Jim Garrison believed the Cordell Hull Foundation was sinister

Jim Garrison's Bizarre Behavior - 2

Loony 'Toons In New Orleans

Playwright James Kirkwood was in New Orleans as a journalist covering the Clay Shaw trial. Kirkwood wanted to meet Garrison, and Garrison was agreeable. The meeting involved the following memorable exchange, as recounted by Kirkwood.

. . . Garrison and I resumed our conversation, soon touching on Clay Shaw and the Warren Report. I informed him that although I had never cast myself in the position of defender of the report, I most certainly believed Clay Shaw was completely innocent.

"I can easily understand that belief -- in your position. I can understand others believing it. But I have information that does not permit me to believe the same. Then out of the blue he asked, "Are you familiar with the Trade Mart building?"

"Yes," I replied. "Matter of fact, I had drinks up at the top of the Mart only a few nights ago."

"No," he said, "I mean the old Trade Mart building -- the layout of it?"

"Well, yes," I said, having no idea what his point might be. "I've seen the old building, passed it often."

"Do you know who had offices there?"

"Well --"

He got up from his desk and walked to a large city directory, the size of several phone books. "I think it might be very interesting for you to have a list of all those who had offices in the old Trade Mart building." He called Moo Sciambra in and asked him to photostat the page in question. "I want Mr. Kirkwood to have a copy, and I'd like one myself."


Mr. Garrison made a mark on one and gave it to me. He had encircled "International Trade Mart" in red. It was a sheet from the city directory, taken up mostly with a listing of the offices in the old Trade Mart building on Camp Street. Although the year was not apparent on the page, I imagined it was either 1966 or 1967, the time of Clay Shaw's arrest or prior to it, before the occupancy of the new Trade Mart building overlooking the Mississippi.

"Just take a look," Garrison said, "at the list of offices. This is not a coincidence, this is very meaningful."

I glanced at the list as he said, "The Cordell Hull Foundation! You know about that, of course." I noticed a short penciled arrow pointing to office 536, "The Cordell Hull Foundation." There was one other heavy pencil line ending in an arrow pointing to office 509, "Latin American Reports, Inc. publs." These marks had been on the original page. "I think you will find the list of offices extremely interesting," the District Attorney intoned.

There was never any doubt that the Trade Mart housed many consuls, many foreign trade organizations, as well as such offices as Hiram Walker, Inc., Distillers, Morton Salt, Chase Bag, Films Afloat and General Gas Corp.

"What do you think of that?" he asked seriously.

I did not reply. I was speechless that in 1969, after the trial, Jim Garrison was handing me a page out of a public city directory several years old and treating it as if it were new, secret and highly suspect evidence. I could feel my face tightening. In a way I took it as an affront to whatever intelligence I possess, if not a blatant implication of my gullibility. I simply sat in silent disbelief. "Keep it," he said.

"Look over it when you have time. I believe you'll find it most interesting." He also mentioned he was glad he'd had it copied for himself. I was hoping he would not press me on this page, for the only remark I could have made would have been: Are you quite mad, sir? (Kirkwood, American Grotesque, 570-1)

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