TESTIMONY OF MRS. MARGUERITE OSWALD RESUMED
The President's Commission reconvened at 2 p.m.
The CHAIRMAN. The Commission will be in order. Mrs. Oswald, you may continue with your statement.
Mrs. OSWALD. On the way leaving, I remarked to Mr. Doyle that I had forgotten one very important factor in the story.
I had in Mrs. Paine's home, when Marina closed the door, and I was in the room--before she showed me the picture she told me at the police station that they had showed her Lee's gun and asked her if that was Lee's gun, and she said she didn't know, that Lee had a gun, but she could not say whether that was Lee's gun or not. But that she knew that Lee had a gun.
Mr. RANKIN. When was this?
Mrs. OSWALD. This was in Mrs. Paine's home the night of November 22, when we came from the jail. She told me that she told the police. I am going to explain, because I don't want to be put in why I didn't say it.
Mr. Mark Lane had hoped to come before the Commission, and he wanted to ask me two questions. He didn't say what the questions were. But I know the affidavit presented to the Warren Commission passed on that. And so that is why I had put that particular thing off my mind, thinking Mr. Lane would bring it up. But I immediately told Mr. Doyle when I left, that Mr. Lane not being here I should have made that statement.
Was there something else I told you?
Mr. DOYLE. No. I think that was the matter you had mentioned to me, ma'am.
Mr. RANKIN. You mean the gun or the picture of the gun?
Mrs. OSWALD. No--the gun The police showed Marina a gun--showed Marina a gun, and asked Marina if that was Lee's gun, because Marina had testified at the police station, she told me that Lee had a gun in Mrs. Paine's
garage, and this was the gun that was presumably used to assassinate the President, that the police had--and showed it to Marina, and asked Marina if that was Lee's gun that was in the garage. She said she didn't know --that Lee had a gun in the garage, but she did not know whether that was the gun or not.
Mr. RANKIN. Did you have any discussion with Marina about the gun after that?
Mrs. OSWALD. No, sir--when she said that, that was it. Any comments--as I said before that was it.
Now, where did I finish, please, so I can continue?
Mr. RANKIN. Well, you had gotten to the Six Flags, and you had heard about your son being killed. And then you had gotten to the Parkland Hospital.
Mrs. OSWALD. We were through at the Parkland Hospital.
Mr. RANKIN. You had gotten through with the Parkland Hospital.
Mrs. OSWALD. And then we got to the chief of police's home in Irving. And we finished that. So now we are at the Six Flags.
Mr. RANKIN. Correct.
Mrs. OSWALD. So the FBI agent took us to the Six Flags.
I was never questioned by the Secret Service or the FBI at Six Flags. My son, in my presence, was questioned and taped, and Marina was continuously questioned and taped. But I have never been questioned.
I had all the papers from the State Department, and all of my research from Lee's I say so-called defection. And I wanted them to have them. All the papers were at home.
I told them I thought I could save a lot of manpower, while they were getting the original papers, because I know that each department in the State Department had a reference on Lee, and I had the whole thing condensed, and by them having my papers, they could get the picture. They were not interested in any papers I had. They were not interested.
Mr. RANKIN. Were you not questioned on November 22, 1963?
Mrs. OSWALD. No, sir. Here is what you may have on tape.
I insisted so much that they talked to me, because I had all this--that Mr. Mike Howard finally agreed--not 22d, though.
Mr. RANKIN. This is Mr. Harlan Brown and Mr. Charles T. Brown?
Mrs. OSWALD. That is the two FBI agents, Mr. Brown, questioned me in the office. But all they wanted to know is how did I know my son was an agent, and how did I know that he had the money from the State Department. And I told them Congressman Wright knew, and that they would investigate Congressman Wright. That was a very short questioning. I mean I explained that before. I told them I wanted to talk to the FBI, and I did. And it was the two Mr. Browns, and there were two other men.
Mr. RANKIN. Then Mr. Howard was what date?
Mrs. OSWALD. Mike Howard? Mike Howard was toward the end, because I was so persistent in them talking to me, that finally he decided he would put me on tape. But I do not consider this questioning. It was the date of the funeral--I remember now.
Mr. RANKIN. November 25th?
Mrs. OSWALD. Was that the day of the funeral? If this was the day of the funeral--I can tell you why. He decided he would put me on tape. So I started to tell him about my having the papers, and Lee's defection. And then Robert came out of the room and was crying bitterly. I saw Robert crying.
Wait, I am ahead of my story.
You have to understand this. As a family, we separated--not maybe for any particular reason, it is just the way we live. I am not a mother that has a home that the children can come to and feed them and so on. I am a working mother. I do 24-hour duty. So I am not that type mother, where I am a housewife with money, that the children have a home to come to.
So I said to Mike Howard, "I would like Robert to hear this. Maybe he will learn something." Because Robert never did want to know about my trip to Washington. He doesn't know. Robert never was interested in anything. Lee did not want to know about my trip to Washington. So I thought well now this is an opportunity, since the tragedy has happened, for Mr. Robert
Oswald to know some of these things that his mother has known all of these years.
So I started.
Then Robert had a phone call and he came out of the room, and he was crying bitterly. So I ended the tape I would say I talked approximately 10 minutes. I ended the tape saying, "I'm sorry, but my thoughts have left me, because my son is crying."
I thought for a moment that Robert was crying because of what I was saying, and he was sorry that he had not listened to me before, because I tried to tell him about the defection and my trip to Washington. But Robert was crying because he received a telephone call that we could not get a minister at my son's grave.
They had three ministers that refused to come to the ceremony at my son's grave for church. And that is why Robert was crying bitterly. So that ended the testimony. That little while I testified, that ended it.
Mr. RANKIN. Now, that questioning was a question and answer. You were questioned by the FBI agent, Mr. Howard--
Mrs. OSWALD. No, sir. I was just talking.
Mr. RANKIN. The Secret Service man?
Mrs. OSWALD. Mr. Mike Howard. I was talking on tape.
Mr. RANKIN. Didn't he ask you questions?
Mrs. OSWALD. I don't recall him asking any questions. It could be. But I frankly do not recall him asking any questions. But it was a very short session. And that is the way I ended the tape. I said, "My thoughts have left me because I see my son crying bitterly."
That is the way I ended the tape. And it was a very short tape. I do not remember him questioning me. I think I started to tell my story. And that is the only time.
It was from my persistence that I got on tape just that little while. They did not want to hear anything from me.
Mr. RANKIN. You don't think, then, that at that time there were questions and answers for about 28 pages taken from you?
Mrs. OSWALD. From me no, sir. Definitely not. If they have that, what they have is my talking, like I said, when I saw on television. They said--they were showing Lee's gun. And I was not watching television--I am getting snatches of it, and I said, "Now, how can they say, even though it is Lee's gun, that Lee shot the President. Even being his gun doesn't mean that he shot the President. Someone could have framed him."
If they have 28 pages of that, they have me doing that kind of talking, and had the room bugged, or whatever you want to say. But no, sir, I did not sit and testify. I swear before God 10 times I never have. And that is the point that has bothered me.
Even before Lee's defection no one came along to the house. I called Mr. John Fain in the FBI myself to make friends with him. If they have 20 pages of testimony--that is when they got it, my talking. They got it with a tape recorder going. But I did not, no, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. Well, then, what happened after that?
Mrs. OSWALD. Now--we got off of that. About Robert crying?
Mr. RANKIN. You said that that ended the interview with Mr. Howard.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, that ended the interview with Mr. Howard, because Robert was crying. I was not consulted. I want you to know this, too. I was not consulted about the graveyard services or any part of my son's funeral.
What I know--when my son was going to be buried--it was approximately 1 hour before the time for my son to be buried. My son Robert knew.
Mr. RANKIN. Do you know whether Marina was consulted?
Mrs. OSWALD. I do not know. And I am assuming that she was. You see, Mr. Gregory taught Russian to Marina. And I believe Marina might have been consulted. But I do not know whether she was consulted or not. But I was not consulted. And since then--we will go on to the story. They have put a marker on the grave. I have not been consulted. I have found out my son is encased in cement, and I did not know anything about it until I investigated and asked the man at the cemetery.
They did not consult me about anything, never have. I want that made clear--because that is the part I cannot understand.
Mr. RANKIN. You don't know whether the laws of Texas give the widow the right to say what shall be done?
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, naturally, she is his wife, and I am just the mother. But from a moral standpoint, what are they doing to me? Law and right--but from a moral standpoint, I should go out to the graveyard and see a marker? I should find out from strangers that my son is now in a concrete vault?
Mr. RANKIN. Well, then, did you go to the funeral?
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, let me get--we will get to the story of the ministers.
Mr. RANKIN. All right.
Mrs. OSWALD. Now, I was not consulted. Had Robert asked me--they are Lutheran, we are raised Lutherans. I have no church affiliation. I have learned since my trouble that my heart is my church. I am not talking against the church. But I go to church all day long, I meditate. And my work requires that I don't go to church. I am working on Sunday most of the time, taking care of the sick, and the people that go to church, that I work for, the families, have never once said, "Well, I will stay home and take care of my mother and let you go to church, Mrs. Oswald, today."
You see, I am expected to work on Sunday.
So that is why--I have my own church. And sometimes I think it is better than a wooden structure. Because these same people that expect me to work on Sunday, while they go to church, and go to church on Wednesday night--I don't consider them as good a Christian as I am--I am sorry.
Well--I would not have let Robert be so upset trying to wet a Lutheran minister. If he could not get a Lutheran minister, I would have called upon another minister, because there would have been many, many ministers of many denominations that would have been happy to come and help the sorrowing family.
Well, a Reverend French from Dallas came out to Six Flags and we sat on the sofa.
Reverend French was in the center, I and Robert on the side. And Robert was crying bitterly and talking to Reverend French and trying to get him to let Lee's body go to church. And he was quoting why he could not.
So then I intervened and said, "Well, if Lee is a lost sheep, and that is why you don't want him to go to church, he is the one that should go into church. The good people do not need to go to church. Let's say he is called a murderer. It is the murderers and all we should be concerned about".
And that agent--I am going ahead of my story a little bit--that man right here--
Mr. RANKIN. You are pointing to----
Mrs. OSWALD. This agent right here. You may pass the picture around.
Mr. RANKIN. The figure on the left hand of the picture you have just produced?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir. I do not know his name. The man had the decency to stay at the far end of the room, near the entrance door, while the minister and myself and Robert were sitting on the sofa. And when I said to the minister about the lost sheep, this agent, who I will have a much longer story to talk about, left the group and came and sat on the other sofa--there were two sofas and a cocktail table and he said, "Mrs. Oswald, be quiet. You are making matters worse."
Now, the nerve of him--to leave the group and to come there and scold me.
This Mr. French, Reverend French, agreed that we would have chapel services, that he could not take the body into the church. And we compromised for chapel services.
However, when we arrived at the graveyard, we went to the chapel. There is the body being brought into the chapel. There is another picture. Here is another picture of the chapel.
Mr. RANKIN. Before we go on----
Mrs. OSWALD. And the chapel was empty. My son's body had been brought into the chapel, but Reverend French did not show up. And because there was a time for the funeral, the Star Telegram reporters and the police,
as you see in the picture, escorted my son's body from the chapel and put it at the grave site. And when we went to the cemetery, we went directly to the chapel, because we were promised to have chapel services. And the chapel was empty. My son's body was not in it. Robert cried bitterly.
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald. can I interrupt a minute?
We will have the reporter identify this photograph that you just referred to, where the FBI agent is in the lefthand corner.
(The photograph referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 165 for identification.)
Mr. RANKIN. The photograph I have just referred to is Exhibit 165, is it?
Mrs. OSWALD. Exhibit 165.
Mr. RANKIN. And the FBI agent you refer to is ill the upper lefthand corner of that exhibit.
Mrs. OSWALD. That's right. And this is the other FBI agent, Mr. Mike Howard, who is going to be involved quite a bit. He is the one that was taking care of Baine Johnson. He is the one that they have now sent to protect me in Fort Worth. He was the lead man at Six Flags.
Mr. RANKIN. And he stands right behind you there in that picture?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, that is Mr. Mike Howard.
Mr. RANKIN. Isn't he a Secret Service man?
Mrs. OSWALD. Secret Service man--they are both Secret Service.
Representative FORD. That was the point I wanted to make, because she had said he was an FBI agent.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes--please interrupt. It is awful hard for me to remember and say things. So I appreciate you doing that. It is a long story. And I have many stories, gentlemen. I have many stories that I am sure you do not have.
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs..Oswald, I'll ask the reporter to mark the other picture with the chapel and the casket as Exhibit 166.
(The photograph referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 166 for identification.)
Mr. RANKIN. Can you tell us if Exhibit 166 is a photograph showing the removing of the casket?
Mrs. OSWALD. The way the men are coming this way, they are leaving the chapel. That is the way I would assume. They are leaving the chapel. But the body was not at the chapel. What an awful thing we went through, gentlemen.
Mr. RANKIN. We offer in evidence Exhibits 165 and 166, and ask to substitute copies.
The CHAIRMAN. They may be admitted.
(The documents heretofore marked Commission Exhibits Nos. 165 and 166 were received in evidence.)
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Reporter, I will ask you to mark the picture of the chapel with the casket apparently going in as Exhibit 167.
(The photograph referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 167 for identification.)
Mr. RANKIN. And the picture of the chapel and the casket being placed on a carrier in front of it, as Exhibit 168.
(The photograph referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 168 for identification.)
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, do you recall that Exhibit 167 is the picture of them taking the casket into the chapel?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes.
Mr. RANKIN. And Exhibit 168 is apparently a picture in front of the chapel where they are putting the casket on a carrier?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. We offer in evidence Exhibits 167 and 168 and ask leave to substitute copies.
The CHAIRMAN. They may be admitted.
(The photographs previously marked Commission Exhibits Nos. 167 and 168 for identification were received in evidence.)
Mrs. OSWALD. Now, I don't remember if I stated while at Six Flags that
this particular agent identified as being to the left of the picture, while the television was on continuously--I have stated before I never did sit down and watch it, because we were quite busy. And this was published in the Star Telegram by Mr. Blair Justice, and also on the radio.
He was very, very rude to me. Anything that I said, he snapped. And I took it for quite a while. At this particular time that they showed the gun on television, I said, "How can they say Lee shot the President? Even though they would prove it is his gun doesn't mean he used it--nobody saw him use it."
He snapped back and he said, "Mrs. Oswald, we know that he shot the President."
I then walked over to Mr. Mike Howard and I said, "What's wrong with that agent? That agent is about to crack. All he has done is taunt me ever since I have been here."
He said, "Mrs. Oswald, he was personal body guard to Mrs. Kennedy for 30 months and maybe he has a little opinion against you."
I said, "Let him keep his personal opinions to himself. He is on a job."
Now, there was another instance with this same agent. He followed Marina around continuously. I'm going to make this plain. He followed Marina around continuously. The pictures will always show him by Marina.
We were in the bedroom, and he was in the bedroom. And we were getting ready for the funeral.
Marina was very unhappy with the dress--they bought her two dresses. "Mama, too long." "Mama, no fit." And it looked lovely on her. You can see I know how to dress properly. I am in the business world as merchandise manager. And the dress looked lovely on Marina. But she was not happy with it.
I said, "Oh, honey, put your coat on, we are going to Lee's funeral. It will be all right."
And we had 1 hour in order to get ready for the funeral.
I said, "We will never make it. Marina is so slow."
She said, "I no slow. I have things to do."
I am trying to impress upon you that Marina understands English, and has always talked broken English.
Now, this agent was in the room and Robert was on the telephone. That is why he was allowed in the bedroom.
While Marina was complaining about her dress, my little grandbaby, 2 years old--and she is a very precious little baby, they are good children--was standing by her mother. And Marina was very nervous by this time. She was not happy with the dress. And Marina was combing her hair. She took the comb and she hit June on the head. I said, "Marina, don't do that." And this agent--I wish I knew his name snapped at me and said, "Mrs. Oswald, you let her alone." I said, "Don't tell me what to say to my daughter-in-law when she was hitting my grandbaby on the head with a comb" in front of Robert Oswald. Now, why did this man do these things?
Mr. RANKIN. Are you saying that the agent did anything improper, as far as Marina was concerned?
Mrs. OSWALD. Now, what do you mean when you say improper?
Mr. RANKIN. Was there any improper relationship between them, as far as you know?
Mrs. OSWALD. No. I am saying--and I am going to say it as strongly as can--that I--and I have stated this from the beginning--that I think our trouble in this is in our own Government. And I suspect these two agents of conspiracy with my daughter-in-law in this plot.
The CHAIRMAN. With who?
Mrs. OSWALD. With Marina and Mrs. Paine the two women. Lee was set up, and it is quite possible these two Secret Service men are involved.
Mr. RANKIN. Which ones are you referring to?
Mrs. OSWALD. Mr. Mike Howard and the man that I did not--did not know the name, the man in the picture to the left. I have reason to think so because I was at Six Flags and these are just some instances that happened--I have much more stories to tell you of my conclusions. I am not a detective, and I
don't say it is the answer to it. But I must tell you what I think, because I am the only one that has this information. Now, here is another instance----
Mr. RANKIN. What kind of a conspiracy are you describing that these men are engaged in?
Mrs. OSWALD. The assassination of President Kennedy.
Mr. RANKIN. You think that two Secret Service agents and Marina and Mrs. Paine were involved in that, in the conspiracy?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, I do. Besides another high official. I will tell you the high official I have in mind when we go through that part of the story, if you please.
Mr. RANKIN. Well, now, could you tell us what you base that on--because that is a very serious charge.
Mrs. OSWALD. It is a very serious charge, and I realize that. I base that on what I told you, the attitude of this man, and Mike Howard's attitude also.
Now, I have to continue.
Mr. RANKIN. Have you described that?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes. I have to continue.
While at Six Flags, Marina was given the red carpet treatment. Marina was Marina. And it was not that Marina is pretty and a young girl. Marina was under--what is the word--I won't say influence these two men were to see that Marina was Marina. I don't know how to say it. Are you getting the point? Let me see if I can say it better.
Mr. RANKIN. You mean they were taking care of her, or were they doing more than that?
Mrs. OSWALD. More than taking care of Marina.
Mr. RANKIN. Well, now, describe what more.
Mrs. OSWALD. All right, I will describe it for you.
I am not quite satisfied with the way I said that. Let me get my thoughts together.
I noticed that--and of course as I have testified, the way the man treated me and I was told he was a body guard for Mrs. Kennedy. We were at Six Flags on November 24th, at Lee's death, and on November 26th Marina and I--before November 26th-- Marina and I were very, very friendly, very loving, everything was "Mama"--"Mama has a big heart." And we planned to live together.
I had an insurance policy that had expired on Lee. I was not able to keep up the premium. And I had $863. But however I had not looked at the policy for some years, and I was not quite sure that it was in force. But otherwise I had no money and no job. I had given up my job to come to the rescue. So I was very anxious to get home and get my papers and let them see the copies of everything I had, and to find out if I had my insurance policy, if it was in force, and also get some clothes.
From the 24th until the 26th I lived in my uniform, gentlemen. I did not have any clothes at the Six Flags. Yet Robert Oswald was taken to his home a couple of times to get clothes. And when I wanted to go home and get clothes, they put me off. One time I broke down crying. I said, "I don't understand it. You won't do anything for me, yet you drove Robert all the way to Denton to get clothes."
So the night of the 26th they took me home, and I got my papers. I found that my insurance policy was in force. So I said to Marina, "Marina, we all right. Mama has insurance policy, $800. You stay home with baby and mama work, or mama stay home with baby and you work, and at least we have a start."
"Okay, Mama. I not want big house, Mama. I want small place."
And this is the girl that has never had anything, and she only wanted small things. Fine.
On the date of the 22d, approximately 10 o'clock--this was in the morning--I want to say something to Marina, and Marina shrugged me off and walked away.
Mr. DULLES. What date was this?
Mrs. OSWALD. The 27th. That morning I had acted as interpreter for an
FBI agent, and Mr. Mike Howard said, "Would you like us to get a Russian interpreter?" And he said, "No, Mrs. Oswald is doing fine." And he took the testimony from me as an interpreter. So, you see my daughter-in-law did understand English and answered me in her Russian broken English, because the FBI man was satisfied.
So when Marina shrugged me off, I thought right away that she thought--because I had to use the name Lee so many times- -that I was hurting her husband, and maybe that is why she felt this way. So I thought maybe I am just imagining things. So I waited quite a while, I would say half an hour. 1 went to Marina again. And she walked away and shrugged me off.
So I walked into the living room, where my son, Robert Oswald, and the Secret Service were and I said to Robert, "Robert, something is wrong with Marina. She won't have anything to do with me."
He said, "I know why. Marina has been offered a home by a very wealthy woman"--all of this was done without my knowledge "by a very wealthy woman who will give her children education, and she didn't know how to tell you."
I said, "Well, Robert, why didn't you tell me?"
Of course when I said it, I was emotionally upset. I said, "Robert, why didn't you tell me?"
He said, "Because just the way you are acting now."
I said, "What do you mean the way I am acting now? I am acting in a normal fashion. You are telling me that you are taking my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren away from me, and I have lost my son, and my grandchildren and daughter are going to live with strangers. This is a normal reaction."
"Well, that is why we didn't tell you. We knew you would take it that way." And that is the last time I have talked to my daughter-in-law, Marina. And that is the rift between Marina and I. There is no rift, sir? We were going to live together. But this home was offered Marina--and I will present this in evidence.
Now, Mr. Gregory is involved Mr. Gregory did all the Russian talking. They all knew better but me. And I have more to the story.
Yes, here it is.
And there are other offers Marina had--other offers.
So I was not able to be around Marina. The Secret Service saw to it. And they gloated.
Gentlemen, I am not imagining these things. These two men gloated of the fact that now Marina is going to be fixed--you know, she is fixed financially and otherwise.
Mr. RANKIN. Is this Mrs. Pultz?
Mrs. OSWALD. I didn't even read this, sir, believe me. This was handed to me by a reporter before I left, saying, "Mrs. Oswald, maybe these things"--because he knows the story. This has all been published publicly in newspapers, what I am saying. The Star Telegram could give you all I am saying here. It has already been made public in the paper, all of this. And he handed that to me. I never did see that article until the other day.
Mr. RANKIN. This article refers to Mrs. Oswald being offered a home, and apparently a newspaper account-a newspaper account of the offer, according to this newspaper account--the offer was by a Mrs. Pultz. That is the one that you refer to when you handed this paper to us.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir, that is offering her a home.
Now, I have not read that. I know she was offered a home by a woman and I will tell you further what I do know about this.
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Reporter, I will ask you to identify this as the next exhibit.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 169 for identification.)
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, the reporter has marked that Exhibit 169, the newspaper article you have just given us, is that correct?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. I now offer in evidence Exhibit 169 and ask please to substitute a copy.
The CHAIRMAN. It may be admitted.
(The document heretofore marked Commission Exhibit No. 169 for identification was received in evidence.)
Mr. RANKIN. Do you recall the date?
Mrs. OSWALD. I left there on the 28th, so it would have to be the 27th. It would have to be the 27th.
Mr. RANKIN. Now----
Mrs. OSWALD. Now, there were other people that offered her homes.
Mr. RANKIN. But you seemed to think there was something improper or bad about your son Robert wanting to get your daughter Marina taken care of in this manner. I don't understand that. Can you explain it?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes. Well--no--as I have explained before, Robert and I are not close, we are not close as a family. But Robert is a very easy-going person. He is not opinionated, particularly like I am. My older son and Lee are my disposition. But because you are a Secret Service man or somebody, if you tell him something, he will go along and yes you. So he was part of this arrangement. They probably had to have his consent. But he knew of the arrangement with Mr. Gregory and Marina. They all knew it but me. I was not consulted about this at all.
Mr. RANKIN. Do you think Robert was trying to do something bad by it, or just trying to look out for----
Mrs. OSWALD. He thought it was a good idea, that Marina should go and live in this home. But I took a different attitude. I am not interested in material things, gentlemen. I then went into my speech, that I thought, as a family, Marina and I should stick together and face our future together. I could see no reason--and I made this at the Six Flags. and have made it public in the newspapers, I could see no reason, no advantage of Marina living with strangers. I said that before. I thought it would be better, original idea, Marina and I had made, to live in my apartment and do the best we can. And I even said--we have $863 to start with, and then if we don't make it "What about you helping us?"
"But give us a chance as a family. Don't put the girl in a strange home, a Russian girl. a foreign girl, taken away from her Mama."
Marina has no mother and father--she has a stepfather. But I was her Mama up until this time. And I could not see Marina in a strange home.
Well, I am going to prove this story to you. It is a fantastic story. But as I go along--I have witnesses--and that is why I asked you, sir, I would like these people called to back up these fantastic stories I am telling you. It can be proven, sir.
So I had no further contact with my daughter-in-law--once they came out and said what they had planned. I had no inkling of it. That was the--they wanted to keep her and the children away from me.
That night, the night of November 27th--now, we were in a bedroom with twin beds that we shared. They opened the- studio couch in the living room, and rolled June's bed, the baby bed in the living room, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. What do you mean by "they"?
Mrs. OSWALD. The Secret Service had the maid come in with sheets and everything and they got--opened the sofa into a bed. The Secret Service rolled the baby bed from the bedroom into the living room. And I knew that I was not wanted or involved. And I have a very dignified way about me. I didn't say a word. What I did--I sat up in a chair all night long in the living room, rather than to be so indignant as to sleep in the bedroom where they had taken my daughter-in-law from me. I sat up in a chair in the living room rather than be pushed aside like I was being pushed aside.
Mr. RANKIN. Well, now, what Secret Service men were these. Mr. Howard?
Mrs. OSWALD. Mr. Howard was involved, and this other man.
Mr. RANKIN. The same man?
Mrs. OSWALD. This same man. And my son is in this, too. Robert was part
of this conspiracy that they were going to let her go to a home, and they didn't tell me--and Mr. Peter Gregory.
Mr. RANKIN. And did they move your daughter-in-law out into the living rooms?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir, she slept on the sofa. And they moved June's baby bed from the bedroom into the living room, by my daughter-in-law. And I sat in a chair. I can do that. I am a nurse, and I can do without sleep. And I had all the papers. I told you that the night before they took me home to get my papers. And that is why I knew I had the insurance money. So I started to work on the papers. And I sat up all night long.
Mr. RANKIN. What did Marina say about that arrangement?
Mrs. OSWALD. There was nothing said between Marina and I. The last time I had seen Marina was when she shrugged me off, and then this came out why she shrugged me off. I have had no contact with Marina since.
Mr. RANKIN. Now, why do you think there is a conspiracy about this? Can you explain that to us?
Mrs. OSWALD. About this particular instance?
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, I don't say that is a particular instance. But it is certainly a very unusual way to do a thing, a very unusual way--not to consult me. Marina and I were friends. She was going to come and live with me. I was going to share my money with her. And then they went ahead and planned all this without my knowledge.
Maybe you know the answer to it, I don't know. But there was no hard feelings--even now I love Marina and I would take and help her any way I can.
So I don't understand these things. But I am telling you the way things happen, the way I was excluded. And your Secret Service agents had part of this.
Mr. RANKIN. And you do not think Robert and the Secret Service agents could be acting in good faith to try to just help Marina and her children along?
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, I cannot see from my point of view that it would be good that a foreign girl lives in a stranger's home, a perfect stranger who has come to the police department and offered her a home. We are talking about a perfect stranger. If she is a perfect stranger--maybe she wasn't. I have no way of knowing. But I am going to assume what I read. It would be much better for this girl to go live in this stranger's home than to be with her family? This girl and my grandchildren needed a family, which I was that family. I cannot see that.
Mr. RANKIN. What I am asking you is: Do you think it is possible that Robert was just mistaken when he and the Secret Service man, if they are involved, thought this might be a good plan. Isn't it possible they were trying to do the right thing?
Mrs. OSWALD. No, sir, I think it was deliberate. I am sure. I don't think. I am positive it was deliberate. And I will tell you why as we go along.
Mr. RANKIN. Now, you said you thought it was deliberate.
Mrs. OSWALD. I am trying to get everything in, so you can get a clear picture.
Mr. RANKIN. Well, this plan to have your daughter-in-law go and live with another lady--this Mrs. Pultz--you said you did not think it could be innocent or in good faith?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes--because then this same Secret Service man, that I don't know the name now, I may be wrong about this-just a moment. No--this is not the same man.
One of the other Secret Service men had gone to talk to Robert's boss, because Robert was worried about his job. So this happened in the afternoon. I had no contact with Marina. And he came in and in front of me he parted Robert on the shoulder and said, "Now, Robert, I have talked to your boss and you are all right. I assured him you are not involved in any way."
So, gentlemen, Marina is taken care of; Robert is taken care of--I am not feeling sorry for myself, believe me, because I can take care of myself. But here is a mother who has come to the rescue, lost her job, offered her good love
and insurance money, and nobody has wondered what is going to become of me.
Mr. RANKIN. Well, did you think it was improper that the Secret Service man would go to Robert's boss and tell him he was not involved, that there was nothing improper?
Mrs. OSWALD. No, sir; I do not. I think it was a fine gesture. And that is the point I am trying to make out. Why are these fine gestures to see that Marina is going to have a home and be taken care of, and Robert's job is secure but I am nothing. I was not included in the plans. And what is going to become of me? I have no income. I have no job. I lost my job. And nobody thought about me.
I don't mean to imply I'm sorry for myself. I am trying to bring out a point that through all of this, that I have not been considered, even as much as to testify. I want to know why. I don't understand why.
It is very strange.
I packed during the night, sat up in the chair, as I said.
So the next morning I am on my way home. I have no purpose to be there. I was helping my daughter-in-law, and helping the children. But now I am out of everything, so I insist on going home.
Before going home, I asked to tell Marina goodby, and my grandchildren, and what they have done this morning--they have taken her out of these quarters and brought her next door, to the other quarters of the Inn--it is just one door and a little courtyard to the other door.
Mr. RANKIN. What day is this?
Mrs. OSWALD. This is the 28th. So the agent that was taking me home I'm sorry, but I'm very bad at names, and there were so many agents, it is awfully hard for me to remember it all. I told him that I wanted to tell Marina that I was going. He knocked on the door. The Russian interpreter from the State Department, Mr. Gopadze, came to the door, and the agent said, "Mrs. Oswald is going home and wants to tell Marina and the children goodby".
He said, "Well, we are interviewing her, and she is on tape. She will get in touch with you."
So I never saw Marina after that time.
Now, what worried me so was what did Marina think. What did Marina know of this, and what did she think? Did she think I deserted her? Did they think I left without telling her goodby? This worried me very much. I could picture the girl. What did she think? I didn't even get to tell her goodby.
So I tried in vain to see Marina. I have called Mr. F. V. Sorrels over and over and over, and he has never told me that Marina did not want to see me. And this, gentlemen, I have proof of. He always said, "Well, Mrs. Oswald, I am not able to divulge where she is" and the regular push-around. He is not telling me plainly I am not going to see Marina, he is being very courteous to me, but not letting me see Marina--if I am making this plain. And I have publicly blasted that. Over and over I have tried unsuccessfully.
Mr. Mark Lane, who is representing my son, talked with Mr. Jim Martin and Mr. Thorne--Jim Martin is Marina's business manager, and Mr. Thorne is her attorney. And Mr. Jim Martin and Thorne have stated to Mr. Mark Lane that Marina did not want to talk to me.
Now, this is approximately a month ago, I would say, when I first engaged Mr. Mark Lane. And Mr. Mark Lane said to me that he was not satisfied, when he gave me the information. I said, "No, I want Marina to tell me that." How did I know it was Marina's quote?
Mr. Sorrels never told me that Marina did not want to talk to me. But this was told to Mr. Mark Lane. But I would not take that as a quote. 1 wanted to hear it from Marina.
So we persistently tried to see Marina. When I say we, almost every reporter in the city of Fort Worth and Dallas has tried to see Marina. Mr. Mark Lane has tried to see Marina. Mr. Olds, who is head of the Civil Liberties Association--I don't know if that's the proper name in Fort Worth has tried to see Marina. And there have been many prominent people trying to see Marina, because they could not understand how Marina could be under such strict surveillance that no one could be allowed to see Marina. There have been many, many
people question this. It has been questioned, why Marina would be under strict seclusion for 6 weeks, with not a soul seeing Marina. I say not a soul. My son saw Marina at Christmas time, and probably had seen her before then.
His family went with him--I checked with my daughter-in-law, Vada, and she said she went with Robert for Christmas time. It came over the news in Fort Worth that Marina's brother-in-law, Lee's brother, would be with her at Christmas time, and Mrs. Marguerite Oswald was unavailable for news.
Gentlemen, I stayed home crying, hoping against hope that the Secret Service would come and let me be with my family for Christmas time, waiting there patiently. I was available for news. I had blasted this in the paper over and over. I waited for them to come get me. But there again, I am excluded.
Do you know the answers to all these exclusions? I do not.
The first time Marina ever made any statement or public appearance was approximately 2 weeks ago, or maybe not that long. She was on an exclusive television program, Channel 4 in Fort Worth, Tex., when she stated publicly that in her mind she thought that Lee shot President Kennedy. What an awful thing for this 22-year-old foreign girl to think. She thinks in her mind. She doesn't know. But she thinks, gentlemen. That tape can be sent back to you. That was her quote. I watched every television program, and I took it down in black and white. "In my mind, I think Lee shot President Kennedy."
She doesn't know our American way of life. Lee Harvey Oswald will be the accused assassin of President Kennedy when this information is over with, believe me.
She is a Russian girl, and maybe they do this in Russia. But what I am going to say is that Marina Oswald was brainwashed by the Secret Service, who have kept her in seclusion for 8 weeks--8 weeks, gentlemen, with no one talking to Marina.
Marina does not read English. Marina knows none of the facts from newspaper account. The only way Marina can get facts is through what the FBI and the Secret Service probably are telling her, or some of the facts that Marina has manufactured since.
I am sorry, gentlemen, but this is a true story.
Mr. RANKIN. What do you base your claim on, that Marina was brainwashed?
Mrs. OSWALD. Because for 8 weeks no one has been allowed to see Marina. I do not believe in my mind that that is an American way of life. I question the fact that it is even legal, that they can keep her in strict seclusion with no one seeing her for 8 weeks, gentlemen.
Now, there may be a reason for that. I don't know. But the American people want some answer to that. I have over 1,500 letters questioning that. The papers have blasted it continuously.
Mr. RANKIN. If she didn't have somebody to look out for her, do you think the various people that wanted to see her would keep her so busy she could not even take care of the children?
Mrs. OSWALD. Now, Mr. Rankin, I am not saying, even implying that the Secret Service should not protect my daughter- in-law. I am grateful for that, and I have expressed it. I am most grateful she has protection. But would there have been any harm for me to talk to Marina with the Secret Service around and let Marina tell me that she does not want to see me?
Mr. RANKIN. Well, let's leave you out of it. What about all the rest of the people that would want--or did want to see Marina?
Mrs. OSWALD. All right.
Mr. RANKIN. And take her time, while she had to take care of the children.
Mrs. OSWALD. I agree with that. Marina should not see every Tom, Dick, and Harry. I think they are doing a wonderful job in protecting her. But when Mr. Mark Lane, who is an attorney, requested it, so we can solve this, to just let Marina tell him that she doesn't want to see her mama, and Mr. Olds, who is head of Civil Liberties, was refused permission to see her, then we question it.
No, I don't think all the people should see Marina. But people are asking these questions, Mr. Rankin. They want to know why a high official cannot see Marina, to satisfy the public's demand.
Mr. RANKIN. Well, Marina had her own counsel at that time, she said. Mr. Thorne was her attorney.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes. Now, we will get to Mr. Thorne.
When I first contacted Mr. Thorne I said, "Mr. Thorne, how is my daughter-in-law and grandchildren?
And Mr. Thorne really apologized to me. He said, "Mrs. Oswald, they are fine. But I am unable to divulge their whereabouts."
He volunteered the information to me.
And I said, "Well, sir; I am not asking where they are"--because I had already--by the time she got this attorney--by the time I had contacted him, we had been fighting this thing to see Marina. But he volunteered the information. He said, "Your daughter-in- law and grandchildren are fine, but I am not able to divulge their whereabouts."
I said, "I am not asking about their whereabouts." I said that I had Lee's Marine book, which is a big, colorful book, the life of a Marine, that Lee had sent to me, and Lee's baby book; that I had had in my possession ever since he was a baby, that I gave to Marina and Lee when they returned to Russia, and my husband's gold pocket watch I had all those years I gave to Lee. So I asked Mr. Thorne about these things and he said he would inquire about it.
I said, "Mr. Thorne, while I am on the phone I do want to bring something up. While I was at Six Flags, the day I left, the morning I left, is the first time that sympathy cards started coming in, and money. And these envelopes were addressed to Mrs. Marina Oswald and Marguerite Oswald, or Mrs. Marguerite Oswald and Marina, to both."
The Secret Service started to open the envelopes, and there were checks and cash. Because of my prior story that they had pushed me aside, I said, "Now, my moneys that come in that says and mother' I definitely want my share."
Believe me, gentlemen, I have never received 1 penny.
Mr. RANKIN. What did he say about that?
Mrs. OSWALD. They said yes--and my son was there when I said that--they said they would divide it. If it was a $10 bill and it said the mother of Lee and the wife, that I would get 5 and Marina would get 5. So when I talked to Mr. Thorne I said, "I want to tell you, Mr. Thorne, while I was at Six Flags, I know of moneys coming in, but I have never received a penny. But I want you to know that the 'Secret Service in my home, because they were in my home from the 28th until the 3d"--I believe it was--
Representative FORD. Third of what?
Mrs. OSWALD. This would be December. Because this was the 28th of November--approximately the 3d. "The money that came into my home that way, 'Mrs. Marguerite Oswald and Marina Oswald' the Secret Service divided right then and there. If it was a $10 bill, I got 5 and they took 5 to give to Marina. Whether Marina ever got the money or not, I have no way of knowing. But the money in my home was divided and the share given to Marina. But I never did get the share from the Secret Service at this time.
So 2 weeks later----
Mr. RANKIN. How much did that amount to, that was divided in your home?
Mrs. OSWALD. Very little. My contributions up to now are just a little over $900--about $905. That is the money that has been given direct to me, the mother of Lee Harvey Oswald.
So about 3 weeks later--now, Mr. Lane comes in here. He has all of these documents and all of these dates and everything. I don't know about the dates.
Mr. Thorne-- from Mr. Thorne's office and Mr. Martin I receive an envelope about this size with mail for me, Mrs. Marguerite Oswald--not "and Marina"--everyone open, gentlemen--opened, no cash, but checks, made out to Mrs. Marguerite Oswald, that nobody else of course could have any benefit from. This late date. And there were checks way in November, in the beginning of December, that were held all this time. But until I complained, then they decided to send them to me.
Mr. Lane has in his possession photostatic copies of my mail that has been opened by the Fort Worth Police. I had a tip from a reporter that my mail at the mayor's office and the Fort Worth Police and the chief of police was being
photostatic copied. So I sent a telegram--and I have these things--you will have everything I have to each one, the same telegram, saying that any mail addressed to Mrs. Marguerite Oswald should be forwarded to her immediately--to me immediately at 2220 Thomas Place. I received no mail.
Three days later--I received no mail.
So I called Mr. Sorrels and told Mr. Sorrels about the tip that I had. And I knew it was a positive tip--I could feel sure this young man was giving me the right information. I had much information that the public knows, that they have helped me in this case, Mr. Rankin. So Mr. Sorrels sent Mr. Seals, I think his name was, a Secret Service man down and the chief of police gave Mr. Seals--we have this--my mail opened and photostatic copies. I can produce this evidence.
Now, what right--I am not an attorney--but we have a moral issue all through this that I am fighting for.
If the mail went to the chief of police, Mrs. Marguerite Oswald, in care of the chief of police--it well could be that they have the legal right to open such mail. But they do not have the moral right, because I was an international figure, and everybody knew my address. And the chief of police and everybody else knew my address. And that mail should have remained unopened. How much cash was taken out of those mails? I do not know. And I am not really saying there was. But there is quite a possibility that it was. Then I received another package from Mr. Thorne, and my mail was opened. I called Mr. Sorrels about that. He said he knew nothing about it.
First I called Mr. Thorne and he said that is the way he got the mail. So then I called Mr. Sorrels and he said he knew nothing about it. I said, "Mr. Sorrels, I'm getting awfully tired of this. Mr. Thorne doesn't know how my mail is being opened. He says that he got the mail from the Secret Service. And now you are telling me that you do not give the mail to Mr. Thorne. Where does my mail come from opened?" So nobody knows anything, the things that have happened to me.
My rights have been invaded continuously--continuously. Every newspaper clipping was taken out of my home. Three letters from Lee, from Russia. I offered all my information, as I explained over and over. to the Secret Service. And while in my home, I was showing them things--because I was proud of the things I have, and I think, gentlemen, when you see everything I have you will see a different picture of this boy.
There were three letters taken from my letters from Lee. And how I came to know that--a New York reporter had offered-- he was going to write a story and had offered to buy three of my letters. I told him he could have his choice. And so he looked through the letters, and I looked through them with him, and I missed these three letters. These three letters would have been of importance to the Secret Service and to our government.
But you must remember, I have offered over and over to give any information I have.
One letter stated that Marina's uncle was a colonel in the Russian Army--I may produce this now. Is that what we need to do next--the letters?
Representative BOGGS. Was a colonel in what?
Mrs. OSWALD. Pardon?
Representative BOGGS. One letter said he was a colonel in what?
Mrs. OSWALD. That Marina's uncle was a colonel in the Russian Army. Would you like to look at these letters while I continue, Mr. Doyle?
Mr. DULLES. Are these the lost letters?
Mrs. OSWALD. No, sir, these are letters from Lee to me from Russia.
Mr. DULLES. I thought you said three were lost.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, three were lost. The one about the Russian colonel was lost-that the Secret Service men took--three letters--that would be of importance for them. But I offered to give it to them. But they were taken from my home.
Representative BOGGS. How did you get them back?
Mrs. OSWALD. I am going to tell the story, and I have witnesses.
So when I missed them, Mr. Jack Langueth, who we can call as a witness, who is a reporter for the New York Times, wanted to pay me for letters--he
printed the story in the paper with the three letters that he bought from me, three different letters I am talking about now, and printed how many letters I had, including the three letters that the FBI man that Marina's uncle was a colonel. He printed the things in the paper.
So approximately 5 or 6 days later the Secret Service man-and I can find his picture probably--came to my home and returned the three letters and got a receipt from me for the three letters.
Mr. RANKIN. How much did this reporter offer to pay you for the letters and other things?
Mrs. OSWALD. I got $50 for each letter. And I have the receipt.
Mr. RANKIN. I don't understand yet. You offered to sell the letters to him, or let him have use of them for $50 apiece?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. $150?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. And then he published them?
Mrs. OSWALD. No. Yes--he published the letters. It was published in the New York Times, the three letters.
Mr. RANKIN. Then they were returned to you.
Mrs. OSWALD. No, he never did take the letters. Mr. Langueth never did take the letters he bought from me out of my hand. As I told you gentlemen, we went to a photostatic place and the letters were copied, and I kept the originals. He paid me $50. That was printed in the story. But the three letters that the Secret Service men had, he printed in the story about Marina's uncle being a colonel in the Russian Army. And that is the letter that the Secret Service man had.
Mr. RANKIN. And you did not get paid for those at all?
Mrs. OSWALD. No--these are different letters. So they returned those letters to me, the Secret Service, and I gave them a receipt for them. But they did not ask my permission to take them, or let me have a receipt when they took them. So I am trying to point out the fact that I got the three letters back, I would think, because the story in the paper said that the Secret Service had these three letters and parts of what they contained. So the three letters were returned to me, and I had to sign a receipt for those three letters.
Am I making that clear now?
May I have some water, please?
Representative FORD. Are we going to get these letters in the record?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir. Let me get the letters in the record, then.
Mr. DOYLE. Let me go off the record a minute.
(Discussion off the record.)
Mrs. OSWALD. I am not able to go into the defection now, because I am not through with this part. The defection starts an entirely different story, if you want to know the true facts, and it will take quite a while.
What sticks in my mind is this one particular letter about Marina's uncle. The other two I am not quite sure.
Representative BOGGS. What does it say about her uncle?
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, I have to find the letter, sir.
I want to say this, gentleman. And maybe you are not in agreement with me. But all my life I have known and I have thought that a title does not make a man. It may be presumptuous of me that I am accusing the Secret Service because they are the Secret Service. But there are men in our Government, and the Secret Service, who are undesirable, just like in any other organization--let's face it. We have such men as Bobby Baker, who was a citizen well thought of. Charles Van Doren who was well thought of. Mr. Fred Korth who was under investigation, he was a wonderful citizen. I can go on and on. Yet these men turned out not to be the right type.
I say this because my son was a self-styled Marxist, and a known defector, and that is why his guilt was proven by the Dallas Police. And my son-had he been a Senator or someone in the higher field. maybe they would not have picked him up so fast. Now, that is a fact of our way of life, of human nature. Having a title doesn't mean that you are the man back of the title.
Mr. RANKIN. Could we take those letters now and have the reporter identify them? Here is the one about the uncle in the Army?
Mrs. OSWALD. That is one I am sure of.
Now, I did not finish the story of the woman offering Marina a home. I have not finished that story, really. This affidavit that I showed you about the woman offering Marina the home the morning of the 28th--I picked up the newspaper and I read in the newspaper-I will be through with this story in 1 minute. I picked up the newspaper on the 28th of November and I read in the newspaper where this woman had offered Marina a home. So I said to the agent that was sitting up-everybody was sleeping, and as I told you I sat up all night----
Mr. RANKIN. This was 1963, after the assassination?
Mrs. OSWALD. 1963, November 28. It was on the 27th that 1 knew my daughter was offered a home. Nothing was said where. In fact, at the time I thought she was going to live in Mr. Gregory's home. I just thought that. I did not ask. I was so hurt, I did not ask.
But on the morning of the 28th I picked up the paper and read this story about the woman going to the Dallas Police offering Marina a home. So I said to this agent, "Evidently that is who Marina is going to live with." But I did not know. But on the 28th is when 1 saw the story of the woman offering Marina the home.
Mr. RANKIN. Now, you have produced a number of letters that you described as being letters received from your son, Lee Oswald, while he was in the Soviet Union.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. And we have asked you if you could identify the three letters that the Secret Service brought back to you and asked you to give a receipt for. You said it is very difficult, if not impossible, Łor you to do that. Is that right?
Mrs. OSWALD. No, sir, I did not say that. I said that one letter I was sure of, because it stated that her uncle was an officer in the Soviet Union. That letter I am sure of. The other two letters--I would have to go through the letters. I think I could spot them, because it would be of importance to our country and the Secret Service to know--in other words, it was important for them to know she had an uncle in the Soviet Union. And the other two letters would be on that order. And I believe maybe I could-I would not want to state a fact that these two letters--I think I would be pretty close to choosing the other two letters as the proper letters.
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, I wonder if it would be agreeable to you if we would identify all of those letters that you received from your son while he was in the Soviet Union, and then possibly when we recess you could look them over and see----
Mrs. OSWALD Yes, sir, that's perfectly all right.
Mr. RANKIN. See if you can pick out the ones you gave a receipt for.
Mrs. OSWALD. That is perfectly all right. Any way you want to do it is all right with me.
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Reporter, I will ask you to mark them, and Mr. Liebeler. will you help in the marking, because the letters are covered with glassine, and it may be hard to mark them with ink. I think by putting those stickers on we can help you.
Mrs. OSWALD. Not all of the letters have dates. I think by taking the date on the back of the envelope it would be all right. And we had them in order. I don't know if they are still in order. But we had them by the dates.
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Reporter, I offer in evidence Exhibits 170 to 179, both inclusive, being pictures of the funeral and the casket that Mrs. Oswald has produced here for the Commission, and ask leave to substitute copies.
The CHAIRMAN. They may be so introduced.
(The photographs referred to were marked Commission Exhibits Nos. 170 to 179 inclusive for identification, and received in evidence.)
Mr. RANKIN. I then offer the various letters that Mrs. Oswald produced, that she said were sent to her by her son, Lee Harvey Oswald, from the Soviet Union.
And I think it would be better for our record if I briefly state the date that the envelopes bear in each case, so it can be compared with the number.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
Mr. RANKIN. Exhibit 180 bears the date of July 18, 1961, on the envelope.
Mr. DULLES. Mr. Rankin--is that the American or the Russian postmark?
Mr. RANKIN. That is the American postmark.
Mr. DULLES. Time of receipt in this country?
Mr. RANKIN. That's right.
Now, Mrs. Oswald, I understand from you there was one letter before the letter bearing the date July 18, 1961, on the American postmark on the envelope, and you do not have that here?
Mrs. OSWALD. I may have it. I have many more papers and documents. I have a suitcase almost full that I have not yet opened. The suitcase was lost. We did not receive it until about 9 o'clock last night.
Mr. RANKIN. You have not produced it today, though.
Mrs. OSWALD. No. But, there is one more letter. It is the very first letter I received from Lee.
Mr. RANKIN. I call the attention of the Commission to the statement in Exhibit 180, "She was living at her aunt's place when I met her. They are real nice people. Her uncle is a major in the Soviet Amry."
Exhibit 181, dated August 3, 1961, was the envelope postmarked United States, August 10, 1961. I also offer that.
Exhibit 182, dated October 2, 1961, with the American postmark October 10, 1961. I also offer that.
In each ease, Mr. Chairman, I ask leave to substitute copies in accordance with our understanding.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. We will make a blanket ruling on all of them when you finish.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes, sir.
Exhibit 183, dated October 22, 1959, with the American postmark on the envelope October 30, 1961. I offer it.
Mr. DULLES. Did you say 1959 and then 1961?
Mr. RANKIN. '61.
Mr. DULLES. It is all '61?
Mr. RANKIN. You are correct--October 22, 1959, is the date on the letter.
Mrs. OSWALD. That is incorrect.
Mr. RANKIN. And on the envelope it is October 30, 1961, Vernon, Tex. Mrs. Oswald, can you explain that?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes. Evidently Lee put the date incorrect--because I had no contact with Lee from the time 1 had one contact with Lee from the time that he defected to Russia. And the only contact was when he was at the Metropole Hotel in Moscow. Then the next contact was when the State Department wrote me his address, which was July, or June 1961. So where Lee put the 1959, I would say it was just an error, because the postmark proves the date.
As I have been saying FBI instead of Secret Service--I mean it is just----
Mr. RANKIN. A slip of some kind?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes.
Mr. DULLES. Is the 1959 letter available, the Metropole Hotel letter?
Mrs. OSWALD. When we go into the defection, I have letters from 1959 that I myself have sent to Lee and have been returned, and, gentlemen, they are unopened, and I will give you the privilege of opening my thoughts to my son. They were returned unopened, because he was not located.
Mr. RANKIN. I might answer your question, Mr. Dulles. We have a copy of the Metropole letter of 1959.
Mr. DOYLE. Mr. Rankin, could I check--your Exhibit 182, the one you called just before this--I gathered that you gave a date of the letter and also a date of the postmark. Am I correct-October 2, 1961, is the date of the letter, and October 10, 1961, is the postmark.
Mr. RANKIN. That's correct.
Mr. DOYLE. Thank you, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. Now, with regard to Exhibit 183, which bears the date October 22,
1959, in error, with October 30, 1961, as the postmark on the envelope, I wish to call the Commission's attention to this reference.
"Marina's maiden name was Prusakova. Her aunt and uncle's address in Minsk is"--and then the address is set out in Russian. And then continuing the same sentence--"they don't speak any English. However, her uncle is an Army colonel soon to retire."
Mrs. OSWALD. And that I would think would be the letter that the Secret Service was one of the letters that the Secret Service, as I previously stated, had.
Now, may I say something here?
Marina uses two names--Prusakova and Nikolaevna. Whether she was married before, or whether she uses two maiden names, I do not know. But I have a record of both names.
Mr. RANKIN. I offer in evidence Exhibit 183.
Representative FORD. Mr. Rankin, don't we have a record of those two names? Isn't one her maiden name and the other by her mother--and the other by her stepfather?
Mr. RANKIN. That is the record we have. That is what Mrs. Marina Oswald testified to. She testified in regard to Nikolaevna.. And the other name appears on her papers as the father.
Mrs. OSWALD. But now Lee has said in one of those letters that her name is Nikolaevna. But then when he asked me in one of the letters to get an affidavit of support that Marina could come to the United States, that name appeared--Nikolaevna. Yet there are a couple of letters where he refers to her name as Prusakova. And I have it in his handwriting-when he gave me the slip of paper for the baptism he used Prusakova Marina Prusakova Oswald. He did not use the name in the letters. That is what I find peculiar.
Mr. RANKIN. The explanation was that the Prusakova was the identification of the father, which is often done. And she explained that. with regard to the child they did not want to name June Lee Oswald with your son's name, if you recall--that is your son did not want that. But the Russian Government insisted that the father's name had to be shown.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, I am familiar with that. I have done research on that. In Russia the father's name is used even if it is a girl. Now, Mr. Peter Gregory--his name is Peter Gregory, and his father's name is Peter, so his name is Peter Peter Gregory. They always use the father's name as a second name, regardless of sex. So June is named June Lee Oswald, which is Lee's name. And if there were two Lees it would be Lee Lee Oswald. That I know of.
Mr. RANKIN. Exhibit 184 is dated November 8, 1961, and bears a postmark on the envelope November 18, 1961. I offer it in evidence.
Exhibit 185 is dated November 23d, without any year on the letter itself, with the postmark December 4, 1961, as the American postmark on the envelope. I offer Exhibit 185.
Exhibit 186 is Christmas greetings and bears the date December 12, 1961, stamped on the envelope. I offer Exhibit 186.
Exhibit 187 bears the date December 13, 1961, on the letter, and bears the postmark date December 26, 1961, on the envelope. I offer Exhibit 187.
Exhibit 188 bears the date December 20th, without any year on the letter. and the date January 2, 1962, stamped on the envelope. I offer Exhibit 188.
Exhibit 189 bears the date January 2d, and the stamped postmark on the envelope January 11, 1962. I offer Exhibit 189.
Exhibit 190 bears the date January 23d, on the envelope, January 22, 1961. written on the back of the envelope. I offer in evidence Exhibit 190.
Exhibit 191 bears the date January 20th, and stamped on the envelope is January 29, 1962. I offer Exhibit 191.
Mr. DULLES. These are all airmail letters?
Mrs. OSWALD. They are all registered return receipt mailed. Everything I had to sign for.
Mr. DULLES. Nine or 10 days apparently, it took.
Representative BOGGS. That is right--about 10 days, each one of them.
Mr. RANKIN. Apparently--it states "Par Avion". But this one bears a mark
February 1, 1962, on Exhibit 192, and the letter itself is February 1, 1962. That is pretty fast.
Mr. DULLES. It must be 11. Isn't there a 1 left out on the other side?
Mr. RANKIN. Well, it is in handwriting. 80 that would be pretty fast mail.
I offer Exhibit 192.
Exhibit 193, dated February 9, 1962, on the letter, and it is stamped on the envelope as February 23, 1962. I offer Exhibit 193.
Exhibit 194 is dated February 15, 1962, on the letter, and stamped on the envelope March 1, 1962. I offer Exhibit 194.
Exhibit 195 is dated February 24th, without a year date, and the envelope is stamped March 7, 1962. I offer Exhibit 195.
Exhibit 196 is dated March 28th, stamped on the envelope is April 9, 1962. I offer Exhibit 196.
Exhibit 197 is dated April 22d, without a year date on the letter, and stamped on the envelope is April 28, 1962. I offer Exhibit 197.
Exhibit 198 is dated May 30, 1962, on the letter, and is stamped on the envelope June 6, 19--it doesn't show clearly what the year is, but there is a 196, and I take it is 1962. I offer Exhibit 198.
The CHAIRMAN. All of the documents that have just been offered in evidence may be admitted and take the numbers assigned to them.
(The documents heretofore marked Commission Exhibits Nos. 180 through 198 for identification, were received in evidence.)
Mrs. OSWALD. I don't believe this letter belongs with the letters. May I see it, please? Is that a letter from Russia? I don't think so, from what I can see from here.
Mr. RANKIN. It purports to be, Mrs. Oswald. I hand it to you. It is Exhibit 198 you are speaking of?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes. I'm sorry. There was another very important letter of this size that I thought maybe became confused with the Russian letters. You will have to forgive me, Chief Justice Warren, but this is quite a big undertaking.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. I just wanted to keep the record straight. It is all right.
Mr. RANKIN. I ask leave, Mr. Chairman, to substitute copies in each instance.
The CHAIRMAN. That may be done.
Mr. RANKIN. Now, Mrs. Oswald, will you proceed with telling us how you determined or concluded that there was a conspiracy between the Secret Service people that you described and Marina Oswald----
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, when I stopped-I have to remember where I stopped. Now, am I still at the Six Flags?
Mr. RANKIN. The last I recall you were still there. You had also described, if you remember, the offer of Mrs. Pultz to take your daughter-in-law and provide her a home. You have said that you had not seen your daughter for quite some time, and you tried to communicate with her.
Mrs. OSWALD. Oh, yes--I was trying to communicate with her.
Mr. RANKIN. And you talked to Mr. Thorne?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes--that was where my mail had been opened. And Mr. Mark Lane has my mail and the photostatic copies of the mail.
Mr. RANKIN. I think the Commission would be very much interested in how you conclude that there was a conspiracy--if you can help on that.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, I can help you. But I have many, many stories. I have to start from the defection. I have a story of Lee's life at age 16 that maybe you know about, maybe you don't. And I have many stories, gentlemen. I cannot do all these stories in these 6 hours I have been here today. I have covered quite a bit. I have many stories.
Representative BOGGS. Why did your son defect to Russia?
Mrs. OSWALD. I cannot answer that yes or no, sir. I am going to go through the whole story, or it is no good. And that is what I have been doing for this Commission all day long--giving a story.
Representative BOGGS. Suppose you just make it very brief.
Mrs. OSWALD. I cannot make it brief. I will say I am unable to make it brief. This is my life and my son's life going down in history. And I want
the opportunity to tell the story with documents, as I have been doing. I am not going to answer yes or no, because it is no good.
Representative BOGGS. Well, you use the expression "defector." I did not use that expression.
Mrs. OSWALD. I said "so-called defector." The papers have "defector" and blown it up.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Mrs. Oswald, you have told us, though, that you believed that Mrs. Marina Oswald and Mrs. Paine and two Secret Service agents were in a conspiracy that resulted in the assassination of the President.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir. And I also say----
The CHAIRMAN. What Mr. Rankin has asked you is what led you to the belief that there was such a conspiracy?
Mrs. OSWALD. I can answer that, sir. But just to answer in one sentence--
The CHAIRMAN. No, you don't have to do it in one sentence. Take your own time, but stick to that one subject, please, until we get rid of that, and then we will go to the other things.
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, it is now quarter to four. And this is a very long story.
The CHAIRMAN. Don't worry, we will give you the time.
Mrs. OSWALD. Would you please consider I am very emotionally upset and tired, sir. I was up until 1 o'clock this morning fixing these papers for the Commission. When Mr. Rankin asked me to come on Thursday, they were not in the order they are now.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean you cannot go on this afternoon?
Mrs. OSWALD. Not the whole story.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, give us as much as you can of it, and we will stop whenever----
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, I have so far given you enough story to state this as a fact--that I believe I am saying as I believe, sir, because if I knew who shot President Kennedy, I would be more than happy to tell you, and we would end it right then and there. But there is speculation among everyone. So naturally there is speculation by myself and these stories I have told you are fact.
Marina became very unhappy with America. This I know for a fact. And then I will say this is part of another story.
Marina told me at Mrs. Paine's home that she wrote to the Russian counsel to go back to Russia because, "Lee not get work." Now, that is why Lee tried to get a visa in Mexico. But you see, sir, I was going to tell that whole story of that. But I will answer this--and that is what I based that on, too.
It was Marina who wrote to the Russian counsel for exit visas, and Lee followed it up. That is Marina having Lee do this. And she told me herself. Yet she states that Lee wanted to live in Russia and Cuba. But Marina wrote to the Russian counsel, "Mama, Lee not get work." So she wanted to go back to Russia. She liked America. She wanted to stay here.
Mr. RANKIN. About what date was this?
Mrs. OSWALD. This was the night in Mrs. Paine's home. I didn't tell you that, because these other stories are important, and I was going to bring it in for the Mexican trip. That is why I think you are confusing me. I'm sorry. But these stories--the way I want to say it, I would not forget anything, by going in sequence. This way, when you are bringing me questions from the Mexican story and from the defection, you are throwing my mind off.
The CHAIRMAN. What story do you want to get to now?
Mrs. OSWALD. I have so many stories. And I have gone through about three or four today, complete stories.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, select one of them, please, and let's don't argue about the order. I want you to tell your story----
Mrs. OSWALD. My energy is exhausted, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I want you to tell your story in your own way. And if this one exhausts you, select another story, and tell that.
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, can you tell me what short story I can tell, Mr. Doyle?
Mr. DOYLE. Why don't you start with--start and tell the members of the Commission about your accident and Lee's going to Russia.
Mrs. OSWALD. That is a very long story.
Mr. DOYLE. I know. But start it, and if you get tired at all, you advise the Commission, and I am certain that----
Mrs. OSWALD. I will have something very important to this Commission that I would like to say, that would take up some time.
Mr. Rankin, I spoke with you, I think it was Thursday, December 6th, and I told you that since it was publicly known I was going to appear before the Warren Commission, that I would like to have protection, as you recall. I did not get protection, sir. And so the next morning I called you, approximately 9 o'clock, in the morning and told you that I didn't have protection, and I was very concerned. And this would have been Friday, the second call, and that I was going to the bank, to my safety deposit vault, and get the necessary papers. And I definitely wanted complete surveillance, because the papers were going to be with me in my home, and the public knew I was going to testify, and I wanted that protection.
Now, you said you would get in touch with Mr. Sorrels, sir, and have Mr. Sorrel's call me, which he did approximately an hour after my request to you that I did not have protection. Mr. Sorrels called me and said "'Mrs. Oswald, I understand that you want to go to the bank and get your important papers out of the bank, and you have requested protection."
I said, "Yes. I thought I had protection last night. I woke up 4 o'clock in the morning with all the lights lit, getting papers together and cleaning the house." Because the telephone started to ring consistently.
I would have never done that if I would have known I didn't have protection. I was leaving myself wide open.
So he said, "Well, is your attorney in town?"
I said, "No, he is not."
He said, "May I suggest this, Mrs. Oswald"first, he said, "What do you intend to do with the papers?"
I said, "The papers will stay with me."
He said, "Is your attorney in there?"
I said, "No, sir, he is an out of town attorney."
He said, "May I suggest this. May we get a large brown envelope and put sealing wax on it, and you put the papers in our safety deposit vault."
I said, "No, sir, those papers do not leave my hands. I have had an understanding with Mr. J. Lee Rankin that the papers were going to stay with me, and that I would have complete surveillance while the papers were in my home. Now, Mr. Sorrels, I want that surveillance. I am' very uneasy."
He said, "Mrs. Oswald"--this was approximately 10 o'clock in the morning--"Mrs. Oswald, I will not be able to have anyone there before 1 o'clock."
I said, "That is just fine."
Mr. Mike Howard came out at 1 o'clock. We did some errands. I had to buy some luggage, and a few little things for the trip. Then we had supper. And at 5:30 we picked up the papers, because on Friday in Fort Worth, Tex., the bank opens from 4 to 6- -on Friday evening. So we picked up the papers before 6 o'clock.
Now, I thought I had protection that night. I had protection that night until 12 o'clock. And then I understand that the Fort Worth police were circling the neighborhood.
Now, that is not complete protection.
I am a government witness, with important papers. And Mr. Rankin had--I requested protection-suppose someone had come to the door, or just shot through my home? The police circling three or four blocks away is not complete protection.
So Saturday morning I wanted to go out to breakfast. I kept opening the door and looking through the windows. And I never did see any men circling the neighborhood. There was nobody around. At 10:30 this morning I was still doing that. And by the way, a police car passed by and I hailed him and asked him if he could check in the neighborhood for the Secret Service, if they were circling the neighborhood--because I want to put my garbage out, and I needed to go out, didn't have breakfast. He said he didn't know what the Secret Service looked like, and he offered to come to the back and put the garbage out for me, which this Fort Worth policeman did.
So at 11 o'clock I called Mr. Mike Howard's home. His wife answered the phone.
I said, "I am very uneasy. I don't have protection. I have been looking for Secret Service men all morning."
I was going out on the porch--I was opening the screen door and going out on the porch. There is a school ground opposite my house. And nobody ever came. I was not under protection.
So she said, "Mrs. Oswald. they have their orders."
I said, "Well, where is Mr. Howard?"
She said, "He is on his way to your home."
This was Saturday, at approximately 11:45. Well, I have it written down. 11:45.
So Mr. Mike Howard when I told him that I was stranded, and could not go out to breakfast, and there was things I needed to do, he realized I was very upset, and I had a legitimate complaint, and he realized I was on my way to Washington.
So in my home he called Mr. Sorrels, who is a special agent in charge of the Secret Service and Mr. Sorrels was not at home. He talked to his daughter. And he said, "It is most important. Would you have him call me?"
So he sat in my home and waited for the call. About half an hour later Mr. Sorrels called.
He said, "Mr. Sorrels, I want to know what to do on this particular case?"
And there was some conversation back and forth. And it went on back and forth conversation.
So I said, "I am getting very upset about not knowing the entire conversation. I want to tell Mr. Sorrels that if he doesn't have the authority, to give me complete protection, I want to know the man over him, so I can get complete protection."
Mr. Mike Howard said, "He heard you, Mrs. Oswald."
So I don't know what went on on the other end of the line.
But Mr. Mike Howard was on the spot.
He said, "Well, Mr. Sorrels, it is this way. She is going to Washington, and Mrs. Oswald wants to go here and wants to go there. And if we are not around to take her, she will certainly complain when she gets to Washington."
So I am assuming now--I am speculating, like 'everybody else that Mr. Sorrels probably could have said, "Well, let her think she has protection," because Mr. Mike Howard had to come back in front of me, to his superior, and say. "That is no good. She might want to go some place, so we have to be here. I want to know what to do."
And then I got protection.
Now, isn't that peculiar-that I am a witness, with important papers, and supposed to be under surveillance, and I am not getting protection?
I would like to know the answer to these things. And Mr. Rankin himself called Mr. Sorrels.
Mr. RANKIN. I talked to Mr. Kelley.
Mrs. OSWALD. I am sorry--but I knew you had placed a call, because Mr. Sorrels called me and said you had placed a call. So why didn't I have complete protection?
There is a lot of "why's." There are a lot of "why's" that have to be answered.
Now, the man last night that met me at the airport-there were two Secret Service men. One of the NBC men, I think it is--I am not quite sure was at the station. He asked me questions, and he knows about all of this, because he was in Fort Worth, Tex.
I would know his name if you would say it. Dave Benoski, I believe it is.
But he asked me a question. He said, "Mrs. Oswald, have you seen your daughter-in-law?"
I said, "No, I have not seen my daughter-in-law since Thanksgiving Day."
"Well, is it the Secret Service who have kept you from seeing your daughter-in-law?"
And I said, "Yes, it is the Secret Service who has kept me from seeing my daughter-in-law."
Which, to me, is a fact.
So in the car, with your two Secret Service agents, one was Mr. Brown and one was--I am very bad about names--he said, "Mrs. Oswald, what makes you want to blame the Secret Service? The time to have blamed the Secret Service was when it happened.
And I said, "I did blame the Secret Service when it happened. I made a report in Fort Worth, Tex., about that."
And I said, "The question was asked me." I answered him truthfully, "Yes, that the Secret Service have kept me from my daughter-in-law."
So he said, "Well, has it occurred to you that your daughter-in-law doesn't want to see you?"
And I said, "She made the statement in Washington, the first time I have known of that, from my daughter-in-law's lips, that she did not want to see me."
And Mr. Sorrels never told me.
Now, again, I don't believe this Secret Service man had the right to quiz me like he did. I was very upset, Mr. Doyle can verify the fact. When he came to the hotel I was on the verge of tears, because of this quizzing.
The point I want to make he said, "Isn't it true that you have had complete protection by the Secret Service for the last 2 weeks, ever since the testifying began?"
I said. "No, sir; it is not true."
Now, where does he get the idea I have been under surveillance for 2 weeks? I don't understand these things.
Mr. DOYLE. Tell them about the defection.
Mrs. OSWALD. Would you please consider that I can't go any more today? It is 4 o'clock. The defection is a very long and important story that leads into a story where a recruiting officer at age 16 tried to get Lee to enlist into the Marines. And it is a very important story, gentlemen. And I think you would be quite interested in it for the record.
The CHAIRMAN. We will recess now until tomorrow. Mr. Doyle, I understand in the morning you have a court appearance that you must make. But you will be available at 2 o'clock.
Mr. DOYLE. Two o'clock, Your Honor.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, we will recess now until 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon.
Mrs. OSWALD. I appreciate it, because I was up until late last night trying to get the papers for you. It wouldn't do you any good if I break down.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, we don't want to overdo the situation in any way. So we will adjourn until 2 o'clock tomorrow.
(Whereupon, at 4 p.m., the President's Commission recessed.)