Lee Harvey Oswald in His Own Words:

Oswald Writes His Brother From the USSR

Warren Commission Exhibit 295
Vol. XVI. Pg. 815-822

Note: In the interest of clarity and legibility, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization have been corrected in certain cases.

Nov. 26, 1959

Dear Robert,

    I shall begin by answering your question on why I and my fellow workers and communists would like to see the present capitalist government of the U.S. overthrown.
    Do you remember the time you told me about the efforts of your milk company to form a union? Try to see why workers must form unions against their employers in the U.S. It is because the government supports an economic system which exploits all its workers; a system based upon credit which gives rise to the never ending cycle of depression, inflation, unlimited speculation (which is the phase America is in now) and war. In this system art, culture, and the spirit of man are subjected to commercial enterprising. Religion and education are used as a tool to suppress what would otherwise be a population questioning their government's unfair economic system and plans for war. Science is neglected unless it can be directly used in making war or producing more profit for the owners of businesses. These are some of the reasons, look around you, and look at yourself. See the degradation, see the unemployed, and what automation is, remember how you were laid off at (unintelligible)
    I remember well the days we stood off shore at Indonesia waiting to suppress yet another population, when they were having a revolution there in Mar. 1958. I can still see Japan and the Philippines and their puppet governments. More important I can see the American in uniforms men who were there because they were drafted or because they were adventurous or unemployed in civilian life. I will ask you a question Robert, what do you support the American government for? What is the Ideal you put forward? Do not say "freedom" because freedom is a word used by all peoples through all of time. Ask me and I will tell you I fight for communism. This word brings to your mind slaves or injustice. This is because of American propaganda. Look this word up in the dictionary or better still, read the book which I first read when I was 15, "CAPITAL", which contains economic theories and most important, the "Communist Manifesto."
    I will not say your grandchildren will live under communism, look for yourself at history, look at a world map! American is a dying country, I do not wish to be a part of it, nor do I ever again wish to be used as a tool in its military oppressions.
    This should answer your question, and also give you a glimpse of my way of thinking.
    So you speak of advantages. Do you think that is why I am here? For personal, material advantages? Happiness is not based on oneself, it does not consist of a small home, of taking and getting. Happiness is taking part in the struggle, where there is no borderline between one's own personal world, and the world in general. I never believed I would find more material advantages at this stage of development in the Soviet Union than I might of had in the U.S.
    When I talked to a reporter I gave most of my reasons, however the story I found out later was badly slanted and left out very real reasons. The reporter was interested only in a colorful story. I have been a pro-communist for years and yet I have never met a communist, instead I kept silent and observed, and what I observed, plus my Marxist learning, brought me here to the Soviet Union. I have always considered this country to be my own.
    I left you out of the matter because I did not want to get you into any sort of trouble because of me. Also this decision is one which I only could make and you would not have been able to understand me.
    You probably know little about this country so I will tell you about it. I did find, as I suspected I would, that most of what is written about the Soviet Union in America is for the better part fabrication. The people here have a seven hour work day now and only work till three o'clock on Saturdays with Sundays off. They have socialism, which means they do not pay for their apartments. As for medical care, the money for these comes from the profit they help to create in their labor, which in U.S. goes to capitalist. Here in Moscow, there is a housing shortage because of the war but its not bad now. There is no unemployment here and in fact a slight shortage of manpower even with a 250,000,000 population. This is because this country is building at a pace which will put it first in all fields of endeavor in 15 years. Most important is the fact they do not work for employers at all, a milkman or a factory supervisor are both socially equal. This does not mean they have the same salary of course. This just (unintelligable) that their work goes for the common good of all.
    These people are a good, warm, alive people. These people would never think of war, they wish to see all peoples live in peace, but at the same time, they work to see the economically enslaved people of the west free. They believe in their Ideal and they support their government and country to the full limit.
    You say you have not renounced me, good I am glad, but I will tell you on what terms I want this arrangement.
    I want you to understand what I say now, I do not say lightly, or unknowingly, since I have been in the military as you know, and I know what war is like.
    1. In the event of war, I would kill any American who put a uniform on in defense of the American government--any American.
    2. That in my own mind, I have no attachments of any kind in the U.S.
    3. That I want to, and I shall, live a normal happy and peaceful life here in the Soviet Union for the rest of my life.
    4. That my mother and you are (in spite of what the newspapers said) not objects of affection, but only examples of workers in the U.S.
    You should not try to remember me in any way I used to be, since I am only now showing you how I am. I am not all bitterness or hate; I came here only to find freedom. In truth, I feel I am at last with my own people, but do not let me give you the impression I am on another world; these people are as much like Americans and people the world over. They simply have an economic system and the Ideal of communism, which the U.S. does not have. I would never been personally happy in the U.S.
    I wish you would do me one favor since that other bad newspaper story went over, I have been thinking I would like to give people, who are interested, the real reasons. If you would give the contents of this letter (except that which is for your benefit) to some reporter, it will clarify my situation, use your own judgement however.
    I have no money problems at all.
    My situation was not nearly as stable then as it is now; I have no troubles at all now along that line.
    It is snowing here in Moscow now, which makes everything look very nice from my hotel window. I can see the Kremlin and Red Square and I have just finished a dinner of (Russian words) meat and potatoes. So you see the Russians are not as different from you and I.


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