PSC404, Spring 2001
Answers to Assignment 4
Warren Report Chaps. VI, VII; App. VIII, IX
Read: Warren Commission Report Chapters VI, VII; Appendices VIII, IX..
1. What relations did Lee Harvey Oswald have with the Communist Party, U.S.A.? Subscribed to The Worker and corresponded with the Party. Was he an actual member? No record of membership, but Silvia Duran of Cuban Embassy claimed he was a member. How can conflicts on this point be resolved? Duran was most likely mistaken, confused by the various papers he presented to her.
2. Many people have speculated that if Oswald killed JFK, he must have hated him, and may have evidenced that feeling by associating with like-minded extreme right-wing groups in Dallas. How closely did Oswald associate with these groups? Not closely. He attended an occasional meeting or rally, but that appears to be all.
3. Oswald’s possible trip to Mexico City in September/October 1963 has been the object of much discussion, with many people denying that he ever went there. How solidly did the Warren Commission establish (a) that Oswald traveled to Mexico City, and (b) the dates of this trip? Cite the evidence that the Commission found. (a) Told Marina; witnesses on bus to/from Mexico, at Cuban and Russian Embassies, at restaurant near hotel, in hotel; application for Cuban visa; paper from Silvia Duran. (b) Dates supplied by Mexican Immigration Service shortly after assassination.
4. What does Oswald’s frequent use of P.O. boxes and aliases imply about his involvement in a conspiracy? Nothing really, except that he was an unusually private individual.
5. Recount briefly the Sylvia Odio incident. What does it suggest about Oswald and possible conspiracy? Odio claimed that on 26 or 27 Sept. 1963, she was visited by two anti-Castro Cubans and Oswald (“Leon Oswald”). If true, this would link Oswald to anti-Castro conspiratorial activities, in direct opposition to his public pro-Castro stance. But records show Oswald was in Cuba 26 Sept–3 Oct 1963. Big puzzle.
6. How did the Commission decide that Oswald was not a secret agent of the FBI or CIA? Can you find any holes in their logic? Sworn statements of FBI and CIA. These agencies will protect their agents at all costs, including possibly lying under oath. It is considered to go with the territory.
7. How would the Oswalds’ finances bear on the matter of Lee Harvey and conspiracy? What did the Commission conclude from its investigation? Paid agents or conspirators should show evidence of extra income. No such evidence found.
8–10. Many writers have proposed that Oswald was an intelligence agent of the United States (CIA) or the Soviet Union (KGB). Briefly describe each of the following topics and comment on whether it implies anything about a possible intelligence connection for Oswald.
(a) Oswald’s speedy entry into the USSR in October 1959. Speedy but within range of normal. Implies nothing.
(b) His stated intention to give the Soviet government all his radar secrets. No real Soviet agent intending to return to U.S. would reveal publicly this kind of anti-U.S. activity.
(c) His attempted suicide in his Moscow hotel room. Obviously was not Soviet agent by then.
(d) Bringing a Russian wife to the United States, especially when she hardly spoke English. Would draw too much attention and hinder movements too much to imagine him being Soviet agent.
(e) The extra money given him in Minsk by the Soviet Red Cross. Consistent with him being agent-in-training. But similar money given to other foreigners. Payments stopped when they applied to leave.
(f) The level of his job in Minsk. Awfully low for important agent.
(g) His ownership of a rifle in the USSR and his membership in a hunting club. Quite normal. Implies nothing.
(h) His and his wife’s unauthorized travel from Minsk to Moscow in July 1961. Mild penalties for this sort of thing; implies little or nothing.
(i) The ease of his departure from the Soviet Union. Could be consistent with Soviet agent. But normal processing time for exit visas.
Back to Assignments and
Back to PSC404 Spring 2001
Back to JFK Home Page