age of 12 that there would be seeds of destruction
    for somebody. I couldn’t in all honesty sincerely say such a

Mrs. Siegel concluded her report with the statement that:

    Despite his withdrawal, he gives the impression that he is not
    so difficult to reach as he appears and patient, prolonged
    effort in a sustained relationship with one therapist might
    bring results. There are indications that he has suffered
    serious personality damage but if he can receive help quickly
    this might be repaired to some extent.[C7-80]

Lee Oswald never received that help. Few social agencies even in New
York were equipped to provide the kind of intensive treatment that he
needed, and when one of the city’s clinics did find room to handle him,
for some reason the record does not show, advantage was never taken of
the chance afforded to Oswald. When Lee became a disciplinary problem
upon his return to school in the fall of 1953, and when his mother
failed to cooperate in any way with school authorities, authorities
were finally forced to consider placement in a home for boys. Such a
placement was postponed, however, perhaps in part at least because
Lee’s behavior suddenly improved. Before the court took any action,
the Oswalds left New York[C7-81] in January of 1954, and returned to
New Orleans where Lee finished the ninth grade before he left school
to work for a year.[C7-82] Then in October of 1956, he joined the

Return to New Orleans and Joining the Marine Corps

After his return to New Orleans Oswald was teased at school because of
the northern accent which he had acquired.[C7-84] He concluded that
school had nothing to offer him.[C7-85] His mother exercised little
control over him and thought he could decide for himself whether to go
on in school.[C7-86] Neighbors and others who knew him at that time
recall an introverted boy who read a great deal.[C7-87] He took walks
and visited museums, and sometimes rode a rented bicycle in the park
on Saturday mornings.[C7-88] Mrs. Murret believes that he talked at
length with a girl on the telephone, but no one remembers that he had
any dates.[C7-89] A friend, Edward Voebel, testified that “he was more
bashful about girls than anything else.”[C7-90]

Several witnesses testified that Lee Oswald was not aggressive.[C7-91]
He was, however, involved in some fights. Once a group of white boys
beat him up for sitting in the Negro section of a bus, which he
apparently did simply out of ignorance.[C7-92] Another time, he fought
with two brothers who claimed that he had picked on the younger of
them, 3 years Oswald’s junior. Two days later, “some big guy, probably
from a high school--he looked like a tremendous football player”
accosted Oswald on the way home from school and punched him in the
mouth, making his lip bleed and loosening a tooth. Voebel took Oswald
back to the school to attend to his wounds, and their “mild friendship”
stemmed from that incident.[C7-93] Voebel also recalled that Oswald
once outlined a plan to cut the glass in the window of a store on
Rampart Street and steal a pistol, but he was not sure then that Oswald
meant to carry out the plan, and in fact they never did. Voebel said
that Oswald “wouldn’t start any fights, but if you wanted to start
one with him, he was going to make sure that he ended it, or you were
going to really have one, because he wasn’t going to take anything from
anybody.”[C7-94] In a space for the names of “close friends” on the
ninth grade personal history record, Oswald first wrote “Edward Vogel,”
an obvious misspelling of Voebel’s name, and “Arthor Abear,” most
likely Arthur Hebert, a classmate who has said that he did not know
Oswald well. Oswald erased those names, however, and indicated that he
had no close friends.[C7-95]

It has been suggested that this misspelling of names, apparently on a
phonetic basis, was caused by a reading-spelling disability from which
Oswald appeared to suffer.[C7-96] Other evidence of the existence of
such a disability is provided by the many other misspellings that
appear in Oswald’s writings, portions of which are quoted below.

Sometime during this period, and under circumstances to be discussed
more fully below, Oswald started to read Communist literature, which he
obtained from the public library.[C7-97] One of his fellow employees,
Palmer McBride, stated that Oswald said he would like to kill President
Eisenhower because he was exploiting the working class.[C7-98] Oswald
praised Khrushchev and suggested that he and McBride join the Communist
Party “to take advantage of their social functions.”[C7-99] Oswald also
became interested in the New Orleans Amateur Astronomy Association, an
organization of high school students. The association’s then president,
William E. Wulf, testified that he remembered an occasion when Oswald

    * * * started expounding the Communist doctrine and saying that
    he was highly interested in communism, that communism was the
    only way of life for the worker, et cetera, and then came out
    with a statement that he was looking for a Communist cell in
    town to join but he couldn’t find any. He was a little dismayed
    at this, and he said that he couldn’t find