The KGB’s perspective on Oswald in Mexico City

In this remarkable blog post on Espionage History Archive, Nikolai Leonov, KGB rezident in Mexico City in 1963, talks about his encounter with the man who would be accused of killing JFK.

Entering the reception room for foreigners, I saw a young man with an unusually pale face. A revolver lay on the table, its cylinder loaded with bullets. I say nearby and asked him how I could be of assistance. The young man said his name was Lee Oswald.

Source: Oswald & the KGB in Mexico | Espionage History Archive

7 thoughts on “The KGB’s perspective on Oswald in Mexico City”

  1. For anyone interested in the random connections between some of the people that pop up in this case: Prior to Leonov meeting Oswald, Olga Ferrer, a professor at LSU who taught Russian and Spanish rented an apartment in Mexico City in Aug 63. In early Sept she phoned Leonov and later they met at her apartment. Back in Oct 61, a neighbour of Ferrer’s had contacted the FBI about her. The neighbour was Carlos Bringuier’s brother-in-law Rolando Pelaez who Oswald gave his Marine Training Manual to in early Aug 63. By the way I’m not suggesting this is anything more than a coincidence if that.

    A bit more about Ferrer. Another person who visited her apartment in Sept 63 was Valentin Bakulin, who a few months earlier had been targeted for recruitment by the CIA. In mid Oct, a former student of Ferrer’s, Charles Johnson walked into the US embassy and told of meeting Ferrer the previous month and they discussed how he could improve his proficiency in Russian. She suggested he contact a Soviet embassy person, and mentioned Leonov who then called Johnson. The CIA thought about using Johnson in an operation against Leonov but eventually decided against it.

  2. Leonov’s account of meeting Oswald is very similar, to that of Pavel Yatskov. From a June 1964 CIA cable Yatskov said “I met Oswald here. He stormed into my office and wanted me to introduce and recommend him to the Cubans. He told me he lived in the USSR. I told him I would have to check before I could recommend him. He was nervous and his hands trembled, and he stormed out of my office. I don’t believe a person as nervous as Oswald, whose hands trembled, could have accurately fired a rifle.”

  3. gerry campeau

    .” The young man said his name was Lee Oswald, that he was an American, and that he was currently under constant surveillance and wanted to return immediately to the USSR, where he had earlier lived and worked in Minsk, and be delivered from the constant fear for his life and for the fate of his family.”Nikolai Sergeevich Leonov statment rings true as every step he made from joining the Marines,Russia,NY, Fort Worth,Dallas,NO,Bus trip to Mexico and been driven to work on Nov 22 1963 he had a chaperone of one kind or other.

  4. I’m wondering if the picture of the man photographed outside the Soviet embassy in Mexico (November, 1963) and sent to CIA headquarters from Mexico City by station chief, Win Scott, ever was identified; or, was there a search of records/ pictures (covering that time frame) within the Soviet Embassy to discern who this man was? Even now, there is no indication that the real Oswald was ever identified to be at the Soviet or Cuban embassies. The only proof offered is the alleged signature from the hotel where Oswald allegedly stayed.

    1. Part I of II

      Kennedy63, are you inquiring about Capehart? All of the following is interesting, but I’m not sure there is a reliable answer to your question.:

      Bill Simpich Posted 01 February 2013 – 01:20 PM

      …..The FBI and CIA chiefs weren’t about to let Rankin know all that.

      It sounds like this was an entirely separate incident than the three incidents that Duran had with “Oswald” at the consulate. This is a fourth incident, with “Oswald” at the Cuban Embassy.

      This could have even involved Claude Capehart (or whoever the blond man was) at the embassy on September 26. The CIA got two quick photos of this guy as he rushed in and out of the embassy at 1:30. (the 1:30 visit) (see photos 23 and 24)
      Judge Sues Over JFK Information / He wants CIA to answer questions on mystery man
      Michael Taylor, Chronicle Staff Writer Published 4:00 am, Friday, July 5, 1996
      …but in fact it is the stuff of a lawsuit filed in federal court in Fresno by a respected Madera County judge acting as a private citizen, one who does not like it when the CIA tells him to get off its case.

      The judge, who was the district attorney at the time, is David Minier, 61 — and he now sits on the Municipal Court bench in Chowchilla. He gained a certain fame in the 1970s for prosecuting three young men who had kidnapped 26 Chowchilla schoolchildren and their bus driver.

      Two years ago, using the Freedom of Information Act, he sued the CIA after the agency refused to tell Minier whether Claude Barnes Capehart had ever been employed by the CIA and whether Capehart was in Dallas in November 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated….
      Minier’s odd quest about the Kennedy assassination started nearly 20 years ago, when Capehart moved to Chowchilla and opened a well-drilling business. Soon Capehart came to the county sheriff’s office and said some men had been sent from “back East” to kill him. Sergeant Dale Fore said he would look into it….
      ….In 1989, Fore and Minier prepared to interview Capehart at his home in Nevada. A few hours before they were to meet him, Capehart, 64, dropped dead of a heart attack.

      “After he died,” Minier said, “things kind of dried up, in terms of information, and so there was nothing else to do but ask the CIA about it.”

      So far, the CIA is saying nothing about Claude Capehart.

      continued –

      1. Part II of II
        Court Denies Bid for Records in JFK Death / Judge had sued CIA for information
        July 9, 1996 | Michael Taylor
        … Minier’s crusade began after the CIA refused to tell him whether Claude Barnes Capehart, a mysterious well driller who moved to Chowchilla in 1976, was ever an agency employee and whether he was in Dallas in November 1963 …

        ARRB…rather vague, considering the newspaper reporting was in the same time frame.:

        HSCA, 1978:


        More background on the court proceedings, here.:

        In the past, this photo, CE 237 has been associated with Capehart. Images of other individuals are presented on the page at the first
        link (above) in the instant comment.:

    2. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

      The Cubans have identified Oswald in its consulate in Mexico City through material evidence (the visa application bearing both a photo and the signature of Oswald) and four eye witnesses.

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