«NOVEMBER 22, 1963 (Friday) 12:00 AM (Nov. 22, 1963) Nine Secret Service agents drinking at Pat Kirkwood’s bar the “Cellar Door” in Fort Worth, ...»
The files, released Thursday by the National Archives, also detail Oswald’s yearlong stay in the Soviet Union and his persistence in becoming a citizen of the USSR. “I want citizenship because I am a communist and a worker; I have lived in a decadent capitalist society where the workers are slaves.... I am willing to give up my American citizenship and assume the responsibilities of a soviet citizen,” penned Oswald in a handwritten letter to Soviet authorities. The Soviets responded by giving Oswald “temporary sojourn” in the Soviet Union, along with a job and a rent stipend. But at the end of the year, when Oswald’s visa had expired, the Central Committee still had not decided to grant Oswald citizenship. Oswald promptly attempted suicide to prove his resolve. Oswald stated that if the Supreme Soviet turned him down, he would not leave the USSR anyway, and he would keep applying until he achieved his goal. “I don’t think the Supreme Soviet would be that cruel to me,” Oswald says in one document. JFK assassination expert W.
authorities “as a last resort.” But there was no explanation of why the Soviets feared being compromised or why they would cooperate with the United States only as a last resort. Oswald, Kennedy’s accused assassin, arrived in Moscow from Finland as a tourist on Oct.
15, 1959, holding a six-day visa. He was an unknown former Marine not quite 20 years old. Yet, once he arrived, the documents show, memos about him circulated among top Soviet officials - including a deputy premier, the foreign minister and the head of the KGB spy agency. The documents reveal that the officials approved plans to permit Oswald to stay in the Soviet Union for at least a year, to give him a job and an apartment, provide him with 5,000 rubles to furnish the apartment and 700 rubles a month in spending money. Although some information about Oswald’s defection to Moscow had previously been made available to American investigators, the level of early interest shown by high Soviet officials was not generally known. State Department officials, American intelligence sources and Russian officials say they have no ready explanation for that interest. “These events took place 35 to 40 years ago,” one U.S. intelligence official said. “There aren’t many people still around, here or in Russia, who remember the details.” Lem Johns, one of the Secret Service agents guarding Kennedy’s motorcade in Dallas at the time of the assassination and later assistant Secret Service director in charge of protective operations, said he found the involvement of the foreign minister, deputy premier and KGB chief highly unusual. “People of that rank have a lot to worry about besides some kid tourist,” he said. “They might have felt he threatened them in some way for them to show that much interest. What kind of threat did he pose? Or could there have been something else?” Some conspiracy theorists suggested the “something else” might have been a plot by the Soviets to use Oswald in killing Kennedy. The Warren Commission and other U.S. agencies that have investigated the assassination said they found no evidence of Soviet involvement. But they apparently did not have access to all the Russian documents given to Clinton. University of Maryland history professor John Newman, author of “Oswald and the CIA” and a consultant on the assassination film “JFK,”called some of the Russian documents “highly significant.” Until now, he said, he and other conspiracy theorists could only speculate on Soviet conclusions. “Now we know their conclusions - that a rightwing conspiracy was responsible for the assassination, that the U.S. government wanted to consign the case to oblivion, and that the plot was designed to make it look like Oswald was employed by the KGB,” Newman said. A parallel observation on Oswald’s Soviet experience came from another conspiracy theorist, Debra Conway, who heads the JFK Lancer (his Secret Service code name) assassination research organization. “My opinion is that Oswald was there for some reason,” Conway said in a telephone interview from her headquarters in Lake Forest, Calif. “There had to be some type of program. Oswald was a low-level operative for our government - or at least he thought so.” A State Department translation of one of the Russian-language documents shows that on the day of the assassination, Nov. 22, 1963, Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin sent a top-secret coded telegram marked “highest priority” from Washington to the Kremlin. It reported that Oswald had been arrested in the assassination and publicly identified as a former defector to the Soviet Union, “where he married Marina Nikolayevna Pruskakova (b. 1941).” The Oswald’s moved to the United States in 1962, the message said. Marina Oswald applied in March, 1963, to return to the Soviet Union with their daughter, but not her husband. Dobrynin wrote that both Oswald and his wife had written Soviet officials about the request. “The last letter from Lee Oswald was dated Nov. 9,” the coded Dobrynin message said. “It is possible that the U.S. authorities may ask us to familiarize them with the correspondence in our possession. The U.S. authorities are aware of the existence of this final correspondence, since it was conducted through official mail.
Inasmuch as there is nothing that compromises us in this correspondence, we might agree to do this as a last resort (after removing our internal correspondence with the MFA).” The MFA was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Numerous documents Yeltsin turned over to Clinton at a June summit meeting detail the high-level interest shown in Oswald upon his arrival in Moscow, where he renounced his American citizenship and asked for permanent residence. When Oswald reached Moscow, top-secret reports about him were sent to such officials as Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, Deputy Premier Mikhal Porfirovich and KGB chief Aleksandr Nikolaevich Shelepin. Gromyko and Shelepin recommended to the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee: “It should be advisable to grant him the right of temporary sojourn in the USSR for one year and to provide him employment and housing. In such case, the question of Oswald’s permanent residency in the Soviet Union and his receiving Soviet citizenship could be resolved upon the expiration of that period.” The central committee approved the recommendation, granting Oswald expense money, directing “the Belorussian Economic Council to find employment for Oswald as an electrician and the Minsk City Council of Workers Deputies to assign him a separate small apartment.” Oswald later was granted permission to remain indefinitely in the Soviet Union, but he returned to the United States after three years. The 80 documents turned over by Yeltsin also included a top-secret draft resolution prepared by Gromyko for the central committee, purporting to “debunk” American press reports connecting the Soviet Union and Cuba to the assassination. The central committee approved the resolution and instructed Dobrynin to issue a terse report to American authorities “in the event they ask you about” Oswald’s activities in the Soviet Union. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev sent his deputy, Anastas Mikoyan, to represent him at Kennedy’s funeral. From Washington, Mikoyan sent a top-secret coded message to the Kremlin reporting on a private conversation with former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Llewellyn Thompson. He said Thompson told him Soviet press allegations that right-wingers were responsible for the assassination had brought American counter-assertions of “Communist and Cuban connections.” The deputy premier said he told Thompson the Soviet Union did “not want to make complications” but resented such implications when the case had not even been fully investigated. Mikoyan said the U.S. government “clearly prefers to consign the whole business to oblivion as soon as possible.”
September, 1999 This month, Judith Exner dies of cancer.n
September 12, 1999 The Soviet K.G.B. fabricated evidence linking the Central Intelligence Agency to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and passed the material to unwitting conspiracy theorists in the United States, according to a new book based on K.G.B. files brought to the West by a defector. According to the files turned over by a former K.G.B. archivist to British intelligence and detailed in a new book, Moscow’s cold war spy service took several steps designed to link the C.I.A. to the assassination.
These steps included forging a letter from Lee Harvey Oswald to a C.I.A. officer, E. Howard Hunt, asking for information “before any steps are taken by me or anyone else,” according to the new book, “The Sword and the Shield,” written by Christopher Andrew and the former K.G.B. officer, Vasily Mitrokhin. The book is to be published by Basic Books this month. The Oswald letter was supposed to have been written about two weeks before President Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, but was actually created by the K.G.B. in the mid-1970’s, after E. Howard Hunt’s name had surfaced in the Watergate investigation, according to K.G.B. files copied by Mitrokhin while he served as a K.G.B. archivist. The letter was then passed anonymously to three conspiracy buffs and entered circulation in the United States when it was picked up by one writer of self-published assassination books, the authors report. The letter led to a brief flurry of interest when a Dallas newspaper reported that a handwriting expert declared it to be genuine, but a Congressional panel that reinvestigated the Kennedy assassination in the late 1970’s later concluded that the letter was probably a forgery. The K.G.B.’s clumsy propaganda campaign never had much of an impact on the debate over the Kennedy assassination in the United States.
But the archives spirited out of Russia by Mitrokhin appear to support the long-standing assertions by C.I.A. officials that the K.G.B.