TESTIMONY OF DECLAN P. FORD
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ford, you were given a copy of this statement were you?
Mr. FORD. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. As to the purpose so you understand what we are doing here today?
Mr. FORD. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you please rise. Do you solemnly swear the testimony you give before this Commission will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. FORD. I do.
The CHAIRMAN. Be seated please and Mr. Liebeler will ask the questions.
Mr. LIEBELER. Will you state your name, sir?
Mr. FORD. Declan P. Ford.
Mr. LIEBELER Where do you live?
Mr. FORD. Dallas, Tex.
Mr. LIEBELER. What is your employment?
Mr. FORD. I am a consulting geologist.
Mr. LIEBELER. Are you independently employed?
Mr. FORD. Yes; I am self-employed.
Mr. LIEBELER. Would you give us a brief statement of your educational background?
Mr. FORD. I was graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1948, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology, and was first employed by Tidewater Associated Oil Co. as a geologist, later with the Continental Oil Co. as a geologist, and then later with DeGollyer McNaughton, a consulting firm in Dallas, Tex, until 1962, October. I went into business for myself as a consulting geologist. All this time has been in exploration, development of oil and gas fields both in the United States and foreign countries.
Mr. LIEBELER. Have you been employed in and about the Fort Worth and Dallas area ever since you graduated from college?
Mr. FORD. No; I have only been in the Dallas area since January 1960.
Mr. LIEBELER. Your wife's name is Katherine Ford?
Mr. FORD. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. When were you married?
Mr. FORD. We were married July 1960. July 2.
Mr. LIEBELER. Were you married at any time prior to that?
Mr. FORD. No; I was not.
The CHAIRMAN. '62, did you say?
Mr. FORD. 1960.
Mr. LIEBELER. Are you acquainted with Jack Ruby?
Mr. FORD. No; I am not.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you know of any connection between Lee Oswald and Jack Ruby?
Mr. FORD. No; I don't.
Mr. LIEBELER. Directly or indirectly?
Mr. FORD. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you know Mr. John M. Grizzaffi?
Mr. FORD. Yes; I knew him.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you known whether or not he is a friend or associate of Jack Ruby's?
Mr. FORD. I don't know. I have heard that he knows Jack Ruby, I don't know how well he knows him.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you know whether Mr. Grizzaffi had any contact with the Oswalds or knew them?
Mr. FORD. None that I knew of.
Mr. LIEBELER. When did you first meet the Oswalds?
Mr. FORD. In 1962, and I think it was in August of 1962, I am not sure of the exact date.
Mr. LIEBELER. Would you tell us the circumstances of the meeting?
Mr. FORD. I was a guest at the house of some friends, the Mellers, and the Oswalds had been there for lunch, and we came over after lunch to have cocktails and to meet Lee and Marina Oswald.
Mr. LIEBELER. Who was there at that time?
Mr. FORD. Mr. Meller and his wife, Anna Meller, George Bouhe, my wife and myself, Marina and Lee Oswald, and 1 can't remember for sure if anybody
else, It seems to me there was somebody else there but I can't remember who it was. Someone else may have come in later or something like that.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you mention George Bouhe as being there?
Mr. FORD. Yes; George Bouhe was there.
Mr. LIEBELER. You mentioned him?
Mr. FORD. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Who invited you to that luncheon?
Mr. FORD. Mrs. Meller.
Mr. LIEBELER. Had you heard of the Oswalds prior to that time?
Mr. FORD. Yes; I had.
Mr. LIEBELER. How?
Mr. FORD. I first heard of them, I think, from either George Bouhe or maybe from Max Clark who lives in Fort Worth but I think it was George Bouhe. He had mentioned the name of Lee Oswald and briefly described his history, his story of his going to Russia, attempting to give up his American citizenship, and later returning from Russia with a Russian wife and child, and living in Fort Worth, and we were, my wife is Russian and we were interested in meeting her. George Bouhe, I think, at the time was attempting to help Lee Oswald find employment.
Mr. LIEBELER. When you say "her" in that sentence you are referring to Mrs, Marina Oswald?
Mr. FORD. Yes; Marina Oswald,
Mr. LIEBELER. Is that the reason why basically you went to the lunch at the Mellers to meet Lee and Marina Oswald?
Mr. FORD. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Was there any conversation with the Oswalds at that time?
Mr. FORD. There was, most of the conversation was in Russian which I don't understand. I had very little conversation with Lee himself because he spoke Russian most of the time that afternoon and Marina didn't speak any English at all.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you have any conversations in English with Oswald about living conditions in Russia, about his expenses in Russia?
Mr. FORD. A little bit. He showed me pictures of people that he had worked with in Russia. I believe they were on a picnic together, a group of men, and various other pictures of places he had seen in Minsk, and he briefly described the living conditions in Russia, I guess the conditions under which he had lived in Russia, the small room they had to live in, and he said something about how much money he made there. I don't remember how much it was though.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did he tell you what kind of a job he had?
Mr. FORD. No, he didn't. I think George Bouhe told me he had been a sheet metal worker or something similar to that.
Mr. LIEBELER. In Minsk?
Mr. FORD. In Minsk, yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did Oswald compare to you the amount of money that he was paid with the amount of money that other workers in the plant were paid?
Mr. FORD. No; he said nothing about it.
Mr. LIEBELER Did he indicate in any way any source of income other than from his job?
Mr. FORD. None.
Mr. LIEBELER. At any time did he do that?
Mr. FORD. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever learn of anything like that?
Mr. FORD. No; I have heard people speak of it but I have never heard him or anybody that knew him say he had another source of income.
Mr. LIEBELER. You have heard people speak of it when, since the assassination?
Mr. FORD. Since the assassination.
Mr. LIEBELER. But you heard nothing of it prior to the assassination?
Mr. FORD. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you get any impressions of Oswald at this first meeting?
Mr. FORD. I had an impression that he was not the type of person I could make friends with very easily. He didn't impress me as being friendly to me
as a person. He was kind of closed up within himself. And it seemed to me he preferred to speak in Russian rather than in English. He wanted to practice speaking Russian with the Russian speaking people rather than talking to me.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did Mrs. Oswald have any bruises on her at that time?
Mr. FORD. Yes, she did. On her face.
Mr. LIEBELER. On her face. Was there any conversation about that?
Mr. FORD. Not directly with me. My wife told me that Mrs. Oswald told her it was due to some accident of running into a door at nighttime while she was getting up to see what--the baby crying, something like that.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you accept that explanation?
Mr. FORD. I didn't--well, really, I didn't accept it. It just didn't make much sense but it didn't make an impression one way or the other to me. I frankly at the time thought of a standard cartoon joke of a kid explaining his black eye, by a kid explaining he ran into a doorknob.
Mr. LIEBELER. Was there anything that happened at this first luncheon that impressed you about Oswald or his attitude, in any way that you think the Commission should know about?
Mr. FORD. Very little. Except he seemed reserved, and I would call excessively polite, and the fact I don't think he made any effort to make friends with the other people.
Mr. LIEBELER. When was the next time that you had any contact with Oswald?
Mr. FORD. The next time I saw him was the night I drove Marina from our house to another friend's house, Mr. Frank Ray's house. She had been staying at our house for about a week and she had been separated from him. I had been out of town and when I came home she was invited to stay over at Mr. Ray's house and I took her over there, I think it was on a Friday evening. Lee Oswald called and wanted to talk to Marina and wanted then to come out and see her. Mr. Ray told him if he would get on the bus and come to the bus stop nearest their home that he would pick him up, and I went with Mr. Ray to pick up Lee Oswald at the bus stop. We went back to Mr. Ray's home, and had a short conversation with Lee Oswald but he said he wanted to talk to Marina, and he and Marina went into another room. I don't know exactly how long it was but we sat down and had one or two drinks, and then Lee came back in and said he and his wife were going to have a reconciliation and she wanted to go home with him that evening. Mr. Ray offered to drive them back to their place in Oak Cliff, and then I went home.
Mr. LIEBELER. You were out of town throughout the entire time that Marina stayed with your wife?
Mr. FORD. Except for the last night. She stayed there one more night after I came home.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you form any impression on Oswald that evening different from the one that you originally had of him?
Mr. FORD. Only it confirmed my original thought. I remember one instance. Frank asked him where he was working and he would never identify the place he was working. He would hedge, I forget his exact words but he mentioned that he was working, I think in a printing shop, either printing or photographic developing shop, and Mr. Ray asked him the name of the place, I think, twice, and he avoided answering. He would just start talking about something completely different. In other words, when he didn't want to answer a question he would either change the subject or just start talking to somebody else.
Mr. LIEBELER. You had no independent knowledge of where he was working at that time?
Mr. FORD. I didn't know the name. I had heard he was employed in this shop that I think was a printing and photographic developing shop.
Mr. LIEBELER. You didn't have anything to do with his getting that job?
Mr. FORD. No, I didn't.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you know whether your friend did?
Mr. FORD. I am not sure. I think either George Bouhe or maybe Theo
Meller may have introduced him to the owner of the shop but I am not sure about it.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you have any conversations with either Mr. Meller or Mr. Bouhe about this?
Mr. FORD. I have had conversations with them, but it was prior to this night when Lee came to make a reconciliation with his wife.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did they tell you that they had anything to do with his getting this job?
Mr. FORD. I don't specifically remember that they said so. I either assumed this or something they said led me to believe it.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you have any conversations with the Rays that evening while you were taking Marina over there about the difficulties that the Oswalds had in their marriage? Let's expand the question. Think about that, and also think about any conversations that you may have had with your wife about that after you went back, and tell us the conversations that you had with anybody at that time about the incidents of the separation, what caused it and what was the trouble between the Oswalds?
Mr. FORD. I don't believe I had any discussion with either Mr. or Mrs. Ray about specifically the difficulties in their marriage between Marina and Lee Oswald. The only thing I remember is frankly saying something to the effect, well, he is really a screwy nut, or something, he can't find ways to work, something to that effect. I have not discussed their personal problems. But I have discussed it with my wife about it prior to that and after that and also after the assassination and it was my understanding when she left her husband it was because he had beat her up.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did anybody tell you any of the details about why he had done that or what the cause of the trouble was?
Mr. FORD. Not at the time. My wife didn't tell me anything about that. Again, after the assassination, she told me more about it, but I don't know if Marina had mentioned this prior to the assassination, the year before that when she stayed at our house, or whether she mentioned it after the assassination, I don't know the exact time that these details were brought out. My wife did mention that perhaps Marina antagonized him by arguing with him, talking back to him, or something like that whereas if she just learned to be quiet when he said something he might not have hit her.
Mr. LIEBELER. But you don't recall whether that was developed during or at the time or later
Mr. FORD. I don't remember whether she told me that before the assassination or not. I know we have talked about it since the assassination.
Mr. LIEBELER. When was the next contact that you had with the Oswalds?
Mr. FORD. The next contact was after Christmas 1962. Between Christmas and New Year's we gave a cocktail party and some friends of ours, George De Mohrenschildt and his wife were invited and later called my wife and asked her if it would be all right to bring Lee and Marina to the party and my wife said sure, bring them along or might have asked me if it was all right to bring them along and I said sure. It was prior to December 28.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did Oswald come with De Mohrenschildt?
Mr. FORD. Yes, he came with De Mohrenschildt.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you know anything about the relations between Oswald and the De Mohrenschildts?
Mr. FORD. I knew they were friends, no more than that. How often they saw each other or what they talked about or anything they talked about I don't know.
Mr. LIEBELER. How old are the De Mohrenschildts?
Mr. FORD. I guess George De Mohrenschildt is between 50 and 55 years old.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did it seem curious to you that a man that age would be close to Lee Oswald who was around 21 or 22 at that particular time?
Mr. FORD. Not in the particular case.
Mr. LIEBELER. Why do you say that?
Mr. FORD. Well, George De Mohrenschildt has a reputation for being a left-wing enthusiast or something, I don't mean a member of the Communist Party, but he is, I have heard other people say he has expounded the ideals of Marxism and since Lee Oswald was supposedly a Marxist or a Communist they would agree on their political views. Again, I have never heard George De Mohrenschildt expound on any of these ideas. I have met him socially several times and he is very pleasant, a big, good looking man, but other than their agreement on what is the ideal political system, I can't think of anything else they would have in common.
Mr. LIEBELER. Your knowledge of De Mohrenschildt's political views are hearsay?
Mr. FORD. All of it is hearsay.
Mr. LIEBELER. How did you learn about Oswald's political views?
Mr. FORD. Also hearsay, from other people.
Mr. LIEBELER. Can you tell us who told you about it?
Mr. FORD. I can't remember anybody, any specific statement from anybody, but I have discussed it with people like both my wife and George Bouhe and I don't remember if I discussed it with the Mellers or not but it seems I have heard this from several different people about just about everybody who knew them, the Oswalds, this was one of the things that people were leery about in dealing with him was his reputation for being a Communist.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did he have that reputation in the community?
Mr. FORD. Yes, I think he had that reputation of either--not being a member, say, of the Communist Party, but his political ideas were either Marxist or Communist or something he had derived from reading Karl Marx, I suppose.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you know whether he expressed any extreme antagonism or antagonism of any sort toward the Government of the United States?
Mr. FORD. The only occasion I know of was the first time I met him, he did blame the U.S. Embassy for delaying his exit, the exit of he and his wife from Russia. He did state if it :had not been for their delaying the exit visa that his daughter would have been born in the United States rather than Russia.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did he say anything more about that, do you remember any more in detail?
Mr. FORD. Not that I heard of or can remember.
Representative FORD. Did he think the birth of his daughter in Russia rather than in the United States was something important, did it appear that way?
Mr. FORD. I don't know how important he thought it was. It actually started as a joke. We also had a baby born shortly before that and I said, "Pretty little Russian girl" or something like that, and he made a statement, "She is just as much a Texan as your son," and then went on to explain that if the U.S. Embassy had acted more quickly that he and Marina could have left Russia and that June, the daughter, would have been born in the United States. I don't know whether he placed any great importance on it or not.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did Oswald ever appear to you to have any kind of a sense of humor?
Mr. FORD. None whatsoever.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did he say anything about the attitude the Russian authorities took when he wanted to come back to the United States and bring his wife back with him?
Mr. FORD. He never said anything to me. I think he may have while he was talking Russian with these other people. He may have mentioned the fact that it was easier, they got their visa for he and his wife from the Russian authorities, the delay came from the American authorities, but I don't specifically know whether it did. He said these things, again it would be hearsay, again I would have heard it from my wife or somebody else who could speak Russian who had either discussed it with him or was present when he was discussing it with somebody else.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever hear Oswald or hear of Oswald making any remarks that would indicate a hostility toward President Kennedy?
Mr. FORD. No; never did.
Mr. LIEBELER. What about Governor Connally?
Mr. FORD. Never heard that either, until after the assassination. I saw newspaper copies of a letter he wrote to Governor Connally when Governor Connally was Secretary of the Navy.
Mr. LIEBELER. I would limit my question to before the assassination?
Mr. FORD. Before the assassination, no.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you hear anything about his military career prior to the assassination?
Mr. FORD. No; in fact I had assumed prior to the assassination that he had had an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps.
Mr. LIEBELER. You never had any discussions with him about that or heard anybody discussing it?
Mr. FORD. He said something the first time I met him, I can't specifically remember what it was, but I got the impression that, at that time that he had been a Marine Corps guard at the U.S. Embassy in Russia and I can't remember whether he said this or somebody else mentioned it or whether I just assumed it on my own. So I know my first idea was this was the way he had gotten to Russia. I later learned he had gone on his own.
Mr. LIEBELER. But you don't remember any specific discussion with him about this question?
Mr. FORD. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you know where Oswald was living during this period that his wife was separated from him and living with you and Mrs. Meller?
Mr. FORD. I knew he had an apartment in this Oak Cliff section of Dallas. I don't remember the exact address. I don't know whether he stayed there while Marina was in our house or not.
Mr. LIEBELER. You had no knowledge where he lived prior to the time that he took the apartment in Oak Cliff, did you?
Mr. FORD. Well, I think he lived in Fort Worth. I am not absolutely sure. I believe this apartment in Oak Cliff was the first place he lived in Dallas, but I am not absolutely sure about it. Mr. LIEBELER. You had never talked to him about it?
Mr. FORD. No; never.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever visit the apartment?
Mr. FORD. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Now, had we gotten to the Christmas party?
Mr. FORD. You asked me about it.
Mr. LIEBELER. Tell us as best as you can recall the events of that period. I think you said there was a party at your house on the 28th of December.
Mr. FORD. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Tell me if there were parties or get-togethers at which you were present or of which you knew at other homes during that period.
Mr. FORD. Well, there were, but I don't remember the specific dates that they were. I think they were after the party at our house. There was a party at George Bouhe's home, an apartment, during that period. I think it was a few days after that, right in the period of New Year's Eve, and I went to several celebrations. I would hate to try to recall exactly when each one of them was and who was there.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember going to George Bouhe's apartment?
Mr. FORD. Yes; I remember going there but I don't remember the exact date that it was.
Mr. LIEBELER. Was Oswald at that meeting?
Mr. FORD. No; he was not.
Mr. LIEBELER. Was there any discussion of Oswald at that time?
Mr. FORD. Not that I can remember.
Mr. LIEBELER. Were there any other parties that you attended during that period?
Mr. FORD. I don't remember any formal parties. I stopped and had drinks with a lot of people.
Mr. LIEBELER. Specifically, was there a get-together at your home the night after the party that you had on the 28th of December?
Mr. FORD. Not a formal party, just a group of people happened to show up and we started another party.
Mr. LIEBELER. Who was there?
Mr. FORD. Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan, friends of ours from New Orleans, and Mr. and Mrs. Harris who were from Georgetown, Tex., and another Mr. and Mrs. Ray, not the ones who live in Dallas, but these live in Paris, Tex.
Mr. LIEBELER. Would that be Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Ray?
Mr. FORD. Thomas Ray.
Mr. LIEBELER. Thomas Ray. And yourself and your wife?
Mr. FORD. Right.
Mr. LIEBELER. Anybody else?
Mr. FORD. Right now I can't remember anybody else who came in. It was not a formal gathering, just people happened to stop in and we started having a party.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you have any recollection of any discussion of Oswald at that time?
Mr. FORD. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember at any time having any discussion with any of your Russian friends on the question of whether or not Oswald was a Russian agent?
Mr. FORD. Prior to the assassination?
Mr. LIEBELER. Yes, sir.
Mr. FORD. No; I don't remember prior to the assassination. There may have been some but I don't remember any.
Mr. LIEBELER. At the party at your home on the 28th of December, did you have any conversation with Oswald?
Mr. FORD. Said "hello, how are you," to he and Marina, and after that, I can't remember Oswald talking to anybody there except one guest, a Japanese girl. Yaeko, I forget her last name; my wife will remember. As nearly as I can remember she was the only person in the whole party that he ever bothered to talk to.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember whether Oswald was drinking that evening?
Mr. FORD. I fixed one drink for him, in a little liqueur glass full of liqueur. As far as I remember he never touched it.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever observe Oswald smoking?
Mr. FORD. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. And you don't remember any discussion about Oswald after he left that evening?
Mr. FORD. No; after he left that evening, I don't recall any discussion of him.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever have any conversations with De Mohrenschildt about Oswald?
Mr. FORD. I don.'t remember any specific conversations with George De Mohrenschildt. I may have.
Mr. LIEBELER. What was your impression of Oswald at this time as far as his relations with the other members of the Russian community were concerned, and generally?
Mr. FORD. My impression was that he didn't want his wife to associate with them, and that he resented any aid or help people tried to give either he or his wife. I might say, I know, I have heard other Russian people there, for example, would take Marina to a grocery store and buy a load of groceries for her and take her back, and one girl that went by and found the baby had a fever and nobody was taking it to the hospital and she took Marina and the baby to the hospital for some medical treatment for it, and I had the impression that Lee Oswald resented this.
Mr. LIEBELER. You gained that impression from conversations that you had?
Mr. FORD. From conversations with other people, yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Is there any--
Mr. FORD. I was also going to say--
Mr. LIEBELER. Pardon me.
Mr. FORD. I think during the period of 1962 that George Bouhe, for example, thought it would be helpful for Marina to learn English and he tried to encourage
her to learn English and I had heard later that Lee Oswald resented this, he didn't want her to learn English.
Mr. LIEBELER. When did you hear that?
Mr. FORD. That was back in 1962. I can't remember the specific time, but--
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you have any conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Harris at the party at your place on the 28th of December?
Mr. FORD. Oh, yes; I had conversations with them.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you hear of an incident where Mrs. Harris was trying to teach English to Marina at the party and certain American customs and Oswald objected to it?
Mr. FORD. I didn't observe it. She may have tried to teach her some American customs. I don't remember hearing Oswald say anything about it, Lee Oswald say anything about it.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did Mrs. Harris say anything about it to you?
Mr. FORD. Not that I can remember.
Mr. LIEBELER. So you have no knowledge of that incident if it occurred at all?
Mr. FORD. No. It seems to me I have heard somebody else mention this but I did not see it or hear anything myself.
Mr. LIEBELER. Now, after the party on the 28th of December that was held at your house, when was the next contact that you had with either one of the Oswalds?
Mr. FORD. Well, I heard a few times or my wife had heard something about Marina living in Irving, but never actually saw either one of them until after the assassination. Then the first contact we had with Marina was, I believe, my wife tried to get in touch with her, either invite her to come to my house or to tell her that once things had been cleared up, the investigation had been cleared up, to feel free to come by, and let her know she still had friends.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did anybody suggest to you shortly after the assassination that Marina should come and live with you?
Mr. FORD. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever express any hesitancy to anyone in connection with any suggestion that Marina should come and live with you?
Mr. FORD. I don't remember ever expressing it. If somebody had mentioned it the afternoon or next day after the assassination I probably would have been a little bit hesitant about it. But I don't remember saying anything to anybody.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did there come a time when Marina moved into your home after the assassination?
Mr. FORD. Yes; but this was in February of this year.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you express any hesitancy at that time?
Mr. FORD. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. And you don't recall expressing any immediately after the assassination or before?
Mr. FORD. No. I don't remember talking to anybody at all about it. I mean the first few days immediately after the assassination, I don't recall saying anything to anybody about it, where she was going to live at my house or anybody else's.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever have any conversations with Mr. Jim Martin on that subject?
Mr. FORD. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Now prior to the time that Marina came to live in your home, your wife has testified she talked to Marina on the telephone several times and that Marina came to visit on two or three occasions, two occasions, I believe, at your home.
Mr. FORD. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you talk to your wife about what Marina had said during your wife's visits with Marina?
Mr. FORD. When she came to visit us in our home?
Mr. LIEBELER. Yes.
Mr. FORD. I talked to her about what she had talked to Marina, and I couldn't carry on much of a conversation with Marina myself because she didn't speak
much English but I would ask my wife, and my wife would tell me what she bad said.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember whether there was any discussion about Marina's testimony before this Commission, either before she went to Washington or after she came back?
Mr. FORD. No; not--my wife never told me before she came to Washington to testify before the Commission. After she came back, I did overhear some conversation between Marina, my wife, and Mr. William M. McKenzie regarding the testimony given to the Commission.
Mr. LIEBELER. Can you tell us what that was to the best of your recollection? Let me ask you this: Where did this occur?
Mr. FORD. I think it was in Mr. McKenzie's office, it may have been either in his office or my home but I think it was in his office, and I believe the FBI had been questioning her this afternoon, I am not sure of the date, and I came back later to pick up my wife and Marina and in my presence Mr. McKenzie asked my wife to ask Marina in Russian if she had told the Commission this Nixon story. I don't know the details of the story, but something regarding the threat to Mr. Nixon. And I think Marina, again through my wife, told Mr. McKenzie that she had not mentioned this to the Commission. But that she had mentioned it to the FBI, and she had mentioned it, I believe to the FBI prior to the Commission hearing.
Mr. LIEBELER. Who told you that?
Mr. FORD. Well, I was standing there while Mr. McKenzie was talking to Marina using my wife as a translator.
Representative FORD. Was this in your home, did you say?
Mr. FORD. I think it was in Mr. McKenzie's office; it might have been in my home. Several times I have overheard conversation either in Mr. McKenzie's office or at my home.
Representative FORD. It could have been in either?
Mr. FORD. It could have been either, but it seems to me it was at his office. I think as Marina said, she had not said anything to the Commission about this, and then I think Mr. McKenzie asked her why not, and she said well she hadn't thought of it or nobody asked her; something to that effect. I think he was trying to establish whether or not she had purposely withheld information from the Commission and she said no.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever hear Marina Oswald make any remark to the effect when she was before the Commission she just answered questions and did not volunteer anything?
Mr. FORD. I never heard her say that.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did anybody ever translate that, a remark like that, so that you heard it when it was translated?
Mr. FORD. No; I never heard anybody translate for Marina and say that; no. In my presence, I never heard her say that and have it translated by anybody.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever hear from anybody else that she had said that?
Mr. FORD. Not until yesterday when I was talking about it with you, that I can remember anything.
Mr. LIEBELER. And yesterday when we talked about it, I asked you the question, had anybody said that, isn't that right?
Mr. FORD. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you obtain any information concerning the Nixon, any detailed information concerning the Nixon affair as a result of detailed conversations with your wife after she had had conversations with Marina? I am assuming Marina would speak in Russian to your wife. Did your wife ever tell you what Marina had ever said to her about the Nixon affair?
Mr. FORD. A little bit, not all the details. But something to the effect that Lee Oswald was threatening, I don't know whether to shoot Nixon, and in some way she had locked him in a bathroom and kept him there, I think all day. He had calmed down or cooled off and wasn't going to do anything. Just how she managed to do this, I don't know.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you discuss the question with your wife as to how?
Mr. FORD. No; not--again, I never discussed it until yesterday, last night. I was talking to her and wondered how the devil she managed to lock him in the bathroom.
Mr. LIEBELER. And you discussed that with your wife last night as a result of a similar question that I asked you yesterday afternoon when we were reviewing the testimony?
Mr. FORD. Right.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you learn anything relating to the Walker affair as a result of conversations with your wife?
Mr. FORD. Well, I had read about it in the newspapers; I had read stories that Lee Oswald had told Marina that he had taken a shot at General Walker and my wife did tell me later on she asked Marina if this were true and I think Marina said this was true, that Lee Oswald had told Marina he was the one who had taken a shot at General Walker.
Mr. LIEBELER. Is that the extent of your conversations about the Walker incident?
Mr. FORD. No; she mentioned something else that my wife told me about. That after Lee had taken a shot at General Walker, he had hidden the gun somewhere and went back the next day or a few days later and recovered the gun. And that Lee was reading the reports in the newspaper and made some statement, "Well, how stupid can the police be," something to this effect. In other words, expressing the idea that the police were unable to find out what happened in the Walker incident. And then also Marina had said at one time, I believe the day after the shooting of Walker or attempted shooting of Walker, George De Mohrenschildt had come into the house and made some statement to them regarding it. I can't remember the exact words but it was referring to it, Walker, somebody shooting at General Walker, and asking Lee how he could miss and she was surprised that De Mohrenschildt knew about it and Marina thought Lee had told George De Mohrenschildt about it.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever learn how George De Mohrenschildt had learned about it?
Mr. FORD. No; I imagine he was surprised that Lee had done the shooting and to him it would have been a good joke.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember anything else about the Walker incident that you and your wife may have talked about?
Mr. FORD. Yes; we have discussed it some after, I believe, Marina came to stay with us, and I expressed the doubt that Lee Oswald was the one who took a shot at Walker.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you have any basis for expressing that doubt?
Mr. FORD. The only basis for it was that there was a story in one of the newspapers that they could not identify the bullet taken out of the wood in Walker's home as having come from a gun that Lee Oswald owned, it was too badly destroyed and they couldn't be sure it was the gun, the same gun, that shot the bullets at President Kennedy and Governor Connally.
Mr. LIEBELER. So on the basis of that newspaper story you expressed doubts as to whether Oswald was actually involved in the Walker incident?
Mr. FORD. Well, I expressed the doubt. It was possible that he really wasn't the one who took a shot at General Walker but just claimed he did and this to me would not be surprising.
Mr. LIEBELER. Why do you say that?
Mr. FORD. Well, I think, my opinion of Lee Oswald is that he would do anything to gain attention for himself, draw attention to himself, make not necessarily a hero out of himself but just a well-known person. He wanted attention. He wanted to be a big shot.
Mr. LIEBELER. And you think in an attempt to do that he might claim he had been the one who shot at Walker where, in fact, he was not the one at all?
Mr. FORD. It is possible, I think it is possible.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you have any conversations with your wife in which your wife told you anything that Marina said about the details of the assassination, about Lee's coming home to Irving and his leaving for Dallas the next morning?
Mr. FORD. Well, we talked about it; I don't recall all the details of what my
wife told me, whether they were my wife's opinions or things she had heard directly from Marina. Apparently Marina was surprised that he would come home in the middle of the week rather than on weekends or come to visit her, and I gathered that Marina had thought of these things after the assassination, as she tried to figure things out. Well this increased her belief that Lee Oswald was the man who assassinated the President, because he did so many strange things that week, I mean that day before, not the week, the day before the assassination.
Mr. LIEBELER. To your knowledge, has Marina expressed any feeling about Oswald's guilt while she lived with you or while you were acquainted with her after the assassination, other than the fact he was guilty?
Mr. FORD. No; so far as I know she just accepts the fact he was guilty. He was the man who shot the President. And she believes this is true.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever discuss this question with Robert Oswald?
Mr. FORD. No, not specifically, I didn't. I never asked Robert Oswald if he believed that his brother shot the President.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did Oswald ever indicate to you that he did not believe that?
Mr. FORD. Not directly. The only thing that might have indicated it was when Life published a picture of Lee Oswald on the front cover and I read a newspaper article which stated that Mrs. Marguerite Oswald was intending, to sue Life Magazine and I wondered why, was the picture faked, and Robert Oswald said no it was a true picture of Lee Oswald but the title of the picture, that is what he was upset about, and I think the title was Lee Oswald holding the gun he either used to shoot or used to kill the President, and I didn't pursue the subject further with him. I don't know specifically what he was upset about, if he thought his brother did shoot the President. There was nothing wrong with the statement except he may not have liked it in print.
Mr. LIEBELER. That was the only statement Robert Oswald made to you about the subject.
Mr. FORD. But he never said he didn't believe his brother did it.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you have any other reasons for thinking that Oswald is the kind of person who would claim to do something that he hadn't done just to get attention drawn to him?
Mr. FORD. Well, yes; I think he was erratic enough in his behavior throughout his whole life to indicate that. Of course, I have read a lot about his life since the assassination, so it is not all opinion I formed prior to the assassination. It is hard for me to distinguish which things I thought before the assassination from those I have thought about since the assassination.
Mr. LIEBELER. In that respect let me ask you this question: Were you surprised when you heard that Oswald had been charged with the assassination?
Mr. FORD. Yes, I was.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you think on the basis of your knowledge of him before the assassination that he would have been capable of such a thing?
Mr. FORD. No; I wouldn't have thought so prior to the assassination and when I first heard he was picked up, I first thought, well, as I said to my wife, "This nut has gone down and got himself mixed up just to get some publicity."
Representative FORD. You said that to your wife?
Mr. FORD. Yes; that was my first opinion. When I heard that Lee Oswald was the man arrested, and I said I think I said, "This idiot has got himself arrested and got himself mixed up to get some publicity".
Mr. LIEBELER. What made you say that?
Mr. FORD. Again, I considered him to be erratic and unpredictable, I don't know how to explain the things that he would do. For example, he had gone to Russia and he didn't like it there, he had gone back to Fort Worth and he didn't like it there. He didn't seem to like any place that he was, he didn't seem to make lasting friendships with anybody. And he would hop from one job to another, and move from one town to another. He never seemed to be satisfied and I considered his whole behavior rather erratic, and I suppose the main reason was, I felt that he had no desire to support, and I felt this prior to the assassination, he had no desire to support his wife and child, and he wanted and would be quite willing to sponge off anybody to get
their support, and this was my primary reason for not wanting to associate with him rather than any political feelings he had.
Mr. LIEBELER. How did these things lead you to think that he was not capable of doing the assassination or that he just went there to get involved?
Mr. FORD. Prior to the assassination I never even considered the Possibility of his killing a man but if somebody had asked me prior to the assassination, I would have answered no, 1 don't think he would kill anybody. But I don't think I really even considered it.
Mr. LIEBELER. You would have--
Mr. FORD. When the President was assassinated.
Mr. LIEBELER. And you would have based that response on the things you mentioned already. Is there anything else you would have based that reason on?
Mr. FORD. Well, it is difficult to say. My general opinion of the man was that he was strange and he did a lot of things I couldn't understand but I had no reason to think he would attack a person with the intent to kill him. As far as I knew there was nothing he had ever done before that that would indicate he would ever kill anybody. I don't know how you tell ahead of time whether a man can commit murder. I was never worried about him going out and killing somebody: say I would have never said prior to the assassination that you have got to watch out for this guy, he is dangerous. He didn't impress me that way.
Mr. LIEBELER. You had information prior to the assassination that he had beaten his wife, did you not?
Mr. FORD. Right.
Mr. LIEBELER. And did you take that information, would you take that, into consideration in the judgment that you just expressed?
Mr. FORD. No; I don't think so. I think man and wife can fight over a lot of things and it isn't necessary that either one of them would intend to kill somebody. He might become violent toward his wife, who is a much smaller and weaker person but he never impressed me as the type of person who would violently attack another man, for example.
Mr. FORD. When did you first hear that Lee Oswald was held by the authorities?
Mr. FORD. It was the afternoon of the assassination, I heard on the radio.
Mr. LIEBELER. What was your reaction then?
Mr. FORD. Just what I said, my first reaction, "This idiot has gone down to get himself some attention and confuse the whole issue." At that time I didn't know he was working in the School Book Depository Building.
Mr. LIEBELER. What did you do subsequent to hearing this radio broadcast?
Mr. FORD. Let's see: I heard it in a hardware store and I went and picked up my wife who was shopping at the grocery store, picked her up, and told her what I had heard and we went home. I didn't do anything specifically that I can think of. I did not mention it to anybody.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you and your wife on the way home from this shopping trip discuss the apprehension of Lee Oswald and his implication in the affair?
Mr. FORD. Well, I told her the police had picked him up, and that he was apparently being held both for the assassination of the President and for shooting a police officer, and my wife was a little bit worried then, I think, about the people's reaction to the children, and she said, well, "Don't mention it in front of the children." By the time we got home, I believe Linda, my stepdaughter, had already talked on the phone to Mrs. Anna Ray, who had also heard the radio broadcast and called up to ask if my wife had heard it, and, of course, by then it was too late, they knew who Lee Oswald was, they read who he was, that Marina stayed at our house.
Mr. LIEBELER. Then if I understand it you and your wife voluntarily went down to police headquarters?
Mr. FORD. Well, the next Sunday.
Mr. LIEBELER. Two days later?
Mr. FORD. Yes; the assassination was on a Friday afternoon. On Sunday morning,
Mr. Frank Ray called me and said he heard on the radio that the FBI had requested anybody who knew Lee Oswald to please contact them, and he asked me what I was going to do, I said, Well, 1 don't know, I will call an attorney and see what he suggests." I called Max Clark at Fort Worth and he was out, so I called my sister out in Los Angeles. She is an attorney and married to one, and I said, "Who are you supposed to contact if you know information about Lee Oswald," and she said she assumed it would be the FBI, so I then called the FBI office and made an appointment to talk to an agent and we made the appointment to talk in the FBI office in downtown Dallas. While we were driving downtown I stopped to get some gas and the attendant told me that somebody had just shot Lee Oswald and it was right about that time that I went down to talk with the FBI.
Mr. LIEBELER. In this interval between your first reaction and your going to the interview with the FBI, did you and your wife discuss any further the Oswald implications?
Mr. FORD. I am sure we discussed it, but I can't remember exactly what we said to each other about it. I think she was worried at first that her children would suffer some prejudice from other people. Mr: LIEBELER. Marina's children?
Mr. FORD. No; our children. And, of course, also that Marina was and her two children, my wife felt, would be sort of considered persona non grata in this country from then on, but I didn't consider this would happen as long as she was not implicated in a plot to kill the President. I know we discussed it but I just can't remember specifically what we said.
Mr. LIEBELER. Mr. Ford, did you at any time learn of any desire on Oswald's part to return to Russia?
Mr. FORD. Yes; after the assassination I did.
Mr. LIEBELER. How did you learn that?
Mr. FORD. Well, partly from discussing it, I heard it through friends and then later when Marina talked to my wife, I don't remember if this was during the time she visited us during January or after she moved in, but she did tell the story to my wife of his desire, as expressing a desire, to return to Russia, and I am a little confused as to what the story was. As nearly as I could make out he had told her he wanted to go back to Russia first and then later said, no, he was going--couldn't get a visa to Russia and he was going to try to get a visa and go through Cuba and then go to Russia, and then I think he changed his mind again and said he was going to ask for a visa to Cuba, using it as an excuse with the idea of going to Russia and then stay in Cuba, and somewhere in there I got the idea that Marina was not willing to go. He wanted Marina to return to Russia and I had the impression this was just a--but I couldn't even give you the details of her various statements which led me to the conclusions--as nearly as I could figure out, this was the story she had told my wife and she told me.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you learn at any time through your wife or otherwise that Marina Oswald at one point had contemplated committing suicide?
Mr. FORD. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Tell us about that?
Mr. FORD. Well, the first time I heard it was yesterday.
Mr. LIEBELER. During our conversations?
Mr. FORD. During our conversations, yesterday.
Mr. LIEBELER. And your wife explained to us in our conversations yesterday that she, Marina Oswald, had told her at onetime contemplated committing suicide?
Mr. FORD. That is right.
Mr. LIEBELER. That was the extent of our conversations yesterday?
Mr. FORD. Yes, sir. That is right. I think my wife said Marina felt so desolate and downhearted that she felt that was the only way out at the time.
Mr. LIEBELER. Are you finished?
Mr. FORD. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you have any other information or knowledge that you think
the Commission should know about in connection with these matters that we haven't already asked you about?
Mr. FORD. There is nothing I can think of offhand.
Mr. LIEBELER. In our conversations yesterday you and your wife and I discussed your testimony today. Have we covered those matters here in the testimony and have there been any inconsistencies between what we discussed yesterday and what we have discussed today on the record that you can think of?
Mr. FORD. No; I can't think of any inconsistencies. I assume we have covered everything we discussed yesterday. I can't remember everything we discussed yesterday, so I am just assuming we covered it.
Mr. LIEBELER. I have no more questions then.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you anything further, Congressman Ford?
Representative FORD. Mr. Ford, you drove Marina Oswald from your home to the Ray home?
Mr. FORD. Yes.
Representative FORD. In October or November of 1962?
Mr. FORD. It was in November.
Representative FORD. It was November of 1962. How long a drive is that?
Mr. FORD. It is about 15 minutes. I guess it couldn't be over 7 or 8 miles, 6, 7, 8 miles, something like that.
Representative FORD. Did you have any conversation with her at that time?
Mr. FORD. No. She couldn't speak but about a half dozen words of English.
Representative FORD. So there was no real conversation between the two of you?
Mr. FORD. No.
Representative FORD. That is all.
Mr. MURRAY. Mr. Chief Justice, may I confer briefly with counsel?
The CHAIRMAN. Where were you born?
Mr. FORD. Los Angeles.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you go to the public schools there?
Mr. FORD. I attended both parochial and public schools in Los Angeles and Glendale.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you went to the University of California at Los Angeles?
Mr. FORD. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. Where did you go after that. You were in the service, did you say?
Mr. FORD. I was in the service. After I got out of the service I went back to UCLA and finished my education and then went to work in the oil industry first in Bakersfield and in Los Angeles, Ventura, and then went to work for DeGollyer and McNaughton overseas.
The CHAIRMAN. I see.
Representative FORD. How old are you, Mr. Ford?
Mr. FORD. Forty-one.
Mr. LIEBELER. Mr. Ford, were you at any time present in Mr. McKenzie's office, William McKenzie, when there was a discussion with Marina Oswald concerning guns and the gun that was used to or presumably used to attack Walker and the gun that was subsequently presumably used to attack the President?
Mr. FORD. I don't remember any discussion. I have been in his office several times when he was discussing things with Marina, but I don't remember him ever asking about this gun or discussing this gun.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you hear McKenzie at anytime advise Marina if she were asked about these guns she should say there was only one gun?
Mr. FORD. I think I did hear him say that once or something to that effect but I don't remember specifically the words.
Mr. LIEBELER. Can you recall--
Mr. FORD. But I don't think it was any discussion about the gun used in shooting General Walker.
Mr. LIEBELER. Tell us about it.
Mr. FORD. As nearly as I can remember it, the whole discussion was, he was telling her, he had asked her if there was anything else but this one rifle and
she said no, and he said "be sure you always say that there was just this one gun," but I thought he was referring to the gun used only in the case of the assassination.
Mr. LIEBELER. He asked her about this before he advised her?
Mr. FORD. Apparently this was after she had been interrogated by the FBI and I don't know--I just had the impression they were talking about the possibility that more than one gun was used in the assassination of President Kennedy.
Mr. LIEBELER. Is that the best you can recall about that conversation?
Mr. FORD. The best I can recall, yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. That as all.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Ford. I appreciate your coming here with your wife. You have been very helpful.