Testimony of Martin Barkley

Hearing of 10/11/94 -- Washington, DC.
CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Mr. Martin Barkley.

Good afternoon, Mr. Barkley.

MR. BARKLEY: Good afternoon. How are you?

My name is Martin Barkley and I am from Dallas, Texas, where I am temporary on the staff at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza, which now possesses national historic landmark status as of one year ago tomorrow.

I understand that the focus of the meeting and the hearing is to arrive at a definition, but for me, an individual researcher, and I would like to state at this time that I am not representing the museum. I have been a researcher on this subject for many years, but before I can help with that definition, I think we have approached it all morning long, this problem with the personal papers, the problem of what is exempt and what is not, and basically I would like to get for my research activities somewhat of a reaction from the Board in terms of the only way I know to approach it is maybe give a hypothetical.

Say that certain records or artifacts, if it extends to artifacts at some point exist within the possession of a quasi-governmental or even a private foundation that these records or artifacts maybe have previously been shielded from public knowledge, would that situation under this situation somehow further the American public's rights to a more across-the-board scrutiny of that organization in general?

In other words, could we, at that point, expect the AARB to push and push hard for much more latitude in the discovery and review process?

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Well, I am not sure we can answer that without knowing more of the facts, Mr. Barkley. We are really starting this process of trying to define the records and provide guidance not only to Federal agencies, but also to State and local agencies, and whatever private hands the records might exist. So I think it is probably premature for us to start delving into hypotheticals, but we certainly are mindful of the fact that there are records in a lot of different sources, and that will be an important issue for us to look at very quickly.

MR. BARKLEY: Maybe by terming it a hypothetical, it does exist out there in the murky a little too much, but I could give a specific example to just let you see what we may be faced with in certain examples. I could use one that has intrigued me for about 25 years. I think we need to know where the Stemmons Freeway sign that figured so prominently in the Zapruder film is. Early efforts to find this sign has been unfruitful, let's say. Did the City of Dallas, or the County of Dallas, or the State of Texas Highway Department simply lose possession or control of that sign a short time after President Kennedy's murder and then expect us to believe that it just vanished into thin air? Researchers have always desired to find that sign.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Well, that certainly is an interesting issue. I will point out to you, Mr. Barkley, the Board is intending to conduct a public hearing in Dallas, in part to discuss and have people come in and discuss the issues of where records are that may be in the State of Texas that may be relevant to the mission of the Assassination Records Review Board.

MR. BARKLEY: Thank you.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Mr. Joyce, go ahead.

MR. JOYCE: I would just add to that, the particular instance that you allude to concerns an artifact, and that is one of the questions in front of this very Board in terms of outlining its responsibility.

MR. BARKLEY: It is a very big issue. I believe Mr. Livingstone brought it up earlier.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. Barkley.


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