From October 18, 1939

I know what I want to be and how I’m going to do it.”

    The goal of this book is to examine Oswald’s own words to learn what was going on in his mind. If we can understand the man, we can then decide for ourselves whether and why he might have killed President John F. Kennedy.
Lee Harvey Oswald was born October 18, 1939, in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, an Insurance salesman, died two months before he was born. His mother, Marguerite, had borne a son (John Pic) by her first husband, and another son, (Robert) by Lee’s father. After Mr. Oswald died, she had to work and tried to put all three boys in an orphanage. They would not accept Lee until he was three years old, so she entered the two older boys. When Lee was three, he was placed In the orphanage for 13 months until Marguerite took him out to live with her. She soon married her third husband, and although her older two boys remained in the orphanage much of the time, Lee was kept with his mother and new stepfather.
A lively child, Lee gained the attention of children by telling them what to do, fighting, and by clowning around. On April 5, 1945, he was taken to Dallas’ Parkland Hospital emergency room. This hospital later moved from its quarters in the Oak Lawn area to Harry Hines Boulevard where John Kennedy, Lee Oswald and Jack Ruby all died in later years. Lee had gotten in a fight with a child who threw a rock at him, wounding his left eye. He was treated with ice packs to the eye and released.
World events of earth-shaking significance occurred during Lee’s early years. When he was 5 years old, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan to end World War II.
When Lee was 6, England’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a speech in America saying that the peaceful collaboration of Western Allies and the Soviet Union had ended. An “Iron curtain” had been imposed upon Europe by the U.S.S.R. Following this, leery of communism, President Truman ordered loyalty checks to be made on government personnel. Gradually, the investigation of people with Communist backgrounds expanded.
When Lee was 8, the Communist Party of the U.S.A. (CPUSA) was responding angrily to the fascist Nazi regime. During World War II, communists had participated in the French Resistance fighting the Germans. Some responders were American Communist leaders such as William Z. Foster, Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, names which would be among Oswald’s writings in later years. The CPUSA attracted many intellectuals to its ranks during that time.
During Oswald’s youth, the U.S. continued to test nuclear weapons and when he was 10, the Soviet Union began to test nuclear weapons as well. Just before his 11th birthday, 11 leaders of the U.S. Communist Party were sentenced under the Smith Act of 1940, for conspiracy to overthrow the government of the U.S. by force. They argued that “teaching” Marx-Lenin principles and “conspiracy to overthrow” were quite different and that their conviction violated the First Amendment granting freedom of speech. One of those 11 was John Gates, editor of The Daily Worker. After serving five years in prison, he was released and resumed running The Daily Worker, a periodical to which Oswald would subscribe and even apply to work for.
Lee was 11 years old when he wrote the first note to be saved in historic records. Living in Fort Worth, Texas, with his mother who had divorced her third husband, he sent some postcards to his half-brother who was serving in the Coast Guard.
Lee’s earliest cards and letters displayed the selfishness, spelling deficiencies, and demanding ways which would become some of his permanent character traits. Lee elicited money from his brother, much as his mother did in letters to her sons and others. These cards were probably written by Lee at the urging of his mother because they show little real interest in his half-brother.
It was early in 1950 when Lee wrote his half-brother John Pic. “Dear John, Would you send me a letter telling all about yourself and icebergs and things like that Will you send me $1.50. Lee P.S. send me some sougniers (souvenirs).”
On August 28, 1950, Lee wrote John Pic again saying, “Dear John, All I have to say is get me some ($1.50) money. P.S. I want ($1 .50).Lee
The same year in December, Lee wrote John a third time. “Dear Pic, I sure am sorry that
you can’t come hom for Christmas. I’m sending you this Fruit Cake. Mary Christmas from Lee”
As he entered teen years, Marguerite felt increasingly unable to control Lee because he skipped school while she was away at work. Looking for help, she moved with Lee to New York City in 1952, to live with her oldest son, John Pic, and his family.
By this time, the U.S. was involved in the Korean War. President Truman had increased the draft to supply forces to the UN Korean command to oppose Soviet-supported North Korean forces. Congress had passed the McCarran Act, over Truman’s veto, an act which required Communists to register and forbade entry to the U.S. by any person from a totalitarian regime. Harry Gold, Morton Sobell, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg had been arrested for releasing atomic information to the Soviet Union. Gold and Sobell were sent to prison. Sobell’s name would appear later in Oswald’s writings.
In New York City where Lee lived with his older stepbrother, the Rosenbergs were sentenced to execution. Their defense was funded and publicized heavily in New York City by the Communist Party, but they were executed on June 19, 1953. Two months before their execution, the Communist Party was ordered by the U.S. government to register as an organization that was controlled by the Soviet Union.
Some years later, after his defection to Russia, Lee told reporters of being handed a flyer about the trial and defense of the Rosenbergs when he lived In New York. It was a pro-communist pamphlet appealing for clemency for the Rosenbergs and he claimed it was his first personal knowledge of the Communist Party.
At this time, Dwight D. Eisenhower was President. Senator Joseph McCarthy’s investigations of Communists was destroying careers and creating book bans in libraries. An avid reader and television watcher, Lee Oswald was probably aware of these highly publicized events and their intensity was likely greater in New York.
Shortly after arriving in his half-brother’s home in New York City, Lee fought with John’s wife over the television. When she objected to him watching only his programs on television, he pulled out a pocket knife and threatened to hurt her if she got in his way. After this, he and his mother were asked to leave and they moved into another apartment.
In their own apartment, while Marguerite worked, Lee often skipped school and was soon caught and put on probation for truancy. The court requested a psychiatric evaluation at Youth House in New York City. This evaluation required Lee to remain in the institution from April 16, 1953, until May 7, 1953. The team of psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers recommended treatment for 13 year old Lee and counseling for his mother.
In defiance of this recommendation, Marguerite took Lee back to New Orleans In 1954 where her sister lived. There, Lee worked as a clerk in a shoe store while attending Beauregard Junior High School. He had trouble fitting in socially at school and seemed to live for the moment when he was old enough to enter the Marine Corps. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his other brother, Robert, a Marine sergeant. With Robert, he sometimes went hunting, and often played like a Marine wearing his brother’s hat and playing with guns.
In 1954, the era of Senator Joseph McCarthy and anti-communism, the Senate voted to make being a communist a crime. This denied communists the rights and privileges enjoyed by ordinary citizens. Pamphlets for and against communism were rife in large cities like New York City, New Orleans, Ft. Worth and Dallas, Texas, and across much of the country. One of the issues embraced in pro-communist literature was the need for racial integration. Oswald’s later writings protested segregation and argued for integration.
In May, 1954, the Supreme Court ordered lower courts to use all deliberate speed in admitting Negro children to public schools. In the deep south, states like Texas met the decision with great hostility and fought integration for several years.
It was a time in which many young persons, exerting their independence from parents and the establishment, were intrigued by the altruistic philosophy of communism. Lee’s interest was probably thought of by his mother and others as young boys feeling their oats. However, a boy without a father to hold him in check and a mother fearful of the size and strength of her son could lose control of her child.
Lee’s brother, Robert, and half-brother, John Pic, were far away and too uninvolved with his life to supply effective male models of good behaviour. He gradually became more alienated from others. Because he attended school utile and criticized authorities openly, he was seen as a bad influence on youngsters by their parents. He became more openly hostile toward others as his provocative behaviour caused them to avoid him.
Lee’s open contempt for others was well-entrenched. In a note In 1954 for a ninth grade boy’s autograph book, he wrote, “Roses are red, Violites ar blue, People like you, Should be in a zoo. Lee Oswald”
On June 2, 1955, Lee completed a New Orleans Personal History form for the tenth grade. In a question about friends, he wrote in two names which he erased, and completed the form by indicating that he had no close friends at school. His tendency to be a loner was gaining strength. On this form, he listed himself as a Lutheran even though he and his mother never attended church.
He also wrote that he was 135 lbs., 5’5” and that his father was dead. He wrote that his mother was a store manager and that he had worked selling shoes for ten weeks under M. Goodman, a name which would turn up in later years as a false reference. Lee wrote that he liked “Civics, science, math”, but liked least “English, art”. He wrote that he enjoyed “reading and outdoor sports”
, especially “football”. His present vocational choice was “Biology and Michanic drawing”. He considered his health good but noted an “abnormal eardrum in the left ear”. He wrote that after high school, he planned on “Military service and undecided.
About this time, Lee told a boy that he wanted to steal a gun that he saw in a store. The boy was shown the store and warned Lee that his attempt might trigger an alarm. Lee desisted then and apparently never attempted to steal the gun.
On October 7, 1955, Lee was nearly 16 and in the tenth grade at Warren Easton High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. He forged his mother’s name on a note to obtain papers to apply for the Marine Corps. He wrote, “To Whom it may concern: Because we are moving to San Diego in the middle of this month, Lee must quit school now. Also please send by him any papers such as his birth certificate that you may have. Thank you. Sincirely, Mrs. M. Oswald.” Lee used lies readily to get what he wanted by this time.
Oswald left school October 10, 1955, and tried to enlist in the Marines but his true age was discovered. He begged his mother to, help him lie about his age. She had lied about son John’s age so he could enter the Coast Guard early. Marguerite met with a lawyer about this but he refused to cooperate in the subterfuge. Lee was forced to wait until he was 17 to enlist but his mother’s readiness to lie for him probably encouraged his willingness to lie.
Lee continued school and worked part-time in New Orleans as a messenger and clerk. Anxious to get involved in the military, he attended a few Civil Air Patrol meetings. However a new interest in communism and socialism was taking much of his time and diminished his enthusiasm for the paramilitary Civil Air Patrol.
Communists were in the news in March, 1956, when the Internal Revenue Service closed down the Communist newspaper (The Daily Worker) for non-payment of taxes. John Gates, the editor, made a partial payment which allowed the paper to resume publication.
Premier Nikita Khrushchev had delivered a secret talk to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party a month earlier. This talk revealed Stalin’s terrible crimes and was not supposed to be available to other countries. However, the speech leaked out in June. John Gates printed the entire text of the smuggled speech in The Daily Worker. The result of this was that many people who had been involved in the Communist Party of the United States for idealistic reasons left the Party. The Communist Party of the United States had boasted some 100,000 members at the end of World War II and now, even with the Young Communist League, was down to some 20,000 members.
Lee and his mother moved back to Ft. Worth, Texas, on July 1, 1956, to be near Robert, her middle son. Lee idolized Robert, who settled in Ft. Worth after discharge from the Marines. Lee avidly studied Robert’s Marine Corps manual. He continued school and entered the Ft. Worth High School on September 6th, 1956.
As he approached his seventeenth birthday, Lee dropped out of the tenth grade on September 28, 1956, to join the Marines. Despite his growing alienation, he may have welcomed the service to escape his self-pitying and domineering mother, just as his two older brothers admitted they had done. Perhaps Lee chose the Marines because Robert spoke highly of the Corps, or perhaps he wanted to feel superior by being accepted into the “best” branch of the military.
Judging by a letter written five days after he dropped out of school, he was divided in his loyalties to his own country. School and work mates later testified that he often criticized President Eisenhower, capitalism and American ideals. He even told some boys he was looking for a communist cell to join. He undoubtedly attracted attention for his radical beliefs. He must have been torn between his wish to be a Marine and his contradictory communist/socialist leanings. Some of these feelings were illustrated by the letter he wrote to the American Socialist Party only three weeks before he entered the Marine Corps.

“Dear Sirs: I am sixteen years of age and would like more information about your youth Lague. I would like to know if there is a branch in my area, how to join, ect., I am a Marxist, and have been studying socialist principles for well over fifteen months I am very interested in you YPSL.
{Young Peoples Socialist League) Sincerely, Lee Oswald”
This was a time of world conflict which was in the news daily. The Hungarian revolution made headlines as an uprising under the leadership of Imre Nagy who opposed the Russian occupation of his country. On October23, 1956, Hungarian mobs marched upon the capital In Budapest, and encited the wrath of the U.S.S.R. who sent in tanks and troops within days. World opinion was with the Hungarian rebels but the Allies did not step in to help and although many escaped to other countries, Hungary was quickly taken over by Soviet troops.
Despite his internal struggle, Lee’s wish to be a Marine won out and he enlisted. On military forms, he omitted listing his part-time jobs. For some unknown reason, he lied writing that John Pie, the brother in New York, instead of Robert, lived next door to him.
On October 24, 1956, Lee completed a U.S.M.C. Medical History form. He wrote, “I am in good health”. He acknowledged that he had had “running ears”, and a “msteroid” operation in 1945. He stated that his usual occupation was “student”. He also completed forms to designate his mother as his beneficiary should he be killed.
On October 24, 1956, Oswald wrote in “three years” on the enlistment contract he signed for the U.S. Marine Corps. The next day, his information and index forms were completed by the military and signed by Oswald. They showed his picture against a height scale measuring 5’9”. He entered service October 26, 1956, and was trained as an aviation electronics operator. During his tour of duty, he served in San Diego and Camp Pendleton, California; NATTC, Jacksonville, Florida; Kessler Air Force Base, Mississippi; the fleet Marines overseas in the Pacific; and El Toro, California.
Upon entrance, he completed military aptitude tests in four major areas of ability. His overall score was 103, slightly below the military average of 107.
In November, 1956, the American public re-elected Dwight D. Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson. The following month, Fidel Castro (who had just been released from prison after serving a sentence for revolutionary activities) landed with a small group of guerrillas in Cuba to overthrow the government of dictator Batista.
Lee Oswald found himself in the military serving under the ultimate command of a President whom he had already criticized for several years. Almost from the beginning, Lee resented Marine authorities. He disliked being told what to do and hated being evaluated by others. He reacted by violating rules. He bought an unauthorized gun which was discovered when he accidentally shot himself in the elbow. He was assigned to three months of kitchen patrol (K.P.) duty for this. Angry at this punishment, he argued about it with his sergeant in a bar. He spilled a drink on the non-commissioned officer and then invited him outside for a fist fight. For this and the possession of an unauthorized weapon, he received two courts martial, a demotion from E-3 to E-2 and served a month in the brig. His request to continue service in Japan, a place he liked according to Marines who later testified, was rejected.
The United States was receiving bad press world-wide because they had to send federal troops to ensure the enrollment of Negro students at a Little Rock, Arkansas, high school in September, 1957. The federal troops were under the command of Major General Edwin Walker. Walker became a target of Oswald’s criticism later in 1963.
Russia was enjoying good press because on October 4, 1957, the first satellite, called Sputnik, was launched into orbit around the earth. The next month, they sent up another satellite carrying a dog. The world and America, accustomed to thinking of the U.S. as superior in technology, were amazed. Critics of American schools decried the lack of discipline in the study of scientific subjects in American schools.
In January, 1958, because of lack of funds, the Communist Party could no longer publish a daily newspaper and was forced to become a weekly. It was retitled from The Daily Worker to The Worker. In the minds of many, the Communist Party of the U.S.A. had ceased to exist. When John Gates was editor of The Daily Worker, they had published criticisms of the shortcomings of the Soviet Union when necessary. The Worker was now under the leadership of William Z. Foster, Ben Davis, and Gene Dennis. The Worker and the Communist Party of the U.S.A. began taking their cues from the Soviet Union and rejected every criticism of the Soviet Union.
Also in January, the United States entered the space exploration race with the Soviet Union by launching their first satellite. Several more American and Soviet satellites were launched during 1958. At the end of the year, Premier Khrushchev announced that the Soviet Union planned to turn over East Berlin to the East German government which implied that West Berlin would become a blockaded city.
Dispirited with his Marine service, Lee became more insolent, less industrious, and openly read and discussed Marxism, socialism, communism and pro-Castro sentiments with some servicemen.
The U.S. government had dissociated itself from the corrupt and brutal Batista regime in Cuba during March of 1958 and quickly extended diplomatic recognition to Cuba under Castro. In April, 1959, Castro visited the United States and received much support despite his executions of Batista supporters. However, it shortly became clear that Communists were firmly entrenched in Cuba and this recognition was withdrawn. As a pressure on Castro to change his stance, the U.S. government Imposed a sugar embargo on Cuba. This was undermmed by the Soviets when they quickly offered to buy all the sugar Cuba wanted to sell.
Lee openly studied Russian from books and became known as a quirky individual and a loner. After studying Russian for some weeks, he requested a U.S.M.C. language test on February 25,1959, to gauge his learning. Even though he scored poorly, getting only two more questions right than wrong, he was not dissuaded.
Lee began to form a plan to go to Russia. To facilitate getting a passport, he applied to the Albert Schweitzer College in Churwalden, Switzerland, on December 22, 1958. He probably assumed that if he was accepted by a European college, getting a passport to Europe would be no problem. On this form, dated March 4, 1959, he presented himself In the best possible light by overstating his qualifications and his height.

(Asterisks indicate known lies on this form.)

I WISH TO ATTEND: spring course begins April 12, 1960
FULL NAME: Lee H. Oswald
PERMANENT ADDRESS: MCAF, MACS-9 Santa Anna, California
DATE OF BIRTH: 10/18/39 LAND OF BIRTH: America
*HEIGHT: 5/11” (Height with boots?} WEIGHT: 160
NAME OF PARENT: Mrs. M. Oswald
ADDRESS:313Templeton Dr., Ft. Worth, Texas
*HIGH SCHOOL: Completed high school by correspondence
*DATES: Jan 58”
*AVERAGE GRADE: 85, passing 65 on scale of 100.
= B+
COLLEGE: None TYPE OF CURRICULUM: Science, English, Woodworking, Civics, Mechincal Drawing, art, Math (in H.S.)
SPECIAL INTERESTS: Philosophy, Psychology, Ideology, Football,
baseball, tennis, Stamp collecting
EXTENT AND NATURE OF PRIVATE READING: Jack London, Darwin, Normal V. Peale, Sciencetific books, Philosophy ect.
*ACTIVE PART TAKEN IN ORGANIZATIONS: Student body movement in school for controll of Juvenile Delinquency. Member YMCA and AYA associations
VOCATIONAL INTERESTS, IF DECIDED UPON: To be a short story writer on contemporary American life
REASONS FOR WISHING TO ATTEND: In order to aquire a fuller understanding of that subject which interest me most, Philosophy. To meet with Europeans who can broaden my scope of understanding. To recive formal Education by Instructers of high standing and character. To broaden my knowledge of German and to live in a healty climate and Good Moral atmosphere.
*PLANS TO BE PURSUED AFTER COLLEGE: To attent the short summer course of the University of Turku., Turku, Finland. Then to return to America arid pursue my chosen vocation.
*FAMILIARITY WITH FOREIGN LANGUAGES: Russian (equal in fulency to about one years education or schooling. I do speak a very little German.
REFERENCES: Mr. A. Botelho, MCAF, MACS-9, Santa Anna, Calif. Mr. R. Calore, MCAFMACS-9, Santa Anna, Calif.

      Oswald wanted to sound intelligent and courted the school with praise saying he wanted to live in a “good moral atmosphere”. He lied about his education since he did not complete high school equivalency testing until three weeks later, on March 23, 1959, when he passed with an average score of 77. Also, even though he stated he was in an organization to control juvenile delinquency, outside of his own psychiatric evaluation and probation for truancy, he was in none.
In “Plans to be pursued”, he mentioned plans to go to Finland because It was easier to get a Soviet visa In Finland. He may have wanted evidence of college acceptance in case he needed it for travel papers, so he asked to send a deposit with this next college form on March 19,


NAME: Oswald, Lee Harvey AGE: 20
*OTHER LANGUAGES: Russian (equal in fluency to 1 year of schooling)
ADDRESS: MCAF, MACS-9, Santa Anna, Ca1ifornia, U.S.A.
REMARKS: Please inform me of the amount of the deposit (If required) So I can forward it and confirm my reservation, and show my sincerity of purpose. Thank you."
Lee H. Oswald

      Lee wrote his brother in the spring and vaguely alluded to future plans. Perhaps he did not want to discuss plans to which his brother might object.
“Dear Robert, Well, I just got back off a short manuver to camp Pendleton.. The C Rations are still still lousy, in case you’ve forgotten. How Is the baby and How is Vida? [Robert’s
wife, Vada] Well, pretty soon I’ll be getting out of the corp and I know what I want to be and how Im going to do it, which I guess is the more important thing in life. I know I haven’t written in along time please excuse me. Well, their really isn’t too much news here, but I would like to hear from you and the family. Write soon. Your brother. Lee
Having never applied for a passport, Oswald may have thought he needed to demonstrate a good reason to go to Europe, such as for his education. With documentation from this Swiss college, he may have reasoned that he could get clearance to travel in other European countries. So on June 19, 1959, he sent his registration fee to the college along with the following comments.

“Enclosed please find the registration fee of twenty five dollars which I understand is to be placed toward my normal college fees and expenses. I am very glad to have been excepted for the third term of your college next year and am looking forward to a fine stay. Any more information on the school or even the students who will attend next year would be appreciated. Thank you.”

      In July, 1959, Vice President Nixon visited Russia and had a much publicized kitchen debate with Khrushchev in an American model home center, in which Nixon acquitted himself well against the Russian premier.
In August, 1959, a fortuitous event occurred for Lee. He learned that his mother was unable to work because a jar had fallen on her nose. She wrote asking him for financial help. He had applied for a school term in April, 1960, but here was an opportunity to speed up his plans. Knowing that his mother had lied for him in the past, he told her what to do and say to obtain an early “hardship” discharge.

“Dear Mother Recived your letter and was very unahppy to hear of your troubles, I contacted the Red Cross on the base here, and told them about it. They will send someone out to the house to see you, when they do please tell them everything they want to know, as I am trying to secure an Early (hardship) discharge, in order to help you. such a discharge is only rarely given, but if they know you are unable to support yourself than they will release me from the U.S.M.C. and I will be able to come home and help you. The Red Cross cannot give you funds of any kind they can only give you me. and only If you make to right impresstion on them. Only if they know you cannot and are no reciving help from any other kin, and only if they know you are in dire need now! please tell them I will be able to secure a good job, as this is important, also send me the names of some actual business’s that I may write Them and get an acceptace letter. This last point is not required but it would help my case for a hardship discharge if and when I bring it before my commanding office. Just inform them I have been your only source of income. Lee”

On August 17, 1959, Oswald sent a request for an early dependency discharge to his commanding general. He stated that he needed to support his mother, and he said that no other members of his family could assist her.
Assured by his superiors that he would soon be discharged, he completed an application for a passport in Los Angeles, California, on September 4, 1959. So intent was he upon leaving the U.S. for Russia that on the application he set a departure date for 2 1/2 weeks hence from the port of New Orleans.
He again tried to be “bigger” by lying about his height as he had on the college application. Among the lies on this form, he falsified an occupation (“shipping export agent”) which he probably thought would be compatible with international travel. However, he wrote that his purpose in travel was, “To attend the college of A. Schwetzer Chur Switzerland, and the Un. of Turku, Turku, Finland. To visit all other countrys as a tourist”. He wrote that he would visit, “Cuba, Dominican Republic, England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Russia” and that his proposed length of stay would be “4 months”. Perhaps this combination of a job and college plans indicated his own confusion or was a plan to qualify to travel to other countries one way or the other.

Either way, this passport application shows that he never intended to help his mother or stay in the U.S. after his discharge from the Marine Corps.
On September 11, 1959, Lee signed forms to transfer to the inactive USMC Reserves to complete the remainder of his six years of service by December 8, 1962. His superior officers were probably happy to be rid of Oswald. He was readily given an early “hardship” discharge to help his mother. He had served 45 extra days of service because of his two courts martial. He left his base and returned to Fort Worth, Texas.
On September 13th, in Fort Worth he completed a registration card for the Selective Service System while staying with his mother. He continued his desired fictitious height of 5’l1”.
Oswald visited his mother and brother for three days. During that week, Soviet Premier Khrushchev was in the U.S. for talks with President Eisenhower and his tour of the U.S. was widely publicized. As a result of their talks, Khrushchev withdrew the ultimatum on Berlin.
Lee spoke admiringly about Cuba and Castro with his brother, who argued against his pro-Castro stance. Then he left for New Orleans, Louisiana, where he had an aunt. He told his family that he was going to seek import/export work but on September 16, 1959, he completed the last step in his plan to leave the U.S., by filling out an immigration form In New Orleans. He again listed ajob compatible with travel “shipping export agent yet stated that this trip was for “pleasure”. On this form, he said nothing about college. He gave “two months” as his length of stay, perhaps thinking his money might run out by that time in case he was unsuccessful in getting into the Soviet Union.
Oswald wrote his mother from New Orleans on September 19, 1959, two days before he sailed to Europe. He wrote that he had not shared his plans with his mother because she wouldn’t understand him, but it is more likely that he wanted to avoid criticism.

“Dear Mother: Well, I have booked passage on a ship to Europe. I would of had to sooner or later and I think
its best I go now. Just remember above all else that my values are very different from Robert’s or your’s. It is difficult to tell you how I feel, Just remember this is what I must do. I did not tell you about my plans because you could harly be expected to understand. I did not see aunt Lillian while I was here. I will write against as soon as I land. Lee”
Lee disembarked at LeHavre October 8th and went to England where he could fly to Helsinki, Finland. He stayed In Helsinki hotels and visited the Soviet Consulate to obtain a visa to the U.S.S.R. He may have been surprised at his success. He completed a Soviet Entry Visa Application in Finland on October 13, 1959, and listed his occupation as “student”. He was allowed to proceed to Moscow with a five day student tourist visa.

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