TESTIMONY OF JAMES J. TORMEY beginning at 10H107
The testimony of James J. Tormey was taken at 11:30 a.m., on April 17, 1964, at the U.S. Courthouse, Foley Square, New York, N.Y., by Messrs. J. Lee Rankin, general counsel and Wesley J. Liebeler, assistant counsel of the President's Commission. James J. Tormey was accompanied by his attorney, John J. Abt.
James J. Tormey, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
Mr. RANKIN. Give the reporter your name and your address.
Mr. TORMEY. James J. Tormey, T-o-r-m-e-y, 215 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Tormey, you received some correspondence from Lee Harvey Oswald, did you?
Mr. TORMEY. I received--a letter was referred to me from him.
Mr. RANKIN. Who referred the letter to you?
Mr. TORMEY. I don't know who it was, but apparently the letter which is addressed on the upper right-hand side to 23 West 26th Street was referred, and I don't remember who referred it.
Mr. RANKIN. Will you tell us what your position was at the time you received this referral?
Mr. TORMEY. Yes; I was the executive secretary of the Hall-Davis Defense Committee.
(Objects marked Tormey Exhibit No. 1.)
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Tormey, will you examine Exhibit No. 1 on the deposition that you are giving today, which consists of several placard-type pieces of material, together with some plastic pieces, and tell us whether or not you have seen those before?
Mr. TORMEY. I have seen them before.
Mr. RANKIN. That Exhibit 1, I did not fully describe as I asked you to examine it. It also includes a little note purportedly from Lee Harvey Oswald, addressed to "Dear Sirs," with an address, 23 West 25th Street, apparently, New York.
Mr. TORMEY. I imagine that is 26th Street. I am not sure.
Mr. RANKIN. Twenty-six; yes. And that was a part of the Exhibit 1 that included these other mat hibit No. 2.)
Mr. RANKIN. I hand you Exhibit No. 2 and ask you if that is a carbon copy of the answer that you prepared and sent.
Mr. TORMEY. Yes; it is.
Mr. RANKIN. Under our practice, the examining attorney is asked to initial the exhibit, and the witness too, so it will be established that we both----
Mr. TORMEY. Examined it?
Mr. RANKIN. Examined it; yes. Would you kindly do that?
Mr. RANKIN. And kindly do the same for Exhibit 2.
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Tormey, we have initialed Exhibit No. I on the back of one of the placards, which appear to be the same, reading "The Gus Hall-Benjamin Davis Defense Committee," below that the words "End McCarranism" in large letters, and there are two of those, apparently identical; and then two plastic sheets, with the same legend on each of them, one of them apparently a negative and the other a positive, and then the little note headed "Dear Sirs" and signed "Lee H. Oswald," and message on the back, instructions, and so forth; is that correct?
Mr. TORMEY. Yes
Mr. RANKIN. Did you have any other communications with Lee Harvey Oswald except Exhibits 1 and 2?
Mr. TORMEY. I have no recollection of any.
Mr. RANKIN. Have you made any search of your files to determine whether or not there is anything else that you have?
Mr. TORMEY. I did, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. When did you do that?
Mr. TORMEY. Well, it was--it would be sometime in the latter part of November or the early part of December of 1963.
Mr. RANKIN. How did you happen to make that search?
Mr. TORMEY. Well, I had been told that a letter had been received from me by him, and I decided to conduct a routine check.
Mr. RANKIN. What was the nature of that search? Will you tell us so we can know how complete it was?
Mr. TORMEY. Yes; well, first I kept copies of all communications that I had with anyone.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
Mr. TORMEY. So I would assume in advance that there was a copy, and I asked the person who was managing the office at the time that I was there to look into the files to see if it were possible that such a communication did exist. I found that copy of communication.
Mr. RANKIN. Was the person that you asked to make that search a person under your control and direction?
Mr. TORMEY. At the time I was with Hall and Davis.
Mr. RANKIN. But at the time you requested this search, this person was not under your control and direction, I take it?
Mr. TORMEY. Well, not control and direction.
Mr. RANKIN. I see. But there was a sufficient relationship so that you are satisfied that the search was made, and it was a thorough search?
Mr. TORMEY. I am perfectly satisfied.
Mr. RANKIN. And you are able to assure us that there is nothing else so far as you know in regard to any communication of any type with Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. TORMEY. I give that assurance.
Mr. RANKIN. Do you know of any effort in regard to any conspiracy or common action between any people associated with this Gus Hall-Benjamin J. Davis Defense Committee that were involved with Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of President Kennedy?
Mr. TORMEY. I have no such knowledge.
Mr. RANKIN. Do you have any information that would cause you to believe that there was any such association?
Mr. TORMEY. No; I have not.
Mr. RANKIN. Did you ever use any of the material in Exhibit 1 in connection with your work on the committee?
Mr. TORMEY. No, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. Do you have any other knowledge in regard to the assassination of President Kennedy that you have not related to us?
Mr. TORMEY. No, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. Thank you very much.