TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM GLENN DUNCAN, JR. beginning at 15H482...
The testimony of William Glenn Duncan, Jr. was taken at 3:45 p.m., on June 26, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Leon D. Hubert, Jr., assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. HUBERT. This is the deposition of William Glenn Duncan.
Mr. Duncan, my name is Leon Hubert. I am a member of the advisory staff of the general counsel on the President's Commission. Under the provisions of Executive Order 11130, dated November 29, 1963, and the joint resolution of Congress No. 137 and the rules of procedure adopted by the President's Commission in conformance with that Executive order and that joint resolution, I have been authorized to take a sworn deposit on from you. I state to you now that the general nature of the Commission's inquiry is to ascertain, evaluate and report upon the facts relative to the assassination of President Kennedy and the subsequent violent death of Lee Harvey Oswald.
In particular, as to you, Mr. Duncan, the nature of the inquiry today is to determine what facts you may know about the death of Oswald and any other pertinent facts you may know about the general inquiry, and about Jack Ruby and his operations and movements and associates and so forth.
I think you appear here today by virtue of a letter written to you by Mr. J. Lee Rankin, general counsel of the staff of the President's Commission asking you to be present, is that correct?
Mr. DUNCAN. That's correct.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you remember the date of that letter?
Mr. DUNCAN. No; I got it the 23d, but I don't remember the date of it.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, the rules of the Commission provide that every witness is entitled to a 3-day written notice prior to the taking of his deposition, commencing from the date of the request, so that the rule has probably been complied with here, but at any rate, the rule also provides that the witness may waive that 3- day notice if he wishes.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, I'm sure they were complied with, and if not, I will waive that.
Mr. HUBERT. Then, will you stand up and take the oath, please, sir.
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give in this matter will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. DUNCAN. I do.
Mr. HUBERT. Mr. Duncan, I have previously shown you a document which I have marked for identification by placing in the right-hand margin the following: "Dallas, Texas, June 26, 1964, Exhibit No. 1 of the Deposition of Glenn Duncan" and under which I have signed my name. The exhibit consists of one page. It purports to be a report of an interview of you by FBI Agents Neeley and Rice on November 29, 1963.
I ask you if you have read Exhibit No. I and whether it is correct or whether there is anything wrong or something which should be modified or expanded?
Mr. DUNCAN. Now, the exhibit is basically correct. The only possible discrepancy would be the matter of the two telephone calls from Jack Ruby, which is still a matter of some confusion in my mind, as to the exact number. The time on this exhibit shows probably between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. I think it would actually be between midnight and 1 a.m. Ruby's visit came over the 2 o'clock hour and the telephone calls preceded that. Aside from that the exhibit is correct.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, you place the visit by Ruby between the hours of 1 and 2, is that correct?
Mr. DUNCAN. No; the visit was actually about 30 minutes long and hinged somewhere over the 2 o'clock hour.
Mr. HUBERT. That is to say it was somewhere between a quarter of 2 and a quarter past 2, or 5 minutes of 2 and 25 minutes after 2?
Mr. DUNCAN. I would say--somewhere between that.
Mr. HUBERT. How much before the beginning of the actual personal interview did the phone calls occur?
Mr. DUNCAN . Well, they would be another haft hour to 45 minutes. I would say about that---45 minutes would probably be the most solid--from the last telephone call to his arrival.
Mr. HUBERT. So that your thought is that the phone calls could not have been earlier than 1 o'clock?
Mr. DUNCAN. It was---could not have been later than 1 o'clock.
Mr. HUBERT. Could not have been later than 1 o'clock.
Mr. DUNCAN. Correct--I would like to allow myself a---
Mr. HUBERT. It's incorrect to say that the calls were between 1 and 2 a.m. when actually the latest time in your mind that the calls could have been, would have been 45 minutes before he came or about 1 o'clock.
Mr. DUNCAN. About 1 o'clock; yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Can you tell us why it is that you have that recollection now and are Changing another recollection, or is it your opinion that the FBI agents misunderstood you? In other words, we have here a discrepancy in time, and I would like some way to have it explained to us.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, the only time I can pin down definitely is that his visit hinged over the 2 o'clock hour, because at 2 o'clock I did a 2 o'clock newscast and he was there during that newscast, and I would judge his visit to be about a haft hour, and I was guessing he arrived 10, 15, perhaps 20 minutes before that, but at least hinging over that. I would put the telephone calls between 12 and 1 because of the time preceding that, and as to the discrepancy with the report, I would have no idea.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, it may well be and I suggest to you the possibility that it is,
that now you have this very definite hinge point, as it were, that Ruby was there when you made a 2 a.m. broadcast and perhaps you did not remember that on the 28th when you told the agents that?
Mr. DUNCAN. This could very well be.
Mr. HUBERT. Otherwise, the document is all right, that is to say, Exhibit No. 1?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes; it is.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, I have also handed to you and I think you have read it, a document purporting to be the transcription of your testimony at the Ruby trial, consisting of a number of pages, beginning apparently at page 52 and ending on page 67. I have marked this group of papers for identification as follows: On the first page I have put in the right-hand margin--"Dallas, Texas, June 26, 1964, Exhibit No. 2, Deposition of Glenn Duncan" and I have signed my name below that and on each of the succeeding pages I have put my initials in the lower right-hand corner, and I ask you if you have read this transcription of your testimony, and if you have any comment to make upon it?
Mr. DUNCAN. I have read it and it is correct in total. I have marked on one page--
Mr. HUBERT. Page 64?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes--page 64---and this concerns the part of the testimony where I was being cross-examined by Mr. Belli and he asks me, paraphrasing, if after Ruby had seen Oswald, did Ruby seem pleased, satisfied--that he had seen this character, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera--I have an addition to make.
I can remember now one particular incidence and this came to mind after the trial. We talked for a few minutes on Oswald himself, his appearance and so forth, and I remember, I believe Ruby brought it up, that he was--to the effect--actually a fairly nice looking kid. We talked about how he would normally--could pass off as a college student somewhere, and he connection was brought up to a vague resemblance between Oswald and Paul Newman, the movie star. This is about the only addition that I could make to that.
Mr. HUBERT. He was describing Oswald as he said he had seen him that night, wasn't he?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes; that's correct.
Mr. HUBERT. At a press conference?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he comment upon how he happened to be there?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, he did. He said he had come to the front door of our studio with the sandwiches and cola and so forth that I have mentioned elsewhere in that testimony, and had tried to get in---the door was locked, and because of the long distance between the flight of stairs and the studio, no one heard him, and he said he went over the the city hall, the police department, Dallas City Hall, to try to find one of our newsmen to either give the sandwiches to him or let him in. While he was there, he said there was all of a sudden a lot of commotion, people. running around, and he said he was caught up in the rush and before he knew it he was in an assembly room, being pushed by everybody and standing there with his big bag of sandwiches and everything, and looking up at Oswald, and he said this was when Oswald v as brought out to be seen by the press after he had been charged that night.
Mr. HUBERT. Is it your impression that he was trying to convey to you that he get into that room more or less by accident by being brushed along and not by design?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes; exactly. This was the whole point or one of the points that he was making--the fact that he hadn't even known it was going to happen, and suddenly he was pushed along. He didn't know what the rush was all about until he w s in there surrounded by everybody.
Mr. HUBERT. So he was conveying to you that he got into the assembly room just by a sort of an accidental method and he did not get there because he sought to get there?
Mr. DUNCAN. Right. His exact words, I don't remember, but the inference was very definitely accidental and not attempting to get in.
Mr. HUBERT. You didn't know Jack Ruby prior to this, did you?
Mr. DUNCAN . No, I did net--it was the first time actually I had ever even heard of him--was when I was introduced to him on the telephone that night.
Mr. HUBERT. And how were you introduced to him?
Mr. DUNCAN. By the announcer on duty at the time.
Mr. HUBERT. Who is he?
Mr. DUNCAN. Danny McCurdy, and Jack called the control room, which was the only public number or the only place in the station at that time with the telephone answer to a public number, and our newsroom telephones are both unlisted private lines, and so at that time he, according to what Danny told me, said he had me things to bring up and I was introduced to him on the phone.
Mr. HUBERT. He had some sandwiches?
Mr. DUNCAN. Some sandwiches and colas, and I was introduced to him on the telephone and there was a mixup. Danny gave him the newsroom number, the telephone number.
Mr. HUBERT. Is that what's call the hotline?
Mr. DUNCAN. That's what's called the hotline correct. He gave him the hotline number and he was going to call and then there was a mixup and he had written it down and had forgotten it or Danny gave him the wrong number or something, and he call Danny again to get it again, and then he either called the newsroom and introduced himself to me with Danny then picking up his telephone in the control room or Danny introduced me to him on one of the other lines during the exchange of telephone numbers, and I do not remember which it us.
Mr. HUBERT. Was it a that time that he suggested to you that he might be able to get an interview for you with Henry Wade?
Mr. DUNCAN. No, the first telephone call--the first conversation that I had with him was concern mainly with an introduction and was he going to be able to get in and so forth and forth.
Since Danny indicated that he knew him or had met him before, I agreed--well, we agreed to let him in, and normally of course we wouldn't give someone the run of the station, but it had been indicated anyway that he knew people on the staff. He had advertised with us, among other things, and so he was going to get in, and then he called back.
Mr. HUBERT. How long after?
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, I was just going to say--a few minutes--and exactly, I couldn't tell. I would say it was probably not more than 10 minutes.
Mr. HUBERT. Could you fix the time of each one of those calls?
Mr. DUNCAN. Not very definitely. It's very difficult for me to do.
Mr. HUBERT. Except that you know they were before 1 o'clock?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. And that they were 10 minutes apart?
Mr. DUNCUN. I would say they were approximately 10 minutes apart.
Mr. HUBERT. And it was on the second one that he told you that he could get the interview with Wade?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes. He said that he was there and that Henry Wade was there and did I want to talk with the District Attorney Wade, and at his time I was very anxious to do that because we were understaffed. I was one in the newsroom. I knew that something was going on, but in attempting to get facts, I had tried to get into city hall by calling every other place I knew over there and had been unable to reach Wade, so I was very anxious to do that.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you suggest to Ruby on the first call that you would like an interview with Wade, or was it his idea?
Mr. DUNCAN. To the best of my recollection, the conversation with Wade was his idea. I may have said something about perhaps in cutting the telephone conversation short, but I was busy in trying to get into the city hall by telephone to get some information or something, but I did no ask him specifically to find Wade or anyone else for me, and I honestly do not know whether or not I mentioned it to him.
Mr. HUBERT. But when he called you the second time, the purpose of that call was to tell you that he had Wade available?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Was Wade immediately available?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, he was--Jack said that Wade was on another telephone. He asked me did I want to talk to Henry Wade and I said "Yes", and he said, "Just a second. He's on another phone with somebody from New York, and I'll get him," and then in a few moments Wade did come to the telephone.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you know where Ruby and Wade were talking from?
Mr. DUNCAN. They were talking, according to Ruby, from city hall.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know what part of the city hall?
Mr. DUNCAN. No, I do not. After awhile well, at the time I guessed and I would still assume it to be at least relatively correct, that they were in the basement of the city hall somewhere around the records office or the assembly room that was used for press conferences at that time--during the assassination coverage, but that is an assumption.
Mr. HUBERT. When he did put Wade on the phone, of course you taped the interview with Wade, and you say that that tape is still available, right?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, it is.
Mr. HUBERT. Then it was about three-quarters of an hour after that, that Ruby came over with the sandwiches and so forth?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. And stayed about 30 minutes?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes; 30 to 45 minutes.
Mr. HUBERT. Was he with you all that time or what was he doing?
Mr. DUNCAN. He came in the newsroom door about the same time or after--he came through the newsroom door with Russ Knight who had gone over to the city hall with a portable tape record for me to attempt to get something--to get an interview there, and when I had been unable to reach Henry Wade I had asked Russ if he would go over and he said he would. He left and then it was after his departure that Ruby called and I eventually talked to him. They arrived at the newsroom door at the same time.
In talking with Russ later, I believe he said they didn't arrive at the front door at the same time, but anyway they came into the newsroom together. He stayed in the newsroom the entire time, to the best of my recollection, until he was actually ready to leave. Then Russ went down to let him out, I believe. At least, in talking with Russ afterward I remember Russ saying something about he and Ruby had chatted on the way out or in the hall outside the Newsroom.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you remember how he was dressed?
Mr. DUNCAN. He had a dark suit on--a hat, white shirt, tie, and I believe he was carrying an overcoat--I believe.
Mr. HUBERT. Of course, he brought the sandwiches over?
Mr. DUNCAN . Yes, and he had the sandwiches.
Mr. HUBERT. He was definitely there during your 2 o'clock broadcast?
Mr. DUNCAN . Yes; he was.
Mr. HUBERT. I assume that your 2 o'clock broadcast began exactly at 2 a.m.?
Mr. DUNCAN. Exactly.
Mr. HUBERT. How long did it last?
Mr. DUNCAN. Normally, we run 4 1/2-minute newscasts. This could have been as long as 5 or 6 because the format changed during the assassination coverage, but I would say that.
Mr. HUBERT. Was he in the broadcasting room with you at that time?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes; he was.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you remember mentioning his name?
Mr. DUNCAN. No, no--as a matter of fact, to be dead certain I would have to listen to the Soundscriber.
Mr. HUBERT. You do have a Soundscriber of that broadcast at 2 o'clock?
Mr. DUNCAN. Right; we have. We maintain a 24-hour taping service at the station.
Mr. HUBERT. Is that Soundscriber going to be kept permanently?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, they are kept in storage.
Mr. HUBERT. All of them or just these particular ones?
Mr. DUNCAN. No, this is done constantly. We have 24 hours a day every day tape recordings.
Mr. HUBERT. And how long a period of time do you keep those things?
Mr. DUNCAN. This--I am not sure of. This I would have to find out from the station engineering staff. I am certain though that long after others are gone, the news covering the assassination will be kept and that they are available now.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know anything about a sort of an instrument called an Alpawna Box, the word being spelled A-l-p-a-w-n-a?
Mr. DUNCAN. No; I have never heard of it.
Mr. HUBERT. Did Ruby in 'the course of any conversation with you on the telephone or otherwise mention the famous Weissman ad, are you familiar with the Weissman ad?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes; I am. I do not remember. I don't believe he did because I probably would have remembered after Ruby's further involvement, but I do not believe he did.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he indicate anything to you which would suggest that he was concerned that public opinion might place the blame for the assassination upon the people of the Jewish faith?
Mr. DUNCAN. No.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he talk in any way about the fact that he was a Jew or of the question of Jews or any aspect of that kind?
Mr. DUNCAN. No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I am certain he didn't because I remember being surprised, well, not surprised, but feeling it was a new piece of information when I learned later he was Jewish. The term "Ruby," and I did not connect the thing with any physical characteristic at all.
Mr. HUBERT. Are you familiar with a pamphlet called "Heroism"?
Mr. DUNCAN. Only in a hearsay sense.
Mr. HUBERT. Did Ruby make any comments about that pamphlet that you now identify the way you have, on the night in question?
Mr. DUNCAN. Not to me.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he do so to anyone else--do you know?
Mr. DUNCAN. I understand from talking to Russ Knight that he did, as I mentioned, later when they were chatting in the hall at the time of Ruby's departure, Russ told me that Ruby gave him a copy of a Life Line speech or pamphlet eatitled "Heroism" and asked him to read it.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you see that?
Mr. DUNCAN. No, I did not. I didn't see the pamphlet or the exchange or did not actually know anything about it until talking with Russ some time after.
Mr. HUBERT. Have you ever seen or spoken to Ruby after he left that night?
Mr. DUNCAN. No; well, I saw him during the coverage when I was at the police department covering the assassination--that's all.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he ask for any kind of a pass, a press pass from you?
Mr. DUNCAN. No; he did not. He didn't ask for anything.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he have any press pass from KLIF, to your knowledge?
Mr. DUNCAN. No; he didn't--not at all.
Mr. HUBERT. You would know if he did have?
Mr. DUNCAN. Probably--I should think so. Press passes were short at that time, and at that time the only press passes available to my knowledge were the press passes that were connected with the Kennedy visit and not the later Dallas police press passes that were issued after the assassination.
Mr. HUBERT. What is your impression of Ruby's general attitude that night?
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, repeating my trial testimony--this was the first time I had met him, so I had no real relative gage, but he did not seem out of character. He seemed--he was excited in the sense that everyone was exerted. He seemed to me to be a highstrung individual, a quick sort of individual, but he did not seem overly excited and did not seem out of character.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he seem to be grieving?
Mr. DUNCAN. No, no; he was not grieving. If anything--if anything, he was--well, I use the word "happy" guardedly, but he was if anything happy that evidence was piling up against Oswald and that he had been charged, and the mounting of a case against him.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you get the impression that he himself was sort of getting a
kick or a charge out of being close to the police and the news development of this historic event?
Mr. DUNCAN. Oh, I think so. I think he was to a certain degree. Of course, we run into this sort of thing all the time. Of course, the event was much more important, but I would not say that he seemed any more excited about having an "in" or being closer to it than the average person we run into at a shooting or a major accident, who sidles up to you and tries to become involved.
Mr. HUBERT. How did he explain giving you the sandwiches?
Mr. DUNCAN. As I remember there was no definite explanation. It was simply that "I figured you guys would be hungry and I brought these up to you," with this type of an explanation, if it is one.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he indicate to you that the sandwiches had originally been intended for the police but that he found that they couldn't use them and he therefore brought them to you?
Mr. DUNCAN. No; from the very beginning--from the telephone calls and afterward he indicated to me that they were originally intended for us, and the reason he had them at the police station was the fact that he had been unable to get in.
Mr. HUBERT. To get into where?
Mr. DUNCAN. To get into our place and then had gone over to look for one of their newsmen. His indication, and I don't know about his whereabouts before that, or he didn't mention them, but his indication was he came to our station first.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you notice whether he had an overcoat on?
Mr. DUNCAN. I believe he was carrying an overcoat.
Mr. HUBERT. Could you tell us what color it was?
Mr. DUNCAN. It seems to me that it was a dark gray or light brown--a muted dark tone.
Mr. HUBERT. Is there anything else you wish to add?
Mr. DUNCAN. I don't believe so.
Mr. HUBERT. I don't think there has been any conversation between us off the record--that has not been brought out on the record?
Mr. DUNCAN. I don't believe so. It seems to me the only thing we talked about were these telephone calls and that's in.
Mr. HUBERT. And that's in the record?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. I think we did talk off the record by telephone, but that has been developed fully and is now on the record.
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, sir, I believe that is all and I thank you very much for coming.
Mr. DUNCAN. Glad to help you out.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, thank you.