We conducted the investigation at the Texas School Book Depository Building on November 22, 1963, immediately after the President was shot and after we had found the location where Lee Harvey Oswald had done the shooting from and left three empty cartridge cases on the floor and the rifle had been found partially hidden under some boxes near the back stairway. These pieces of evidence were protected until the Crime Lab. could get pictures and make a search for fingerprints. After Lt. Day, of the Crime Lab. had finished his work with the rifle, I picked it up and found that it had a cartridge in the chamber, which I ejected. About this time some officer came to me and told me that Mr. Roy S. Truly wanted to see me, as one of his men had left the building. I had talked to Mr. Truly previously and at that time he thought everyone was accounted for who worked in the building. Mr. Truly then came with another officer and told me that a Lee Harvey Oswald had left the building. I asked if he had an address where this man lived, and he told me that he did, that it was in Irving at 2515 W. 5th Street.
I then left the rest of the search of the building with Chief Lumpkin and other officers who were there and told Dets. R. M. Sims and E. L. Boyd to accompany me to the City Hall where we could make a quick check for police record and any other information of value, and we would then go to Irving, Texas, in an effort to apprehend this man. While I was in the building, I was told that Officer J. D. Tippit had been shot in Oak Cliff. Immediately after I reached my office, I asked the officers who had brought in a prisoner from the Tippit shooting who the man was who shot the officer. They told me his name was Lee Harvey Oswald, and I replied that that was our suspect in the President's killing. I instructed the officers to bring this man into the office after talking to the officers for a few minutes in the presence of Officers R. M. Sims and E. L. Boyd of the Homicide Bureau and possibly some Secret Service men. Just as I has started questioning this man, I received a call from Gordon Shanklin, Agent in Charge of the FBI office here in Dallas, who asked me to let him talk to Jim Bookhout, one of his agents. He told Mr. Bookhout that he would like for James P. Hosty to sit in on this interview as he knew about these people and had been investigating them before. I invited Mr. Bookhout and Mr. Hosty in to help with the interview.
After some questions about this man's full name I asked him if he worked for the Texas School Book Depository, and he told me he did. I asked him which floor he worked on, and he said usually on the second floor but sometimes his work took him to all the different floors. I asked him what part of the building he was in at the time the President was shot, and he said that he was having his lunch about that time on the first floor. Mr. Truly had told me that one of the police officers had stopped this man immediately after the shooting somewhere near the back stairway, so I asked Oswald where he was when the police officer stopped him. He said he was on the second floor drinking a coca cola when the officer came in. I asked him why he left the building, and he said there was so much excitement he didn't think there would be any more work done that day, and that as this company wasn't particular about their hours, that they did not punch a clock, and that he thought it would be just as well that he left for the rest of the afternoon. I asked him if he owned a rifle, and he said that he did not. He said that he had seen one at the building a few days ago, and that Mr. Truly and some of the employees were looking at it. I asked him where he went to when he left work, and he told me that he had a room on 1026 North Beckley, that he went over there and changed his trousers and got his pistol and went to the picture show. I asked him why he carried his pistol, and he remarked, "You know how boys do when they have a gun, they just carry it."
Mr. Hosty asked Oswald if he had been in Russia. He told him, "yes, he had been in Russia three years." He asked him if he had written to the Russian Embassy, and he said he had. This man became very upset and arrogant with Agent Hosty when he questioned him and accused him of accosting his wife two different times. When Agent Hosty attempted to talk to this man, he would hit his fist on the desk. I asked Oswald what he meant by accosting his wife when he was talking to Mr. Hosty. He said Mr. Hosty mistreated his wife two different times when he talked with her, practically accosted her. Mr. Hosty also asked Oswald if he had been to Mexico City, which he denied. During this interview he told me that he had gone to school in New York and in Fort Worth, Texas, that after going into the Marines, finished his high school education. I asked him if he won any medals for rifle shooting in the Marines. He said he won the usual medals.
I asked him what his political beliefs were, and he said he had none but that he belonged to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and told me that they had headquarters in New York and that he had been Secretary for this organization in New Orleans when he lived there. He also said that he supports the Castro Revolution. One of the officers had told me that he had rented the room on Beckley under the name of O. F. Lee. I asked him why he did this. He said the landlady did it. She didn't understand his name correctly.
Oswald asked if he was allowed an attorney and I told him he could have any attorney he liked, and that the telephone would be available to him up in the jail and he could call anyone he wished. I believe it was during this interview that he first expressed a desire to talk to Mr. Abt, an attorney in New York. Interviews on this day were interrupted by showups where witnesses identified Oswald positively as the man who killed Officer Tippit, and the time that I would have to talk to another witness or to some of the officers. One of these showups was held at 4:35 p. m. and the next one at 6:30 p.m. and at 7:55 p. m. At 7:05 p. m. I signed a complaint before Bill Alexander of the District Attorney's office, charging Oswald with the Tippit murder. At 7:10 p. m. Oswald was arraigned before Judge Johnston. During the second day interview I asked Oswald about a card that he had in his purse showing that he belonged to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, which he admitted was his. I asked him about another identification card in his pocket bearing the name of Alex Hidell. He said he picked up that name in New Orleans while working in the Fair Play for Cuba organization. He said he spoke Russian, that he corresponded with people in Russia, and that he received newspapers from Russia.
I showed the rifle to marine Oswald, and she could not positively identify it, but said that it looked like the rifle that her husband had and that he had been keeping it in the garage at Mrs. Pain's home in Irving. After this, I questioned Oswald further about the rifle, but he denied owning a rifle at all, and said that he did have a small rifle some years past. I asked him if he owned a rifle in Russia, and he said, "You know you can't buy a rifle in Russia, you can only buy shotguns." "I had a shotgun in Russia and hunted some while there." Marina Oswald had told me that she thought her husband might have brought the rifle from new Orleans, which he denied. He told me that he had some things stored in a garage at Mrs. Paine's home in Irving and that he had a few personal effects at his room on Beckley. I instructed the officers to make a thorough search of both of these places....
I noted that in questioning him that he did answer very quickly and I asked him if he had ever been questions before, and he told me that he had. He was questioned one time for a long time by the FBI after he had returned from Russia. He said they used different methods, they tried the hard and soft, and the buddy method and said he was very familiar with interrogation. He reminded me that he did not have to answer any questions at all until he talked to his attorney, and I told him again that the could have an attorney any time he wished. He said he didn't have money to pay for a phone call to Mr. Abt. I told him to call "collect," if he liked, to use the jail phone or that he could have another attorney if he wished. He said he didn't want another attorney, he wanted to talk to this attorney first. I believe he made this call later as he thanked me later during one of our interviews for allowing him the use of the telephone. I explained to him that all prisoners were allowed to use the telephone. I asked him why he waited Mr. Abt, instead of some available attorney. He told me he didn't know Mr. Abt personally but that he was familiar with a case where Mr. Abt defended some people for a violation of the Smith Act, and that if he didn't get Mr. Abt, that he felt sure the American Civil Liberties Union would furnish him a lawyer. He explained to me that this organization helped people who needed attorneys and weren't able to get them.
While in New Orleans, he lived at 4907 Magazine Street and at one time worked for the William Riley Company near that address. When asked about any previous arrests he told me that he had had a little trouble while working with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and had a fight with some anti-Castro people. He also told me of a debate on some radio station in New Orleans where he debated with some anti-Castro people...
At 6:00 p. m. I instructed the officers to bring Oswald back into the office, and in the presence of Jim Bookhout, Homicide officers, and Inspector Kelly, of the Secret Service, I showed Oswald an enlarged picture of him holding a rifle and wearing a pistol. This picture had been enlarged by our Crime Lab from a picture found in the garage at Mrs. Pain's home. He said the picture was not his, that the face was his face, but that this picture had been made by someone superimposing his face, the other part of the picture was not him at all and that he had never seen the picture before. When I told him that the picture was recovered from Mrs. Pain's garage, he said that picture had never been in his possession, and I explained to him that it was an enlargement of the small picture obtained in the search. At that time I showed him the smaller picture. He denied ever seeing that picture and said that he knew all about photography, that he had done a lot of work in photography himself, that the small picture was a reduced picture of the large picture, and had been made by some person unknown to him. He further stated that since he had been photographed here at the City Hall and that people had been taking his picture while being transferred from my office to the jail door that someone had been able to get a picture of his face and that with that, they head made this picture. He told me that he understood photography real well, and that in time, he would be able to show that it was not his picture, and that it had been made by someone else. At this time he said that he did not want to answer any more question and he was returned to the jail about 7:15 p.m.
At 9: 30 on the morning of November 24, I asked that Oswald be brought to the office. At that time I showed him a map of the City of Dallas which had been recovered in the search of his room North Beckley. This map had some markings on it, one of which was bout where the President was shot. He said that the map had nothing to do with the President's shooting and again, as he had done in the previous interview, denied knowing anything of the shooting of the President, or of the shooting of officer Tippit. He said the map had been used to locate buildings where he had gone to talk to people about employment.
During this interview Inspector Kelley asked Oswald about his religious view, and he replied that he didn't agree with all the philosophies on religion. He seemed evasive with inspector Kelley about how he felt about religion, and I asked him if he believed in a Deity. He was evasive and didn't answer this question.
Someone of the Federal officers asked Oswald if he thought Cuba would be better off since the President was assassinated. To this he replied that he felt that since the President was killed that someone else would take his place, perhaps Vice-president Johnson, and that his views would probably be largely the same as those of President Kennedy.
During this interview, Oswald said he was a Marxist. He repeated two or three times, "I am a Marxist, but not a Leninist-Marxist." He told me that the station that he had debated on in New Orleans was the one who carried Bill Stakey's program. He denied again knowing Alex Hidell in New Orleans, and again reiterated his belief in Fair Play for Cuba and what the committee stood for.
After some questions, Chief Jesse E. Curry came to the office and asked me if I was ready for the man to be transferred. I told him we were ready as soon as the security was completed in the basement, where we were to place Oswald in a car to transfer him to the County Jail. I had objected to the cameras obstruction the jail door, and the Chief explained to me that these have been moved, and the people were moved back, and the cameramen were well back in the garage. I told the Chief then that we were ready to go. He told us to go ahead with the prisoner, and that he and Chief Stevenson, who was with him, would meet us at the County Jail.
Oswald's shirt, which he was wearing at the time of arrest, had been removed and sent to the crime lab in Washington with all the other evidence for a comparison test. Oswald said he would like to have a shirt from his clothing that had been brought to the office to war over the T-shirt that he was wearing at the time. We selected the best looking shirt from his things, but he said he would prefer wearing a black Ivy League type shirt, indicating that I might be a litter warmer. We made this change and I asked him if he wouldn't like to wear a hat to more or less camouflage his looks in the car while being transferred as all of the people who had been viewing him had seen him bareheaded. He didn't want to do this. Then Officer J. R. Leavell had cuffed his left hand to Oswald's right hand, then we left the office for the transfer.
Inasmuch as this report was made from rough notes and memory, it is entirely possible that one of these question could be in a separate interview from the one indicated in this report. He was interviewed under the most adverse condition in my office which is 9 feet 6 inches by 14 feet, and has only one front door, which forced us to move this prisoner through hundreds of people each time he was carried from my office to the jail door, some 20 feet, during each of these transfers. The crowd would attempt to jam around him, shouting questions and many continuing slurs. This office is also surrounded by large glass windows, and there were many officers working next to these windows. I have no recorder in this office and was unable to record the interview. I was interrupted many times during these interviews to step from the office to talk to another witness or secure additional information from officers needed for the interrogation.