Box 1. JFK September Witness Hearing
16 cassettes in total, numbered from 3 to 18.
Note in the box:
Penn: (Cass. #3 thru 18)
This is the rest of JFK September Hearings calling witnesses ian the JFK Assassination.
I now have left to double check the hearings and summing-up in December. Of those there are 6 or 7.
I am packaging this box to mail in the next day or two.
Hope they are useful or interesting to you or somebody.
M. L. Smith
Note of Cassette I.
Penn: Tape # 1 does not have the first 3 hours of the opening day, I either missed it, or whatever I had was so poor quality, I discarded them.
I have culled thru my tapes several times in the 3 or 4 years and discarded the poorest quality.
This tape #1 starts with Rev. Abernathy making what was making a summing up statement. Fauntroy responds and Stokes also. Then the 2 reporters from NPR made their comments re the morning session and summarise it.
Following this is the actually beginning of the hearings earlier in the day. The reason for this is that 2 NPR stations in the local area carried the broadcasts; one in the morning, the other later. Frequently I did not get tuned in for the beginning of the earlier broadcast. Hope this will help to keep the chronology correct for you and others.
Audition 40", Sept 7th, 1978
This is the earliest portion of the Congressional Hearings that I now have. The herings began several days previously. You can probably refer to your files to find out just what is missing.
Side A opens with testimony of Dr. Wecht as you recall, he was the only one out of the 8 (or was it 9) experts on the forensic panel that did not agree to the 1-bullet theory. He asked to testify and he is very vehement about the impossibility that it could have traveled the way the others claimed, as you have shown by drawings in C.I.
Side B is defective in that it is somewhat distorted on Rome recorders. If you have better equipment or access to a technician, it might be restored to qualify for library archives. It is more readable on my oldest recorder. Since you and many others believe the 1-bullet theory is foolish, Dr. Wecht's testimony is illuminating, and telling, it is probably worth saving, anyway I am sure you must have a transcript of the entire Hearings, and can fill in orally where you wish.
During a recess the reporters recapitulate, and I believe they interview Dr. Wecht, but taping is too poor to be sure.
At the end I broke in with a newscast of Dec 12 that the Committee had decided that there were 3 or 4 shots.
Note of Cassette II, Certron 60", Cont. Sept 7th, 1978 – Dr. Cyril Wecht
Side 1. Dr. Wecht is questioned by Counsel. He goes into much detail, also makes some criticism that certain types of tests were made. (I am not sure whether he was criticizing the Warren Commission, or this one.)
About ¾ of the way through this side, a neighbor and I are talking, which interferes somewhat. You can decide if you want this portion blanked out.
Side 2. Fauntroy takes up the questioning, briefly intermittently on this side I am making some kind of noise which is rather distracting. Maybe it can be blended out by a technician, or maybe you will want to discard this tape. The questioner here is discussing the Zapruder film. This portion is fairly extensive.
To another questioner, Dr. Wecht says the whole investigation in this area was extremely superficial.
Note of Cassette III, Audition 60", Sept 8th, 1978:
Side A. the testimony is already in progress. Firearms experts are being questioned. Believe the one already speaking is a Mr. Lucas. Shortly thereafter a Mr. Champain is called. Then Lucas is recalled as another congressman has questions. This is all very detailed ballistics testimony.
There seems to be a panel of several ballistics experts present. A Mr. Bates is questioned and says the bullet from the JFK archives is not a pristine bullet.
Side B. continues the same detailed testimony and the tape is quite clear, and good enough for your archives if you can have the background noises removed. The congressman take a short recess, and the reporters summarize and discuss the days hearings with David Lipton, a critic of the Warren Comm., and also another man whose name sounded like Jacob Cohen or, and possibly Mark Love.
Note of Cassette IV, Audition 60", Sept 8th continued:
Neutron activation analysis by Dr. Vincent Guynne, professor of chemistry at U. Calif. at Irvine, done on the bullets of the assassination case.
All very technical. A clear taping and good enough for files. Dr. Guynne asserts that Dr. Wiecht was wrong in saying there were more than two bullets.
Side B continues with Dr. Guynne to about half way, then the hearings are recessed until Monday Sept 11.
The reporter talks to David Lifton and Jacob Cohen, who have opposite viewpoints on the hearings.
Following this, the remainder of side B is taped from the Sept 11 hearings, which are already underway, when I start taping. It concerns the acoustics field of testing the Zapruder tape I think, or probably the police radio. Anyway, it is concerned with the sound of the shots in Dealey Plaza. This tape runs out while the man is still explaining.
Note of Cassette V, Audition 60", Sept 11TH Cont.:
There is 45" of hearings missing between the end of Cass. 4 and the beginning of this one. Apparently the same person, Mr. OR Dr. Barger is still testifying and at the noon recess, the reporters give an extensive recapitulation of all the hearings to this point. Barger asserts that the acoustics show that 4 shots were fired in Dealey Plaza, and that one of them came from the Grassy Knoll in front of Pres. Kennedy.
Dr. Barger is from the acoustics firm of Bolt, Baronich, and Newman. He was the expert who testified that the famous Watergate tape of Nixon had been deliberately erased for 18 minutes.
He speaks of the adaptive filters which are now in use, but were not in 1964. This tape ends with Barger still testifying.
P.S. I am saving the defective tape mentioned above. The 45" o the morning testimony of Dr. Barger, but will not send it, unless you wish to have it.
Note of Cassette VI, Tracs 90", probably Sept 12th:
Marina Oswald Porter in the witness stand. I am not sure if this is the earliest part of her testimony or not, as I find I have 3 cassettes of her testimony, and all of them defective in parts.
On this cassette, the hearings are already in progress. Marina is being questioned about leaving the USSR and arriving in the U.S. If Oswald brought a rifle in, about George De Morenschield. Her replies to questions about Oswald's attitudes toward the Kennedys brought out the fact that Oswald was concerned about Mrs. Kennedy's pregnancy and nothing to indicate he wished them any harm.
During a break, the reporters recap earlier testimony which I missed.
Note of Cassette VII, 60" Realistic, Sept 12th or 13th:
Side 1: this cassette ma not actually follow in exact time sequence to #VI, but it seems to.
The reporters are still recapping (or again recapping, if it is following along in time sequence); or it may even be another taping in part, of the same material as #6. At any rate the quality is not too good, and to make it worse it stops about 5 minutes into their conversation where I guess I had to pa™ the tape. If necessary, manually turn the reel past the obstruction and it runs OK. The reporters also mention that there are present in the audience, some "assassination buffs" busily taking notes everyday. Then Marina returns to the witness stand. A congressman clarifies an earlier quesetion whether Oswald was, or was not, a member of the Communist Party. Then she is questioned about returning to Dallas from New Orleans. Also asked about Oswald proposing to her that they "hijack" a plane to Cuba. She is also questioned whether it appeared he might have been involved with anyone else.
On side 2, Marina is asked if she saw on TV when Jack Ruby killed her husband. Shortly after this question and answer period the hearing was adjourned until the following morning.
The reporters then make their rather extensive commentary. They bring out some points which are missing on my tape, as I had not started at the beginning I believe I made a cassette previous to this one which failed and was discarded. This tape - #VII then resumes the next morning about one hour into the hearings. She is being questioned about De Morenschield, and the shooting of Gen. Walker.
This side of the cassette is a little easier to understand, but not first class quality. It stops again at the place where it was patched, but can be lifted out and manually advanced past the patch, then will play out to the end.
Note of Cassette VIII, K-Mart 90", starts on Sept 15th:
Side 1: reporters discuss that the mafia had no love for JFK and Robert, because the latter, as Attorney General, had declared war on it. This ended the day's hearing.
The tape continues the next day with the reporters speak of Nosenko, De Morenschield.
Then the hearings begin with counsel for the committee calling a Mr. hart of the C.I.A. He says he was never a career officer of the agency.
The next portion of the taping has no connection with the first part, and was made at a later date (9/18 or 19).
It is the testimony of Lenor Azcue preceded by a statement by Counsel for Azcue (and Castro, I believe, for Cuba, wishing to clear them in the eyes of the world for JFK death)
Azcue's testimony is regarding the Oswald visit to the Cuban Consulate in Mexico. This testimony is very lengthy, partly because of translating questions and answers. It is continued on Side 2.
Then there is a recess and the reporters discuss the testimony. They speak of Nosenko, also of CIA, bugging of Consulate or Embassy in Mexico City. At this point there is a break in continuity.
Note of Cassette IX, K-Mart 90", Sept 19th, Cont.:
This starts out with Kelley, former Secret Service being questioned about the precautions taken for the protection of JFK. This is poor quality.
The reporters have a long discussion of the morning's hearings. They agree that the FBI was greatly to blame for withholding information from the S. S. and the C.I.A. They speak of Nosenko, defector from USSR, kept prisoner in U.S. for 3 years by C.I.A.
Then professor Blakey starts the afternoon session by calling former S.S. Chief, James Rowley, in charge at time of JFK in Dallas. My taping ends abruptly before the end of the questioning on side 1.
Begins on Side 2 with apparently not much lost of Ch. Rowley's testimony.
This is of very good quality.
He is asked about his testimony to the Warren Commission.
Then Cong. Ford takes up the questioning. He questions Ch. Rowley re consulting with J. Edgar Hoover after the assassination. The tape quality here is not too good, but is understandable. He is asked about possible legislation for the future.
Note of Cassette X, Audition 60", Sept 20th:
Side 1. Reporters are talking when tape begins. They were discussing the FBI and other agencies.
When the hearing is called to order, Prof. Blakey makes a lengthy background statement re the history duties, and rights of the FBI, also speaks of J. E. Hoover's attitude toward blacks, and civil rights.
Then retired Ch. Malley of the General Investigating Div. of the FBI is called and tells of his actions immediately after learning of the assassination. Courtney Evans was asst. Dir. in charge of Special Investigative Division. Malley goes to Dallas.
End of side 1.
Side 2. Begins with Malley's efforts to "put a stop" to the officials making statements, on orders of L. B. J. (This refers to the Dallas Police, and the Dist. Atty. The Sheriff Dept. and the Dallas Police cooperated, but Dist. Atty. Wade said he could make statements as he wished. He was reminded that this directive came from Pres. Johnson)
His questioning is continued through side 2. Malley is very forceful in all his statements.
Note of Cassette XI, Audition 60", Sept 20th:
Side 1. Malley still being questioned. Congressman still trying to find out who was in charge of the investigations, what the FBI did, and whether they communicated to other agencies. Malley says Belmont, 2nd in command below J. Edgar Hoover, was in command.
He is pressed hard to give an opinion on the veracity of WM Sullivan.
Side 2. Malley still on witness stand, and is very emphatic that Hoover gave orders that all aspects be pursued to find out who killed JFK.
The disciplinary action of Hoste and the other FBI men was discussed.
Note of Cassette XII, Certron 60", 9-20 cont. Oswald Notebook
Side 1: Malley still testifying. He is asked about the Hosty letter then the Oswald address book and whether it had been altered. The questions are very probing; and there seems to be some animosity shown.
Then Malley is excused, and then another retired FBI man is called. His name is James H. Gale. He was an inspector of all FBI field offices in 1963.
Side 2. Continued testimony of Gale. He asserted that it would not have changed the assassination even if Oswald had been put on the "Security Index".
Note of Cassette XIII, audition 60", Sept 25TH:
Side A. a Dr. Hunt is being questioned about the Zapruder film made in Dealey Plaza. He was a photo-enhancement expert. This tape is clear and very understandable. Then McNalley, a handwriting expert, is recalled to the witness stand.
Side B continues questioning of McNalley regarding Oswald's handwriting. Toward the last of side B, the witness is shown a copy of a letter to a Mr. Hunt, signed by Oswald. McNalley says the writing was much more carefully written than on the certified Oswald handwriting.
Note of Cassette XIV, Audition 60", Sept 25th:
Side A. McNalley still being questioned re handwriting was the "Mr. Hunt" letter a forgery?
McNalley is excused, and Prof. Blakey introduces the subject of the photos of Oswald.
Sgt. Kirk of the Washington Metro Police is called to the witness stand. His testimony was fairly brief. Then Blakey refers to "the anthropology panel?? Mark Lane and Sylvia Meagher are quoted here re a person named Lovelady whose face was seen in the Book Depository. Blakey speaks at length of the critics; and also mentions Milteer, the right-winger. Dr. Snow, member of the anthropology panel, i.e. "forensic anthropology". His test starts at end of side A.
Side B. Dr. Snow is asked if the photos of E. Howard Hunt, Sturgin, and Milteer could be identified with the 3 tramps on the grassy knoll. He is still talking when Side B ends.
Note of Cassette XV, Sept 25th, the umbrella man
Side A. Dr. Snow still testifying about the faces in Dealy Plaza, and then answering questions about the various Oswald photos. He also mentions that E. H. Hunt had had his ears cosmetically repaired.
Then the questioning shifts back to the windows of the school book depository. Dr. Hunt is now being questioned about the boxes seen through the window. I think the questions meant Dr. Snow, instead of Dr. Hunt. The congressman mentions the criticism of the assassination doubters.
There is some confusion here, as a little while later the witness is excused, and he himself mentions Dr. Snow having preceded him.
Then the testimony of the "umbrella man".
Side B. Louis Steven (Witt?) the "umbrella man" then testifies.
This is a good clear taping and easy to follow for anyone who wants to analyze. (I cannot believe his umbrella could have been in such good condition after 15 years!)
Note of Cassette XVI, Sept. 26th, audition 60"
The end of the "umbrella man's" testimony is missing and the last part of hearings of 25th.
Side A. The Reporters are discussing what has gone before the time I began recording on this tape. They refer to Sylvia Odio, Ferry Clay Shaw, Garrison, McWilley, and possible ties to organized crime.
Then Earl Ruby, brother of Jack, is called to testify.
Side B opens with reporters recapping a lot of background including some re: Warren Commission. They mentioned several mobsters, including a McWilley, David Yarrit, Patrick _?
Then Lt. Revell of Dallas P.D. is called. Then the two reporters discuss at leagth a lot of details. This was before Hearings began, and was the morning of Sept. 27.
The tape ends here.
Note of Cassette XVII, Sept. 27th, Kmart 90" cassette
Side 1. Reporters are talking about the testimony of McWilley, the mobster. It was not broadcast. Then the open hearings begin again, with Prof. Blakey making an opening statement and refers to McWilley, Sam Troficante and the hold the mob had on Cuba until Castro took over. Then a Senor Allemande is called to testify. The hearings were recessed and the reporters resume their summary.
Side 2. They are again talking at the beginning of this side of the tape.
Allemande is on the witness stand again, and after more questioning, was excused. The hearings were adjourned at this time. The reporters then resumed their summary. They mentioned that Santos Traficante had been on the witness stand, but I do not have it on tape.
The PM Hearings begin with Prof. Blakey making a statement. Then Ralph Salerno is called to witness stand.
Note: this cassette is not too clear.
Note of Cassette XVIII, Sept. 27TH, Realistic 60"
Side 1. Ralph Salerno had just been called at the end of tape XVII. He is answering at length about his credentials and experience investigating organized crime. Gives a very clear exposition of the "families" and the operations. Tells of JFK and Robert Kennedy trying to bring them to justice.
Halfway through side 1 I stopped taping Salerno's testimony. Turn the cassette over to Side 2. Begin at the beginning: Salerno is still giving an animated discourse on the "mobs", mafia, organized crime, "Cosa Nostra." I am not sure if this latter part is still 9/27 or now 9/28. The taping itself is of good quality. Between the end of this tape and the following one marked Dec. 11, there may have been one where Salerno finished his testimony, and FBI Director Webster was called.