FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOVEMBER 20, 1997
CONTACT: EILEEN SULLIVAN
(202) 724-0088, EXT. 253
JFK ASSASSINATION RECORDS REVIEW BOARD ACQUIRES DALLAS POLICE HOMICIDE CHIEF'S HANDWRITTEN NOTES ON OSWALD INTERROGATION
The Assassination Records Review Board, an independent federal agency overseeing the identification, review, and release of records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, announced today that it has acquired original handwritten notes on the interrogation of Lee Harvey Oswald taken by the late Dallas Police Captain who was in charge of questioning the alleged presidential assassin. This is the second time that the Board has obtained previously unavailable Oswald interrogation notes made bya law enforcement official.
Dallas Police Captain J. W. "Will" Fritz, who headed the homicide and robbery bureau, was the primary interrogator of Oswald while he was inpolice custody from the afternoon of November 22 until the morning of November 24, 1963, when Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas police station. The Board recently acquired the notes along with other papers and photographs found after Captain Fritz's death in 1984.
The materials had been in the possession of the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, until they were voluntarily turned over to the Board last month.
"Captain Fritz's original notes on the Oswald interrogations add depth to the primary record of what went on during the hours following the shooting of the President while Oswald was in custody," said Dr. Henry F. Graff, a member of the Review Board. "The notes are important because a stenographer was not present and no audio recording was made during the interrogation sessions."
Fritz told the Warren Commission in 1964 that he took no notes during the Oswald interrogations, but indicated that he later typed a report based on "rough notes" that were made "several days later." These notes are believed to be the ones acquired by the Review Board. They chronicle all of the key points of the Oswald interrogation, including his denials that he shot President Kennedy or owned a rifle, that he said nothing against the President and claimed that a photo of him holding a rifle was a forgery, with his head was superimposed on someone else's body. The notes end abruptly, showing the time of the last interrogation session on Sunday morning, November 24 as "10-11:15."Oswald was shot by Ruby a few minutes later.
The Fritz notes are only the second set of original handwritten notes taken on the Oswald interrogations that have surfaced in the 34 years since the assassination. Earlier this year, the Review Board announced the acquisition of handwritten notes taken during the Oswald interrogation by former FBI agent James P. Hosty, Jr.
The Fritz notes and other materials acquired by the Review Board have been transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration for inclusion in the JFK Collection, which is housed at the National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland. These materials are now available to researchers.
Copies of Fritz's handwritten notes on the Oswald interrogation sessions and a transcription of the notes are available from the Assassination Records Review Board, 600 E Street, NW, Second Floor, Washington, DC 20530; telephone number: (202) 724-0088.
The Assassination Records Review Board was established by the JFK Act, which was signed into law by President George Bush. The five members of the Board were appointed by President Clinton, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and sworn in on April 11, 1994. The law gives the Review Board the mandate and the authority to identify, secure, and make available all records related to the assassination of President Kennedy. It is the responsibility of the Board to determine which records are to be made public immediately and which ones will have postponed release dates.
The Review Board consists of the following members:
Honorable John R. Tunheim, Chair; U.S. District Court Judge, District of Minnesota.
Dr. Henry F. Graff; Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University.
Dr. Kermit L. Hall; Dean, College of Humanities, and Professor of History at The Ohio State University.
Dr. William L. Joyce; Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University.
Dr. Anna K. Nelson; Distinguished Adjunct Historian in Residence at The American University.