TESTIMONY OF MRS. MARGUERITE OSWALD RESUMED at 1H250...
The President's Commission reconvened at 2:05 p.m.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Mr. Rankin, will you proceed with the hearing?
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, you said that you would like to turn now to telling us about your life. We would appreciate that if you would do that.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Oswald, if you would prefer not to tell the story of your life, that is perfectly all right.
Mrs. OSWALD. I want to tell the story but there is something else that upsets me.
The CHAIRMAN. It is perfectly all right if you don't wish to. You may take your time now and go right ahead.
Mrs. OSWALD. I am sorry, you will have to excuse me about the story of my life, and Mr. Doyle knows why, but there is one part of the story of my life that will have a great connection with this, I believe.
I married Mr. Edwin Ekdahl who was an electrical engineer and a $10,000 a year man with an expense account. Mr. Ekdahl had a woman before he married me. Of course, married him, but the way I found this out, I received a telephone call, a telegram rather, he traveled--lots of times Lee and I traveled with him--stating he wouldn't return home when he was supposed to and for me not to meet him.
So, I called his office, I was familiar with, knew his secretary, and I was going to tell her that Mr. Ekdahl would be delayed 3 or 4 days. But immediately she said, "Mrs. Ekdahl, Mr. Ekdahl is not in, he has gone out to lunch."
So, I said, the general conversation went "When will he be back" and so on, and so that evening 1 took the car and I went to the Texas Electric Co., works for the Texaco, the main office in New York, but he was working in Fort Worth at the time, went to the building and saw him leave the building and I followed him and to an apartment house, saw him go into this apartment house.
Then I went back home, and my oldest son, John Edward Pic, who is in the service, had a friend at the house who was about 2 years older. I told them about what happened. So it was night by this time. The kids went with me.
I called Mr. John McClain, who is an attorney, and we live next door to Mr. McClain, and told him that I had seen Mr. Ekdahl go into a home when he was supposed to be out of town and what should I do.
He said, "Mrs. Oswald, just ring the phone. Do yon know the woman?"
And I said, "Yes."
"Just ring the phone and let him know that you know he is there, that you saw him."
After I thought about it I thought that is not a good idea because he could leave and say he was just there on business and I wanted to catch him there.
So the kids and I planned that we would say she had a telegram, so we went up the stairs, I believe it was the second or the third floor, and the young man knocked on the door and said, "Telegram for Mrs. Clary"--was her name.
She said, "Please push it under the door" and I told him no; he said, "No, you have to sign for it."
So with that she opened the door to sign for it and with that I, my son, and with the other young man walked into the room and Mrs. Clary had on a negligee, and my husband had his sleeves rolled up and his tie off sitting on a sofa, and he said, "Marguerite, Marguerite, you have everything wrong, you have everything wrong."
He says, "Listen to me."
I said, "I don't want to hear one thing. I have seen everything I want to see, this is it."
My two boys, in military school, the two older boys. I am paying for the two older boys because I have sold a piece of property. I wanted to take care as long as I had money of my own children and when I married Mr. Ekdahl if he would support me and Lee I would be able to take care of John Edward, and Robert in military school, we couldn't have them with us because Mr. Ekdahl traveled.
This man never let me share with his insurance policies, beneficiary, in other words, I was another woman to him. I received $100 a month and that was it. That was all the money I had from Mr. Ekdahl, and when we traveled, for instance, we were in Santa Fe, N. Mex., and he was with all the businessmen, we would have to wait until Mr. Ekdahl got through, the baby and I, in order to eat, whether it was 2 or 3 o'clock in the evening because here I was, registered under Mrs. Ekdahl and I had a checking account, but under the name of Oswald, which was the money I was using for the children so it was kind of inconvenient for me to write a check under the name of Oswald.
I am trying to point out the kind of man he was.
I had a nice living in this sense. We lived in the finest hotels and we had the finest food because all of this was charged to his expense account but he gave me nothing but this $100. That was a standard thing and he expected me to account for every cent of the hundred dollars that I spent, which I refused to do.
So, we argued naturally, because this is not a marriage. Any man who marries a woman naturally shares, she shares in his bank account and in his insurance and so on and so forth.
I wanted to divorce Mr. Ekdahl naturally but my two boys as 1 have stated before were in the military school, and I wanted to wait until the end of the season, the school season.
So, Lee and I went to Covington, La., and I picked the boys up at military school because this was summer time rather I wasn't back to him.
I left him and went back to him. But this particular time I picked the boys up at military school and we spent the summer in Covington, La., and by the way, I forgot to say that Lee had a beautiful voice and sang beautifully at age 6 in Covington, La., he sang a solo in the church, Silent Night, and that can be verified. This is a very small town and the only Lutheran Church there.
So, Mr. Ekdahl came to Covington, La., and I went back again to Mr. Ekdahl. But this time I went back to him I hadn't found out about the woman. I got excited. Then I found out about the woman, he rented a place on 8th Avenue, a home.
And after I was there about a day I was in the yard hanging out some things and it was in the apartment house downstairs and a woman came along and I said, "How are you? I am Mrs. Ekdahl."
She looked astonished, and after I had made friends with her she informed me Mr. Ekdahl had a woman in this particular house while I was in Covington and she thought she was his wife but now I am the wife come.
Then I found out about the woman and we went to her apartment and caught her there. This is the end of the season by this time.
In the meantime Mr. Ekdahl filed suit for divorce from me. I thought I was sitting pretty. He didn't have anything on me. I had him for adultery with witnesses and everything and I didn't have an idea that he could sue me for a divorce, but Mr. Ekdahl did sue me for a divorce, and Mr. Ekdahl got the divorce. It was a jury case, and Mr. John McClain, was my attorney, the man I told you that I called to find out what to do.
Now, Mr. Fred Korth represented Mr. Ekdahl and when I walked into the courtroom, gentlemen, there were witnesses there that I had never seen before.
A Mr. George Levine, who is a very big businessman and who Mr. Ekdahl was representing in Fort Worth for the electrical part of his plant. I knew him this way.
One time we went to the circus with his wife, my husband. myself and Lee, before going to the circus we had dinner. Now, understand we are having dinner in a public place. From the dinner we go to the circus, we are in a public place and I want you to know that it is the only time I had seen Mr. George Levine, when Mr. George Levine rushed' from work in his-khaki pants and got on the witness stand swore how I nagged Mr. Ekdahl and how I threw bottles at him and so on and so forth.
There were other witnesses that I had never seen, sir, who swore how I nagged Mr. Ekdahl, and Mr. Ekdahl got his divorce from me.
Now, 2 days after the assassination, after Lee's death, while I am at Six Flags it comes over the radio that Mr. Korth knew the family, this happened in 1948, sir, then Mr. Korth knew the family, and that he had represented Mr. Ekdahl in divorce proceedings and, of course, talked to the reporters where they got the information that I hit him' with a bottle and so on and so forth.
Now, that is my story there. I am not even guilty of that divorce, as you see. This can be proved by my son John Edward Pic because he was a witness, sir.
I do not think I am going--I am not going to speculate but give my thoughts to anyone who would immediately make a statement that he had represented the mother of the accused assassin as an attorney years ago, and that I nagged Mr. Ekdahl and so on and so forth.
That was publicly announced about 2 days after my son was shot, sir.
Now, the name then, of course, he probably knew the name Oswald, but the name then was Ekdahl that I would say would stick in his mind more.
I will try to get to the very beginning of my life, Chief Justice.
The. CHAIRMAN. Any time. Just take your time.
Mrs. OSWALD. My mother died when I was quite young and my father raised us with housekeepers. My aunt lived in the neighborhood and I had a lot of cousins and a lot of aunts. My father was French, his name was Claverie, and my mother was German, the name is Stucke. All of my father's folks spoke French and my father spoke French to his sisters. I was a child of one parent, and yet I have had a normal life, a very hard normal life that I had been able to combat all by myself, sir, without much help from anyone.
I am saying that in reference to Lee being alone; there have been so many psychiatrists saying he was by himself and he had a father image and that is why he did the shooting. There are many, many children with one parent who are perfectly normal children and I happen to be one myself.
I had a very happy childhood. I sang. I sang from the kindergarten at grammar school, and all through grammar school I was the lead singer. I was one of the most popular young ladies in the school. I also play piano by ear. I don't know a note. I used to play the marching school song for the school children.
At my grammar school graduation I had the honor of wearing a pink dress instead of a white dress and sang the song "Little Pink Roses." So I had a very happy childhood and a very full childhood. I played the piano. We had house parties in those days and a lot of gatherings and it was everything Marguerite and I also played a ukulele, so I have a very full happy childhood.
At the age of 17, I am ahead of my story--I have had 1 year high school education. I know that on my applications I had that I had completed high school but that is almost necessary to get a job.
But I had 1 year of high school education is all that I had, sir.
I then went to work at age 17, not quite 17, for one of the biggest corporation lawyers in New Orleans, La. The name then was DuFour, Rosen, Wolff, and Kammer. Mr. DuFour died while I was there and Mr. Kammer, I believe, is still living but they were corporation attorneys for that firm plus 4 or 5 other attorneys that handled divorce cases and similar cases and I was receptionist in the outer office.
So, everybody who came into the office had to state their business to me, because the attorneys were very busy, and if it was a particular case I had to know who to refer the party to this particular man.
So, naturally, I got a very large education, let's say, by doing this, and the mayor and everybody in the town, these are the largest attorneys, corporation attorneys in New Orleans, sir, and they were attorneys representing the New Orleans Public Service and big things of that sort, and the mayor and all used to call me the boss. When the mayor came in he had an appointment but I still had to ring the phone to see if the men were ready to see him. So they called me the boss.
I was also a maid in one of the carnival balls. I am a very poor young lady but a very, let's say, popular young lady.
My early childhood. We lived on the Phillips Street in New Orleans which was a very poor neighborhood. My father was one of the very first streetcar conductors and stayed on the very same line all these years until he retired and they gave him a citation because he was on the same line all those years from retirement, and we lived in a mixed neighborhood of Negroes and white, and my childhood I played with Negroes, sir, right next door to me was a lovely family that I grew up with this Negro family.
I married, Mr. Edward John Pic, Jr., while working at the law firm. I was married to Mr. Pic two and a half years when I became with child, and he did not want any children. His family and my family tried to talk to him, and, well, his family almost beat him up to say, but nobody could do anything with him.
So, at 3 months I left Mr. Pic. Mr. Pic did not divorce me, and you have the records there of me divorcing Mr. Pic, contrary to all other stories, sir.
This child, John Edward Pic then I bore alone, without a husband. I was 3 months pregnant. I had 6 more months to go, and I had this child without a husband.
So, I have had two children without a husband present, Lee and the first child.
Mr. Oswald was an insurance agent, and he used to collect insurance at my sister's house, and the day that I left Mr. Pie he helped move my furniture, the things that I was going to take.
I didn't see Mr. Ekdahl for some time and----
The CHAIRMAN. Ekdahl or Oswald.
Mrs. OSWALD. Mr. Oswald, sir, I am sorry.
John Edward and I were coming from the park one day, and Mr. Ekdahl picked--Mr. Oswald picked me up, and he was separated from his wife, however, not divorced but had been separated for a number of years, and I started dating Mr. Ekdahl and we decided to marry and he divorced his wife.
Mr. RANKIN. You said Ekdahl again.
Mrs. OSWALD. Oswald, I am sorry, and then he got the divorce proceeding. He was separated for a long time but never had been divorced from his wife but when we knew he was going to marry, and I also then got the divorce from Mr. Pic. I was not divorced there from Mr. Pic, either. We were legally separated but I was not divorced from him.
So, Mr. Oswald and I married and of that marriage Robert was born 9 months later, and as you know consequently Lee, 2 months after his father had died.
Now, Mr. Oswald was a very good man. There was the only happy part of my life. When he died hardly anybody knew that John Edward Pic was not his son. He wanted to adopt John Edward, but because his father was supporting him which I think was only $18 a month, I explained to Lee that I thought we should save this money for the boys' education and let his own father support him and naturally we would educate and do all we could do but that was no more than right. So that is why he did not adopt John Edward.
Now, that is the story of my three marriages. I have been married approximately 9 years in the three times that I have been married, sir, and I would say, I am probably guilty of a lot of things but the initial guilt has never been mine in any of these marriages, the first marriage I had explained, the second marriage was death, and the third marriage was Mr. Ekdahl.
I think then you know the rest of the story, how I lived with my children and tried to support my children.
I have often held two jobs trying to support my children. I have a whole file that the Commission has copies of jobs that I have worked, and I have also worked for these places twice, and have gone back. I have wonderful recommendations
I think I have been fired about five times in my life, and I have had much, much employment, and the reason for that is finances, in other words, I have always had a very low salary, and I am a very aggressive sales Person, as these papers say, and I always produce for my people and I was in demand actually.
They would come to me and offer me 20, 25 dollars more, believe me, gentlemen. I would quit the job where I was and quit the new job because 25 dollars paid my light and heat bill and gave my children some clothes and that is mostly the reason for all of this employment, and also I used to quit my job as much as possible in the summer time when the children were little in order to be home with them.
Now, I skipped a part in the beginning about the children being placed in the Lutheran Home. I am Lutheran and I was a church member, a church worker, I should say. I helped, I sewed, natural gifted, I never did take a lesson, I never did use a pattern, my sister can verify this.
I used to come home from the attorneys with material, cut out the material, sew it, press it and go out on a date. I just had the knack of doing things that way, sir, and she can verify this because my niece, I taught her to sew and my sister said, "You are so slow, Aunt Marguerite used to sew on the material and go out on a date," and my niece would say, "Is it true, my mother said you would sew on material and go out on a date," and I said, "I wish I had a nickel for every time I did."
So those are gifted things I can't explain.
Lee had certain gifted ways about him also.
In the early part of my life that I had skipped when the war broke out and my finances were gone, I talked with the church. It was on Alva Street in New Orleans, not too far where my home was and they investigated the money I had, and I had a little money left at this time and they let me place the two older boys in the Lutheran Home which is a home only for the Lutheran Church.
This is not an institution. They have their own private school on the ground, and it is primarily based for children of one parent. However, they do take orphans. It was really not designed to be an orphan home. It was for children of one parent and you pay according to your circumstances, and they investigated my salary and after I went to work, I paid according to my circumstances for my two boys.
I took my two boys home with me every weekend, sir, and brought them back in time for Sunday so they can go to church with the children in the home. They got a wonderful education because the school on the school grounds had very few children in them.
There would be maybe two or three children to a particular grade so they had wonderful school. Lee was too young. They would not take Lee into the home until he was 3 years old.
So, I have hired maids and I have quit many a job for this. You have a background on my job, this accounts for it. Many a position and I have always had title and no money, assistant manager or manager in charge of a department, and I have had to quit that, because the maid wouldn't show up, and you couldn't get a maid for love or money.
War had broken out and the Negroes in New Orleans were going into factories and so on and so forth so there is many a job I had to leave in order to stay home and mind Lee until I could get help.
Then my sister helped with Lee. There is one particular instance, I let a couple have my home, plus $15 a month in order to care for Lee while I worked, and this couple after about 2 month's time had neglected Lee and so I had to put them out of the house and there again I had to quit a job, and take care of Lee until I could make arrangements and my sister could help me with it.
So when Lee was 3 years old I was having it very difficult with Lee, because of the different people to take care of Lee, and the different jobs that I had to give up.
However, I was never in want of work. It was during the war and I was always able to get work, but I realized if I continued to quit jobs because I couldn't hold the jobs that some day I wouldn't have enough jobs in New Orleans for me to hold one.
So, then at age 3 Lee was placed in the home. I waited patiently for age 3 because I wanted naturally for the brothers to be together. It was hard on Lee also because Lee was at a different place and his brothers were at a different place. So at age 3 I placed Lee in a Lutheran home. Of course, you have to be under strict investigation financially and otherwise to do this because this is a church placement, sir.
Then, I became manager of Princess hosiery shop on Canal Street. I opened that shop and I was left by myself and in 6 days' time I hired four girls. There was the first shop this man has had. He now has, I think, 54 stores and he always remembers me as on the road of starting him to success, because this young man didn't have much money at the time. And this is where I met Mr. Ekdahl and there is why I didn't want to marry right away because the children were being taken care of and I was manager of the hosiery shop.
So, now, I was sitting pretty in our American slang and I did not want to marry. But he persisted. He decided he wanted to marry me and I decided to marry him. I went to the Lutheran home and talked to the, well, you don't call him a manager, the head of the home, and I was going to marry Mr. Ekdahl, and I asked if I should have, if I could have Lee, that I didn't want the children, John Edward, and Robert to miss their schooling and I told them that I would wait until the children got out of school to marry Mr. Ekdahl but Mr. Ekdahl traveled, and, yet, he had a stroke and Mr. Ekdahl had offered, if I would come to Dallas, he was being transferred to Dallas, that he would pay my room, my living quarters and everything if I would cook and take care of him and I told the home, the Lutheran home about this arrangement, so there was nothing going to be immoral about it, sir, or I wouldn't have explained to the Lutheran home and they let me have Lee under those circumstances because they knew that I was a good woman and doing the best I could.
So, I got Lee, and when we went to Dallas, I then realized I did not want to marry Mr. Ekdahl, but I had already given up my position as manager of the hosiery shop, and had taken Lee out of school so with the money, I told you I had some money, and I had sold a piece of property, I bought another piece of property for a very small down payment on Victor Street in Dallas, Tex., and Mr. Ekdahl traveled.
Now, Mr. Ekdahl used to come on weekends and stay at my home. Of course, in his bedroom with my children, just maybe not even every weekend because he traveled, and then I decided I would marry Mr. Ekdahl. I mean I decided not to, I mean, he was a persistent one.
Then I married Mr. Ekdahl and the home was sold and I traveled with Mr. Ekdahl and the children were put into military school with the money I sold the home with.
I believe I have covered everything. I am not quite sure.
Are there any questions, Mr. Rankin, that I haven't gotten?
Mr. RANKIN. I think that is very helpful.
I would like to ask you about those pictures that you offered and then decided you didn't want to give us. If you would get those out, I would like to identify them so that there cannot be any misunderstanding about just what they are about.
Could you do that?
Mrs. OSWALD. By the way, one of the reporters when I came downstairs said "What is all the commotion about those pictures, you have, Mrs. Oswald?" Where do those leaks come from? That is the example. They wanted to know about the pictures.
Mr. Chief Justice, this is Lee at 6 months.
The CHAIRMAN. He was a good looking baby.
Mrs. OSWALD. This is Lee there at 2 years. Would--if you would like a copy of the Marina pictures, sir, I would be more than happy to do that.
I think they are in an envelope. This is important, Mr. Rankin. This has something to do with Time Magazine is what I think he did. This is where he got that from. These were copied for this session. These are from my other boys to mother, and John Edward and which I wanted to show we were a family but as soon as the boys married--here is another thing, which is true to human nature.
I am a widow woman with no money and I happened not to have the type daughter-in-laws who wanted a widow woman in case they have to support me. My children make very low salaries and so I am not alone, we have thousands and thousands of women like me. It is hard to say the children don't want you, But there are many, many mothers whose sons have married because it is different with a girl.
Now a girl will take care of the mother but the boy's mother is usually nothing and I am not going to be helped or supported.
I am going to take care of myself because that is the attitude and that was the attitude when I was sick.
Lee Harvey Oswald was the only one who has helped his mother at any time but I wanted to show mothers today cared and everything until they married. That was the type family we were, sir.
And this was the picture, Mr. Rankin, of the three children which is a happy life and he wanted to be in New Orleans.
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, I am going to call your attention to Exhibit 258 which you just referred to and said maybe that is what you meant.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, because I gave him this when he entered the home.
Mr. RANKIN. This Exhibit 258 refers to the letter you received from me as general counsel for the Commission, and then a letter to the President, and your appeal to the President, is that right?
Mrs. OSWALD. That is correct.
M. RANKIN. And this is a copy you released for the press conference in Dallas. That is Exhibit 258. I offer Exhibit 258.
The CHAIRMAN. It may be admitted.
Mr. RANKIN. If you will permit me, I will ask the court reporter to identify these pictures and I don't intend to offer them but then I will ask you each one by number so we can make it clear, and then return them to you, so you can tell us what they are about, is that all right with you?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, that is just fine, thank you.
Mr. RANKIN. Now, Mrs. Oswald, I will hand you Exhibits 259 through 269, both inclusive, and ask you to take them starting with Exhibit 259 and referring to the exhibit in each case, tell the Commission what the picture is about.
Mrs. OSWALD. 259 is of the three children, John Edward, Robert, and Lee and the three are smiling. In fact this picture was in a magazine because of the three good poses. It is hard to get three pictures alike.
Mr. RANKIN. About how old are the children in that picture?
Mrs. OSWALD. I know Lee was approximately going on 6 years old. There is 5 years difference in Robert so Robert would be 11, that is correct and John Edward would be 13. That is when they went to military school.
This is a picture of Lee at age 6 months.
Mr. RANKIN. You are talking about Exhibit 260?
Mrs. OSWALD. 260, yes, sir.
This is a picture of Lee at the Bronx Zoo, Exhibit 261 at age 13.
Mr. RANKIN. That is the Bronx Zoo in New York?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. That is the Bronx Zoo in New York that you told us about.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir.
262 is a picture of Lee in Atsugi, Japan in 1958 showing his strength.
Mr. RANKIN. That shows him in Marine uniform also, does it?
Mrs. OSWALD. In his Marine uniform showing his muscles to his mother.
And this is a picture, Exhibit 263 taken in Corregidor 1957 in the wilderness.
Mr. RANKIN. He is still in the Marines there?
Mrs. OSWALD. Oh, yes, he is in fatigues, there. This is a picture taken August 19, 264 taken in California coming home on leave from Japan.
Mr. RANKIN. 264 he is still in the Marines?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, he is still in the Marines August 19. This is a picture of Lee taken in Minsk, Russia June 1st, 1961, Minsk, USSR, Exhibit 267.
There is a picture of Marguerite Oswald, the mother taken in New Orleans.
Mr. RANKIN. What is the number?
Mrs. OSWALD. 265.
Mr. RANKIN. Thank you. That is your own picture?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir.
This is a Mother's Day card sent .to me from Santa Ana, California on May 7, 1959 from Lee.
Mr. RANKIN. That is Exhibit 266?
Mrs. OSWALD. And this is Exhibit 268 which is a Christmas card I had sent Lee on his first Christmas away from home he joined in October--that Lee had kept all these years in his sea bag, this was found in his sea bag he left with me.
This is a book of Christmas carols Exhibit 269 that was also found in Lee's sea bag.
Mr. RANKIN. Now, Exhibits 259 to 269 both inclusive, are those all of the pictures that you were offering the Commission this morning?
Mrs. OSWALD. I have many more pictures, I would be happy to show you but these are the pictures that your Mr. Jennet said he would like to have for the Commission.
Mr. RANKIN. And that you were referring to when you offered them to the Commission?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes.
Mr. RANKIN. Thank you very much and we would like to return them to you at this time.
The CHAIRMAN. We will return them to you, Mrs. Oswald.
Mr. RANKIN. That is all I have, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Well I think that will be all then. Thank you Mrs. Oswald and if you become too tired with your testimony, we know it has been a long and arduous task for you, but we appreciate your presence. Now, Mr. Doyle.
Mr. DOYLE. Sorry for the interruption, sir. Mrs. Oswald, do you care to make any comment to the Commission about the tape recording, the transcript of the tape recording of Mrs. Marguerite Oswald furnished to you by the Commission this morning? Do you care to make any comment about that?
Mrs. OSWALD. Should I go all the way and make the comment?
Mr. DOYLE. You make any comment you desire on that paper. I ask you whether or not you have any comment to make concerning that paper that you sent, that you were given?
Mrs. OSWALD. I am concerned about one thing, Mr. Doyle, if I may just step over there and ask you a question.
The CHAIRMAN. You may step out in the hall and talk to Mr. Doyle.
Mrs. OSWALD. Chief Justice Warren and Mr. Rankin, I have read this and it has upset me very, very much, that is what I was upset about. I have stated before in my testimony that at the end of the Six Flags I insisted upon going home and getting my important papers and I was ignored.
I wanted to testify. They put Robert on tape many a time and Marina continuously and I didn't have an interview. I have stated this previously, if you remember, and then finally a Mr. Howard put me on tape for about 5 or 10 minutes only, sir, and I had started with the defection because I was under the impression that we missed a bet when we didn't find out how Lee got to Russia and as far as I know, no reporter has been able to find out what ship he left on, and then Robert left the bedroom because he had the news that we could not get a minister, if you recall, and cried, and I said to Mr. Howard "Now all that I have left me because I see my son crying bitterly." I have stated these facts before, a very short interview.
This interview is supposed to have been by Mr. Howard, sir. The same Mr. Mike Howard that I have previously identified before on many occasions, and I swear before this Committee that now my life is more in danger which I have said before, because I did not give this testimony. This is the testimony that has been gathered by known facts because I have been a public figure.
I have had three press conferences, I have written for magazines and newspapers. I have not kept quiet, sir, as you know, so these things have been accumulated. I was not questioned and answered, sir. I have stated it before and I state it now. This is the same man who was sent to me in Fort Worth, Tex. that I have complained that I did not get protection, if you will recall. This is the very same man, sir. This is the same man that I have told you that gave my daughter-in-law a red-carpet treatment if you will recall along
with the other one I identified in the picture. This is the man I have been sitting here complaining about. Here is my evidence. I am ready to have a heart attack. I was sick, sir, when I read it because I realize now how my life is in danger and I want to say this: Many people know about this, many people, sir, Mr. Jack Langdon of the Morning Times, Mr. Blair Justice of the Star Telegram and I immediately called Mr. Blair Justice of the Star Telegram when this man knocked on my door last week to protect me, and told Blair Justice that this was the man, there was an article written in the Star Telegram, not printed but about pointed every lie at the Six Flags I made it plain that the other one if he had a gun would have shot me in my prior testimony, Mr. Rankin you remember that, so I told Mr. Justice, I said "Justice I am scared to death. This is the same man that I am suspicious of that they have now sent to guard me," and as you know, sir, I was not protected.
I was not protected while in Fort Worth. I have testified to that, if you will recall. This is the man, and I did not give this testimony, sir.
I have repeatedly stated to newspapermen and to everybody publicly that I have never been questioned. The only thing I could figure why I was never questioned is because Lee was an agent, and I have stated that fact. Why they left me alone, because I have never been questioned.
Mr. Tom Whalen who is an announcer for one of the television stations in Fort Worth he kept calling Lee the assassin of President Kennedy, and I called Mr. Whalen and I said to Mr. Whalen "You don't know that Lee assassinated President Kennedy. I object to that."
I said "I can't tell you what to do, sir, but I would like you to say the accused assassin because this is what he is" and he apologized and we talked a little while and I said no sir, I told him I was not--I had never been interviewed. He says "I can't believe that, Mrs. Oswald." I said "Believe it or not I have never been interviewed," which I made a statement upon arriving in Washington that I have never had a complete tape recording or question and answer.
I went to the courthouse, and gave my information to the FBI men as I stated previously, which took a few minutes.
I never did see those men after that. They weren't investigated and at the Six Flags I repeatedly wanted to go home and get my papers and give the documents that I have here, as I stated, and I was not questioned, sir at Six Flags.
I was questioned for about 5 or 10 minutes and I stopped this way. All of my thoughts have gone from me because I see my son crying. I have previously stated that.
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, in light of your saying that you didn't give this interview evidenced by this document, a copy of which we gave to you which purports to have been recorded on November 25, 1963, by Mr. Howard, I would like to have that identified by the reporter and then give you another copy that you can compare, and I would like to ask you just a few questions about it.
Mrs. OSWALD. Fine.
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, I hand you back the 28-page reported interview that I Just referred to that has just been marked Exhibit 270 and ask you if that is the document that you were referring to in your testimony?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir; this is the document I am referring to.
Mr. RANKIN. That you just said you did not give that interview?
Mrs. OSWALD. That is correct. And I will finish something, too, Mr. Mark R. Lane called and I told Mr. Mark Lane about the Secret Service man. He knows about this, many know about this, I have witnesses by this.
Mr. RANKIN. What do you mean by this?
Mrs. OSWALD. About this man, Mr. Howard.
Mr. RANKIN. I see. But not that you said that you did not give this interview.
Mrs. OSWALD. Pardon?
Mr. RANKIN. When you say this, you didn't mean that they know that you did not give this interview?
Mrs. OSWALD. No. They knew that I didn't testify, I am sorry. But Mr. Mark Lane called me the morning that I was to-- the day I was supposed to
leave Fort Worth to come to Washington, sir, and I said to Mr. Mark Lane, "I am not going in the car with Mr. Mike Howard," and there was another Mr. Howard by the way who came there that day. I don't know whether he was his brother or not, we will have to find out, sir, the day I was going to leave for Washington, and I said, "Lane, I am scared to death." He says "Don't worry, I will call Mr. Walden, who is the Star Telegram reporter and ask him to accompany you," and Mr. Mark Lane called Mr. Walden of the Star Telegram and asked him to accompany me and Mr. Walden did accompany me with these two Secret Service men to the airport and when Mr. Walden entered my home I told him I am so glad you are here because I didn't want to go with this agent by myself.
And this is the same agent now--Chief Justice are you interested enough for me to tell you a little more?
The CHAIRMAN. About this?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Tell what you wish about it.
Mrs. OSWALD. We are going to go back now a little bit and then you will see the pattern. At the end of the Six Flags; I will make it as short as possible and when everything was Mama and we were going to live together and I told you they took her from me and I didn't see her, then Marina's testimony started to change, sir. Marina's testimony was not this testimony the first 3 days.
I have testified, and she has testified differently than me. I don't know of all of her testimony but the first 3 days, this was not her husband's rifle, at the police station and she admitted but it wasn't her husband's rifle. She was going to live with her Mama and everything was fine and then when I told you the way they did, then Marina turned against her Mama, you no have work, and from that time Marina has been changed to a different personality, let's admit it, sir, Marina has been changing to a different personality.
Her statements, her way of life, she smokes, as I said today. I am' not saying it now, she stopped nursing her baby. This is a Russian girl, I know she lived with me 1 month, how untouched of worldly things she was, and I mentioned before there was a lot of rumors that I didn't feel like I wanted to go into but that I couldn't overlook.
Sir, if you would know the rumors, then you would put two and two together what I have been trying to say. This man, along with the other one that I have identified, are definitely in this pattern, and Marina Oswald, yes, Marina Oswald has changed completely.
She made a statement on television now she is happy that she has ever been and people have written, her husband is only gone 2 months.
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, this Exhibit 270, you understand, is a transcription, that is the writing out of what was on the tape, you understand that?
Mrs. OSWALD. But I was never taped, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. We have asked, Mr. Chairman, that the tape be sent over so that it can be heard, if you wish.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, you mean.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes. It is on its way over.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, yes.
Mrs. OSWALD. I have stated previously, if I was taped it was during a conversation going on that they taped me. I have never sat down and been taped, sir. I don't think I am out of my mind, I wonder why.
The CHAIRMAN. May I see this.
Mrs. OSWALD. Mr. Max Phillips, who is a Secret Service agent brought a dictaphone into my home, on Thomas Place, when I left Six Flags, and I saw it connected and Mr. Jim Cox of the Star Telegram can prove that I disconnected it. When I was telling Mr. Jim Cox my story about putting my children into a Lutheran home and I thought it was a personal story that had nothing to do with this particular case I disconnected the tape recorder.
Mr. Max Phillips brought a tape recorder into my home and as you know I do a lot of talking. And I never did sit down.
Mr. RANKIN. This was a tape recording at the Six Flags.
Mrs. OSWALD. No, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. It purports to be. You understand that?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, I understand that thoroughly.
I would like to produce some other evidence that I have also to this Commission. I have, as Mr. Doyle knows, a tape recorder with a few recordings on it, and there are several, two, I believe. Mr. Sorrels' recordings on that. found it necessary, because my mail was being opened, my mail, I have reported to the Postal Inspections, I have stated in the beginning that all of my rights were taken away from me, and, sir, believe me they were, and when I was a lone woman I would say something I was supposed to be out of my mind and didn't know what I was talking about I started to decide I needed some evidence too and Mr. Sorrels kept pushing me off about seeing my daughter-in-law, I have him on tape, and I have Mr. Thorne on tape about my mail being opened. I have some other evidence.
Mr. RANKIN. Have you ever transcribed that?
Mrs. OSWALD. No sir.
Mr. RANKIN. Would you transcribe that and send us copies of it?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir. That is a very long document. I was never questioned and answered.
The CHAIRMAN. It would hardly seem possible, Mrs. Oswald, that unless this is a complete fabrication that anyone could have given these answers but you, it is--so many of these questions and answers are exactly what you have told us.
Mrs. OSWALD. Exactly what I have told you, sir, I have been in the news continuously, I have made the same statements over and over in magazines and newspapers and press conferences, yes, sir, that is not news to anybody.
And as a matter of fact, I was taped, oh, this might be a point, I was taped at my first press conference which was at the Fort Worth Press Club which I talked approximately 2 hours, and there was a tape recorder there. I talked over 2 hours at that press conference.
Mr. RANKIN. This is question and answer?
For instance, and I am looking at page 18, there are different questions and answers.
Mrs. OSWALD. That is a condensed version of my whole testimony, as I say, because I have been in the public eye and I have all of these things public. These things have been made public.
Mr. RANKIN. This purports to be following the tape recording as to your son Robert, you remember his giving a tape recording interview?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, Robert gave a tape recording, I told you, and so did Marina and I was not asked to be tape recorded.
I myself asked to give testimony and I did give about 5- or 10-minutes testimony that I say again that I ended up with now all my thoughts are gone, I see my son crying, a very short, and if I remember correctly, I started with the defection. I do know because I said "Robert doesn't know anything about my trip to Washington. He wasn't interested and maybe he should listen to my testimony." And I got not far from it when Robert cried and that ended that testimony.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Oswald, while we are waiting, you may relax. We will take a little recess, if you want to refresh yourself, you may step out. That is perfectly all right.
Mrs. OSWALD. One thing, of course I am not supposed to tell you what to do, I know and I don't mean to, Chief Justice, but since this man was reassigned to guard me in Fort Worth I would like to know if he was free or if he was taken off another assignment to come to Fort Worth to guard me for this trip? Because it is the same man, understand?
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, I think in regard to that I had better state on the record we had nothing to do, that is the Commission or myself, about the selection of any of the personnel. We just asked the Secret Service to handle it and so we don't at this time know what the answer is to your question.
Mrs. OSWALD. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Mr. Rankin, you may continue.
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Chairman, we have this transcript at this time that we are ready to play now and it starts out with Robert Oswald's testimony or answers and questions like the transcription, written. transcription states at
the head of it, and I think it might be helpful if we just start with that and we can move on if you wish to with the other.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
(Playing of tape recording.)
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, this is about 3 pages out of around between 13 and 14 of your son's transcription. Do you recognize your son's voice?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, I have to listen really, it is a recorder, I am sure, but I have to, you know, listen, that story is right. There are two discrepancies so far as dates.
Mr. RANKIN. But you do recognize it? It sounds like him?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, it sounds like him. It is the recorder.
Mr. RANKIN. Is it all right for us to pass down to yours at this time?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, and I want the time on it.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
Mrs. OSWALD. That would be how many pages? About the 2 months he made an error, it is June 13 and they were in my home with me by July 14.
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, do you have any problem about that being your voice on the tape?
Mrs. OSWALD. No, sir, but I think probably the rest of it is my voice. I had a news conference at the Fort Worth Press Club at Fort Worth, Tex., that I was on tape for 2 hours.
Now, here is what--this is probably a little over 10 minutes to hear "Pardon me, you will have to excuse me." And there was a lot of break there. That is exactly 10 minutes. I have testified that at the Inn of Six Flags I talked for about 10 minutes and then I stopped because my son was crying, and I still say I testified for 10 minutes approximately at the Inn of Six Flags.
I had a press conference at the Fort Worth Press Club, that can be verified that I talked for over 2 hours that I was on tape. I was sitting on a desk with many, many reporters because this was when it just happened, and we had a lot of reporters, and in the back of me was a man, and everything I said was on this tape, and it was over 2 hours that I talked at this press club.
Mr. RANKIN. Did you say the things that you say here?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes.
Mr. RANKIN. In answer to these questions?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, and all through here is my story, yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. At the press club?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, sir. I talked for 2 hours.
Mr. RANKIN. And you didn't say it to this agent?
Mrs. OSWALD. I said, and I am going to continue to say this, that I had approximately 10 minutes interview at the Inn of Six Flags, and then the telephone rang and Robert came out and started crying. and I said I see my son crying so now all my thoughts have left me and I was not interviewed any further at the Inn of Six Flags, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. On this tape you heard a little child talking, didn't you?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, that is right.
Mr. RANKIN. Now, was there a little child like that at this----
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, June was at the Inn of the Six Flags and if I am as smart as they are and if they are as smart as I am, there could be a little child crying all during the rest of the testimony.
Mr. RANKIN. I see, but there wasn't a little child at the place where you gave your press conference?
Mrs. OSWALD. No, but I am not familiar with--but couldn't a tape be added and spliced and couldn't a child voice be put in? I am just saying. because I have said before and I am saying now I was taped for about 10 minutes, just where this business came in was exactly 10 minutes, "Pardon me," now I spoke for over two and a half hours at the Fort Worth Press Club and was taped there.
What they can do with that tape, I don't know.
Mr. RANKIN. Who asked you the questions when you were answering them at the Fort Worth Press Club?
Mrs. OSWALD. Now, it was not in this sequence, answer and questions. So, I am saying, I do not know how they can get my voice and do the tape and answering
questions for the rest, but gentlemen, I am not out of my mind and I have said this over and over publicly, that I have never been interviewed, answer and question, but for about 10 minutes at the Inn of the Six Flags.
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Chairman, then I would like to go down about 5 or 6 minutes more maybe and see what it sounds like and the background if we play for just a few minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. RANKIN. Would you drop down for another 5 minutes? Skip about 5 minutes, please.
Mrs. OSWALD. After you start may I say something else?
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
Mrs. OSWALD. All of this here I have said and also said in my home and I have testified that there was a tape recorder in my home brought in by Mr. Max Phillips, Mr. Rankin. Why can't--I don't know anything about tape but it can be spliced and edited and so forth, that much I know because when I have talked for reporters, they don't use everything I say. They splice.
Mr. RANKIN. But you recognize, Mrs. Oswald, it would be quite a Job to splice in each one of those questions.
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, the assassination of the President of the United States and a scapegoat for it would be quite a job, it would be worth while, yes, sir, I realize that.
Mr. RANKIN. Let's try a little more.
Mr. RANKIN. Do you want to say anything more about this?
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, I do. I haven't gone through all of this. I have made the statement over and over that my conversation was stopped. It was approximately a 10-minute conversation and it was stopped with the remark "I see my son crying. All my thoughts have left me."
Is that remark in this any place?
Mr. RANKIN. I don't recall that it is.
Mrs. OSWALD. Well, we will have to recall, because this, I have stated and was said and that is when 1 stopped the conversation at the Inn of the Six Flags. Robert came out crying because he couldn't get a minister and I said. "I see my son crying, now all my thoughts have left me," and the interview stopped at the Inn of Six Flags which I have testified was approximately 10 minutes.
Now, sir, there was a microphone in my home. This is not news to anybody. I have said this over and over and over. The ordinary layman by now knows my whole story, Chief Justice Warren. There was Mr. Max Phillips who had a microphone in my home. I testified on tape for over 2 hours at--talked at the Fort Worth Club, which would be, it is the same story over and over, I have told you all the same story that you already have here.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, but it wasn't the same man interrogating you at this place as it was at this hotel, was it?
Mrs. OSWALD. About now--I don't know if this is the same man on the whole tape because I haven't listened to it. No, no one interrogated me at the Fort Worth Press Club, sir. I talked, there was an open press.
The CHAIRMAN. But it is the same voice we are hearing now asking you questions as at the beginning of this tape, isn't it?
Mrs. OSWALD. That is correct. I have just stated, since this is a very big operation, that this could be edited and this man's voice put on there. This I know, because the radio stations called me and they edited what I do. Isn't this possible, that this could be edited, and that this man asked the questions and then my voice be put in. It would be a big job but I am asking isn't that possible? I swear that I have never had answers and questions of this sort, gentlemen.
The CHAIRMAN. Shall we turn over about 10 minutes more and see if the same voices are in it there?
Mrs. OSWALD. I am not sure but I think it was possible it was an editor that he put me on there.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Mrs. Oswald, those are the same voices.
Mrs. OSWALD. That is Mr. Mike Howard's voice, yes, sir, I recognize his voice, yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And that is your voice?
Mrs. OSWALD. That is my voice.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mrs. OSWALD. But I am not going to vary from my story.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, all right.
Mrs. OSWALD. That is an interview just 10 minutes at the Inn of Six Flags and that was the only time when going to the courthouse and asked for the FBI of Lee getting the money to come home from the State Department and Congressman Wright knew about it and they left and they didn't even come back and talk to me, sir, yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. Play just the last part.
Mrs. OSWALD. The last 25 minutes.
Mr. RANKIN. These last remarks that we listened to were on page 13.
The CHAIRMAN. Those are the same two voices, Howard's voice and your voice.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes, I say those are the two same voices, Mr. Mike Howard's voice, yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. That is on page 21 of the transcript. Mr. Chairman, do you think there is any need for any more?
The CHAIRMAN. I don't see any need for going any further with it.
Mrs. Oswald says she didn't have this interview, these quest-ions were not asked of her and these answers given but she does identify the voices as being hers and all we have is her word, and this tape, and the transcription at the present time. So for the moment, I suppose we will just have to leave it where it is.
I don't see any other answer to it.
Mrs. OSWALD. All right.
Mr. RANKIN. Mrs. Oswald, I have shown you during a recess what has been marked as Exhibit 271, and you have examined the handwriting of that exhibit.
Mrs. OSWALD. Yes.
Mr. RANKIN. And the various letters there. Can you tell us whether or not those handwritings on those various letters are those of your son, Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mrs. OSWALD. It looks like his handwriting, I would say so. I am not handwriting expert. It looks very much like his writing.
Mr. RANKIN. Thank you- We offer in evidence Exhibit 271.
The CHAIRMAN. It will be admitted.
(The document was received in evidence as Commission Exhibit No. 271.)
Mr. RANKIN. We understand., Mr. Doyle, that you have examined the original documents of Exhibits 244 through 257, and compared them with the photostatic copies that have been marked.
Mr. DOYLE. I have.
Mr. RANKIN. And stipulate for the record that the photostats are correct, of the originals, is that agreeable?
Mr. DOYLE. I do.
Mr. RANKIN. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, I have nothing further unless Mrs. Oswald has something or Mr. Doyle cares to interrogate Mrs. Oswald about anything.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Oswald, do you have anything more you want to say?
Mrs. OSWALD. No, I don't have anything more. Do you have any questions, Mr. Doyle?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Doyle, do you have anything to say?
Mr. DOYLE I have no further questions, no.
The CHAIRMAN Well, thank you very much, Mrs. Oswald, for appearing voluntarily before the Commission and giving your testimony, and Mr. Doyle, I want to express the appreciation of the Commission for the help you have been to Mrs. Oswald and to the Commission in representing her on this occasion. We know that it disrupted your week very badly. We know that you responded to
this call for public service on a moment's notice, and we appreciate it all the more because of that.
My own personal thanks to you in addition to those of the Commission.
Mr. DOYLE. Thank you, Your Honor. I assume that my designation was for the purpose of the hearing and with the conclusion that will have finished my job.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Unless Mrs. Oswald should like to ask you some questions about the matter at the conclusion of the testimony, I think that will be all.
Mr. DOYLE. Very well.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you both.
Mrs. OSWALD. You and I are through as attorney and client?
Mr. DOYLE. Yes.
Mrs. OSWALD. This will not be pursued any further?
Mr. DOYLE Unless you have some questions, thank you.
Mrs. OSWALD. Gentlemen, you are making a very big mistake. I thank you very much for inviting me here.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't understand you.
Mrs. OSWALD. I think you are making a very big mistake not pursuing this further because I have told important people about this particular incident and I say it is correct and I hope you will continue while I am gone not just to ignore what I have said.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Oswald, you misjudge the Commission when you say we will not pursue it further----
Mrs. OSWALD. Fine, I don't know, I am asking.
The CHAIRMAN. You may be sure we will pursue it further.
Mrs. OSWALD. Thank you, and I have more people that I could call. I have told Mr. Doyle the people.
Would you like me to name the people on the record for you? Mr. Lane, I called Mr. Lane----
The CHAIRMAN. To what purpose are you naming these people?
Mrs. OSWALD. To the purpose that Mr. Mike Howard who came to Fort Worth last week to protect me, I called these people and told them how concerned I was that he was the one.
The CHAIRMAN. I think you have told us what you told them, so that we have it here in the record now.
We are adjourned.
(Whereupon, at 5:15 p.m., the President's Commission recessed. )