Did Oswald threaten to kill JFK?

A faithful reader offers a correction to a comment by former Warren Commission staffer Howard Willens in his recent interview with JFK Facts. Willens mentioned the oft-heard story that Lee Oswald threatened to kill President Kennedy while visiting the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City in Septembert 1963 two months before the assassination of President Kennedy.

Willens’ mistake, this reader writes, “is worth correcting for the record.”

The reader starts by quoting from the interview with Willens.

[QUOTE ON; emphasis added:]

HW: I do not know whether Cubela or any other Cuban official was a double agent, although I think the evidence does indicate that Castro was aware generally of the CIA’s interest in ending his regime and, indeed, his life. I do not think there is any credible evidence that Oswald, after being turned down at the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City, threatened that he would kill President Kennedy. Neither the consulate officer in charge at the time nor Sylvia Duran so stated to the Mexican officials who interviewed them or in later investigations of Oswald’s visit to Mexico City.

Fidel Castro, tormenter of empire

Castro made this allegation in a speech shortly after the assassination, during which among other things he offered his theory that Oswald could not have fired the three shots and that US officials should be looking for his associates who were involved in the assassination.

[QUOTE OFF; from “Interview with Howard Willens, Warren Commission defender”

The reader writes: “I think the second emphasized sentence is in error, and that it would be correct to say that “Castro referred to that visit, but made no mention of a threat, in a speech shortly after the assassination.”

What did Castro say?

Here is a verbatim transcript of Castro in that speech, on Oswald’s visit to the Cuban Consulate

[QUOTE ON; emphasis added]

Castro: “Because since our last appearance we have obtained new data here.  A report in the newspaper EXCELSIOR in Mexico states that this man had visited the Cuban Embassy (corrects himself–ed.) the Cuban Consulate and the Soviet Union Consulate to obtain a transit visa through Cuba to the Soviet Union.  We immediately checked with our consular officials.

“The newspaper version is very objective and explains how this man had walked away displeased, slamming the door, because he was not given a visa.  We asked for information and it was established that it was true that on 27 November (as heard) he appeared at our consulate in Mexico.  (corrects himself) in September.  Then, he had requested a visa.  He was told that such a visa could not be granted by a consul without authority from the Foreign Ministry. In turn, the Foreign Ministry did not issue such transit visas unless the nation of final destination did not [sic] in turn issue a visa.”


“That quotation is from is Warren Commission document 984a. (You can read it starting here.)

“That is, Castro mentioned Oswald visiting the Consulate and leaving angrily, but he did not allege (or, for that matter, deny) that there had been a threat against Kennedy.”

“I am confident that if, elsewhere in that speech or another public appearance, Castro had mentioned a threat by Oswald against Kennedy, we would know about it.”

“The only first-person reports of Castro referring to a threat are from Comer Clarke (actually from Nina Gadd) in 1967, and from [FBI Informant] SOLO ( who was actually communist party leader Jack Childs) in 1964.

“Hoover reported the Childs account to the Warren Commission, in CD 1359.   He referred first to the Castro speech as set out in a previous submission to the Commission (CD 984a), and only then quoted his confidential source.

[QUOTE ON; emphasis added:]

Through a confidential source which has furnished reliable information in the past, we have been advised of some statements made by Fidel Castro, Cuban Prime Minister, concerning the assassination of President Kennedy.

In connection with these statements of Castro, your attention is called to the speech made by Castro on November 27, 1963, in Havana, Cuba, during which Castro made similar statements concerning this matter. The pertinent portions of this speech are set out in the report of Special Agent James J. O’Connor dated May 8, 1964, at Miami, Florida, beginning on page 30.

According to our source, Castro recently is reported to have said, “Our people in Mexico gave us the details in a full report of how he (Oswald) acted when he came to Mexico to their embassy (uncertain whether he means Cuban or Russian Embassy).”  Castro further related, “First of all, nobody ever goes that way for a visa.  Second, it costs money to go that distance.  He (Oswald) stormed into the embassy, demanded the visa, and when it was refused to him, headed out saying, ‘I’m going to kill Kennedy for this.'”  Castro is alleged to have continued and asked, “What is your government doing to catch the other assassins?” and speculated, “It took about three people.”

The source then advised that Castro’s speculation was based on tests which Castro and his men allegedly made under similar conditions with a similar rifle and telescopic sight.  Castro is said to have expressed the conclusion that Oswald could not have fired three times in succession and hit the target with the telescopic sight in the available time, that he would have needed two other men in order for the three shots to have been fired in the time interval….

It will be noted that the information furnished by our source at this time as having come from Castro is consistent with and substantially the same as that which appears in Castro’s speech of November 27, 1963, and which is referred to above.


The effect, if not the intent, of the last sentence is to de-emphasize what appears to be the most important part of the SOLO account, a specific threat against Kennedy.

I hope some of this information is of interest.

16 thoughts on “Did Oswald threaten to kill JFK?”

  1. a Little incident in Mexico City might have been Oswald’s threat but it also might referr to ww3 NOT:

    The Lone nutter myth goes something like this:
    Warren chaired the commision because he was afraid of ww3.

    Earl Warren in tears to LBJ: “I’ll just do whatever you say.”
    Of a Little incident in Mexico City might also have refered to some Mexico city indiscretions that were recorded by Hoover and used against Warren. Hoover did this to MLK( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.#Allegations_of_adultery )

    Johnson explained in a taped telephone conversation with Senator Richard Russell, himself reluctant to join the panel.
    LBJ:”Warren told me he wouldn’t do it under any circumstances..He came down here and told me no – twice. And I just pulled out what [FBI director] Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City . . . And he started crying and he said, “I won’t turn you down. I’ll just do whatever you say.”

    1. The problem is that LBJ was talking ex post facto with Justice Warren, Senator Russell, and everybody else. The CIA concealed and falsified intel about Oswald even at the time he was still in Mexico City.

      1. If Oswald really was in Mexico City then why was his call to the Soviet embassy made in such poor Russian that it was almost unintelligible? Remember, when Marina first met Oswald in Minsk, his Russian was so good she thought he was a native speaker and was later surprised to find out he was an American.

  2. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

    Let’s be crystal clear: By dismissing the “tapes of not Oswald” story with the “no tapes of Oswald” story, the supporters of the lone gunman theory actually pave the way to a conspiracy theory with the conspiracy fact that no “recording of Oswald’s voice” adds up to no CIA photo at all from his three visits to the Cuban consulate and two visits to the Soviet embassy.
    What’s going on here? If the hypothesis of the lone gunman were true, it’s not to be expected that the CIA concealed and even falsified Oswald’s data before the JFK assassination.
    Every single hypothesis on the five transcripts form the CIA-tapped phone calls related to Oswald leads straight to conspiracy. For instance, if the hypothesis of Oswald in Mexico City just for visa proceedings were true, it’s to be expected that he would have gone right away to the Soviet Embassy after the call registered on September 28, ca. 12:00 hours, to the phone number 15-60-55. He didn’t come ever again. And not only Oswald, but also Sylvia Duran, were telephonically impersonated during that call.

    1. Not to mention what one CIA Mexico City station agent had to say about Phillips’ story that the cameras weren’t working that day:

      “We’re the CIA. We have other cameras.”

  3. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

    I think the best explanation is determined by a simple fact: the Cuban embassy and consulate were located in different building. Oswald did voice the threat at the embassy, as Castro clearly told to Jack Childs (see his report, not the reports by others about it), not at the consulate (there are five eye- and ear witnesses who did hear such a threat). For a detailed explanation see:


    1. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

      I apologize. I should have written “there are five eye- and ear witnesses who did NOT hear such a threat.”

    2. One must first believe Oswald went to Mexico City in late September 1963. I don’t.

      The paper trail and witness accounts of the bus ride south from the border are unconvincing. Before she knew what was good for her, Marina said Oswald didn’t go to Mexico City. There are conflicting sightings at Sylvia Odio’s and in Alice, Texas.

      The alleged Mexico City trip appears in my estimation to be a blending of Oswald’s real life and the fake life the CIA was maintaining for him.

      Furthermore, Oswald is never on record as making threats or showing a temper. Not in the voter registration line in Clinton, where it’s easy to imagine he faced frustrations. Not on the radio debate program in New Orleans, where he was put on the defense. Not on 11-22-63, when he was handled roughly by the police. His manner always is calm, composed, and polite.

      I cannot believe Oswald, the guy Jack Ruby killed, was thrashing about and making threats in embassies in Mexico City. It would have been out of character for him. Someone may have done this using Oswald’s name. Or the allegations of such threats may be lies. I don’t care. I think it’s a dead end.

      1. I think Sylvia Odio was telling the truth, not the CIA. If you believe the CIA, you have to believe that the impersonator in Mexico City who was photographed who doesn’t look like Oswald doesn’t mean anything, nor did the phone recordings (since destroyed) mean anything, even though they didn’t match Oswald’s voice. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the CIA lied about Oswald in Mexico City. Could they have lied? Absolutely. Did they have a motive to lie? Gee, do you think??

        If the CIA is so truthful, so sure of their case, why don’t they just come forward and release all the relevant files that they are still sitting on? Oh, they can’t, because that would give something away that would contradict their cover story? Again, WHY do we trust the CIA? Can somebody please fill me in? Maybe somebody from the NSA?

        1. If you believe the CIA, you have to believe that the impersonator in Mexico City who was photographed who doesn’t look like Oswald doesn’t mean anything, nor did the phone recordings (since destroyed) mean anything, even though they didn’t match Oswald’s voice.

          “The impersonator?”

          You are really begging the question on that issue.

          As for “didn’t match Oswald’s voice:”


          There were no tapes sent to Dallas from Mexico City. Only photos and transcripts.

          1. “The impersonator?”
            John McAdams You are really begging the question on that issue…As for “didn’t match Oswald’s voice:”

            Oswald impersonated before JFK was killed – JSA:

            Memo written Nov. 23, 1963 from Alan Belmont, third in command at FBI Headquarters, to Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s right-hand man.

            “The Dallas agents who listened to the tape of the conversation allegedly of Oswald from the Cuban Embassy to the Russian Embassy in Mexico and examined the photographs of the visitor to the Embassy in Mexico … were of the opinion that neither the tape nor the photograph pertained to Oswald.”

            Thanks JSA (October 18, 2013)

        2. “Can somebody please fill me in? Maybe somebody from the NSA?”

          Fool me twice, shame on me. Here is tape of WC Senator Richard Russell complaining to LBJ about the WC shooting BS that would become the majic bullets AND the NSA’s UFO attack in the Gulf of Tonkin:

          This telephone conversation of LBJ & Hoover discussing majic bullet ideas (~@8min) and LHO membership in the ACLU and FPFC:

          JFK’s photographer Robert L. Knudsen (served six Presidents as official White House Photographer) had unaltered photos of JFK:

        3. As discussed in another thread here, we no longer have a tape recording or photo (the HSCA said they probably believe the CIA photographed Oswald but the CIA also said that photo doesn’t exist and the HSCA could not resolve this issue).

          It is too convenient to have these crucial pieces of evidence missing.

          Proof does not include blind-faith belief in our institutions that may be obstructing justice with convenient evidentiary omissions.

      2. The problem is that the Cuban consulate kept the paperwork, and the photo and signature were forensically authenticated as Oswald’s. And from five eyewitnesses, only one said that the Oswald in the news was not the American present in the consulate on September 27, 1963.

      3. H.P. Albarelli Jr.

        “Oswald is never on record as making threats or showing a temper”– I’ve always assumed that his temper played a role in those times when he struck his wife in the face and body, even when she was pregnant.

        1. Not to defend domestic or spousal abuse and violence, which probably was more prevalent back then than today, but it doesn’t automatically mean someone has the propensity to assassinate a President.

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