The testimony of Robert L. Stovall was taken at 3:30 p.m., on March 30, 1964, in the office of the U.S. Attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Albert E. Jenner, Jr., assistant counsel of the President's Commission. Robert T. Davis, assistant attorney general of Texas, was present.
Mr. JENNER. Mr. Stovall, would you please rise and be sworn.
Do you swear in your testimony that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes; I do.
Mr. JENNER. You are Robert L. Stovall?


Mr. JENNER. That's [spelling] S-t-o-v-a-l-l?
Mr. JENNER. You are president of Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall, 525 Browder, here in Dallas, is that right?
Mr. STOVALL. Right.
Mr. JENNER. Mr. Stovall, my name is [spelling] J-e-n-n-e-r, Albert E. Jenner, Jr., and I am a member of the legal staff of the Commission appointed to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy. You received from Mr. Rankin, the general counsel of the Commission, a letter in which he enclosed, three documents--Joint Resolution 137 authorizing the creation of the Commission, Executive Order 11130 of President Johnson, creating the Commission, and then the Rules of Procedure of the Commission itself.
Mr. STOVALL. Right.
Mr. JENNER. And you appear voluntarily in an effort to assist the Commission in its work?
Mr. JENNER. We are investigating as you notice in those papers all the possible pertinent facts and circumstances surrounding that horrible event, to see if we can enlighten the citizenry of the country and at least get all of the facts recorded, and in the main, as a matter of fact, get rid of a lot of rumors that keep cropping up here and there, and since Lee Oswald was employed by your company, we would like to make some inquiries of your company, if we may.
Mr. JENNER. Are you a native of Dallas, Texas?
Mr. STOVALL. Dallas; yes.
Mr. JENNER. How old are you, by the way?
Mr. STOVALL. Forty-three.
Mr. JENNER. And is this your company--is it a corporation or a partnership?
Mr. STOVALL. It is a corporation.
Mr. JENNER. Are you the principal shareholder?
Mr. JENNER. Did you organize the company?
Mr. STOVALL. No; this is the second generation of the company. The original founders disposed of their holdings about 3 1/2 years ago.
Mr. JENNER. Disposed of them to you and your family?
Mr. STOVALL. And several of our employees.
Mr. JENNER. And you have been with the company how long?
Mr. STOVALL. Twenty-five years.
Mr. JENNER. That has been, I gather then, considering your--age your entire business career has been spent with Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall?
Mr. STOVALL. Well, except while I was in the Navy and I worked summers while I was going to college.
Mr. JENNER. Where did you attend the university, by the way?
Mr. STOVALL. I went to Texas Tech and SMU. I attended SMU at night and worked in the day.
Mr. JENNER. What does your company do?
Mr. STOVALL. We are in the typographic services. We serve advertising agencies, advertising departments, and the graphic arts industry as a middle supplier for type services. We also produce newspaper mats for duplication throughout the United States.
Mr. JENNER. Do you do any work for any federal agency?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. JENNER. Is it secret or confidential work or classified work of any kind?
Mr. STOVALL. On occasion we do. Most of it is not, but we do on occasion. We are cleared through the Navy Bureau Materiel here, although I believe it now has been incorporated under the Department of Defense as a single unit.
Mr. JENNER. Without disclosing any secrets in that connection or classifications, what is the nature of that work?
Mr. STOVALL Generally speaking, the nature of the work is charting and


mapping, and actually all we do is set words, letters, and figures. We have no correlation of what they refer to.
Mr. JENNER. It's charting of coastal areas, sea bottoms, and some land areas or what?
Mr. STOVALL Yes; and some foreign areas, too.
Mr. JENNER. That is, other than continental United States?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes; right.
Mr. JENNER. Was any of this work done in the department or area to which Lee Oswald had access while he was employed by your company?
Mr. STOVALL. Not in the department at all. Whatever secret work we might have been performing, we do it with the persons who had been cleared by the regular procedures and they are the only eyes who view this.
Mr. JENNER. So, anything that is classified is done only by employees of yours who have been cleared by an appropriate Federal agency?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. JENNER. And then, I gather that as far as Lee Harvey Oswald is concerned, he had no part in it nor access to any of this work?
Mr. STOVALL. This is correct.
Mr. JENNER. And that your company is at pains to see that no one other than those who are cleared have access to it?
Mr. STOVALL. That is correct.
Mr. JENNER. And that was true while he was working for you?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes. In fact, at such times as we have any secret work going, even at the point of being rude, we see that no one has access to any of this material. I won't say--rude but we strictly enforce it.
Mr. JENNER. Well, you make it pretty firm, which is right?
Mr. STOVALL Right.
Mr. JENNER. Do you do any lithography work?
Mr. JENNER. Do you do any printing of advertisements, papers, newspapers, periodicals?
Mr. JENNER. You set type, of course?
Mr. STOVALL. We set type. The only printing we do is a proving process, and that should we do an ad, let's say some of the Savings Bond Committee and ship one hundred mats, we would also ship one hundred proofs.
Mr. JENNER. You pull off proofs but your presses are proof presses, and that's all?
Mr. STOVALL. Right; we have no printing presses in this regard.
Mr. JENNER. I take it you do a lot of camera work?
Mr. STOVALL. Considerable; yes.
Mr. JENNER. But it is commercial camera work?
Mr. STOVALL. Right; it isn't even photography. It is only the part of reducing and enlarging printed material that we set in our type shop. It has to be resized and we also make screen veloxes.
Mr. JENNER. Explain for the record what that is.
Mr. STOVALL. A velox is a photographic print that has been screened by a dot press to separate the tone values in order that a camera can shoot them in black and white or in any group of colors, but it breaks it down into minute units that a camera will recognize.
Mr. JENNER. That's like half tones for newspaper printing?
Mr. STOVALL. Right.
Mr. JENNER. Do you do any plate work other than the mats?
Mr. JENNER. Is the term "microdot printing" or lithographing familiar to you?
Mr. STOVALL. Lithography is--microdot printing is not.
Mr. JENNER. And you don't do any work of that nature and character?
Mr. JENNER. Other than the preparation of or use of dot work as you have already described it?


Mr. JENNER. You personally have no familiarity with microdot reduction of some image?
Mr. STOVALL. No; we have no equipment and I have no experience in that. I am familiar with the microfilm as to the advantages of it from the standpoint of storage and so forth, but as to participating in any microfilming operation, we don't.
Mr. JENNER. Or any microdot in printing?
Mr. STOVALL No, sir.
Mr. JENNER. For example, taking a 24 by 24 printed sheet and microdot reducing it to less than the area of a postage stamp.
Mr. STOVALL. There are several specialty houses here and this is all done by Recordak and it is a specialty with them and they have the equipment.
Mr. JENNER. But you have none and you have never done it?
Mr. JENNER. Do you recall the circumstances under which Lee Harvey Oswald was employed by your company?
Mr. STOVALL. I know the circumstances only from the statement made by John Graef, the fellow you interviewed this morning. He made the interview himself. We were in the market for a trainee to learn this simple photoprint process. He has had a connection with the Employment Commission and the State Employment Commission for a quite a few years in that we use their services. That's what they are for.
Mr. JENNER. You personnally had nothing to do with Oswald's initial employment?
Mr. JENNER. That was Mr. Graef?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes; he is the head of that department.
Mr. JENNER. Were you aware of his progress or lack of it?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes--through their information.
Mr. JENNER. Through reports from Mr. Graef?
Mr. STOVALL Right.
Mr. JENNER. And he kept you advised from time to time?
Mr. JENNER. And you were personally aware of Oswald's progress or lack of it?
Mr. STOVALL. Right.
Mr. JENNER. And were there any incidents that came to your attention with respect to Oswald's relations with other employees?
Mr. STOVALL. Not that I personally know of--on occasion one or two fellows would mention that they didn't have any real liking for him because he was such an oddball, but as far as I'm concerned, I never spoke to the fellow.
Mr. JENNER. You saw him in and about the premises, however?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes, sir; I have seen him in and about the premises.
Mr. JENNER. Did any occasion arise in which the subject of his conversation or his talking about Russia arose or was reported to you?
Mr. STOVALL. Only after he left our employ was any mention made of it.
Mr. JENNER. Tell us about that.
Mr. STOVALL. He sought employment at another company here in town, a printing company.
Mr. JENNER. Do you recall the name of that company?
Mr. STOVALL. Padgett Printing Co.--Padgett Printing and Lithographing Co., and the superintendent over there called me and he gave us as a reference.
Mr. JENNER. Do you know the superintendent's name?
Mr. STOVALL. Ted Gangel.
Mr. JENNER. Would you spell it, please?
Mr. STOVALL. G-a-n-g-e-l [spelling], or G-a-n-g-l---I won't be sure.
Mr. JENNER. They are here in Dallas?
Mr. STOVALL Yes--he's their superintendent. He called me and asked me and I told him I did not know, but I would check, so I asked John Graef and they said this fellow was kind of an oddball, and he was kinda peculiar sometimes and that he had had some knowledge of the Russian language, which--this is all I knew, so I told Ted, I said, "Ted, I don't know, this guy may be a damn Communist.


I can't tell you. If I was you, I wouldn't hire him." So, he didn't, but he did come out of the Marines and supposedly he had a discharge that was satisfactory but I did not ever see this discharge.
Mr. JENNER. Was anything said in connection with your inquiries at that time about his having had a Russian language newspaper around your place of employment?
Mr. STOVALL. One of the fellows mentioned that he thought he might have, but in further discussion he was unable to pinpoint whether he was positive of this or whether he just thought it was. This fellow Ofstein--I think he made mention of it, the fact that he thought he might have seen one.
Mr. JENNER. Well, he said not only did he see it, but that he read it. He had some command of the Russian language himself. He was a student at the Service Language School in Monterey, Calif. when he was in the service.
Mr. STOVALL. Actually, when I was talking to this fellow Padgett, I was really just shooting off my mouth, but it seemed the way it turned out, that maybe there was a little bit of founding to it.
Mr. JENNER. Was there anything that came to your attention about his discharge from the Marines?
Mr. STOVALL. No; I really didn't know any particulars on it until this incident happened.
Mr. JENNER. It was subsequent to November 22, 1963?
Mr. STOVALL. No, previous to that.
Mr. JENNER. Did it ever come to your attention of Oswald having any contact with any of your employees subsequent to the termination of his employment?
Mr. STOVALL. Not that I know of.
Mr. JENNER. I have here Commission Exhibit 427, which purports to be the original of an employee identification questionnaire of your company, with respect to Lee Harvey Oswald, and would you look at it, please?
Mr. STOVALL (Examing instrument referred to.)
Mr. JENNER. And are you familiar in fact with what it purports to he?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes; this is the employment card that we had on him.
Mr. JENNER. And that is part of your original books and records of your company, kept in the usual and regular course of business?
Mr. STOVALL. Right--this was picked up by the Secret Service and somewhere I have a receipt from them, well, there is a negative--I destroyed the positive.
Mr. JENNER. Now, you are showing me a receipt and if I could read backwards, I would be able to read this.
Mr. STOVALL. If you have a mirror, you can look at it and read it.
Mr. JENNER. Off the record.
(Discussion between Counsel Jenner and the witness, Mr. Stovall, off the records.)
Mr. JENNER. Are you able to tell me whose handwriting that is in the extreme upper right-hand corner of Exhibit 427?
Mr. STOVALL. That is one of the personnel--in our bookkeeping and payroll department, and I could not tell you who it would be, but it would be one of three people.
Mr. JENNER. But it is an entry by an employee of your company made in the usual and regular course of business, is it?
Mr. JENNER. And it records the date of termination of Oswald's employment?
Mr. STOVALL. Right.
Mr. JENNER. The sixth day of April 1963?
Mr. STOVALL. He was given notice the latter part of March, and our company's procedure is to give a fellow a week or 10 days notice prior to the termination.
Mr. JENNER. Was his termination prospectively or otherwise discussed with you prior to it?
Mr. STOVALL. Oh probably it was--I would not say for sure whether it was or wasn't. I'm pretty much of a dog around there when things don't go right I'm the one that has to do all the yelling, and if a guy doesn't produce, I say, "Let's do something," and from this basis I feel the responsibility to say that I probably had something to do with this termination, not as an individual, but only on his performance as far as the work standards were concerned.


Mr. JENNER. What was this man's skill to the extent that you recall, in these areas in which you sought to train him?
Mr. STOVALL. He had no skill. He had no training whatsoever. You see, we employed him only as a trainee and I think we probably started him at $1.25 or $1.35, or something like that, and automatically we give a youngster a 10-or 15-cent raise quarterly, but within 6 months, if they have shown no aptitude, we give up on them and have a parting of the ways.
Mr. JENNER. And that is what happened here?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes; because we give them a raise doesn't mean that the person is competent, it means that it is just a system of employment we have when we start someone on minimum, or generally a 90-day basis, and we give them a nickel or dime, and then within a maximum of 6 months, if they have shown no aptitude, we just have to terminate them.
Mr. JENNER. That's in fairness to them as well as to your company?
Mr. STOVALL. Right.
Mr. JENNER. You also turned over to the Secret Service the application for employment that Oswald made with Padgett Printing Co.?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes. I do not have that receipt with Padgett.
Mr. JENNER. How did you come to have that, by the way?
Mr. STOVALL. The Secret Service on Saturday--I made contact with them--Mr. DePrato--this is his signature and I don't recall the other gentleman's name, and in our discussion, I mentioned the fact that I thought this fellow had sought employment with another company, but I didn't know what disposition had been made of it, and they asked would I call there, so while they were in my office I called, but there was no one there and I knew this fellow and I called his home and he is an astronomer as a hobby and he was giving a lecture to some students, so I made a contact with the person who was on the phone out here at the Astronomy Auditorium at the Fair, and he called me and I asked him could I get hold of this application for the Secret Service and he said "Yes," he would get it and bring it by, and in the meantime these fellows had gone somewhere else and I told them I would meet them Sunday in my office, so I did and gave it to them. The reason I had it--they asked me to secure it for them.
Mr. JENNER. And you did?
Mr. STOVALL And I did.
Mr. JENNER. The expression "microdots" does that mean anything to you?
Mr. STOVALL. No; we have never gotten any micro filming processes whatsoever.
Mr. JENNER. Mr. Stovall, your able employee, Mr. Graef, has given me a good deal of detail and has been very helpful and likewise you have been. Is there anything that I have failed to bring out here because I don't know about it or haven't been stimulated to do so that you think might be helpful to the Commission in its investigation?
Mr. STOVALL. I don't believe so. There was such a short period of time this fellow worked for us and he was a constant source of irritation because of his lack of productive ability, that----
Mr. JENNER. Would you elaborate on that, please?
Mr. STOVALL. We would ask him to reduce a line to 4 inches in width, that happened to be 6, and he might make it 4 1/4 or 3 7/8, and this was a loss in labor and materials both, and it had to be redone.
Mr. JENNER. Did this occur with greater frequency than you thought--than your people thought was permissible, having in mind the progress which you would expect of him or a man in his position to have attained?
Mr. STOVALL. Yes; that's true.
Mr. JENNER. What about his relations with others in the company---other employees-how did he get along, or did that come to your attention?
Mr. STOVALL I don't think anyone liked him or disliked him either one. He was just one of those people you don't know. If you don't know a guy, you can't know if you don't like him. That's probably the main reason we don't like him. Someone made mention in one instance that he bumped them in a dark room, which is a walkway area, and if a guy's bent over a tray and somebody else is coming by--he will get bumped, and it depends on who is doing the bumping, whether you get upset about it or not.


Mr. JENNER. Well, it can be done without taking offense to one another?
Mr. STOVALL. There's nothing at all wrong in it. There's no pain at all in saying "Excuse me."
Mr. JENNER. Yes; and apparently he was not inclined to do that.
Mr. STOVALL. It seems that that's so---yes.
Mr. JENNER. Have you had an impression as to whether he was an outgoing person or a reserved person--keeping to himself?
Mr. STOVALL. I think he must have been reserved, because the fellows who worked right with him, no one seems to have had any particular conversation with him. One guy invited him to go to church and he had such an unpleasant reception to it that that was the end of that.
Mr. JENNER. What incident was that--tell us about that.
Mr. STOVALL. Well, the fellow asked him what his religion was, and he asked him if he would like to go to church and I don't know what he said, but that was the end of that.
Mr. JENNER. He made it pretty clear he didn't want to go?
Mr. STOVALL. It seems that's the way it was.
Mr. JENNER. And he didn't want to be bothered by anyone?
Mr. STOVALL. He didn't want to discuss it either.
Mr. JENNER. All right; does anything else occur to you?
Mr. STOVALL Not that I know of--the fellow had a good record of being on the job, I mean, he didn't have any absenteeism.
Mr. JENNER. He was prompt and worked every day and had little in the way of absenteeism?
Mr. JENNER. Mr. Graef said that he sought overtime employment; do you recall that?
Mr. STOVALL. Only by his statements that he made it known that he was available to work on Saturday and he simply had a wife and kid and needed the money and I'm sure that he did, as far as that goes, because of the rate of pay he was working, living in these times, it didn't go very far.
Mr. JENNER. Your overall impression is that he was an industrious person?
Mr. STOVALL. He was inefficient--I wouldn't say he was industrious--if he would have maybe applied himself at least--he was inept in this particular craft.
Mr. JENNER. All right. We appreciate this very much. Now, you have the right to read your deposition, and make any corrections in it you wish and to sign it.
Miss Oliver ought to have it ready sometime this week, If you wish to do that. You may obtain a copy if you wish by arrangement with her and she charges 35 cents a page.
Mr. STOVALL. Well, is it part of your procedure that I sign your copy?
Mr. JENNER. No; you may waive it.
Mr. STOVALL. I don't have any use for it.
Mr. JENNER. You don't have any use for it and you don't care to come back and read it for purposes of correction, at least your curiosity might bring you to read it sometime other than that you have no desire to come back?
Mr. STOVALL. I suppose it is for the corporation--I should put it with our papers. That is my only reason for wanting it. That--the same as we are keeping these.
Mr. JENNER. You have two employees here Mr. Graef and Mr. Ofstein---do you want her to write all three depositions or just your own?
Mr. STOVALL. Well, is the writing she does--is this the only reason it is for us?
Mr. JENNER. No; we have it written up for ourselves and that is why you can obtain a copy at 35 cents a page.
Mr. STOVALL. If there is some means of getting a copy of it--the only reason I was wanting it is for the record. I don't care anything about it otherwise--I suppose it might be of use. If this is out of order or anything, as far as I am concerned--that's all right.
Mr. JENNER. It's nothing out of order at all---all she does is for the small price of 35 cents a page is just a matter of preparing an extra copy, so, you go ahead and prepare a set, then, and I would suggest that you deliver it under seal to Mr. Stovall. Do you want all three or just your own?


Mr. STOVALL. If you don't mind I would just put the others in there, too.
Mr. JENNER. Yes, I understand; some people under the circumstances you are in do obtain copies, so that they can keep them in the corporate records.
Mr. STOVALL. Well, it's from the standpoint of corporate records of all the interviews and questions and so forth that we have been through on this--we have nothing other than three receipts and somewhere down the line in the years to come I would like to have it.
Mr. JENNER. You will find along the line in these depositions that they have covered everything that has been covered before and some more. We are able to probe a little more than those boys. They knew what they were after but they didn't have all the information that we have now.
Mr. STOVALL. Well, the men whom I have been in contact with have been nothing but nice.
Mr. JENNER. Oh, yes; the Secret Service men are always nice.
Mr. STOVALL. They are gentlemen of the first degree.
Mr. JENNER. Well, I can certify to that--they are very fine and very helpful, and greatly grieved over this as everybody else is.
That's all and thank you very much for coming.
Mr. STOVALL. All right. Thank you.

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