Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Additional Missing JFK Assassination Files

I will add these to the Master List of Missing JFK Assassination Records that I will prioritize and present to former Assassinations Records Review Board Chairman Judge John Tunheim, who requested this list when I met with him at the CAPA Press Conference at the National Press Club in March. 

Peter Dale Scott to Dear John (Newman), 

I have not thought much about Vietnam since 2008, when I published a revised version of The War Conspiracy with a new section on NSAM 273. Can I count on you to add to the list of records missing at the National Archive the minutes of the Honolulu Conference of Nov. 20, 1963?  I consider this omission (even the fact of it) extremely important, not just for understanding the JFK assassination, but for understanding U.S. history.

I was hoping in fact that you might supply a complete list of missing records on Vietnam from late November 1963. For example: The documents about the Honolulu Conference in the FRUS 1961-1963 Volume make no reference to North Vietnam. The first FRUS record to do so is FRUS Doc. 327 [SECRET]. Memo of Conversation Between Hilsman and Lodge, Nov. 24, 1963, 10 AM.[1] 

A SECRET/EYES ONLY second version follows as Doc. 328. There was also a third version, as we learn from this footnote 2 to Doc. 327: “2. Because of different distribution limitations, Hilsman made three separate memoranda of this conversation. The second is infra; the third was not declassified.”[2]

Has it since been declassified? Do you discuss this in the new version of your book? (I confess I have not looked at it yet, but will do so if your answer is yes.) Are there more missing records of this importance?

Above all, will you take on the job of compiling this list? I will be happy to help, but I am not up to speed and in addition now have bad eyes.

I do think this is an important project, not because I think we can make the documents appear, but so we can help make this sleeping nation more aware that America has a deep history.


[1] U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Vol IV, 632, Doc. 327. Memo of Conversation Between Hilsman and Lodge, Nov. 24, 1963, 10 AM,

[2] U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Vol IV, 632, Doc. 327. Memo of Conversation Between Hilsman and Lodge, Nov. 24, 1963, 10 AM, fn. 2

Peter Dale Scott

There is a whole file which, as I told the ARRB in 1994, should be considered am assassination record. It is the FBI’s Mexico City file MX 105-2137. Let me begin with the Board’s explanation of why this file, brought to their attention by me, was not seen by them:

“The Review Board also sought to determine whether the FBI maintained a file in Mexico City on a "Harvey Lee Oswald" under the file number 105-2137. The Mexico City Legal Attache (Legat) opened a file on Lee Harvey Oswald (105-3702) in October 1963 following Oswald's visit to Mexico City. Some of the documents in the Legat's file contain notations for routing records to a file numbered 105-2137, and were captioned “Harvey Lee Oswald.” One researcher conjectured that this file would predate the Lee Harvey Oswald file. 105-3702, and might lead the Review Board to other FBI documents on Lee Harvey Oswald. In response to the Board’s request, the FBI searched its Legat's files for a file numbered 105-2137 and captioned "Harvey Lee Oswald," but it did not find such a file.”[1]

The report accurately summarizes my conjecture: Bill Turner had assured me that new FBI file numbers were in chronological order, in which case MX file 105-2137, dealing with “Harvy [sic] Lee Oswald,” would antedate considerably the alleged Oswald visit to Mexico.

But my public testimony to the Board, the only occasion I ever had to communicate my “conjecture,” does not (as recorded on the ARRB website) contain any reference to it. Indeed
it is almost nonsensical, and when clear it is misleading.  

“I want to suggest to you that the FBI may have been tracking all of this in a file which I am quite sure has never been seen by the Warren Commission, never been seen by the House Committee, and never certainly seen by me or by the Archives today. I have found a reference to it in a cover sheet which I am going to leave with you. It is Mexico City FBI File 105-2137, which is then struck out and replaced by a different file number with a different name, Lee Harvey Oswald. I hope you will pursue that original file.”[2]

There are many deliberately garbled records in this case. This appears to be one of them. I am absolutely certain that at the time I not only shared my “conjecture,” but drew attention to the anomalous name, ”Harvey Lee Oswald.”

In fact, the cover sheet mentioning this file is available from the Mary Ferrell Foundation website. It is NARA RIF 124-10029-10270, FBI serial MX 105-3702-254. It is from “Wesley” [SA Howard D. Wesley], has the title “Information re Allegations re Oswald case,” and (apart from still classified cross-file references) contains only this reference: “105-2137, [corrected manually in ink to “3702”] (Harvy Lee Oswald).” (It makes no reference to “Lee Harvey Oswald.”)[3]

Forty-five years ago, I discussed how the FBI by mutilating a photograph of General Walker’s back yard, reproduced as Warren Commission Exhibit 5 (16 WH 7), in order to obliterate the licence plate of a car belonging to their informant, Charles Klihr. Pressed by the Warren Commission to explain the hole, another FBI report reported that the car belonged to a “CHARLES F. KILHR,” [sic]  and added that the Dallas FBI files “are negative concerning the name CHARLES F. KILHR” (Warren Commission Exhibit 1351, 22 WH 586). In like fashion, when the French asked the United States to hand over a major war criminal in their protection, Klaus Barbie, U.S. army intelligence officers pretended ignorance by maintaining files on him in the name of Klaus Barbier.[4]

It is not too late to ask for the FBI’s file MX 105-2137, withoutspecifying whether it was captioned “Harvey Lee Oswald,” “Harvy Lee Oswald,” or something else. If not illegally destroyed, the file should be absurdly easy to find -- between files 105-2136 and 105-2138.

P.S. Bill, are you persuaded by this argument? Or should I add how "Harvey Lee Oswald: records keep turning up from all over (see my Deep Politics Two, pp. 142-46). Last night, for example, I found this one from CIA in 1972.

NARA Record Number: 104-10209-10001

Harvey Lee Oswald

1. Today the DC/CI Staff advised me that the Director had relayed via the DDP the injunction that the Agency was NOT, under any circumstances, to make inquiries or ask questions of any source or defector about OSWALD.

2. I will arrange to have the questions about Oswald sent to SB/CI for use with the
defector Oleg Lyalin returned to me and will advise C/SB/CI of the injunction.

                                                                                                6 April 1972

[1] Final Report of the Assassinations Records Review Board, pg 81

[2] ARRB Public Hearing, Washington DC, 11 Oct 1994, p. 36,

[3] At the time I did not know who Wesley was. But other FBI “Harvey Lee Oswald” records identify him as SA Howard D. Wesley, then at the FBI Mexican branch office in Monterrey.

[4] For the public facts, and subsequent U.S. apology, see Stuart Taylor Jr., “U.S. Says Army Shielded Barbie; Offers Its 'Regrets' To The French,” New York Times, August 17, 1983,

Peter Dale Scott

Dan Alcorn notes: Joan Mellen reports that the Bruce-Lovett Report on the CIA is missing from RFK's files at the JFK Library.

Malcolm Blunt: Gerry Hemming Church testimony. Oreste Pena Church testimony......FBI espionage "65" File on Oswald,(they deny they had one)Correspondence between Office of Security (Bruce Solie and David Slawson during WC "investigation"..... Werbell tape erased only tape counter survives not the transcript.....second part of Bruce Solie HSCA Security Classified Testimony (might surface in the October release).....full debriefs of INS and Customs officers at the Department of Justice following their testimony to the Church committee(all missing) (single page precis only in Robert Keuch files)..4 boxes of unedited witness depositions sent to NARA in April 1965 by the Office of U.S. Attorneys....RG 118....only fragments of this "no good testimony" survive,bits of Ruth Paine etc.....nothing like 4 boxes,I asked a NARA archivist to search for the 4 missing boxes and gave her the Accesion number...nada, zero, nothing......and accession numbers are supposed to be the Holy Grail in order to find stuff at NARA......there's more Bill, I will think, Malcolm

Bill Simipich: Here's missing documents logged by the ARRB.  Below is the backstory, Alan Dale has posted it on the AARC website.  Bill

Mexico City Station to Headquarters (September 26–30, 1963);
Headquarters to Mexico City Station (September 26–30, 1963);
JMWAVE to Headquarters (September 26–November 21,1963);
Headquarters to JMWAVE (September 26–November 21, 1963); 

and all traffic between the Mexico City Station and JMWAVE for the periods September 26–October 20, 1963 and November 22–December 30, 1963. A CIA Tutorial:  How to Avoid Providing Files
-- With the October releases coming up, we should keep in mind what the ARRB has already told us we will not find.

For those of us who research the Mexico City story, it has always been very frustrating to find that there is no organized way to find the cables and dispatches between Mexico City and Headquarters, or between these two entities and JMWAVE in Miami, except within carefully circumscribed dates.  

What we have run into amounts to a CIA tutorial on how to avoid providing information that is mandated under the law.

As shown below, the listing of files for JMWAVE begins on November 21, and the listing of files for HQ and Mexico City begins on October 1.  Very unhelpful for putting together the Oswald story, as well as the events prior to the assassination in Miami.

But not all of the files are missing.  A number of the files within this timeframe do exist - simply in a less organized format.  Many memos are tucked away in various other files, such as the files on Cuban consul Eusebio Azcue in CIA microfilm, Reel 2.

In fact, it is probable that most or all of these files could have been provided by the CIA if they had simply cross-indexed the files within their own Records Integration Division. 

The National Archives has the duty to index the files themselves, and send a demand to the CIA for the missing files.  The Act is in effect until "the Archivist certifies to the President and the Congress that all assassination-related records have been made available to the public in accordance with this Act."

This is yet another reason we need a new JFK Records Act with stronger enforcement powers.
From the ARRB Final Report in 1999:

The Review Board determined that, while much of the Mexico City Station cable traffic
existed in the JFK Collection, the traffic contained numerous gaps, particularly in communications between Mexico City and the CIA Station in Miami, JMWAVE.

The Review Board deemed these gaps to be significant because both CIA stations played roles in U.S. operations against Cuba.

The cable traffic that the Review Board reviewed in the CIA’s sequestered collection commences on October 1, 1963, and contains the earliest known communication—an October 8, 1963, cable—between the Mexico City Station and CIA Headquarters concerning Lee Harvey  Oswald.
In 1995, the Review Board submitted a formal request for additional information
regarding the above-referenced gaps in CIA cable traffic. CIA did not locate additional
traffic for the specified periods. CIA completed its response to this request in February
1998 explaining that:

In general, cable traffic and dispatches are not available as a chronological collection and thus, for the period 26 through 30 September 1963 it is not possible to provide cables and dispatches in a chronological/package form.

During the periods in question, the Office of Communications (OC) only held cables long enough to ensure that they were successfully transmitted to the named recipient. On occasion. . .cables were sometimes held for longer periods but not with the intention of creating a long-term reference collection.

The Review Board was not able to locate cables or dispatches from the following periods:
Mexico City Station to Headquarters (September 26–30, 1963);
Headquarters to Mexico City Station (September 26–30, 1963);
JMWAVE to Headquarters (September 26–November 21,1963);
Headquarters to JMWAVE (September 26–November 21, 1963);
and all traffic between the Mexico City Station and JMWAVE for the periods September 26–October 20, 1963 and November 22–December 30, 1963.

In addition, CIA informed the Review Board that it did not have a repository for cables and dispatches from stations in the 1960s.

Although originating offices maintained temporary chronological files, the offices generally destroyed the temporary records in less than ninety days.

After the assassination, the Office of the Deputy Director of Plans ordered relevant CIA offices to retain cables that they would have otherwise destroyed.  The HSCA used the remaining cable traffic to compile its Mexico City chronology.

Had CIA offices strictly applied the ninety-day rule, there might have been copies of cable traffic commencing as early as August 22, 1963, rather than October 1, 1963, available to CIA on November 22, 1963.

PDS: Oswald's full ONI file makes reference to classified ONI and Marine G-2 files that never reached the Warren Commission. I discuss this in Dallas '63.

(Didn't Oliver Revell come to the FBI with Marine records on Oswald?)

The first military Intgc group to consult LHO's State Dept file was OSI. No trace of that visit survives.

And the the full ONI file cites a document opening the discharge case against LHO, that the Schweiker-Hart subcommittee asked the Pentagon  for. The appeal went up to I believe Cheney in the Ford White House and stopped there, as far as we know.

Malcollm: Bill, recently came aross when revisiting LHO Security files the following.... in 1976 when the CI Staff were reviewing JFK Assassination related and Oswald files the security office did not hand over their "secondary files" on Oswald,ostensibly these were their research files,so the HSCA never got these and more importantly neither did another CIA component,the Counterintelligence Staff.....demonstrates perfectly to me the description tagged to the Office of Security,"they are like a whole separate agency", Malcolm

Larry Haapanen:  Not to make the list too long, but here are some recommendations that come readily to mind:

Airborne radio log for Air Force One for 11/22/63.

White House Situation Room Incoming-Outgoing Message Log for 11/22/63-11/30/63 (the extant log for November 1963 ends abruptly on morning of 11/22/63).

Records of the Dallas-based 488th Military Intelligence Detachment (Strategic) and 349th Military Intelligence Detachment (Counter-Intelligence) -- for example unit histories and unit rosters -- from 1962-63.

Records of the FBI wiretapping of Lee Harvey Oswald while in police custody.

Bill Simpich: Records of the FBI tapping of Marina Oswald (and almost definitely the Paines on 11/22/63 and thereabouts, see statements of Irving police chief Paul Barger)

Missing WHCA records for 11/22 and other relevant dates

Missing Secret Service tape for 11/22 and a host of other SS documents.   Among other things, the records for Miami, Tampa, Chicago and Dallas in Sept-November.

Missing FBI dispatch tape of Dallas calls on 11/22 (we know Odum called in about the rifle 1:30-2 pm)

Missing 134 (FBI informant) records

Missing NSA and Army Intelligence, and ONI records, as mentioned in ARRB Final Report

Missing LILYRIC (Soviet embassy photo records, Sept 63); LIFEAT (wiretap records, all of 1963), the daily resumen (wiretap summary) kept in 1963, and a host of missing Mexico City documents.

Missing Church Committee interviews as detailed in office memo.

Malcolm Blunt: U.S Customs in MIami refused to hand over their Cuban exile records to the HSCA because they were quote,"too voluminous" ...and said they would need instructions from H.Q. in any the time Ron Haron and the ARRB got round to asking U.S. Customs for their JFK related files.....Customs were unable to locate next to nothing.. now adays.go to NARA and ask for the JFK U.S Customs files and you get one grey file box containing just a few documents....a disgrace, an absolute disgrace...the ARRB should have pressurised those people into doing a proper search.......if anybody wants to get some idea of what was lost to research they should call up the Alexander Rorke FBI files at NARA and take a look at U.S Customs documents forwarded to the Bureau....they are always packed full of detail...hardly a space on the page......sickening,just sickening....

I think this is a very useful exercise;making me cast my mind back....maybe we should also include and amplify the egregious destruction of records by government agencies ....the Secret Service has to be high on this list with the destruction of trip records whilst the ARRB sat and also the huge cull of JFK assassination files by James Mastrovito on instruction from Rowley,circa 1966.....all this is not coincidental IMO; the hiding of the Oswald Army Intelligence files from the Warren Commission and their later "routine destruction" is another huge loss;it's really a miracle we have anything left....additionally will the FBI be releasing any further material from their 89a DL files?.....last time I looked these files only went up to 1993 when they were monitoring a conference in Dallas...further and later releases may contain further monitoring of JFK conferences in Dallas plus names of sources and informants (redacted of course) Bill, how about the missing Oswald New Orleans court records;Anne Buttimer of the ARRB tried to get these and was told that they were accidentally destroyed......supposedly sent for microfilming ......

The Dept of Justice OLC had a pile of documents excluded from the Warren Commission,I found a memo about it...sent a copy to the ARRB (nada,nothing) I also asked NARA archivist Steve Tilley to chase it,again nothing.....more stuff lost in the shuffle......

John Armstrong: Bill,nice list of missing items. You might also want to include the following:

1) employment records of LHO collected by the FBI from the Pfisterer Dental Lab have disappeared

2) Stripling Junior High (Ft. Worth) records of LHO's attendance in 1954, collected by the FBI, have disappeared

3) the "original" US postal money order, allegedly used to pay for the MC rifle, has disappeared

4) documents relating to LHO's discharge from the Marine Corp in March, 1959, reviewed by asst Provost Marshall William Gorsky at El Toro, CA., disappeared

5) LHO's Texas drivers license (and file), seen and handled by numerous employees at the TDPS, disappeared

6) the Oswald wallet, produced by Capt. Westbrook at 19th & Patton and shown to officers and FBI agent Barrett, was last seen in the hands of Capt. Westbrook.

7) film taken of anti-Castro Cubans training in Louisiana, which also showed Oswald, has disappeared

8) all original NYC school records disappeared while in FBI custody. Only photographs remain in the National Archives.

9) FBI file on LHO in NYC from Sept, 1961- March, 1962

10) interviews by Epstein of US Marines, who knew LHO in Japan, kept for years at Georgetown University, are now missing

11) complete files of LHO's  attendance at radar school in Keesler (2 files with two different numbers; two different graduation dates; two different class numbers, etc)

12) Marine Corps unit diaries for LHO at El Toro, CA from December, 1958 thru March, 1959

13) Interviews by John Hart Ely of Marines who knew LHO at El Toro, CA are missing

14) all employment records of MO from 1955 thru 1963

15) SS records for MO and LHO - 

This a partial list, which I compiled from memory in about 20 minutes. I am sure there are more

1 comment:

  1. Did you have an interest in asking Tunheim about the missing Conservation Tour SS trip records that were supposedly shredded by the SS, but in the file boxes single pieces of paper simply said, "withdrawn for national security reasons".