Thomas G. Buchanan was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1919.He attended Lawrenceville School and Yale University. During the Second World War he served in the United States Army. He enlisted as a private but by 1945 had reached the rank of captain.
After the war Buchanan worked as a journalist for the Washington Evening Star. In 1948 Buchanan was sacked when it was discovered that he was a member of the American Communist Party. According to his later book, Big Brother (published in France by Seuil in 1984), he became a communist at age 12 after reading Men Like Gods by H.G. Wells, and left the party in 1956, as many others did, when they felt that the party line was not sufficiently integrating the lessons learned from Krushchev's report on Stalin's crimes.
As a result of McCarthyism Buchanan found it difficult to find work as a journalist, or retain any other job in the United States. He continued to write and in 1960 his novel, The Unicorn, made the New York Times list of best books of the year. He moved to France in 1961, worked for a time as head of the Programming Department of the General Organisation Company in Paris, and pursued his journalistic career as a freelancer.
Buchanan took a keen interest in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He noticed inconsistencies in the stories reported in the media, and began to write an analysis of the alleged facts and speculations. A friend brought his report to the attention of the French newspaper, L Express, who published extracts of it as a series of 6 articles, then assigned him to go to Dallas to cover the Jack Ruby trial in March 1964. The newspaper also arranged an appointment for him to have an interview with Edward Kennedy while he was in the U.S. The Senator arranged for him to meet instead with the Deputy Attorney General, Nicholas Katzenbach. By appointment arranged by Katzenbach, he also spoke with a staff member of the Warren Commission, Howard Willens, who invited him to submit his report to the Commission."
Buchanan claimed in the newspaper that the Warren Commission had discovered that Jack Ruby knew Lee Harvey Oswald. He argued that Ruby lent him money to pay back the State Department for the $435.71 the U.S. had loaned Oswald when he returned from the Soviet Union. These articles caught the attention of Richard Helms of the CIA. He sent a memo to John McCone, Director of the CIA: "Buchanan's thesis is that the assassination of President Kennedy was the product of a rightest plot in the United States. He alleges in his articles that the slain Dallas policeman, Tippett (sic) was part of the plot against President Kennedy." Helms went onto inform McCone that a "competent" CIA informant had disclosed that a book by Buchanan on the assassination would be published by Secker and Warburg on 15th May 1964. The company had a reputation for publishing left-wing but anti-communist books. This included books by George Orwell, C. L. R. James, Simone de Beauvoir, Rudolf Rocker and Günter Grass.
Helms informant was right and Buchanan book, Who Killed Kennedy? was published in May. Buchanan appears to have been the first writer to suggest that the Military Industrial Congress Complex was behind the assassination. He also argues that the assassination was funded by a Texas oilman. He does not name him but may have been referring to Haroldson L. Hunt.
In the book Buchanan claims that Kennedy was killed by two gunmen. One fired from the railroad bridge. Another fired from the Texas School Book Depository. According to Buchanan, Oswald was aware of the conspiracy but did not fire any shots. Oswald believed that J. D. Tippit was going to help him escape. However, his real job was to kill him while resisting arrest. Oswald, realized what was happening and fired first.
When Who Killed Kennedy? was eventually published in the United States, it was mainly ignored. However, Time Magazine reviewed it and made much of the fact that Buchanan was a former member of the American Communist Party. The left-wing journalist, Cedric Belfrage, argued in the journal, Minority of One, that it was "irrelevant whether Buchanan was a former communist or a former Zen Buddhist". Belfrage went on to state that what was important was Buchanan's "common sense of the assassination and the American crisis it symbolizes".
Thomas G. Buchanan died in Paris of multiple myeloma in 1988.
Some of them (right-wing extremists) had openly rejoiced at the elimination of a President they hated - as, for instance, in the speech of Richard Ely, president of the Memphis Citizens Council, in which he told the Nashville, Tennessee White Citizens Council, "Kennedy died a tyrant's death. He encouraged integration, which has the support of communism. He was a tyrant." Men like Ely soon found out, however, that the public indignation was so great that such opinions could not be imprudently disseminated. But as soon as it was learned that an alleged pro-Communist had been arrested, the extreme right-wing groups broke their first, embarrassed silence. Armed with the official thesis that the crime had been committed by a man who had not only lived in Russia but was now a Castro propagandist, these groups took advantage of the opportunity to press for execution of a project they had always advocated: To retaliate by an immediate invasion of Cuba. Such an operation, though to Europeans it may seem fantastic, actually was accorded serious consideration by some members of the Congress.
The official charges against Oswald were, in a surprisingly short time, extremely detailed. Never in the history of crime has such an intricate, premeditated murder been so swiftly settled - an accomplishment made even more remarkable by two facts: First, that Oswald said that he had no connection with the crime; and second, no one else had seen him do it.
Oswald had denied his guilt, but he did not deny his Communist affiliations and, since technically the police appeared to have an "airtight" case against him, nothing now remained except to analyze his motive.
Oswald was, it seemed, an ex-Marine who, having asked for his release from military duty, had a short time later gone to the USSR, denounced his country and requested citizenship in the Soviet Union. He had lived there and was married to a Russian woman, but after two years informed Senator Tower of Texas that he wanted to come home. He said that he was disillusioned with the Communists, but the police asserted that on his arrival in the USA he had become involved in new pro-Communist activities. He was, by his own statement, chairman of a local chapter of Fair Play for Cuba, the pro-Castro group in the United States, and he had been arrested in a riot which resulted from the distribution of their leaflets. Many books, said to have been pro-Marxist and pro-Russian, were discovered in his home. Still more incriminating was a photograph reported to have been discovered, which showed Oswald with the murder weapon and a copy of The Worker, the official weekly Communist newspaper published in New York.
Clearly, then, it was the thesis of the Dallas law enforcement agencies that Oswald had committed a premeditated murder to advance the Communist world revolution. He was said to be a Soviet-trained expert at political assassination, who intended to escape to Cuba or to Russia.
If the suspect in this case had lived, the prosecutor would have had to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that a Russian-trained, pro-Castro and pro-Communist assassin felt the death of Kennedy would benefit the Soviet Union and the Cuban revolution.
Could a prosecutor prove it?
Nowhere but in the United States could such a charge be made without provoking general derision. The most anti Communist of Europeans realize the death of Kennedy was more sincerely mourned in Moscow than in any other foreign capital, if only for the fact that leaders of the Soviet Union staked their whole political careers upon the chance of a détente with the United States. The Russians had, in their debate with the Chinese, maintained there were two factions in the West: Enlightened capitalist leaders, who appreciated that in an atomic war there were no victors, and the anti-Communist fanatics who believed the nation that struck first could win the war. The chance of peace depended, therefore, on continuance of Khrushchev-Kennedy negotiations, which began so fruitfully with the agreement to curtail the testing of atomic weapons. Khrushchev had withdrawn in anger from the conference in Paris after the U-2 plane incident, proclaiming that there was no use in trying to negotiate with Eisenhower, since his word could not be trusted. He would wait, he said, for the election of the President's successor. After the last Cuban crisis, each of the two leaders, knowing the enormous burden of responsibility the other carried, knowing also that if either had desired a war the conflict could not then have been avoided, grudgingly respected one another and thereafter carefully refrained from any action that would strengthen the domestic opposition of a trusted adversary. Any plot by leaders of the Kremlin to dispatch a trained assassin to shoot down the only President since Roosevelt they respected, and expose the delicate negotiations which were just beginning to the veto of a man whose background bears a certain ominous resemblance, in their eyes, to that of Harry Truman, is no less fantastic than to think that the American Central Intelligence Agency would scheme to murder Khrushchev and replace him with another Stalin.
Neither did the Cubans have the slightest reason to want Lyndon Johnson in the White House. A short time before the President's assassination, Fidel Castro had, in fact, declared that Kennedy had "come to understand many things over the past few months." The New York Times quotes him as stating, "I'm convinced that anyone else would be worse." He even added that Kennedy "still has the possibility of becoming, in the eyes of history, the greatest President of the United States, the leader who may at last understand that there can be coexistence between capitalists and socialists, even in the Americas." In this belief he had, for several weeks before the President was murdered, been engaged in interviews with the French journalist Jean Daniel (who was at that time foreign editor of l'Express), which were intended both by Kennedy and by Castro as an effort, through non-diplomatic channels, to explore the possibility of normalizing their relations. Daniel had first interviewed the President of the United States on October 24th: he had then gone directly to Havana, and had interviewed the Cuban leader there on several occasions; he had promised to go back to Kennedy and to deliver Castro's confidential message before publishing his interviews. The Cuban leader's interest in such negotiations may be indicated by the fact that, in one interview, he talked to Daniel from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Even Castro's most bitter adversaries scarcely can impute to him a reasonable motive to have asked the President, through Daniel, questions vital to the future of the Cuban nation and then ordered him assassinated without waiting for his answer. An affirmative response by Kennedy to Castro's trial balloon would have prepared the way for an eventual top-level meeting with the U.S. President - a meeting much less likely now, with Lyndon Johnson in the White House - one which might have stabilized the Castro Government, enabling it to channel funds and labour wasted now on national defence to economic projects desperately needed by the Cuban people. It was not the moment Cuba would have chosen to kill Kennedy. If such an act had been considered, it would have occurred during the period when the United States was sponsoring the Bay of Pigs invasion, or in 1962, when the whole world seemed on the brink of war and Cuba faced direct US invasion.
Nor could a native Marxist have expected any benefit from Kennedy's assassination. Communists had first been prosecuted under Truman, and the policy continued under Eisenhower. By the time the Kennedy Administration took office, membership in the US Communist Party had been reduced from a peak strength of about 100,000 to less than 10,000. There had been no noticeable relaxation under Kennedy in this campaign against domestic Communists, but neither had the effort been intensified. A spokesman for the US Communists had recently announced their membership, after a long decline, was finally beginning to make gains. This tendency might have continued and, indeed, expanded as official anti-Soviet hostility diminished. The first group to suffer, if such tensions were renewed, would be the US Communists themselves. And if it could be shown that US Communists had engineered the crime, the worst excesses which the country knew after the murder of McKinley or during the dominance of Senator McCarthy would have seemed an era of tranquillity and tolerance by contrast with the persecution to which Communists would then have been subjected. It is, consequently, inconceivable that if the Communists did have this suicidal notion, the assassin would have posed before the crime to have a snapshot taken of himself holding the murder weapons, with a copy of The Worker, the official party paper.
No conceivable political objective of the US Communists, moreover, has been served by Kennedy's elimination. There appears to have been disagreement in the US party, back in 1960, whether to support the Kennedy campaign or to remain completely neutral. Kennedy had run with Communist support, however. And by 1963, on the main issues of the daythe Negro civil rights drive and disarmament-the President was felt to be an ally-temporary, to be sure, but of a key and, it was later feared, an irreplaceable importance. One has but to read the very issue of The Worker Oswald is alleged to have been reading to observe that Kennedy was being treated, at that time, with a respect not far removed from admiration. To the Communists of the United States, the President's domestic foes were their foes, also. And Gus Hall, a national official, had asserted that the party should endorse the President for re-election in the 1964 campaign. One scarcely sees why any Communist would murder the one man who could make sure that Barry Goldwater would not reach the White House.
The assassination of the President may thus be shown to have served no political objective which can reasonably be attributed to the domestic Communists or, for that matter, to the Communists of any country. It is one of the ironic aspects of this case that the first people to proclaim their indignation that the President was murdered by the "Communists" were those who, one day earlier, had been attacking Kennedy as a "pro-Communist" himself, and saying that he was the best friend that the Communists had ever had.
Why would any Communist or person of pro-Communist opinions act as though he were an anti-Communist? This was the question we had been asking. For the anti-Communist effect of the announcement of the murderer's alleged political affiliation was, as any one could easily have forecast, overwhelming, and to the extent that the original hypothesis is still believed, remains so.
Why would any Leftist hand his enemies this weapon? we demanded. And the answer which was tentatively given was that Oswald, the presumed assassin, must have been a crazy Marxist, not an ordinary, sane one. We can now definitely state that he was not insane by any definition, medical or legal.
And the Communists were not collectively insane enough to sponsor such a project. We have been assured by no less an authority on their activities than F.B.I. Director Hoover that there is no evidence of any Communist connection with the Oswald plot. And it is manifest that they obtained no benefit from it, but on the contrary it threatened to provoke an inquisition which would liquidate the left-wing movement in the USA, discredit Khrushchev and perhaps inspire a vengeful nation to invade the Cubans.
According to the FBI, the three shots took place in a period of not more than five and one-half seconds. This does not mean that they were evenly spaced, however. On the contrary, two of the shots were very close together almost simultaneous, in fact. Yet the murder weapon was a rifle with a telescopic sight and a bolt action which must be pulled back by hand after each shot, in order to reload it. Such a weapon is designed for snipers, and is meant for single shots, and not for rapid firing. Fully automatic rifles can be held against a moving object and the marksman, though compelled by each shot's recoil to adjust his aim, remains close to his target. With a telescopic sight, the problem is more complicated, since the lens limits the marksman's field of vision and it takes longer for him to locate his target, especially if it is moving. But when the bolt must be pulled back by hand each time a shot is fired, the time lost in recovering the target is considerably greater. The Olympic rifle champion, Hubert Hammerer, said that he doubted if there was a marksman in the world who could fire three shots accurately with a weapon of this type within the time Oswald is now reported to have taken. Life hired the best marksman it could find, a man who is director of the National Rifle Association, to try to duplicate the feat. His best performance was accomplished in 6.2 seconds. It may thus be stated that if four shots were fired, no single marksman in the world was capable of this achievement; that if any two of the shots came within two seconds of each other, this would also be conclusive proof that there were two marksmen; and that even if there were three shots, evenly spaced, not more than one skilled marksmen in a thousand could have fired them accurately in the time required.
But when Tippit found out on his radio that Kennedy had just been murdered, he was struck by the suspicion that he had a rendezvous with the assassin. So, Groussard says, Tippit changed his mind. Impelled by patriotic indignation, or by mere desire to win himself a medal and promotion, he decided he would not help Oswald to escape, but would arrest him, single-handed.
There are several persuasive arguments which tend to indicate that Tippit knew where Oswald had been and where he was going. One of these is that, despite the detailed nature of the physical description sent out by police, Lee Oswald would have been a hard man to have recognized, except for some one who already knew him. He was average in height and weight; to complicate the problem, the description of his clothing was no longer valid. Tippit, Oswald and Jack Ruby, it must be observed, all lived within a few blocks of each other. One thing may, at least, be stated: Two of these three neighbours knew each other intimately. Ruby's sister, Mrs. Grant, has told reporters that the ex-Chicago gangster and the Dallas policeman were "like two brothers."
Even more suspicious is the fact that Tippit was alone when he set out to intercept the fugitive. At a time when a vast manhunt for an armed assassin was in progress, it is inconceivable that any ordinary scout car touring in the neighbourhood where the sole suspect might have been expected to be heading would have had just one policeman in it. Standing orders for police in Dallas, as in other cities, are that radio cars of the type Tippit was driving must have two policemen in them. It would be illuminating if police disclosed the name of Tippit's partner, and explained why he was absent at that crucial moment. If, for some strange reason, Tippit had been in the car alone when the first radio announcement of the President's assassination had been flashed, he would have had exactly 40 minutes to pick up another officer to help him look for the escaping suspect, who might very well have been expected to be armed. It was now 1.16 p.m. Yet Tippit-for a reason which police have never properly explained-was driving by himself.
Not only was Tippit thus flagrantly defying standing orders not to drive alone, but he was equally in violation of a second order, which he had received the day before not to drive out of the sector to which he had been assigned. Tippit-according to his fellow officers-was meant to have been in downtown Dallas at the time he intercepted Oswald half way between Oswald's room and Ruby's.
A third violation of procedure governing police assigned to radio cars lies in the fact that Tippit failed to make use of the radio beside him to notify his fellow officers that he was stopping to question a suspect in the Kennedy assassination - a man resembling the presumed assassin.
So the two main themes-for the right wing, it was a Communist, and for the liberals, a madman - were defined and endlessly repeated. From the moment Ruby had been shown upon a television screen, the first theme came to be increasingly untenable, since the majority of people felt that Oswald and Jack Ruby knew each other and Jack Ruby makes a singularly unconvincing agent of the Kremlin. The first Gallup poll revealed that only 1 per cent thought Oswald acted as the agent of a Communist conspiracy; 29 per cent thought no one helped him; 52 per cent believed he represented an extreme right-wing group, the Mafia or some "unknown" force; the others had, presumably, not read the papers. Many of the leading magazines, newspapers, and diverse groups active in manipulating popular opinion have, however, still persisted in accepting the first thesis that the Communists ought, somehow, to be blamed - and the John Birch Society took full-page ads in the New York Times and other papers to proclaim this viewpoint.
This, of course, has been in total contrast with worldwide reactions. So far as I have been able to determine, the original official version of the crime has been believed in just one section of the world. Time says, "The white supremacists of South Africa blamed Communism, regretting that Senator Joseph McCarthy was not alive to expose it. Virtually all the rest of Africa and Asia, all evidence to the contrary, went on blaming racists in the U.S. South." The head of India's Swatantra Party, 'Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, whom Time describes as "strongly pro-American," said Oswald had been killed to "prevent the exposure of the conspiracy behind the crime" and suggested "there may be big money behind the plot."
In France, the anti-Communist but moderately Leftist France-Observateur published the picture of a leading Dallas police official with the caption, "Suspect No. 1." The leading conservative paper Le Figaro, equivalent to the New York Herald Tribune, accused Dallas law-enforcement authorities on November 28 of "contradictions, obscurities, intentional omissions, deliberate lies." And Le Monde, which corresponds to the New York Times, after a careful analysis of the official Dallas "contradictions," came to the conclusion on November 27 that there were just two explanations possible. The first of these was that the law enforcement authorities of Dallas knew that they were guilty of neglecting the precautions that they should have taken to prevent the President's assassination (they searched other buildings in the area before the crime, but not the one from which the shots were fired), and that police thereafter picked up the first suspect they could find and manufactured evidence to fit him. The second explanation, to which Le Monde accorded greater weight, was that "police of Dallas considered it advisable to choose a 'suspect' in advance, who could be charged with full responsibility not only for the murder of President Kennedy but also that of the police officer, while at the same time shielding the real criminal."
The difference between American and European attitudes towards the crime was excellently summarized in Paris-Match, France's top-circulation magazine, equivalent to Life and Time: "There exists a remarkable contrast between America and Europe, in regard to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In America, it is scarcely an exaggeration to declare that the affair is on its way to being classified and filed.... The chance encounter of an anarchist and an exhibitionist, of a depressive paranoid and one who was exuberant - that is essentially the explanation being given for the tragedy of Dallas. America accepts this conclusion. Europe, almost in its totality, rejects it. Europeans are convinced the Dallas drama hides a mystery which, if uncovered, would dishonour the United States and shake it to its foundations. So it is better to hide it. Europe might perhaps be induced to believe the explanation of the solitary individual killing the President of the United States upon the street, as not even a dog is killed. But the explanation of the police informer, the proprietor of a house of ill repute, the pimp, the professional gangster killing the President's assassin out of patriotic indignation, Europe does not believe it for a moment. Europe finds the story laughable. It throws upon the hitherto plausible explanation of a solitary Oswald an overwhelming doubt. It brings to view such abysses, in the crime of Dallas, that the eye recoils before them. It justifies suspicion of a deliberate and desperate concealment, carried out by all the organs of authority in the American nation, from the White House to Murder, Incorporated.
In the State of Texas, more than any other State in the United States, the penalties attached to mere suspicion of pro-Communist opinions are particularly virulent. In 1954, the Governor of Texas, Allan Shivers, asked the legislature of that State to pass a law to punish persons who might, in the future, undertake pro-Communist activities in Texas, although he admitted that, at that time, there were so few radicals in Texas "that it can't be called a problem." He felt very strongly that mere membership, apart from any overt action, was sufficient to require the penalty that he demanded: death. The legislators felt this might be slightly in excess of any penalty permitted by the US Constitution and reduced it to a maximum of $20,000 fine and 20 years in prison.
He would be a brave man, therefore, who would go into the State of Texas and proclaim himself to be a Marxist, which is what Lee Harvey Oswald did-a brave man, and a most imprudent one, unless he had somebody to protect him.
For it seems that Oswald had been given opportunities to publicize his Marxist views by people to whom such opinions were abhorrent-opportunities the Communists themselves could not have purchased fell into the lap of Oswald. He was the guest speaker in an interview over radio station WSDU on August 21, 1963, when he proclaimed himself as "secretary" of the New Orleans chapter of Fair Play for Cuba. And there had been articles about his radical activities in the New Orleans papers, the result of which was that he lost his job and went back to the Dallas area. Although in Dallas there was very little unemployment, Oswald could not find a private individual or company that wished to hire him since he was by now one of the city's most notorious "subversives." He was consequently forced to live on unemployment cheques until the city government itself employed him on October 15, 19 days after the White House had announced that Kennedy would be in Dallas in November.
On the face of it, this happened with deceptive innocence. Mrs. Ruth Paine, a Quaker woman in whose house the Oswald family was boarding, was alerted by a neighbour, Wesley Frazier, a municipal employee, that a job was open at the Texas School Book Depository, where Frazier was himself employed. Why didn't Oswald make an application for the job? it was suggested. Mrs. Paine called up Roy S. Truly, Oswald's future boss, and asked if it was true that there was a position vacant. Truly said for Oswald to report to him; he interviewed him, and he hired him.
Oswald's job was, it is true, a temporary, minor post; it is quite plausible that no security precautions were considered necessary, at the time that he was hired. But once his name was on the payroll, Oswald automatically fell under the jurisdiction of the city government of Dallas-the most anti-Communist of cities in America's most anti-Communist of States.
The F.B.I. knew where Oswald was working, for Mrs. Paine says that she gave that information to them when they called at her home shortly after Oswald had been hired. She also told them that he had a room in Dallas, according to the New York Times of January 26. It must be clear that the police of Dallas also had this information, even if the FBI had not advised them. In each city of the size of Dallas, the Police Department has a "Red squad" whose exclusive duty is to keep informed as to the residence, employment and activities of persons thought to be potentially "subversive," just as there are squads which specialize in the activities of "vice" lords like Jack Ruby. In New York, the Communist or left-wing sympathizers are comparatively numerous, but in a place like Dallas leftists are so rare that the police assigned to watch them probably outnumber those who have been designated for surveillance.
But while the FBI and other agencies apparently were trying to recruit Lee Oswald, and presumably believed they were succeeding, he was simultaneously engaged in a quite different operation, of which it was certainly their duty to have been aware. In March, 1963, Oswald is said to have acquired the rifle which was destined to become the Kennedy assassination weapon. It appears that the FBI knew that he had it, prior to the murder of the President, for it was only one day later that the FBI announced a 6.5 Carcano was in his possession. Since the rifle had been purchased under an assumed name from a mail-order house in Chicago, it would seem exceedingly unlikely that, within one day, the FBI had traced it, if they did not have this information in their files already. Yet, despite Lee Oswald's turbulent career, no one took Oswald's rifle from him-even though, on April 10, they had good reason to suppose he had already used it to attempt a murder. This, at least, is what the FBI now tells us, and it is confirmed by Oswald's widow.
Who was Oswald's target on the night of April 10? According to the same two sources, it was the most dedicated enemy of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in the United States - a citizen of Dallas named Edwin Anderson Walker. Mr. Walker was, until the Kennedy Administration, a high-ranking general commanding troops in Germany. He used that post to pass out literature among the men that he commanded-literature he had been receiving from the John Birch Society, a private patriotic group which had a rather low opinion of the President of the United States. The President, of course, was Walker's commander-in-chief, a fact which did not in the least deter him from continuing his anti-Kennedy propaganda. The result of this was that the general soon found himself in a civilian uniform in Dallas, with no way to give vent to his feeling of frustration other than to erect a flag on his front lawn and lower it to half mast each time that he felt that the United States was headed for damnation-an emotion that he feels quite often.
Walker lives on fashionable Turtle Creek boulevard. Behind his house, there is an alley, and the FBI informs us that Lee Harvey Oswald, a few weeks after he had received his 6.5 Carcano, came into this alley on the night of April to and tried to murder Walker. Thus, we have the picture of our mighty hunter - the same deadly marksman who, in the Marines, had fired 191 out of a possible 250-stalking his immobile prey, who was inside his house now, seated at a desk, illuminated by bright lights. The sniper crept towards his victim, raised his trusty weapon, resting it upon a picket fence to hold it steady, squeezed the trigger... and he missed the general completely! Walker stated later that the only thing that saved his life was that he turned his head, just at that moment. For a marksman capable of firing three shots in five seconds at a speeding car, however, that should not have been completely disconcerting. Oswald benefited from complete protection. Why did he become so easily discouraged? One will never know the answer to these questions. We can only state that his intended target providentially was spared for new adventures.
Were Lee Oswald and Walker already known to each other? As much is implied by a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, who says that the police discovered Oswald's notebook, after the assassination of the President - and in it was Walker's name and telephone number. One must assume that Oswald's memory was very bad indeed, if it was necessary for him to write down the name of someone whom he meant to murder.
Few Americans suspect the dominant position oil assumes in the American economy. Most of us probably would guess that steel or auto-manufacturing were the chief industries of the United States, with chemicals not far behind them. Oil investments are, however, more than these three industries combined-more than 50 billion dollars. Almost half of this enormous wealth is owned in Texas. Until 1901, Texas was noted chiefly for its cattle, and it was the land of "frontier justice" which non-Texans have been taught by Hollywood films to associate with Texas. But on January 10 of that year, oil was found at Spindletop, just south of Beaumont, Texas, and the State has never been the same since that day. Easterners had a monopoly on oil before then; John D. Rockefeller alone, through Standard Oil, controlled 83 per cent of the United States production. But in the first year, the well at Spindletop produced as much oil as all 37,000 Eastern wells combined, and Texas since that time has gained almost complete monopoly of all America's own oil resources, although Standard Oil, through its investments overseas, still occupies a powerful position.
Texas oil, needless to say, has in the past half-century become the focal point of the whole State economy. So great, for instance, are the revenues from oil alone that no State income tax is needed; individuals in Texas pay the government in Washington, like anybody else - and hate it - but they are exempt from paying their own State. Oil men, consequently, run the State, with bitter factional disputes sometimes between them, but unchallenged by outsiders.
The Texas oil industry itself is theoretically under the jurisdiction of the Texas Railroad Commission, which decides in advance how much oil each producer is permitted to produce each month. It finds out, first, how much oil will be bought by each of the big companies that own the pipelines and, after they submit the quantity that they agree to purchase, Texas companies are then assigned percentages of the expected market. In this way a surplus is avoided. It is unnecessary to add, in view of what has already been stated, that all decisions by the Commission reflect the viewpoint of the dominant oil companies it is meant to regulate. If it were permitted to react to public sentiment, i.e. the interest of the consumer, it might authorize production of sufficient oil to force the big companies to lower prices.
Now and then, when the effects of the decisions of the oil men challenged the economy of the whole country, efforts have been made to stop them from demanding an unreasonable profit. Such, for instance, was the case in May, 1958, when a Federal grand jury indicted 29 oil companies for a conspiracy to charge outrageous prices. The charge was based on an increase in prices which was put into effect by these oil companies in i957, at a time when there was no oil shortage but, on the contrary, the industry was complaining of what Morgan Davis, president of Humble Oil, had been describing as a "burdensome surplus-producing capacity." The excess oil available was so great that production had been varying from 9 to 13 days a month, yet Humble Oil chose this time to increase its price to the consumer, and its 28 competitors then followed suit. The New York Times financial expert J. H. Carmical estimated, at that time, that this price rise cost the United States consumer half a billion dollars, and the public protest was so great that the oil companies were brought to court and charged with a conspiracy to violate price-fixing legislation. But a sympathetic judge decided that "the evidence in the case does not rise above the level of suspicion," and concluded, "I have an absolute conviction personally that the defendants are not guilty." They were all acquitted.
The process gathered its momentum during World War II, when major aircraft factories were built in Dallas and, with government assistance, other war production plants, constructed for the military service, remained there. They continued to be used in peacetime to supply the Air Force with its bomber planes and radar. In addition, when the war had ended, Texas as a whole and Dallas in particular made every effort to attract employers from the North to relocate there, offering these powerful incentives:
1. Low taxes. In addition to the fact that Texas has no personal income tax, the corporate tax rate is lower than in most States.
2. Cheap labour. The predominance of giant cattle farms like the King Ranch has forced a large number of the farmers to move to the cities. The farm workers harvesting the cotton, rice and other crops have to compete with "Wetbacks," migratory Mexican day labourers who work for pitifully meagre wages; this, in turn, tends to force down the wages of the city workers in the factories.
3. Anti-union legislation. State laws forbid compulsory membership in a union; some types of strike are forbidden entirely; and, where a strike is allowed, no more than two pickets are permitted in each area of 50 feet. A union official arrested on a picket line is prohibited by law from holding any union office after that.
4. Natural advantages. Access to the country's principal sources of oil, natural gas and sulphur with reduced transportation costs.
With these advantages to offer, Dallas managed to attract new industries to move there, supplementing factories built during World War II, and even these new industries tend also to be oriented toward contracts from the various armed forces. The most important was the great aircraft firm, Chance Vought, which made the biggest industrial relocation in U.S. history, moving its entire plant from Connecticut to Dallas-a transfer of 13,000 tons of equipment from that Northern State, as well as the 1,300 most important employees (all the others were simply left behind in Connecticut to add to the Northern unemployed). Another major Dallas firm is Continental Electronics Manufacturing Company, which recently built for the Navy a $40,000,000 radio transmitter, said to be the world's most powerful, designed to communicate with Navy submarines anywhere in the world, even when lying on the bottom of the ocean. Texas Instruments, which has rapidly become one of the nation's principal electronics parts suppliers, also has a large share of defence contracts.
Despite their frequent intervention in political campaigns in Northern States, the Texas millionaires proclaim themselves strong advocates of what they call "States' rights"-which, from their point of view, excludes all outside intervention in the State of Texas. Northerners cannot quite understand the bitterness which Texans feel against the government in Washington, and Northern financiers in general-a feeling which appears to be quite general in Texas. Thus, the New York Times of October 16 , 1956 expressed astonishment that "the Governor of Texas, a rich man and a conservative, castigates `Wall Street' in terms used by the Daily Worker." It seems strange that men who have benefited from a tax concession which grants them commercial advantages no other section of the country can match, should nevertheless feel deep resentment, first, against the businessmen in other and less favoured industries and, second, against the Federal Government which has granted the concession to them. Yet this has been so. The Texas millionaires maintain that even the advantages they have are not sufficient; that their taxes are oppressive; that the bureaucrats from Washington are trying to take over Texas. Curiously, though, the State of Texas is one of the principal beneficiaries of Federal grants of one sort or another, quite apart from the tax policy which we already have discussed-and at the same time, Texas spends so little of her own tax money on social services that the average Texas citizen receives less aid than those in other States. Texas, for instance, gets more help from Washington than any other State for various child welfare services, yet ranks no more than 44th in money spent for this same purpose; Texas is the second State in money it accepts to help the blind and aged, but is 40th in money spent; Texas ranks third in its receipts from Washington for all purposes, yet 32nd in expenditures on public education.
The men whom the oligarchs in the State of Texas regard as their main enemies are those who dare propose reduction of their tax concession. Frank Ikard, a Texas Congressman, has called such persons "bombthrowing liberals." The Texas oil men are inclined to feel that epithet is much too mild; for them, the men who want to lower the oil depletion allowance are nothing short of Communists, although two critics of the present level of "depletion allowances" have been the late Republican leader, Senator Robert Taft, and former President Harry Truman, neither noted for pro-Communist opinions. Taft said it was "to a large extent a gift-a special privilege, beyond what any one else can get;" and Truman charged, "No loophole in the tax law is so inequitable." The first serious efforts to bring the taxes of the oil industry into closer correspondence with those of other U.S. industries were made by the New Deal, and no one hated President Roosevelt more bitterly than such Texans as John Nance Garner, who served as Vice-President during Roosevelt's first term and then opposed him for the second. When Roosevelt died in 1945, while the United States was still at war, a San Antonio millionaire announced a cocktail party to celebrate his death. In recent years, the chief foe of the Texas oil men has been Democratic Senator Douglas of Illinois, who proposed to keep the 27.5 per cent bonus for the small producers, but reduce it to 15 per cent for big ones. Douglas pointed out that there had been one oil company in 1954 which had a net income of four million dollars and paid only $404 in taxes, lower than the average US married couple; that there was another company which made five million dollars and paid no income tax at all; a third showed profits of 12 million dollars in 1953 and yet received a $500,000 tax credit; this same company made 10 million dollars the next year, and received another $100,000 tax credit.
To such arguments, the Texans have responded that the national security itself depends on their ability to guard their present rate of profit. "Oil, gentlemen, is ammunition," a Congressional committee was assured by General Ernest O. Thompson, Commanding General of the Texas National Guard. "In defence," he said, "oil is a prime mover. Why tamper with a system that... has made oil available in such quantities that we have been able to win two wars?"
Two wars, and so... why not a third one? Of all sections of the country, none was more opposed to any indication that an understanding might be reached between the President of the United States and Khrushchev, none is more convinced that the United States not only could survive a nuclear attack but could go on and win the war, especially if the U.S. had made the "first strike"-and that it might be worth it. Some of this hostility to a détente may be ascribed, of course, to cynical self-interest, for Texas has achieved an annual expansion, since the cold war started, more than six times greater than the national economy has averaged; conversely, if disarmament were actually to begin, no other section of America would suffer such immediate disruption of its industry, since an extremely high proportion of defence work has been concentrated in the State of Texas.
Neither cynical self-interest nor fear, however, totally explains the attitude of the oligarchy-or, at least, a portion of them. A major part of it must be ascribed to boredom. These oligarchs started as gamblers and gamblers they have remained. But in recent years there has been nothing left on which to gamble, except perhaps the whole future of the United States. This theory is, I think, worth some serious consideration. They have run out of new fields to conquer in the State of Texas; they've begun expanding. We have one of the most powerful and wealthy oligarchies in the world, controlled-as no society has ever been before-by men whose instincts are not those of businessmen, but gamblers. I suggest the impact of this fact upon world history, in any country which possesses the atomic bomb, is terrifying.
I believe the murder of the President was provoked, primarily, by fear of the domestic and international consequences of the Moscow Pact: The danger of disarmament which would disrupt the industries on which the plotters depended and of an international détente which would, in their view, have threatened the eventual nationalization of their oil investments overseas.
The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, appointed by the President in 1962, attempted to combat such fears, declaring, "Disarmament affords an unmatched opportunity for satisfying our most pressing needs," but emphasized that this was just the long-term goal; the short-range impact might well prove disastrous. Newsweek, reviewing the agency's findings February 19, 1962, commented: "At first glance, the problems are staggering. Defence work accounts for nearly 10 per cent of the nation's output, and employs nearly 10 per cent of the labour force; what's more, the work is concentrated heavily in some industries and geographical areas." As we have seen, this applies particularly to Texas. "In addition," Newsweek continued, "the defence programme supports half of the country's research and development work. Without it, technological progress would slow to a crawl. Even the stock market, with its huge influence on the economy, would probably react sharply to the prospect of lower defence earnings. The panel concluded that, without firm action to ease the impact, a $5 billion yearly cut in defence spending could shrink the economy by $10 billion to $12 billion a year." If Kennedy succeeded in attaining real disarmament, however, in his second term, the United States was faced with a reduction not of 5 but eventually of $50 billion dollars.
How could the President's assassination automatically benefit the authors of the murder plot? It is clear, certainly, that they employed Lee Harvey Oswald for the purpose of increasing tension between the United States and Cuba, and above all the Soviet Union. This must be regarded as a maximum objective, from which they were willing to be forced back into a prepared position that the murderer was just a solitary madman-though of Marxist leanings. But the only element that would be automatic, if the President were killed, is that the vice-president would take his place. What, then, are the major differences between Kennedy and Johnson?
1. On civil rights, despite the fact that Lyndon Johnson is a Southerner, there is no overwhelming difference between the martyred President and his successor. Johnson is, by Southern standards, rather liberal in his approach to civil rights. He is no Dixiecrat; he certainly can be expected to pursue a policy of gradual extension of desegregation practically indistinguishable from the previous administration. It is for this reason that I have not even bothered to discuss the possibility that Kennedy was murdered by pro-segregationists. I find no evidence at all which would sustain this thesis. Anti-Negro sentiment, of course, plays an important part in furnishing a mass basis for extreme right-wing activity in the United States, just as anti-Semitism did in Germany, during the rise of Hitler. Thyssen was not, however, motivated by his anti-Semitism, but by certain economic objectives in which he thought the Nazis would serve a useful purpose. I do not believe that any Texas millionaire would risk electrocution to finance the President's assassination for such motives. He would have no contact with the Negro population of his State, who represent a mere 12 per cent of those who live in Texas. Dallas is not Birmingham, and Texas is not Mississippi. The right-wing of Dallas is inflamed against the Reds; it scarcely notices the Blacks' existence.
2. On foreign policy, the difference between the President and his successor starts to be important. It is premature, at this time, to assert that Johnson will reverse the progress Kennedy had made to a détente. What is important, though, is that the right-wing groups in the United States believe that he will do so. The John Birch Society's General Walker predicted, after Kennedy's death, "There will be considerable changes, even if they are not immediately apparent." And US News & World Report, using almost identical language, summed it up this way: "There will be important changes, but gradual, in behaviour, personalities and politics. Intellectuals will not be favoured. Businessmen will be guaranteed a good rest. Khrushchev will find Johnson a hard man."
3. The one field in which Kennedy and Johnson were in total disagreement was the one which Texans feel to be the most important: Kennedy was an opponent of the tax concession for the Texas oil men; Johnson was the man whom Texas millionaires selected to succeed Sam Rayburn to defend their interests in Washington. The Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, had defended the oil interests of Texas until his retirement. He kept all proposals to reduce the precious 27.5 per cent "depletion allowance" bottled up in the House Ways and Means Committee, to prevent a general debate. John Bainbridge quotes him as declaring, "Let it out of committee and they'd cut it to 15, 10, 5 per cent-might take it away altogether. Do you think you could convince a Detroit factory worker that the depletion allowance is a good thing? Once it got on the floor, it would be cut to ribbons." After Rayburn, who was then a very old man, finally retired, the man whom he had trained to carry on his work was Lyndon Johnson. Rayburn was the leading backer of his fellow-Texan, Johnson, at the 1960 Democratic national convention. But the winner of the nomination was a Northerner who did not "understand" the Texans' need for tax protection. Illinois Senator Douglas had, in 1957, introduced a bill to cut this benefit for large producers to 15 per cent. The Douglas bill was beaten by a vote of 56 to 30, but among the 30 "Communists" who supported Douglas was a certain John Fitzgerald Kennedy of Massachusetts. In the 1960 Democratic platform, written by the followers of this same Yankee, was a pledge to "close the loopholes in the tax laws by which certain privileged groups legally escape their fair share of taxation." It said "among the more conspicuous loopholes are depletion allowances, which are inequitable."
Sam Rayburn did his best to reassure his fellow-Texans that these words meant nothing. "I've never heard of the 27.5 per cent oil depletion allowance being considered a loophole," said Rayburn. "I trust that the oil people do not consider it to be. I do not and never have." And Lyndon Johnson, Rayburn's protégé, declared, "The platform pertains to loopholes, and I see none in oil." But Texas millionaires were not convinced. In Dallas, their money and their votes went solidly to Nixon, who had made it clear that he proposed no change in the depletion allowance.
I suggest the author of this crime is a Texas millionaire named X, a man whose height, weight, age and physical appearance I ignore, but whose profession may be stated: Mr. X is now, and has been all his life, a gambler. He has made a bet-the biggest wager that he ever made-and so far, he has won it. He considered Kennedy to be pro-Communist, and he sincerely thought that Kennedy's assassination would, in some way, serve the interests of the United States; in addition, for the reasons which have just been stated, he felt it would bring him an immediate and personal advantage. Most of all, though, he looked on the plot as a manner of relieving his own personal and fatal boredom, just as Teddy Roosevelt did when he said, "The clamour of the peace faction has convinced me that this country needs a war.... I rather hope the fight will come soon." Mr. X had no more worlds to conquer in the State of Texas; he was anxious to find out if there was any limit to his power. He had three main enemies: Mattei, Kennedy and Khrushchev - that was all that stood between him and world domination. Mattei was killed-by plan, or by "good luck," his principal oil adversary outside the United States had been eliminated. Mr. X thought he could get rid of the other two by one blow: Kennedy would be assassinated in a way that would discredit Khrushchev. No one but the Communists would have said that Oswald was not guilty. Everything would point to the original planned explanation: Oswald was a Communist who had been trained in Russia. When, through the bad luck that Oswald managed to outdraw his executioner, he was brought back alive to the Police Headquarters, there was only one thing left to do: Find someone who would kill him, before he could see a lawyer or discuss his case with newsmen. At all costs, a trial had-to be averted, where he could have named his fellow-plotters. So Oswald was killed; the Dallas law-enforcement officers proclaimed that very day that the whole case was closed, and there would not be an investigation. Oswald was a Communist, but could not have been working with accomplices, and there was no use looking for them-so they all insisted. Each time a new fact was brought forth to refute this thesis, the official story was revised; new "evidence" was found, like the remarkable shreds of clothing on the murder weapon, which were not discovered until dozens of investigators had their hands on it.
I charge the following additional conspirators assisted Mr. X, and I list them in the order of their culpability:
1. The police official who ordered the arrest of Oswald at a time when there had been no reason to suspect him. He is guilty, as accessory before the fact to both assassinations - Kennedy's and Oswald's. Next to Mr. X himself, this is the key conspirator, and there are no extenuating circumstances for him. The police of Dallas know the name of this man, and they know how soon he gave the order.
2. An assassin who fired at least one shot from the unguarded railroad bridge directly at the Presidential car as it approached him. He is probably a gangster and escaped on foot. No doubt this murderer took refuge in a nearby building. He arrived there, panting. He seemed quite excited, after his exertions. Someone may have seen him waiting on the bridge beside the railroad track, before the murder. Someone doubtless saw him running from the overpass, after the shooting. Any honest officer upon the scene knows that a weapon was found, on or near the overpass, and doubtless other evidence as well; he knows this evidence has disappeared since then. An investigator could determine why that railroad overpass was left unguarded-an irregular procedure. Who was meant to guard it? Who reversed the order?
3. Another assassin, who fired at least two shots from the Texas School Book Depository. Since one of these shots hit the President, he is no doubt an expert marksman. And since he was not detected leaving the building after the assassination, when that building was surrounded by policemen, one must assume that he passed unnoticed because he was himself in uniform. If not, then the policeman who permitted him to leave the building must be regarded as a probable accomplice.
4. Accomplice Seven, who was meant to murder Oswald in cold blood. He failed to do so. He is now beyond man's power to judge him.
5. Lee Harvey Oswald, ex-Marine, ex-friend of Russia and ex-F.B.I. informer. Charged with three crimes. On the first charge, murder of the President of the United States: Not guilty. On the second charge, murder of Patrolman Tippit: Not guilty. Justifiable homicide, in self-defence and in immediate peril of his life. On the third charge, complicity to murder John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Of being an accessory before the fact: Not guilty beyond reasonable doubt, although I personally feel he shared this knowledge. Of being an accessory after the fact: Guilty as charged. But, like the last accomplice, Oswald is beyond our power to condemn him.
6. Accomplice Four, who let Oswald leave the Texas School Book Depository after orders from Police Chief Curry to surround the building; and Detective Six, who followed Oswald for an hour and did not arrest him, despite the general order which had been sent out for his arrest. Both these men, and many others whom I have not named, were violating one command in order to obey another. If they choose to hide behind this fact, they are in the position which America officially condemned during the Nuremberg trials. We were shocked, at the conclusion of the last World War, to find that there were Germans occupying a subordinate position who obeyed commands of their superiors to carry out atrocities upon defenceless people. There are some orders which are clearly contrary to law; these orders are unlawful, and a man is human only if his conscience forces him to live by this distinction.
7. Municipal and federal police investigators-many of them. These men are not linked, in any way, with the assassination, but they are accessories after the fact. Upon the thesis that the truth in this case would reflect to the discredit of the Government of the United States, they are engaged in a conspiracy to hide key evidence and to persuade important witnesses to change or to withhold their testimony. There are dozens-hundreds, possibly-of honest citizens who have been asked by men with an official badge to testify, or to refrain from testifying, in accordance with instructions the investigators give them. I remind such citizens that any agent of the government who asks them to commit a crime is not, and cannot be thought to be, acting "in the best interests of the United States." For men who ask you to conceal or falsify facts pertinent to this supremely vital case are guilty of violation of the criminal code: They are guilty of subornation to perjury, and this criminal activity on their part exempts you from obeying them.
And they are guilty of a greater crime. The President of the United States went down to Dallas, trusting these men to protect him. But they failed him. We, the people, are the only watchmen Kennedy will ever have now. Let these watchmen, then, awaken.
As now is clear the assassination was committed by a Communist fanatic unaware of the depth of evil to which such dogma could lead him. In so doing he served the Communist cause its worst setback in the 46 years since its baneful inception.
Buchanans book, which follows almost the same geometrical progression as the articles in LExpress, at first seems to conclude in a more general sense: I believe the assassination of the President was essentially provoked by the fear of the internal and international consequences which the Moscow treaty might touch off; disarmament which would dismember the industries on which the conspirators depend; an international détente which, according to them, would threaten nationalization of their oil investments abroad. No, the sentence was not more general after all; we come back to H. L. Hunt. What I fail to understand, in any case, is why the dangers of the détente - which brings the risk, Buchanan tells us again, of causing a reduction of $50 billion in the national defense budget of the United States - should have set off the homicidal reaction of H. L. Hunt and his oil colleagues in Texas, while they apparently did not trouble the huge aeronautical firms of California, the missile makers and other cannon merchants.
In reviewing the mathematical deductions of Thomas Buchanan, I have kept mainly to the articles in LExpress, whose sensational presentation - or straight-faced joking - passed off the delirious lucubration of this sensitive artilleryman as the product of a scientific brain. The bestseller that Editions Julliard has had the shrewdness to compile from these articles under the title Les Assassins de Kennedy tones down some of the most grotesque aspects - and Thomas Buchanan, interestingly, no longer takes Irving to be a man. But the whole remains faithful to his grand mystification and the principal change involves the number of accomplices. Accomplice Number 5, officer Tippit, has become Accomplice Number 7, all having been downgraded two notches, including Lee Oswald, who drops from Accomplice Number 1 to Accomplice Number 3. But this is only a matter of interior reorganization; instead of having two different rankings, one for assassins and the other for accomplices, Buchanan has unified the system by reclassifying assassins number 1 and 2 and accomplices 1 and 2.
For the short history of the French edition, it can be noted that the Julliard firm was not afraid of shaking up the certainties of the unchallengable analysis of Thomas Buchanan by bringing out almost simultaneously, under the title Les Roses rouges de Dallas, a frankly fictionalized story by Nerin E. Gun. If Gun, who has no less imagination than Buchanan, presents us with such discoveries as a secret trip of Oswald to Havana, he allows a certain number of facts and truths to remain (along with an avalanche of material errors). We thus have Thomas Buchanan continuing to affirm (Les Assassins de Kennedy, page 126) that it is undeniable that the police succeeded in blocking all the exits of the building; and Nerin E. Gun writing (Les Roses rouges de Dallas, page 152) that The police never thought of surrounding the building
All this would be quite funny if one could forget that the starting point of it all is the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
In my capacity as criminal investigator, there has come to my attention a distressing crime of which you are the luckless victim. I refer to the long article about me (Thomas Buchanan, Detective) in your issue of September 28. This article was published - in good faith, Im sure - under the name of a French writer named Leo Sauvage.
The article, my research has convinced me, was not written by Leo Sauvage, but by his brother, K. O. Leo is, as everybody knows, the U.S. correspondent of Le Figaro, and he is one of Frances most distinguished journalists. His brother, a retired ex-pugilist, now makes a humble living as a stringer for the US Information Service.
Articles by Leo cost a lot of money, but they are well worth it. He has done a great of original investigation of the Kennedy assassination and, since I am totally dependent on such sources and have always said so, I have quoted him in the French edition of my book which Putnam will bring out this month, evaluating the report the Presidents Commission has just issued. Articles by Leos brother K. O., on the other hand, are relatively inexpensive and indeed I think, if you will make the proper inquiries, you will discover that no fee is needed.
We must not accuse K. O. Sauvage of fraud in selling you an article which he has written on a subject with which he is less familiar than his brother. But I do accuse him of unethical procedure when he charges you the fee which you would normally have paid to Leo.
That the author of this article has misappropriated Leos byline will be instantly apparent to you, if you will compare the article you published with authentic work of this distinguished writer. The respected correspondent of Le Figaro, for instance, has a certain subtlety of style. He can be witty and ironic. He does not go swatting gnats with baseball bats like the reporter who prepared your article. On style alone, the substitution is apparent.
In regard to content, one has only to compare the views expressed by the authentic correspondent of Le Figaro with the position of his imitator. The impression given by the article you used is that I am no credit to the human race and ought to be exterminated. I am rather sensitive on this point, since I am now 45 years old, and I have never seen the Orioles win the World Series. I was hoping that I might live long enough to see it happen.
But Leo Sauvage himself is one of the outstanding critics of Americas official version of the Kennedy assassination, and would be among the first reporters to be liquidated, if a purge were started. In Le Figaro of September 28, he wrote as follows:
No doubt the American authorities, who have been largely concerned with the criticism and sarcasm which their previous statements have provoked in other countries, hope that the large amount of documentation which the Warren Commission has gathered in support of its conclusions will finally crush the skeptics and reduce them to silence. I am very much afraid this hope is doomed to disappointment. This is not only because some forces hostile to the United States have no intention of halting their sarcastic comments. Unfortunately, it is chiefly because the voluminous documentation of the Commission provides no decisive refutation of the serious objections which have been raised against the official theory. In some respects, one may even say that the Warren Report increases the existing doubts about the investigation in Dallas, either by offering interpretations which are even less believable than the official version, or by making additional statements for which there is no proof, or finally by relying on key factors which rest upon a base which is too fragile to support them.
Leo Sauvage goes on to name these weak points:
1. That many readers will have trouble trying to imagine Oswald, in the last few minutes before Kennedy came into range on Elm Street, patiently assembling his dismantled rifle, wrapped up in a package witnesses insist was too short to have been the murder weapon unless it was disassembled. Sauvage notes that this was in addition to the time he sent building walls of book cartons to hide him.
2. That the Commission has relied too heavily upon the testimony of Marina Oswald that her husband fired at General Walker.
3. The chief objection: One is rather surprised to read that the Warren Commission attaches any significance at all to the fact that Oswald was identified by witnesses late that night, or the following morning, after television programs had repeatedly carried his picture and all the newspapers had published numerous photographs of him. Sauvage adds that recognition of the man who had just been arrested, after offering resistance, had been further simplified by the fact that when the police put Oswald in the lineup, he was quite conspicuous because he had a swollen eye and a fresh cut where the police had struck him.
I am in agreement with Sauvage on each point that he mentions, and I have some other reasons for suspecting that the Presidents Commission has not given us convincing answers to the questions both of us are asking. But before I name them, let me first plead guilty to the charge that my original report in LExpress in February did contain some errors and - worse still - I cannot even claim to have produced these errors from my own imagination. I did no original research in Dallas. I have never claimed to. The material I studied was the work of hundreds of reporters, some of whom occasionally were mistaken. None of us is better than our sources, as Mr. Sauvage himself will best appreciate if he will read the article attributed to him in the New Leader, in which he is quoted:
The only version that can be considered official since November 23 states that the description of Oswald was transmitted to police cars after Roy Truly, head of the Depository, had noticed - and had informed one of the detectives - that the employee seen in the second-floor lunchroom a few minutes after the attack had disappeared. Buchanan mentions this version elsewhere in charging against his windmill, but without stopping and without telling us why he does not pause there. To me, the Truly explanation appears completely plausible, and I thus have no need of Buchanans Accomplice Number 3.
Unfortunately for our poor friend K. O., Trulys explanation, which seemed plausible to him, did not seem plausible to the Commission and the very week your magazine appeared, the Presidents Commission came out with a new official version: Howard L. Brennan was an eyewitness to the shooting. Brennan described the man to the police. This description most probably led to the radio alert sent to police cars at approximately 12:45 p.m... The police never mentioned Oswalds name in the broadcast descriptions before his arrest... His absence was not noticed until at least one-half hour later... It was probably no earlier than 1:22 p.m., the time when the rifle was found.
I should be more sympathetic to K. O. Sauvage and pass discreetly over his misfortune, had he not accused me of one error I consider just a bit insulting. He insinuates that I mistook the town of Irving for a private residence. I did not. That mistake was made by one of my translators. It will not be found in the Italian, German, Dutch, or any of the other simultaneous editions of the series. I need scarcely add that the unfortunate young man who made this blunder is no longer working at LExpress; there are some limits, even to the patience of Françoise Giroud.
We are now better placed to analyze official findings, since they have been irretrievably committed to official paper and cannot be modified and shifted to meet each new criticism. I suggest the theory of the lone assassin rests upon a series of official speculations appearing in the Warren Report, variously labeled probable or possible or sometimes just conceivable. Here are some of the most important:
Speculation: Two bullets probably caused all the wounds suffered by President Kennedy and Governor Connally... One shot passed through the Presidents neck and then most probably passed through the Governors body. The alignment of the points of entry was only indicative and not conclusive that one bullet hit both men. The evidence indicated that the President was not hit until at least frame 210 and that he was probably hit by frame 225.
Fact: Refer to Commission Exhibit 893 (frame 210). Observe location of the crosshairs, showing where the President was shot. Note that a shot that passed through Kennedy at the position indicated would have struck the Governor in the lower portion of his back or hip, after first penetrating the car seat on which the Governor was sitting. Now refer to Commission Exhibit 895 (frame 225). Note that the car has turned toward the right, and that a shot fired at the point shown at the intersection of the crosshairs, after passing through the President, not only would have hit the car seat but would then have hit the Governor at the extreme left lower portion of his body or, if he were turning at that time, would have missed the Governor completely. Thus at no time between these two points could a shot have passed through Kennedy and then, while falling at an angle the Commission estimates at more than 17 degrees, traversed the Governors chest at a downward angle... and exited below the right nipple, as reported in the section dealing with the wounds. The evidence shows that two bullets hit the President, and that a third one hit the Governor of Texas.
Speculation: Eyewitness testimony... supports the conclusion that the first of the shots fired hit the President.. If the first shot did not miss, there must be an explanation for Governor Connallys recollection that he was not hit by it. There was, conceivably, a delayed reaction between the time the bullet struck him and the time he realized that he was hit.
Fact: The Commission has provided its own answer to this speculation. The remainder of the sentence I have cited totally invalidates the first part: - a delayed reaction... despite the fact that the bullet struck a glancing blow to a rib and penetrated his wrist bone. Flesh wounds can, of course, remain unnoticed for a certain time; a bone wound would produce an instant shock. The evidence shows that the shot which hit the Governor of Texas took place after Kennedy was hit.
Speculation: It was entirely possible for one shot to have been fired between Kennedys two wounds, although the gunman would have been shooting at very near the minimum allowable time to have fired the three shots within 4.8 to 5.6 seconds.
Fact: A minimum of 2. 3 seconds must elapse between shots, the report has stated. It must be remembered that this minimum is based on the best possible performance of the greatest rifle experts in the world; an ordinary shot like Oswald, barely qualifying with 191 out of 250 the last time he fired in the Marines, would take much longer. One shot in the interval between the Presidents two wounds would have to have occurred almost exactly midway in this period. On the other hand, a substantial majority of the witnesses stated that the shots were not evenly spaced. Two shots between the ones producing Kennedys two wounds would mean the speed with which one man could fire these shots had been exceeded. Testimony of the Governor of Texas indicates that he heard shots before and after he was hit. His wife confirms this. Testimony of the witness injured by the wild shot indicated he also heard shots both before and after he was hit. He cannot have been struck by any fragment of the bullet that hit Connally, since it was found intact. The evidence shows there were four or more shots, two of which were fired between the ones by which the President was wounded.
Speculation: Based on the known facts of the assassination, the Marine marksmanship experts, Major Anderson and Sergeant Zahm, concurred in the opinion that Oswald had the capability to fire three shots, with two hits, within 4.8 to 5.6 seconds. On the basis of Oswalds training and the accuracy of the weapon as established by the tests, the Commission concluded that Oswald was capable of accomplishing the second hit even if there was an intervening shot which missed.
Fact: The Report states that six expert riflemen attempted to repeat the feat of the assassin. It appears that they fired at a stationary target, not one that was moving; the report, however, is ambiguous on this point. Three marksmen, rated as master by the National Rifle Association, each fired two series of three shots. In the first series the firers required time spans of 4.6, 6.75 and 8.25 seconds respectively. On the second series they required 5.15, 6.45 and 7 seconds. Subsequently, three FBI firearms experts tested the rifle in order to determine the speed with which it could be fired. The purpose of this experiment was not to test the rifle under conditions which prevailed at the time of the assassination but to determine the maximum speed at which it could be fired. The three FBI experts each fired three shots from the weapon at 15 yards in 6, 7, and 9 seconds. The evidence shows that in 7 cases out of 9, these experts took longer than the maximum time which has been attributed to Oswald; that their average for three shots was 6.75 seconds and they would, accordingly, have needed three more seconds to have fired a fourth shot.
Speculation: Constable Deputy Sheriff Weitzman, who only saw the rifle and did not handle it, thought the weapon looked like a 7.65 Mauser bolt-action rifle. After review of standard reference works and markings on the rifle, it was identified by the FBI as a 6.5 millimeter model 91/38 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. (District Attorney Henry Wade) repeated the error that the murder weapon had been a Mauser.
Fact: The Commission notes the murder weapon is inscribed with various markings, including MADE ITALY, CAL. 6.5, etc. No consultation of the standard reference works was required to exclude the possibility that it was (a) a Mauser, which is German-made, or (b) a caliber other than 6.5. The error which has been attributed to Weitzman, therefore, could have gone no farther. It would necessarily have been corrected minutes later at the first inspection of the rifle. The report states, The rifle was identified by Captain Fritz and Lieutenant Day, who were the first to actually handle it. The evidence shows that the statement of District Attorney Wade was made after this first inspection of the rifle by the chief of homicide, a man who certainly can read the writing on a weapon.
The authorities in Dallas have informed us solemnly that Kennedy was murdered by a Mauser. The men who made this first statement did so after an examination of the weapon. I believe them. They informed us later that the President was killed by a Carcano. I believe that, also. I am forced to conclude that there were two weapons. I deduce that there were two assassins.
That, Mr. Sauvage, is mathematics.