TESTIMONY OF MISS DORIS BURNS
The testimony of Miss Doris Burns was taken at 3:20 p.m., on April 7, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Messrs. Joseph A. Ball and Samuel A. Stern, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. BALL. Please stand up and hold up your right hand and be sworn.
Miss BURNS. (complying).
Mr. BALL. Do you solemnly swear the testimony you give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Miss BURNS. I do.
Mr. BALL. What is your name, please?
Miss BURNS. Doris Burns.
Mr. BALL.. What is your address?
Miss BURNS. 2617 Shelby, Dallas.
Mr. BALL. What is your occupation?
Miss BURNS. I am a correspondent for the Macmillan Co.
Mr. BALL. Where is your office?
Miss BURNS. In the Texas School Book Depository Building on the third floor.
Mr. BALL. Call you tell me something about yourself, where you were born and what your education is, and what your business occupation has been.
Miss BURNS. Well, I was born in Tyler, Tex., and I graduated from high school here in Dallas and I worked many years for lawyers here.
Mr. BALL. What kind of work?
Miss BURNS. Well, I was just a legal secretary and worked for Vanette Hosiery Mills, secretary to the president. They are not here any more, I don't think. After that I worked for a geologist.
Mr. BALL. Most of your work has been secretarial, has it?
Miss BURNS. Yes, but at Macmillan I mostly compose my own letters.
Mr. BALL. When did you go to work for Macmillan?
Miss BURNS. April 19, 1955. Am I too fast?
Mr. BALL. She can write as fast as you talk.
Miss BURNS. That's wonderful.
Mr. BALL. Go right ahead.
Miss BURNS. Let's see, I've forgotten what else you wanted to know.
Mr. BALL Well, first of all, you went to work in 1955?
Miss BURNS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Where is the office of the Macmillan Co.?
Miss BURNS. Well, at that time it was on Ross and Akard; now----
Mr. BALL. Where was it in November 1963?
Miss BURNS. At Elm and Houston.
Mr. BALL. What part of the building?
Miss BURNS. On the third floor, room 301.
Mr. BALL. Are there any windows in those offices?
Miss BURNS. Yes; they have some windows; they face the west, I guess you would say. They don't overlook the route of the President's--
Mr. BALL. Do they or do they not overlook Elm Street?
Miss BURNS. They do not overlook Elm Street.
Mr. BALL. They overlook the railroad Yards, do they?
Miss BURNS. That is right.
Mr. BALL. On November 22d, what were you doing that day?
Miss BURNS. I was listening to the radio as I worked.
Mr. BALL. About noon, did you go to lunch?
Miss BURNS. Well, I had lunch at the office and then I didn't intend to go see the President, didn't have any desire to but I left about--I don't remember the exact time but, anyway, when I left they said on the radio that he that the motorcade was coming up, I believe it was Cedar Springs; anyway, he hadn't been away from the airport long and that he was going about 5 miles an hour so everybody could see him. Well, thinking he was going that slowly, I thought I had plenty of time, so I walked up to Sanger's
Mr. BALL To where?
Miss BURNS. Sanger's.
Mr. BALL. Where is that?
Miss BURNS. It's about four blocks up Elm Street.
Mr. BALL. Which way on Elm---east?
Miss BURNS. East; you see, we are down at the extreme west end of the street; nothing else down there.
Mr. BALL. Then what happened?
Mr. BURNS. I bought some Kleenex and came back, and everybody was out on the steps to look, but I didn't stop. I went on back to the office.
Mr. BALL. That is the third floor?
Miss BURNS. Yes.
Mr. BALL. Was anybody in the office?
Miss BURNS. Yes; Mrs. Case hadn't ever gone out. She was there. I believe she was the only one.
Mr. BALL. What did you do?
Miss BURNS. I listened to the radio, and by that time they said that he was on Main and turning at Houston or Main by the courthouse, so since he was that
close, I thought, well, I guess I will go look out the window. I didn't care-- enough to go downstairs, but I thought I will go look out the window. So I thought I would have plenty of time, if he was just coming around Main Street, that I could still get around there, so I went around to American Book Co., which is the office closest to us that had a window looking out on Elm. There was nobody in there, so then I started down the hail to Allyn and Bacon. As I went down this hall towards the windows that looked out on Houston Street, I heard a shot, but I didn't think much about it. I didn't, of course, know it was a shot because when you hear tires backfire and all, they all sound alike to me, so I didn't think a thing about that.
I went around to Allyn and Bacon, and Mr. Wilson, the manager, was at the window looking out. He was the only one in there, so I asked him if I could look out the window with him. About that time he said "Oh, my God, there's been a shooting." I still didn't think anybody, of course, had been killed, just thought somebody had shot in the air or something, so I said "Has the President already passed? And he said "Yes," so I looked out and that big bus that had the press in it, had the word "Press" or whatever it was on the bus, was passing. so I said "Well, I guess I have missed the President then," and I started on back out of the office and I just said as I left, "Well, I hope nobody got hurt."
Mr. BALL. You heard how many shots?
Miss BURNS. One.
Mr. BALL. Just one?
Miss BURNS. It must have been the last one because I didn't hear any more.
Mr BALL. Did you have any idea where it was coming from?
Miss BURNS. Well, it just sounded as though it was back of me. You see, I was going towards Houston Street. I was facing east and it sounded to me as it came toward my back.
Mr. BALL. You were in the building?
Miss BURNS. Yes; I was in the building.
Mr. BALL. Walking down the hall?
Miss BURNS. Walking down the hall going towards Allyn and Bacon.
Mr. BALL. Now, what happened after that?
Miss BURNS. I came on back and listened to the radio some more and in a few minutes, why, they told it.
Mr. BALL. Did you ever know Lee Harvey Oswald?
Miss BURNS. I rode on the elevator with him one time.
Mr. BALL. That's all?
Miss BURNS. But I didn't know who he was--about a week before.
Mr. BALL. You never talked to him?
Miss BURNS. I never talked to him.
Mr. BALL. Who were you with at the time this happened?
Miss BURNS. The Macmillan Co.
Mr. BALL. Who was in the office with you?
Miss BURNS. Mrs. Case, but I couldn't see her.
Mr. BALL. She was in the same office?
Miss BURNS. I have a private office. She was around the corner where her office is.
Mr. BALL. Mrs. Case?
Miss BURNS. Yes.
Mr. BALL. Did you hear anybody running down the stairs at any time?
Miss BURNS. Yes, but I didn't know
Mr. BALL. When?
Miss BURNS. It was after that; I went to the restroom.
Mr. BALL. How long after?
Miss BURNS. I imagine maybe it was 25 minutes. I imagine it was the policeman or somebody; of course, I don't know who it was.
Mr. BALL. I think that's all, Miss Burns. This will be written up and you can sign it; you can read it and sign it or you can waive your signature if you wish and you won't have to come back here. Which would you rather do?
Miss BURNS. I can waive signature if that is all right.
Mr. BALL. Fine, thank you very much, Miss Burns