In the wee hours the day following JFK’s assassination, the confusion-clouded military autopsy of the slain president was concluded and the body delivered to the White House. In Dallas Lee Harvey Oswald remained in policy custody, undergoing interrogations of which no recordings were made. President Johnson began his first day as the new President.
In his first phone call with famed and feared FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Johnson received some surprising news. As “curious history” noted on another post this morning, “Hoover clearly states that the man in Mexico didn’t look like Oswald nor did the voice match. He states that it is a “different man”.
“Curious history” asks: “What do you make of that? The transcript is part of the LBJ library and seems as a credible source.”
Indeed, it is a credible source. The transcript of the call contains the following exchange:
LBJ: Have you established any more about the visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico in September?
Hoover: No, that’s one angle that’s very confusing, for this reason—we have up here the tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet embassy, using Oswald’s name. That picture and the tape do not correspond to this man’s voice, nor to his appearance. In other words, it appears that there is a second person who was at the Soviet embassy down there.
The tape” refers to calls on tapped telephone lines in Mexico City. The story of Oswald’s trip to Mexico City in the fall of 1963, his visits to the Cuban Embassy there, his alleged meeting with a Soviet agent there suspected of being a member of an assassinations department, is a murky one not easily summarized. More will be written about it on this website.
What is not in doubt is that this conversation had an enormous effect on the federal response to Kennedy’s assassination.
To this day, accusations of a Cuban and/or Soviet conspiracy continue to emanate from the allegations surrounding that trip. But if Oswald, the “loner” nobody ever heard of, was impersonated weeks before the events of Dallas, that of course puts a whole different light on the affair.
A telling postscript: The audio recording of the call between LBJ and Hoover, would later be erased, as I’ve written about in The Fourteen Minute Gap and an update here. However, a transcript survived the erasure.
So why would someone erase a tape recording of a key conversation about Oswald that occurred on LBJ’s first day in office? Probably because they didn’t want anyone to know that Hoover had evidence that Oswald had been impersonated.
You might think that such destruction of evidence would merit attention but when I brought the story to the attention of the several national publications, they declined to run it. Its implications were perhaps just too unsettling.