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


  1. kennedy63 says:

    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.

  2. gerry campeau says:

    .” 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.

  3. Peter says:

    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.”

  4. Peter says:

    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.

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