JFK’s physician: ‘…others besides Oswald must have participated’

“… his client, Dr. Burkley … had never been interviewed and … he has information in the Kennedy assassination indicating that others besides Oswald must have participated.”

— From a conversation with the lawyer for Dr. George Burkley, JFK’s personal White House physician, who signed the death certificate and was the only doctor present both at Parkland Hospital in Dallas and at the Bethesda autopsy.

Richard Sprague, the House Select Committee on Assassinations’ Chief Counsel, wrote this memo to file after being contacted by Burkley’s lawyer about his client’s desire for an interview. Sprague, whose refusal to sign secrecy oaths with the CIA was causing unhappiness in Washington, was forced to resign days later.

Five months afterward, Burkley received one brief HSCA telephone contact, but was never asked why “others besides Oswald must have participated.”

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17 comments

  1. John Kirsch says:

    Wow. Do we know any more about what Burkley based his contention on? Did he just fade into obscurity after Sprague was forced out? I assume Sprague returned to private practice in Philadelphia and kept a low profile? Astonishing.

    • Brian LeCloux says:

      In his 1967 oral history with William McHugh, Burkley said he “supervised the autopsy”.
      Then later when he’s asked whether he agrees with the Warren Commission on the number of bullets that entered the body he says:
      “I would not care to be quoted on that.”
      It was Burkley who reported on the Certificate of Death that the president had a wound “in the posterior back at the level of the third thoracic vertebra.”
      Harold Weisberg asserted, in his Post Mortem, that had the Commission “put this certificate in its record, it could not have written the Report…”

      • Mball says:

        It seems to be the smaller things that give it up: Burkley’s comment to his attorney; Jack Ruby correcting Henry Wade about Oswald’s affiliation with the FPCC – how did Ruby know that without knowing Oswald or knowing about him?

  2. And that is why anyone who says the JFK assassination has been “investigated” by the government is full of bull. The Warren Commission farce as well as the HSCA were both cover ups designed to absolve the the government, LBJ, CIA, military of participation as well as the outside “shadow government” in the JFK assassination.

    There are a 100 or perhaps a 1,000 other examples similar to the case of Dr. George Burkley. Just one would be the FBI and the Warren Report intentionally ignoring the autopsy report of FBI agents James Sibert and Francis O’Neil. Anything pointing towards “conspiracy” or multiple shooters was verboten because the murderers of JFK were running the non-investigation into his death.

    Clark Panel corrupted, too. Rockefeller Commission corrupted as well. There have been NO government investigations into the death of John Kennedy; only a series of purposeful cover ups designed to protect the murderers of JFK.

    • Bill Pierce says:

      >>the murderers of JFK were running the non-investigation into his death.<>only a series of purposeful cover ups designed to protect the murderers of JFK.<<

      Robert: I realize that I'm quoting you out of context, but your quotes are too ruthless, in my opinion. The cover-up has been monolithic. But, not all of the participants had sinister motives. Moyers, Katzenbach, RFK, Burkley, NYT, WaPo, Warren, Specter, and thousands of others were not 'protecting the murderers', in the usual sense.

      They were protecting the image of the United States. And some of them thought they were preventing "a war that could kill forty million people."

      In those days, anyone seriously suggesting that the president's assassination originated with CIA, military, LBJ, the mafia (with its CIA connections) or FBI (with its probable Oswald-informant connection) would have been committing political suicide. Revealing all of the skeletons in the MIC closets might have caused military/civilian insurrection. Or worse. An honest investigation of any of America's revered institutions was off the table. And still is.

      It is certain, in my opinion, that the assassination and the cover-up were distinctly different ventures. Putting them together as an all-encompassing evil is one of the reasons that conspiracists are not taken seriously.

      • No. The murderers of JFK – LBJ, Hoover, CIA – were running the non-investigation into his death. Lyndon Johnson was at the epicenter of the JFK assassination, as were military intelligence (Gen. Ed Lansdale) and CIA operatives. Hoover was either completely in on it or became an immediate accessory after the fact to the murder of John Kennedy.

        When you bring in Moyers, Katzenbach & Burkley you are setting up straw men. RFK, who believe in a conspiracy from the get-go, was an accessory after the fact to the murder of his own brother because as Attorney General he did absolutely NOTHING to hold the murderers of his brother accountable. RFK supported the Warren Report when it came out although he did not believe a lick of it.

        • Please read what Martin Schotz has to say about the behavior of Robert Kennedy post JFK assassination. My sentiments exactly.

          http://www.acorn.net/jfkplace/09/fp.back_issues/27th_Issue/schotz.html

          “When I have tried to point out to people that Robert F. Kennedy, in cooperating with the cover-up, became in every sense of the word an accessory after the fact in his own brother’s murder, there has generally been an instant recoil. But I want to tell you., that this is not an opinion; this is just a fact. There is no way we can deny this, if we think about it. I’m not talking about why he became an accessory, but the fact that he did is absolutely undeniable. Robert F. Kennedy had a legal sworn obligation to seek out the assassins, and in failing to do so he joined the criminal act of conspiracy with the criminal act of cover-up and sealed the deal. And don’t let anyone tell you that it was because he couldn’t put two words together after his brother was murdered. I have seen his correspondence with Ray Marcus. And if it were some kind of personal emotional reaction, how is it that none of the people surrounding Robert Kennedy could utter the obvious truth of the assassination? No, Robert Kennedy’s cooperation, agonizing and humiliating as it must have been for him, was dictated by political considerations, which led him away from his legal and moral obligation to tell the American people what he knew.”

        • JSA says:

          I think Robert Kennedy was stuck in a difficult position, as Talbot’s book, “Brothers” describes. He immediately lost all power on November 22, 1963. He didn’t have all of the facts, just suspicions. I suppose he could have spoken out, and committed political suicide, but perhaps if he had done so he would have been killed even earlier than 1968. Or maybe he WAS targeted and had no chance of a political future beyond the Senate.

          Actually, given how he was murdered, and since he probably didn’t have a chance of running for president without being assassinated, he should have spoken out publicly about his suspicions regarding his brother’s murder. In a sense, he had nothing to lose at that point.

      • Alan Dale says:

        I agree with you 100%, Bill. The attempts by some to connect virtually all of the people who were not assassinated in Dealey Plaza on that tragic day in one monolithic unified conspiracy are not persuasive and do not withstand serious scrutiny; nor does that kind of model do anything to further our understanding.

        But if our objective is to delve as deeply as we can so that we may have greater awareness and deeper understanding of the events that are subjected to our interpretations, we must have the courage and willingness to examine the context of these events in relation to the history which was being created during that time.

        I believe the truth is that the Attorney General was not immobilized by his incalculable grief. If anything, we see evidence that he was thoroughly engaged in actions designed to protect President Kennedy from being subjected to judgement, or scrutiny, by either his successor or the American public. There are reasons why Robert Kennedy was concerned about revelations pertaining to how and why his brother was killed (which includes receiving reports from presidential physician, Admiral Burkley at various stages during President Kennedy’s autopsy at Bethesda). One of the Attorney General’s actions was to suggest that former DCI, Allen Dulles would come out of retirement to sit upon the president’s commission. There were many others.

        The crushing stages of grief experienced by Robert Kennedy are well documented. What emerges through careful and meticulous study of his days and years following President Kennedy’s assassination, is a picture of the tragic and painful existential weariness that is survivor’s guilt. In my opinion, he thought, and would have preferred, that they would have gotten him instead of his brother.

        American foreign and domestic policy in the early 1960′s included elements that were strange bedfellows from any perspective. The forces that conspired against President Kennedy were inhabitants of a dark realm to which Robert Kennedy was only ever a visitor.

        And I believe he recognized that from the beginning.

        • “One of the Attorney General’s actions was to suggest that former DCI, Allen Dulles would come out of retirement to sit upon the president’s commission.”

          Prove it; document/source it. And using Lyndon Johnson, a man who hated the Kennedys with a white hot passion, as a source (as Robert Caro does) after the murder of RFK does not count.

          Document to me where Robert Kennedy requested that Allen Dulles be put on the Warren Commission. Says who? After the Kennedys fired Dulles as DCI, Robert Kennedy made sure Eleanor Dulles, the sister of Allen, was fired from the State Dept – that is how much RFK distrusted the Dulles family.

          One of the many lies that LBJ told was that RFK was the one who requested that both Allen Dulles & John J. McCloy (along with Ford the 3 prime cover up artists on the W.C.) be put on the Warren Commission.

          More likely the suggestion came from Clint Murchison, Sr. (a perp).

      • Dennis says:

        Bill Pierce,
        Hopefully you are right that the cover-up was not done to “protect the murderers.”
        But if so, why don’t the powers that be admit today that there was more than a lone gunman involved? How does continuing this pretense “protect the image of the US”? It does not.
        Similarly, if fear or war led to a cover-up, revealing the identity of the other conspirators will not cause a war today. (I think it would not have caused a war back then either.)
        You say “an honest investigation” is still “off the table.” Why in the world would you take that position? Because the US public “can’t handle the truth?” We can’t have a real democracy if the voters don’t know the truth about current events and past events.

    • Phil Gurholt says:

      If LBJ were involved in the murder and cover-up, why would he help campaign for RFK’s senatorial bid despite reportedly not liking Bobby? A Senator Kennedy would be ascending in power and be eventual presidential timber. Post LBJ, a President Robert Kennedy could conduct another investigation into his brother’s assassination. This would not be good news for anyone participating in a conspiracy for murder or a conspiracy to cover it up after the fact. Someone please respond to this.

      • Dennis says:

        Phil,
        Why would LBJ campaign for Bobby if he were involved in JFK’s murder? Campaigning for Bobby would be a good cover and would obviously be the right thing to do if LBJ knew Bobby would never actually get the nomination.

        • Phil Gurholt says:

          Dennis,
          LBJ took a big chance by helping RFK win the New York Senatorial election of 1964. Even if RFK was involved in covering-up his brother’s murder, LBJ had to worry about a future investigation by a President Robert Kennedy. LBJ helping Bobby’s campaign is a strong indication Johnson was not involved in the assassination of JFK.

  3. Michael Rush says:

    No doubt Dr. Burkely would have told the HSCA what he told Mac Kilduff at Parkland Hospital–President Kennedy was killed by a shot to his head fired from ahead of the car and striking him in the temple above his right eye. Kilduff then told the world the truth and it lived for a while that afternoon before it, too, was shot dead. And we have lived with the great lie and all of its effects for 50 years.

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  5. DR says:

    I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Burkley’s granddaughter. She told me that every year until his death, Dr. Burkley received a “visit” by government agents, presumably Secret Service.
    The obvious implication was they were keeping him “quiet”.

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