TESTIMONY OF THAYER WALDO
The testimony of Thayer Waldo was taken a.t 12:50 p.m., on June 27, 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 Mr. Thayer Waldo.
Mr. Waldo, my name is Leon D. Hubert. I am a member of the advisory staff of the general counsel of .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 the Executive order and the joint resolution, I have been authorized to take this sworn deposition from you.
I state to you 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. Waldo, the nature of the inquiry today is to determine
what facts you know about the death of Oswald and any other pertinent facts you may know about the general inquiry and about Jack Ruby and his movements and operations and associates and so forth.
I think you have appeared 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. WALDO. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. When did you receive that letter?
Mr. WALDO. On, as nearly as I can recall, Tuesday last.
Mr. HUBERT. Will you stand and take the oath, please?
Mr. WALDO. Surely.
Mr. HUBERT. 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. WALDO. I do.
Mr. HUBERT. State your full name, please?
Mr. WALDO. Thayer Waldo. There is no middle initial.
Mr. HUBERT. Where do you live, sir?
Mr. WALDO. 200 Burnett Street in Fort Worth, Tex.
Mr. HUBERT. Apartment 520?
Mr. WALDO. No; I've moved from that. It's now 926.
Mr. HUBERT. That's in Fort Worth?
Mr. WALDO. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. What is your occupation, Mr. Waldo?
Mr. WALDO. I am a newspaper reporter.
Mr. HUBERT. How long have you been such?
Mr. WALDO no. You mean in the profession?
Mr. HUBERT. Yes?
Mr. WALDO. Approximately 24 years.
Mr. HUBERT. How long have you been with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram?
Mr. WALDO. Just a year.
Mr. HUBERT. With what newspaper were you prior to joining the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ?
Mr. WALDO. Well, for several years before joining the Star-Telegram I was abroad as a foreign correspondent in Mexico, Cuba until it was no longer possible to remain in Cuba, and then in the Dominican Republic.
Mr. HUBERT. Mr. Waldo, I have just a moment ago handed you a document consisting of five pages which purports to be a report of an interview of you by FBI Agents Joseph L. Scott and Tom Carter on November 30, 1963, which I have marked for the purpose of identification as follows: "Dallas, Texas, June 27, 1964, Exhibit No. 1 of the deposition of Thayer Waldo" and "Leon D. Hubert" Which I have placed on the margin of the first page of that document, the right-hand margin, and on all transcription here is substantially correct. I have pointed out to you previously two minor discrepancies.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, one of them is on page 3, the second paragraph--the fifth and sixth lines reading as follows, to wit: "Waldo identified himself over the telephone by name and by newspaper and asked the Sergeant if Oswald had been moved. Waldo said the Sergeant said 'No, he would be moved in one-half or two hours' ". Now, I think you want to address yourself to those two sentences?
Mr. WALDO. That's right. The circumstance was that we had remained, I say "we", that is a colleague of mine with the same newspaper, Ed Johnson and I, who were forming the team. We had remained at police headquarters until about 1:30 a.m. on the morning of the 24th of November. Then, having
made arrangements with the Associated Press man, who was to be on duty throughout the night, to give us a call immediately if there was any indication that Oswald was going to be moved in the small hours of the morning, we retired and left word at the Hilton Hotel desk and if no other call came through, they were to ring us at 7 a.m.
We were awakened by that call and I was so convinced that the approximate pinpointing by police officia1s on the day before of the time of Oswald's transfer was a ruse, that my first thought on awakening or on being awakened was that there had been some slip-up in notifying us. Therefore, I immediately tried to call the pressroom at police headquarters. The telephone rang half a dozen times, there was no answer, I got the police department switchboard operator back and asked to be transferred to the homicide department. That call was answered by a man who identified himself quickly as Sergeant so-and-so. I do not recall the name I'm not even sure I caught it at the time, and in my anxiety to learn the facts, I did not even think to identify myself either by name or organization but simply asked, "Have they moved Oswald yet?" Without asking me who I was, the sergeant replied, "No, sir; that will be in about 2 hours from now."
Mr. HUBERT. That was about 7 o'clock in the morning.
Mr. WALDO. That was within 7 minutes---say, 7:05.
Mr. HUBERT. You said you had an arrangement with the Associated Press man to call you if there was any sign of moving him. May I ask whether that was an individual arrangement that you made or was that made for all newspaper people ?
Mr. WALDO. No; at the time we made this--you see, after Chief Curry and Capt. Will Fritz of homicide division had both repeated several times that there would be no further movement or interviewing of the prisoner that day, and they themselves had left the building and all the offices were locked up, only a few of us still thought that there might be something going to take place and remained behind in the pressroom, so that about 1:30 a.m. when the janitors had moved in, and we finally decided for the moment at least, nothing was going to happen, the Associated Press man who was one of us--I'd say there were perhaps six of us at that time in the pressroom, and I'm trying to think of his name Ray Holcomb [spelling] H-o-l-c-o-m-b.
Mr. HUBERT. Of the Associated Press?
Mr. WALDO. Of the Associated Press, who was then going off duty, volunteered to Johnson and myself, because we had expressed reluctance to leave the press-room and yet were pretty "bushed'' by that time, having had no sleep .the night before, he said, "We'll have a man on duty throughout the night and we'll be checking in here regularly. I can let you know the minute anything happens, if you like," and that was the arrangement.
Mr. HUBERT. Was this made with all the people in the pressroom or just made with you two?
Mr. WALDO. I don't recall that anybody else requested such an arrangement or had it made with them.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know whether all the other people who left before you did had similar arrangements to be called in the event there was a sudden move?
Mr. WALDO. I do not--I did not specifically hear anybody make such arrangements.
Mr. HUBERT. I think you said there was one other place in this report which has been identified as Exhibit No. 1 that you wish to comment upon, and I think it's the last paragraph on page 5. What do you wish to say about that?
Mr. WALDO. Well, it mentions here that "Waldo stated he did not recall seeing Ruby while on the third floor on the night of November 23, 1963, talk to anyone except when handing out his cards." The occasion was not at night. That was in the mid- or late afternoon of that date, November 23. I am not positive of the time but recall it as being approximately 4 p.m.
Mr. HUBERT. But the point is that you did not see him on the night of the 23d?
Mr. WALDO. No, sir; I do not recall seeing Ruby after, oh, let's say, 4:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday until the events of the following morning.
Mr. HUBERT. And when you did see him on the 23d or around 4 o'clock or
whatever time it was, you did not see him talk to anyone except when he was handing out cards?
Mr. WALDO. No, sir; I did not see him myself talk to anyone. I was told a number of things later by people, fragments of conversation, but of my own knowledge, I cannot testify to that.
Mr. HUBERT. How do you fix the time that you did see him on the afternoon of the 23d ?
Mr. WALDO. Only in fact and in truth by recalling that it was 6 or minutes before 6, I believe, about 3 to 4 minutes of 6 when Chief Curry made his announcement that Oswald would be transferred to the county jail by 10 a.m. the following morning, and then thinking back on the time lapse, I would say there was roughly a 2-hour time lapse, remembering the things I did in between the two events, which is close.
Mr. HUBERT. So that it would be fair to say that the last time you saw Ruby up on the third floor of the police building on the 23d was around 4 o'clock in the afternoon?
Mr. WALDO. Well, certainly no later than 5. I saw him--I glimpsed him also apparently passing out cards and giving the same brief line of chatter to several people after myself, and it might have been half an hour afterwards and it might even have been 45 minutes, but no later certainly than 5 p.m.
Mr. HUBERT. And I see that you fixed it by relating it to Chief Curry's announcement and then backing off from that time?
Mr. WALDO. That's correct, sir. I did look at the clock as soon as we received Chief Curry's announcement to know who would be on my desk of the newspaper to receive it and recall that it was 3 to 4 minutes of 6.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you remember seeing Ruby at the jail on Friday afternoon or night?
Mr. WALDO. No, sir; I do not. It is stated in there that I did not.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you know Ruby at all, sir?
Mr. WALDO. No
Mr. HUBERT. When did you first meet him or meet the man you now know to be Ruby?
Mr. WALDO. Well, if it can be called a meeting, it would be at approximately 2 p.m., Sunday, November the 24th when he was brought down from his seventh floor, I believe it's the seventh floor jail cell to homicide offices on the third floor of Dallas Police Headquarters for interrogation and was led down the corridor from the Jail elevator to the office.
Mr. HUBERT. I had reference really to a meeting on the 23d, the day before Saturday--but apparently you don't classify that as a meeting. I think you saw the man that you ultimately identified as Ruby on the third floor or in the police building on Saturday?
Mr. WALDO. That is correct, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. When did you first see him?
Mr. WALDO. I would say 5 or 10 minutes before he came up and gave me a card. I noticed he was passing out cards and saying something to people. There was such bedlam in the corridor of the third floor with the television apparatus that's in there unless someone was less than 10 feet from you, you could not hear what was being said.
Mr. HUBERT. In any case, you observed Ruby about 10 minutes before you had
any further contact with him?
Mr. WALDO. That's right.
Mr. HUBERT. Was there anything that Called your attention to him especially?
Mr. WALDO. Only, I might say, a somewhat aggressive manner. I noticed that he was plucking at somebody's sleeve to turn them around, and a few minutes later, seeing him give that man a card, and then a few minutes--2 or 3 minutes later---seeing him moving closer to where I was, giving out another card--as he gave out the card, giving the man a hearty slap on the arm--although I could not catch the words, I could catch the rather strident tone of his voice, and when he came up to me, although he did not behave in as gratuitously familiar a way in the sense of either clutching at my clothing or patting me, there was still a sort of overdone ingratiating manner as he gave out this card and said, and I'll have to paraphrase it--I cannot remember the exact
words--but it was something to this effect, "You're one of the boys, aren't you? Here's my card with both my clubs on it. Everybody around here knows me. Ask anybody who Jack Ruby is. As soon as you get a chance, I want all of you boys to come over to my place, the one downtown here is more convenient, and have a drink on me. I'll be seeing you." That's approximately it.
Mr. HUBERT. About what time was that?
Mr. WALDO. Approximately 4 o'clock, I would say, again basing it on my memory. I did not have a clock, I did not look at a watch or have a clock in vision at that moment.
Mr. HUBERT. It could have been as late as 5, you think?
Mr. WALDO. It could have been; yes. Time telescoped itself remarkably that day.
Mr. HUBERT. What leeway can you give on the 4 o'clock time the other way, that is, toward 3 p.m.?
Mr. WALDO. Let me think about that a moment. It's very, very difficult to be even semi-exact about it at this distance. However, I would certainly have to say in all honesty that there could be half to three-quarters of an hour--I could be off--- either way.
Mr. HUBERT. Incidentally, I just noticed that on page 4 of the report to the FBI, the very last sentence on that page, the last line, that's Exhibit No. 1, there is also a reference to the night of November 23, and since you have changed it previously to the afternoon, I would say that that applies to that, too, doesn't it?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. In other words, the last line on page 4 of Exhibit No. 1, where it says "night of November 23" should read "afternoon of November 23" where
it's there and the times would be as we have been discussing?
Mr. WALDO. Exactly.
Mr. HUBERT. You did not see Ruby at any time prior to this occasion you have just described?
Mr. WALDO. Not to recall him; no.
Mr. HUBERT. And you are quite certain that the man who did hand you this card and the man you ultimately came to know as Jack Ruby were the same parson?
Mr. WALDO. To the very best of my belief and knowledge. At the time he handed me a card, he was wearing a hat, and when I saw him in the corridor on Sunday the 24th after his arrest he was not wearing a hat, but the man looked to be the same, and as I have stated, when he handed me the card, he identified himself verbally as Jack Ruby.
Mr. HUBERT. You don't have the card today?
Mr. WALDO. No; unfortunately that seems to have been among several things that have disappeared.
Mr. HUBERT. As far as you know then you would say that Jack Ruby was at the police department approximately an hour or an hour and a haft on that afternoon--you can't tell whether it was more than that, but you would say it was not less?
Mr. WALDO. Yes; that's true.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, can you tell us anything about the security arrangements or identification arrangements that were in effect throughout the whole period, that is, from the time of the President's assassination on forward--in the jail, I'm talking about?
Mr. WALDO. In the jail--no, I went directly, as is stated in this transcript, the report, I went directly from the Trade Mart to Dallas Police Headquarters an the afternoon of November 22 within a matter of 30 minutes after we had learned that the President was shot. In fact, I Was on the Stemmons Freeway passing the resort motel called "La Cabaria" at the moment that the car radio reported the President is dead.
When I arrived at Dallas Police Headquarters, I was the first reporter of any medium, so far as I know, certainly there was no other in evidence to reach the third floor. No one attempted to stop me or ask for any identification at that time.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you have any identification on your person?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir; I had a badge I have it with me in this book, if it's of any interest to see it, merely identifying "Dallas, November 22, President Kennedy's Visit," which I was wearing on my lapel.
Mr. HUBERT. It was a press identification card in connection with the visit?
Mr. WALDO. That's right, and the offices of the hierarchy of the Dallas Police Department are located on the third floor, were almost deserted, since Chief Curry, Deputy Chief Stevenson and others of the staff had either been assigned to the Presidential motorcade or to the Trade Mart, or in the case of Chief Curry, were invited guests or to have been invited guests at that luncheon. The man who was in the building in the offices, the highest ranking officer to whom I was directed by one of the secretaries, was Capt. Glenn King, who has subsequently been identified to me as in charge of public relations of the Dallas Police Department. I walked into Captain King's office is this of interest?
Mr. HUBERT. Yes.
Mr. WALDO. I walked into Captain King's office and identified myself by name and newspaper and immediately noticed a fleeting expression on his face, which sometimes we who work in Fort Worth and have dealings with Dallas officials, have come to recognize, most particularly when something has taken place in Dallas which may give unfavorable publicity to that city, and before I could finish my question, Captain King interrupted and very courteously said, "Mr. Waldo, we know absolutely nothing here. We have heard rumors that there were some shots. We do not know where the shots came from or who they were aimed at, if anybody, or if anybody was hit. We don't know anything."
I could not help but assume that this was what in the vernacular might be called a brushoff, since in several open unoccupied offices and within hearing distance as I was speaking to him, there were police radio receivers turned on. Therefore, I had to assume that he sitting there must have been informed of the events.
Mr. HUBERT. And this was approximately at 1:35 or 1:40, wasn't it?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Because you said you heard the announcement of the President's death en route to the police department, and that was at 1:30?
Mr. WALDO. No.
Mr. HUBERT. The announcement of the President's death was at 1:30, was it not?
Mr. WALDO. I thought, and I could be mistaken and I'm sure you're in a better position after all your investigation, I was under the impression that it was earlier than that, that it was approximately 1:25--yes, about 1:30 or 1:35.
Mr. HUBERT. In any case, it had been broadcast over the public radio that the President was dead, at the time you spoke to Captain King and he told you what you just stated?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir. I don't believe anything of significance happened between that and the time that I noticed a little flurry of activity. I should say, incidentally, that in the interim, which would be approximately 35 to 40 minutes during which time I was talking to my desk, I might add that the girls in the office were extremely cooperative. One of the girls even said, "Well, you'll want to be in here," the pressroom being at the far end of the third floor corridor from there, "Just use my desk. I'll move away. Use my telephone."
I had talked to my desk at the Star-Telegram, and then I noticed a little flurry of activity, and as I say, during this time several of the high ranking officers, none of whom I knew by name at that time, had come in, and I asked a girl who had been standing with them in Captain King's office, as I recall, just a few minutes, and then came out, "What's going on?" and her answer was, "They found a rifle." I asked, "Where?" and she said, "On the roof of the School Book Depository Building." Of course, I stress this is secondhand information. She is giving it from what she heard from a high ranking official who undoubtedly was told by somebody else. In any case, that information was telephoned to my newspaper and I believe was used in at least one edition. Later it was officially stated, of course, that the rifle had been found on the sixth floor.
I think it is probably worth mentioning that I was present at the time that Officer McDonald and the other detectives brought the man who was subsequently identified to me as Lee Harvey Oswald in. In fact, by then there were
two Dallas radio reporters and I cannot tell you who they were or what they represented. We were moving too fast at that time. Those were the only others. The three of us interviewed Officer McDonald in the hall immediately after he had delivered Oswald into the hands of the people in homicide. In fact, blood was still trickling down McDonald's chin from the cut lip where he said he had been struck by Oswald, and at that time he gave us a version of the capture of Oswald, which was substantially in all details but one as it has subsequently been repeated on numerous occasions, including the sworn testimony at Jack Ruby's murder trial.
The one difference was that at the trial and in other accounts that I have heard, it has been stated that when the house lights in the Texas Theatre were turned up and the officers approached Oswald, that he jumped to his feet, crying, "This is it!" and reached for the gun in his belt. Officer McDonald, at the time of that interview in the hall, moments after he had delivered Oswald into custody, was that what Oswald said when he jumped up was, "It's all over!" That's the only difference.
Mr. HUBERT. I assume that shortly after that the press began to crowd up into the third floor?
Mr. WALDO. They did indeed, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Not merely the press, but other news media?
Mr. WALDO. And people who were not news media. Access to that third floor for a number of hours thereafter appeared to be enormously easy.
Mr. HUBERT. Can .you describe that--I know that you are describing it in that way--a negative way--but to put it this way, were there no guards on the elevators or the other means of access to the third floor for a number of hours?
Mr. WALDO. That's correct, sir; there were not.
Mr. HUBERT. Subsequently there were?
Mr. WALDO. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. What did the guards do by way of maintaining security?
Mr. WALDO. The elevators in the Dallas Police Department open into a fairly large square area--I gay "large" in comparison to the width of the corridor that runs out, and eventually two uniformed, I believed, motorcycle patrolmen were placed in that open space facing the elevators and at least theoretically, and will explain that in a moment, required identification, meaning press credentials of some sort from anyone who attempted to get off that elevator and into the hall, unless it was naturally someone accompanied by an officer, as in the case of the wife and mother of Lee Oswald and so on.
I personally as late as 8 p.m. that night, and again this is approximate, but I would .say about 8 p.m. saw two men get off the elevator and walk right past the guards, neither of them haVing any badge on and not be challenged or stopped. believe but I'm not certain that it was one of these two men, who 5 to 10 minutes later, came up where I was standing talking to a European reporter from the "Agence France Press," and asked "What's the latest, what's going on?", which I might add is just not the way a newsman would ask a colleague. In fact, he wouldn't do that.
Mr. HUBERT. Your impression is that those two men were not newspapermen?
Mr. WALDO. My impression is that they were not, and I am certain from my own visual evidence in any case, that they walked out of the elevator past the two guards without being challenged.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know where they went?
Mr. WALDO. It was impossible to tell. By that time there were 250, probably, people jammed into that corridor.
Mr. HUBERT. What were the circumstances under which the viewing of Oswald in the assembly room on Friday were held?
Mr. WALDO. Well, at what I would judge to be approximately 10 to 10:30 p.m., Captain Fritz and District Attorney Wade came out of the homicide office into the third floor corridor and Captain Fritz, whose voice never carries he speaks in a hoarse whisper most of the time tried to say something, and there were immediate shouts of "We can't hear you, we can't hear you" from people only 15 feet away. So then Mr. Wade took over and I was close enough to hear him say that Oswald had ,been formally charged with the assassination of President Kennedy, but immediately there were cries from people two or three rows,
if that's the word, behind me in this jammed, packed mass, "Henry, we can't hear you. We can't hear you. Can't we hold this some place else?"
He then conferred with Captain Fritz and by then Chief Curry had moved in, maybe Chief Curry was there all the time I didn't notice him--but the three conferred and then Chief Curry, who can on occasion speak with considerable force and volume, called out and everybody heard this, "All right, we'll set it up in the Police Assembly Hall in the basement for Mr. Wade to make his announcement, if that's what you want?" Or--approximately those words, and then there was another momentary conference between the district attorney and the two police officials, and Chief Curry added, and I am almost certain that no one requested this--it was a voluntary statement on his part, "And I'll have the prisoner brought down for you, too, if, you like."
So, immediately there was movement, because the TV people had to start getting their equipment down, all of which of course took a considerable time. I might add first that Curry said, "We can do it in about 20 minutes," but while waiting for the TV cameras to be transferred down and set up properly, it took more than an hour.
Mr. HUBERT. What security measures or identification measures were used to start security as to the assembly room, as to who would go in it?
Mr. WALDO. None whatever that I observed. I myself walked down the stairs, which faced the elevators on the third floor, to the basement. The basement is also the site of the police booking office. People were being brought in or coming in to inquire about relatives, I presume. That seemed to be the general tenor of it, and were not being kept away, and peering curiously into this police assembly room where everything was being set up.
Mr. HUBERT. There were no guards at the entrance of the assembly room?
Mr. WALDO. None that I saw, sir; no.
Mr. HUBERT. So that everybody got into the assembly room who wanted to get in, and Oswald was brought down shortly thereafter?
Mr. WALDO. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. I understand that the interview was of very short duration
Mr. WALDO. It was, and it was preceded by a very stern warning from Chief Curry--that any undue movement to crowd in on the prisoner or shove cameras forward or to clamor on furniture, would immediately cause the interview to be cut short and he said, "The prisoner will be taken away and will not be brought back; is that clear?" He said, "I want everybody to stay where he is."
The interview was very brief. The thing that sticks most in my mind, considering the fact that before Oswald was brought down District Attorney Wade had stated in some detail how Oswald was taken before a justice of the peace and formally charged with the assassination of President Kennedy, that when the prisoner in the assembly room was asked, "Why did you kill the President?" He replied, "I haven't killed anyone and no one has even mentioned to me anything about the President except you people."
Mr. HUBERT. Who was it asked him the question, "Why did you kill the President?"
Mr. WALDO. Gosh, I couldn't tell you.
Mr. HUBERT. It was some newsman?
Mr. WALDO. It was a newsman; yes.
Mr. HUBERT. You did not see Ruby in that group?
Mr. WALDO. I did not see Ruby that evening; no, sir. I do recall, but only because it was called to my attention afterward, that at the tail end of the interview, a man with a loud voice was calling to Wade to come over and say something in a microphone, and I do recall distinctly that this voice cut through the din with remarkable stentorian quality, and of course it has been testified at Jack Ruby's trial that this was he, acting for a friend at a radio station
who wanted to put a statement by Wade on tape for subsequent broadcast.
Mr. HUBERT. That was while Oswald was still in the room?
Mr. WALDO. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. That was after Oswald had left ?
Mr. WALDO. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. What caused the end of the Oswald interview?
Mr. WALDO. As I recall it, following what could have been anywhere from
3 to 5 minutes of questions, Chief Curry stepped forward and said, "That's enough. Take him back."
Mr. HUBERT. Was there any violation of his regulation about crowding and so forth?
Mr. WALDO. Not seriously. There was a little sort of press forward, but not seriously.
Mr. HUBERT. I mean, did he indicate that that's why he was ending the interview?
Mr. WALDO. No.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, turning finally to November 24, I think you've told us how you got down there, and your statement indicates that you were standing on the outside of the building at the Commerce Street entrance?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Along with a number of other newsmen, when a Lieutenant Butler invited the press people into the jail; is that correct?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir; with one exception. There was not a number of other newsmen, there were only, as I recall, three of us standing out on that sidewalk at that time.
Mr. HUBERT. You had a press identification on you then?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir; and when Butler, and pardon me .let me put this in--the armored vehicle had by that time been backed into the ramp, and there was some comment among the three of us standing on the sidewalk, the curious fact that the vehicle which was too high to go down the ramp, was being left there, when a smaller armored Vehicle had been brought at the same time and was perked by the curb. Lieutenant Butler stuck his head out around this vehicle and said, "Come on down." There were two motorcycle policemen who were two of the same policemen who had been standing guard duty on the third floor. They had over the period from the 22d through the 23d, they had several shifts of them. They were two of the same, and as I approached one of them in this comparatively narrow space between the column that forms the frame of the ramp and the side of the vehicle where he was standing, he grinned at me and recognized me immediately and said, "How are you this morning? I know you, but I still have to ask you for your credentials." So, I got out my credentials. I had the badge on, but beyond that he required my Department of Public Safety identification.
Mr. HUBERT. That was even after Lieutenant Butler invited you in?
Mr. WALDO. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Had you been seeking to get in prior to that and had been denied?
Mr. WALDO. No.
Mr. HUBERT. It was just that you had arrived at that time?
Mr. WALDO. Well, we had arrived some time earlier and had seen the preparations. I had gone upstairs and checked Chief Curry's office and had been told that it would be half to three-quarters of an hour yet before the prisoner would be removed. This was at the time that I arrived over there on Commerce Street from the hotel, and that everybody would be notified before there was any movement, so since it was a pleasant morning, we were standing out on the sidewalk--the three of us.
Mr. HUBERT. Were you told it was going to be by elevator down-into-the
basement and then through the basement ramps out Commerce Street?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Who told you that, sir?
Mr. WALDO. As I recall it, it was Lieutenant Butler himself, who was on the third floor at the time I went up, and I would like to for whatever it's worth, add something at this point. Lieutenant Butler was since, oh, probably 2:30 on the afternoon of the 22d of November, the man whom I had sought out on every occasion that I wanted to learn something about developments, whenever I could find him, because he was a man of remarkable equanimity, poise, and very cooperative within the authorization that he had, and the first thing----
Mr. HUBERT. You mean he would give you more news than anybody else?
Mr. WALDO. He was more able to understand what was wanted and he was always in on, apparently, on high-level information, and if it was for release, he would be the one who would have it and be most willing apparently to give
it. This is a thing that happens in circumstances like this. A reporter picks out a man, tries him out, and if he finds that he's cooperative the first time, he tries to stick to him, because by that time the official recognizes his face.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you find that other officials were not so cooperative?
Mr. WALDO. I would say, yes, to that with reference to the 22d and part of the 23d. By Saturday afternoon, the 23d, everybody seemed to be pretty accessible and pretty willing to answer questions. What I wanted to say about Lieutenant Butler was that this almost stolid poise, or perhaps phlegmatic poise is a better word, that I had noticed all through even the most hectic times of the 22d and the 23d, appeared to have deserted him completely on the morning of the 24th. He was an extremely nervous man, so nervous that when I was standing asking him a question after I had entered the ramp and gotten down to the basement area, just moments before Oswald was brought down, he was standing profile to me and I noticed his lips trembling as he listened and waited for my answer. It was simply a physical characteristic. I had by then spent enough hours talking to this man so that it struck me as something totally out of character. Now, he may merely have had a bad night.
Mr. HUBERT. At that time, had the movement of Oswald begun or was it known that he was coming?
Mr. WALDO. It was imminent at that time it was imminent.
Mr. HUBERT. The words, "Here he comes"--those famous words--had not yet been uttered?
Mr. WALDO. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. How long prior to the time Oswald was brought down did Butler invite you into the basement?
Mr. WALDO. I'd say the time lapse there was 20 to 25 minutes.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he indicate to you that the time was getting imminent and that you must come in?
Mr. WALDO. That we could come in, that we should come in.
Mr. HUBERT. What did he say to you by way of indicating that the movement was about to take place?
Mr. WALDO. As I recall, when he stuck his head out and around the vehicle and looked to see who was there, he just said, "Come on down now."
Mr. HUBERT. He didn't say that it was imminent, but you construed it as such?
Mr. WALDO. Well, after we had passed the scrutiny at the ramp entrance and continued on down, I followed my custom and immediately sought him out and asked him, "Are they just about ready to move him?" and he said, "I understand he'll be brought down shortly, you'll have notice." By the way, I recall one other minor discrepancy that exists in that report. At this particular time and thought we're talking about now, I believe it even states in that report that when I entered the ramp, there were several police vehicles parked; is that in there?
Mr. HUBERT. Yes; I think it does say that.
Mr. WALDO. That is incorrect.
Mr. HUBERT. On page 3, the last paragraph says, "Waldo said he noticed in the ramp three police cars were parked in a straight line, one behind each other, facing toward Commerce Street."
Mr. WALDO. Yes; that is some misunderstanding on the part of the gentleman who took the transcript. There was no vehicle in the ramp at the time that I entered except the armored vehicle which had been parked right at the mouth of the ramp.
Mr. HUBERT. And behind the armored vehicle, there were none when you went in?
Mr. WALDO. When I first went down. It was approximately 8 to 10 minutes after I had been down in the ramp area, and there were then a hundred or more representatives of news media in that area.
Behind us, and now let me see if I can get this straight--the ramp of course
goes from north to south, from Main to Commerce, and for perhaps half its length, one quarter at each end, there is nothing but blank wall on each side of the ramp. For the other half, the middle half, and on the don't take this down and toll me the direction ?
Mr. HUBERT. Well, if it's pertinent we want it.
Mr. WALDO. Well, Main is north of Commerce--right?
Mr. HUBERT. It would be the east.
Mr. WALDO. Yes---but on the west side is the entrance to the building and the jail elevators and so on, and on the east side is a parking--a large submerged parking area, and it was 8 to 10 minutes after I had gotten downstairs when they began what appeared to be at first a quite confused movement--several detectives, plainclothes officers got into police cars parked down there and started to move them, with what appeared, and in fact I commented on this to a colleague, an unnecessary amount of jerking movement, lack of coordination so that one almost ran into the other and they were backing and filling and nobody could figure what they were doing with them, and meanwhile Butler. I believe it was, or someone was tolling us all to get back out of the way, and finally they manuevered these three cars into place one behind the other back of the armored vehicle.
Mr. HUBERT. How much time before the shooting did they back the armored car into the Commerce Street entrance?
Mr. WALDO. Oh, that would have been--let's see---I arrived over there about 9:30--10 or shortly thereafter it was that the car was brought in.
Mr. HUBERT. And then you went in at Butler's suggestion or invitation about 25 minutes prior to the shooting?
Mr. WALDO. That's correct.
Mr. HUBERT. And then the cars were moved in behind the armored car about 10 minutes before the shooting?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you see a car go out the Main Street entrance around that time?
Mr. WALDO. No, sir; I did not. It could have ,happened and I didn't see it, but I certainly didn't.
Come to think of it, I don't believe it could have happened without my seeing it, considering the physical setup over there, however, that's not important. Might I add that at the time that I entered the ramp area, the crowd of people standing along the south side of Commerce Street had grown to about 200. It was maybe 100 when I first arrived there, and this I took to be due to the fact that there appeared to be, from what I heard and cars passing stopped for traffic lights that had their radios on, broadcast announcements every few minutes that Oswald was going to be moved soon.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know if all those people had been moved over to the opposite side of Commerce Street by the police ?
Mr. WALDO. I Cannot testify to that. They were all on the opposite side when I arrived there.
Mr. HUBERT. You arrived about 9:30, you say?
Mr. WALDO. About 9:30; yes.
Mr. HUBERT. And of course you went upstairs and so forth in the interval before you went down into the basement?
Mr. WALDO. Yes; but I was not upstairs a matter of more than 10 to 15 minutes before I returned to the same.
Mr. HUBERT. And during the period between 9:30 and approximately 11 or shortly before 11, when you went down into the ramp and excepting the time when you were upstairs, which you say was very slight, you were in the area of the Commerce Street entrance?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you see Jack Ruby in that area at anytime?
Mr. WALDO. No.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you notice a large TV--the vans and equipment they used?
Mr. WALDO. Oh, yes; they had been there permanently, I'd say.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you see Ruby or anyone who looked like him hanging around those vans around 10 o'clock or at anytime?
Mr. WALDO. No, sir; I did not.
Mr. HUBERT. I think that's all I have to ask, Mr. Waldo. Is there anything you want to add further, sir?
Mr. WALDO. No; I would simply offer you this if it's of any interest.
Johnson and I within the week after the events of November 22-24, feeling that it might be of interest, sat down and collaborated on a manuscript which we called, "The Dallas Murders," which was sent to my agent in New York for possible placement. It did not get placed, apparently, because as she informed me of the announcement before she could get it to anyone that the Associated Press and the United Press were going to come out with these books.
I have a copy of that with me, and if it would be of any interest, I would be personally happy to have the Commission have
Mr. HUBERT. I do not know if they wish it, but suppose that we note it, and of course it has been noted by the mere fact that you stated it, with the understanding that if it is desired, the general counsel of the Commission or the Commission itself could write to you, I suppose, and you would be willing to send it on. It's a manuscript, as I understand it?
Mr. WALDO. Yes.
Mr. HUBERt All right, sir. Thank you. I don't think you and I have met before today?
Mr. WALDO. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. I don't think we've had any conversation since we've met that
has not been recorded, do you agree with that?
Mr. WALDO. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Thank you very much indeed.
Mr. WALDO. All right.