In 1963

Letters to Oswald: hoax or evidence?

On January 17, 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote to J. Lee Rankin, the general counsel of the Warren Commission, on the evidence compiled as Commission Document 295: four letters postmarked in Havana that suggested or alleged that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a contract killing undertaken by Lee Harvey Oswald under the direction of an agent for Fidel Castro named Pedro Charles.

Hoover concluded it was “some type of hoax, possibly on the part of some anti-Castro group,” since the FBI Crime Lab found that the same Remington No. 10 typewriter had been used to prepare all four letters:

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June 11, 1963: Kennedy emerges on civil rights

President Kennedy’s growth as a leader in June 1963 is a key to understanding his life and death.

As Arms Control Today documented last year, JFK’s June 10 speech at American University would influence the arms control vision all of the U.S. presidents who followed him. And as this New York Times column notes, his often-overlooked nationally televised address on June 11, 1963, signaled his evolution as a civil rights leader.

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June 10, 1963: A profile in courage with lethal consequences


President Kennedy’s speech to the graduating class of American University in Washington DC 51 years ago today represented the high point of his efforts to wind down the Cold War. His vigorous style and clear mind never had a more important goal — or more powerful enemies.

Memories of the CIA in Miami

A faithful reader sent a link to a telling new story about the CIA in Miami in the 1960s when the presence of one of the largest CIA stations in the world was an open secret — yet officially unknown.

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Memorial Day 1963: Standing where he would be buried

From historian Michael Beschloss, a glimpse of John F. Kennedy at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day 1963, one day after his last birthday.

The Washington Post reported:

“President Kennedy led the memorial observances by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. He was accompanied by his two-year-old son John Jr. who held tightly to the hand of a Secret Service agent.”

JFK was standing where he would be buried six months later.

JFK balked at Castro peace feelers, historian says

Historian David Kaiser

Historian David Kaiser

Diplomatic historian David Kaiser, the author of a new and well-reviewed book about World War II, took time out from flogging it to respond to John Simkin’s post on JFK’s Cuba policy, CIA looped in on Castro peace feelers.

Kaiser, author of The Road to Dallas, says the argument that JFK was a dove on Cuba is overdrawn. He dismisses the idea that Kennedy’s evolving Cuba policy fatally alienated the CIA.

CIA was in the loop for Castro peace feelers

Lisa Howard, ABC News

Lisa Howard, ABC News reporter

In response to Two secret memos on JFK and Cuba, John Simkin, the British historian wrote the following essay that gives valuable context to this neglected story.

Simkin writes:

“The secret negotiations that took place between the JFK administration and the Cuban government could be significant issue in the JFK assassination.

“A key figure in this was Lisa Howard.

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Two secret memos about JFK and Cuba

One of the very best JFK document researchers recently called attention to two important JFK documents from 1963. They both concern President Kennedy’s exploration of normalizing relations with Fidel Castro’s government in Cuba.

Are the memos relevant to story of JFK’s assassination ? You be the judge.

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▶ Listen: Oswald talks about Cuba (and Ed Butler listens)

From JFK Lancer, a recording of radio program broadcast by WDSU radio in New Orleans on August 20, 1963.

▶ Lee H. Oswald debates the Cuba issue with anti-communist activist Ed Butler, and anti-Castro militant Carlos Bringuier of Cuban Student Directorate (DRE)

Bringuier is an important witness, and the CIA-sponsored DRE, is significant. But recently it is Butler’s role in this debate that holds my interest. Read more

Who found Oswald’s wallet?


The story of the murder of Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit on November 22, 1963, took an unexpected twist this past year.

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Coming soon: Inside Oswald’s wallet

Seen at the crime: Dallas police officers handling Lee Oswald’s wallet

From Bill Simpich, author of the revelatory new book State Secret, comes another piece of original research into JFK’s assassination:

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April 10, 1963: Oswald tries to shoot Gen. Walker

Life Magazine, February 21, 1964

Ron Capshaw, a writer in Midlothian, Virginia, noted a year ago that 51 years ago this month, Lee Oswald fired a rifle shot at Gen. Edwin Walker, who had been cashiered from the Army for proselytizing to his troops with his right-wing, white supremacist politics.

Capshaw, a contributor to National Review, The Washington Times, and The New York Post, argues this incident on April 10, 1963, points toward Oswald’s sole guilt as the assassin of President Kennedy seven months later. I disagree with Capshaw’s interpretation but agree the Walker incident is important.

Capshaw writes: Read more

Castro predicted Cuba would be blamed for JFK’s assassination

“Now,” Fidel said, “they will have to find the assassin quickly, but very quickly, otherwise, you watch and see, I know them, they will try to put the blame on us for this thing.”

The story comes from “When Castro Heard the News,” by French journalist Jean Daniel writing in The New Republic, Dec. 7, 1963.

Castro was right.

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During the missile crisis, Jackie Kennedy refused to leave JFK’s side

As the United States lurched towards war over Soviet missiles in Cuba in October 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy refused the suggestion that she leave her husband in the White House and move to a safer location.

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Tour the White House with Jackie Kennedy

On Feb. 14, 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy took CBS News and a national television audience on a tour of the newly remodeled White House.
Let’s tag along.