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Priscilla and Lee:
Before and After the Assassination

by Peter R. Whitmey

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© 1999, Peter R. Whitmey. All rights reserved.
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Priscilla Johnson McMillan has been the subject of much debate over the years, ever since she became closely associated with Lee Harvey Oswald as a result of her Boston Globe article dated November 24, 1963 (1), published in numerous morning newspapers throughout the United States(2), shortly before the accused assassin of President Kennedy was gunned down by Jack Ruby. Her account of a November, 1959 interview with a young would-be defector to the Soviet Union, fresh out of the U.S. Marines, appeared to provide some insight into the mind of Lee Oswald. Miss Johnson further developed her impressions in the course of an interview with the Christian Science Monitor(3) shortly after Oswald's death, and was briefly quoted in Time and Life magazines' initial reports on Oswald's background, both written prior to his death.(4) In early December, 1963, Miss Johnson also submitted a typed summary of the notes she took during her 1959 interview for the State Department and in April, 1964, wrote a lengthy report entitled "Oswald in Moscow" for Harper's magazine.(5) In June of that year, Priscilla headed for Dallas to meet Marina OswaId, having signed a contract(6) with Harper and Row to write a book about the Oswald couple, which Marina herself referred to during her fourth and final interview with members of the Warren Commission.(7) During the summer of 1964, Miss Johnson was also questioned by a staff member of the Commission - namely, David Slawson, a 31-year-old graduate of Harvard Law School, assisted by fellow Harvard graduate, 24-year-old Richard Mosk.(8)

Oddly enough, Priscilla was not the only reporter to have interviewed Oswald back in 1959 and, in fact, was the last of several members of the media to make contact with the ex-Marine. Alfred Goldberg of the Associated Press had spoken to Oswald either by phone or at the door of his hotel room and filed a report published in the New York Times on November 1, 1959,(9) followed by a brief UPI dispatch two days later.(10) By mid-November, Oswald had learned that he could remain in the Soviet Union, not as a citizen, but as an alien resident, and consequently felt secure enough to grant a lengthy interview with Aline Mosby, also of UPI.(11) Her profile didn't make the New York Times, but was published back in Oswald's home town of Ft. Worth, Texas on November 15, 1959.(12) Mosby essentially summarized Lee's Marxist philosophy and his reasons for becoming disillusioned with life in the United States. She described him as a "slender, well-groomed youth" who "carefully thought out his phrases before speaking." Throughout the interview, Oswald insisted that his reasons for defecting were strictly political in nature, describing his childhood as having been "happy, despite poverty."

Shortly after being interviewed by Miss Mosby, Oswald wrote a one-page summary of their conversation dated November 15, 1959, under the heading, "diary," which was reduced to a one-paragraph reference in the so-called "Historic Diary" published by Life magazine in July, 1964.(13) Oddly enough, despite also having been interviewed for a much longer period of time by Priscilla Johnson two days later, Oswald's alleged diary gives no indication that he had any contact with her whatsoever.(14) In a report for The Third Decade written by Timothy Cwiek in 1986,(15) it was suggested that "very possibly her interview with Oswald as described in the Warren Report never took place," based, in part, on this curious oversight. Certainly, Oswald appeared to be concerned about the content of any report on his "defection,"(16) and, in fact, was quite annoyed that he had not been allowed to read Miss Mosby's story before it was filed.(17) Presumably, he would have felt the same way about Miss Johnson s comments, and made some reference to her in his diary.

In the course of my own research on this subject, I, too, initially suspected that Priscilla's "interview" was possibly contrived, although she certainly provided sufficent "evidence" that such an interview took place when she was interviewed by Slawson and Mosk. Included in the "exhibits" later published by the Warren Commission(18) were Miss Johnson's own handwritten notes,(19) along with a copy of her original, November 18, 1959 report(20) sent to her employer, the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA) in New York,(21) in addition to copies of the "revised" version published in the Boston Globe four years later(22) and the report made to the U.S. State Department.(23) In the course of her Warren Commission interview, Priscilla indicated that she had "submitted it to the Soviet censor on November 18"(24) and when asked if anything had been censored, answered, "No. It would show on that." At no time was she asked whether, in fact, her report had been published by NANA in 1959, but author Edward Epstein was led to believe that her "brief journalistic account ... was published on November 26." This was not the case, however, according to Miss Johnson's former editor, Sid Goldberg, now a vice-president with United Media International.(26) Given the controversy surrounding the "legitimacy" of Oswald's alleged diary that has developed over the years,(27) it is possible that if someone else wrote it, that person would not necessarily have been aware of Oswald's contact with Priscilla Johnson, but conceivably knew about Aline Mosby's interview, even though both interviews were, infact, published in 1959.

On this basis, I am inclined to believe that Priscilla Johnson did spend an evening with Oswald, possibly representing the State Department(28) and the CIA(29), using her position as "a Moscow correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance(30) as a typical intelligence "cover." She certainly couldn't financially survive in Moscow on her earnings as a journalist, according to not only Sid Goldberg, but also Erwin Knoll, long-time editor of The Progressive magazine; Priscilla submitted two articles in 1958 and 1959 about life in the Soviet Union to this liberal publication - neither of which mentioned Oswald - and for which she received only a nominal payment.(31) Miss Johnson still insists that she worked for the U.S. government only briefly in the mid-fifties, and adamantly rejects evidence to the contrary. In reply to a letter I sent to Miss Mosby(32), she stated that "at the time in Moscow, some journalists in the U.S. press corps gossiped about their impression that Priscilla was a U.S. government agent, since NANA paid so little and since she did seem to have high level Washington connections. I have no comment myself on his possibility."(33) The subsequent ease with which Miss Johnson gained access to Marina Oswald for a book that didn't end up being published until 1977(34), along with the revelation in early 1967 that Svetlana Stalin was living in the home of Priscilla's stepfather while she and Svetlana translated her own account of life with Joseph Stalin(35), only heightened suspicions.

In the course of Miss Johnson's interview with Slawson and Mosk(36), a great deal of attention was paid to Oswald's views as expressed to her, along with other related matters, and there was certainly no indication that Priscilla was anything but a trustworthy and concerned citizen. However, had the interviewers made the extra effort to closely study the material submitted to them, and if they had been aware of FBI surveillance of Priscilla Johnson shortly before the assassination(37), they might have probed her relationship to Oswald more thoroughly and with more suspicion.

Take, for instance, a memo(38) written by John McVickar who, as the assistant consular officer to the American Embassy in Moscow(39), had initially made Miss Johnson aware of Oswald's presence at the Metropole Hotel(40). He had written this memo "for the files" on November 17, 1959, stating that "Priscilla Johnson of NANA asked me today about Oswald. I gave her a general rundown of the outlines of the case as I know they were known to the public." He indicated also that Priscilla had been in contact with Oswald, and summarized her remarks to him, not all of which were included in her original report to NANA.(41) McVickar stressed in his conversation with Priscilla "that there was a thin line somewhere between her duty as a correspondent and as an American," and referred to UPI's Korengold, "who seemed to have known this difference pretty well."(42) Although Slawson and Mosk discussed the memo with Priscilla and took note of a postscript added two days later on November 19, the content of the postscript was overlooked, it would seem, and certainly not mentioned voluntarily by Miss Johnson. The postscript reports that Johnson had contacted McVickar a second time to let him know that Oswald "has been told he will be leaving the hotel at the end of this week; that he will be trained in electronics; that she has asked him to keep in touch with her; that he has shown some slight signs of disillusionment with the SU, but that his 'hate' for the US remains strong although she cannot [sic] fathom the reason." Even though this late-breaking news came too late to be included in her report to NANA, it is interesting to note that Miss Johnson continued to give the impression that she had no idea what had happened to Oswald after their initial conversation; both during her interview with Slawson and Mosk(43), and in the concluding paragraph of her revised report for the "Boston Globe."(44) Years later, she gave the same puzzled impression in her book, Marina and Lee.(45)

Slawson and Mosk might also have studied the two versions of Miss Johnson's profile on Oswald more carefully; if they had, they might have wondered just what she was up to when she drastically revised it sometime between November 22 and 24, 1963.(46) Clearly, it required some alterations, given the fact that Oswald had returned to the United States in 1962 and stood accused of killing the President. In addition, the original unpublished article had been written in the present tense and lacked a conclusion, giving the impression that a second report might follow. Nevertheless, as a result of some major changes made in the article, the overall impression of Oswald was no longer a "sympathetic portrait of a confused young American far from home"(47) but seemed to be designed to convince the reader that Oswald had turned into an assassin. (Undoubtedly, anyone having read it would have been rejected as a potential juror if Oswald had lived to stand trial.)

In the opening paragraph of her original report,(48) "Lee"(49) had been quoted as desiring to "dissolve my citizenship and become a citizen of the Soviet Union" and she described Oswald as looking like "Joe College, with a slight Southern drawl," although emphasizing the fact that, despite appearances, his life had not "been that of a typical college boy." In place of the comment in the original that Oswald "is now in Moscow ... close to his goal," a much more melodramatic statement was inserted in the revised version: "The time was November, 1959. The place was my room on the third floor of the Metropole Hotel.The speaker was Lee Harvey Oswald, prime suspect in the assassination of John F. Kennedy."(50)

The two versions are virtually identical in wording for several paragraphs.(51) Growing up without a father, who died before his birth, Lee had lived mostly in Texas and Lousiana, along with two years as a teenager in New York. Not wanting to be a "burden" on his mother, he had enlisted in the Marines at the age of 17, serving in Japan as a licensed radar operator. After his three years were completed, Oswald described having received a "dependency discharge," although Miss Johnson did not clarify how he managed to obtain it. According to her report, he left the United States a month later, travelling by "land, sea and air" to Moscow, "living in Moscow's Metropole Hotel on money he earned as a U.S. Marine," waiting "for an answer" from the Russian authorities (which he had apparently already received.) How he was able to finance his 8,000 mile journey from New Orleans to the Soviet Union via London, Helsinki and Stockholm was not discussed or questioned. In her revised version, this last statement in regard to his finances was deleted.

At this point, two new paragraphs were inserted in the November 24, 1963 version, describing Oswald's isolation as he sat "alone in his hotel room just one floor below mine ... He had no friends in Russia and he didn't speak a word of the language. The only sightseeing he'd done was to 'Detsky Mir,' a children's store one block from our hotel ... He'd managed to buy an ice cream cone there, he told me proudly..."(52) As a matter of fact, Oswald did have regular contact with his Intourist guide Rima Sherikova, and mentioned several other Russians in his alleged diary,(53) although it does appear that he spent much of his time in his hotel room due to adverse weather conditions, but still saw Rima.

As for his lack of knowledge of the Russian language, Lt. Colonel Folsom indicated to the Warren Commission that Oswald was given a Russian language examination on February 25, 1959, provided by the Department of the Army, while he was stationed at the El Toro, California military base.(54) Although his overall score was rated as "poor" (in the 55%-60% range), it would appear that Oswald's training prior to his "defection" did include training in the Russian language. Since he also studied the language on his own previously at the top secret Atsugi base in Japan, subscribing to several Russian newspapers while there as well as practicing with Lieutenant Donovan(55), it is hard to believe he didn't speak any Russian by the time he reached Moscow, especially given his interaction with Rima.

The second paragraph inserted by Miss Johnson in her revised version reflects a completely different impression of Oswald, compared to her original, non-judgmental version. In fact, the Boston Globe chose to use as its headline a quotation from this paragraph,(56) unlike the Dallas Morning News, whose headline simply read: "Reporter Recalls Moscow Talk With Oswald."(57) Miss Johnson describes sitting in her hotel room with Lee "all evening and into the early hours of the morning," and he "talked quietly about his plans to defect to Russia. However I soon came to feel that this boy was of the stuff of which fanatics are made"(58) [emphasis added]. Did she really feel that way back in November, 1959? If she did, it certainly wasn't expressed in either her report or in a subsequent discussion with the American Embassy. As pointed out by Robert Sam Anson,(59) the word "fanatics" conjured up a far more "sinister figure" than he'd been described originally. It would appear that an attempt was being made to paint a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald as a very disturbed young man, capable of some outrageous political act - like assassinating a president - consistent with similar portrayals in both Time(60) and Life(61) magazines prior to and following Oswald's death. The fact that the word ''fanatics'' was neither used nor implied in Priscilla's original report is very troubling, and a total misrepresentation of her impressions of the young man that she had interviewed at that time. It is possible that when she read over her original article, which referred to a soft-spoken "idealistic former Marine who spoke in terms of "emigrating" as opposed to defecting,(62) she found it difficult to accept her own impressions, given the possibility that this same man was a presidential assassin. Unfortunately, it would appear that Miss Johnson was unable to give the accused the benefit of the doubt, and instead chose to join the journalistic lynch mob before Oswald was even officially charged with the assassination, let alone tried. It is important to note that her new assessment was made prior to Oswald's death, with the realization that she very likely would have been called to testify.

The next seven paragraphs of her report(63) are again almost identical. Oswald explained that, although he might not be eligible for Soviet citizenship, he had no intention of returning to the U.S. and was anxiously awaiting the possibility of being sent to a "Soviet higher technical institute." Priscilla expressed her curiosity as to why a "soft-spoken Southern boy," unlike the "angry young rebels of his age," would want to make such a dramatic move, but concluded that it was a "combination of poverty, the plight of the U.S. Negro, and the U.S. Marines." His personal childhood experiences, both in the South and in New York, had led Oswald to discover "Socialist literature" which he described as the "key to my environment," particularly the ideas expressed in Das Kapital by Karl Marx. He also pointed out that his experience in the Marines had exposed him to "American military imperialism in action." Reference was made to Oswald's use of the Berlitz method in studying the Russian language while in the Marines, and the fact that he never considered simply deserting while on active duty.

At this point in the original report, Miss Johnson made a brief but significant comment on Oswald's physical appearance, referring to him as "a nice-looking six-footer with grey eyes and brown hair."(64) However, when it came time to revise her article, he was simply described as "a nice-looking young man."(65) Actually, her estimate of his height (which she listed as 5'11" in her notes(66)) was quite accurate as stated on various military, Selective Service and passport documents.(67) Prior to leaving the United States, Oswald was apparently 5'11" tall. However, the alleged assassin that was gunned down by Jack Ruby was 5'9" tall, according to the coroner's report."(68) Virtually all forms filled out by Oswald when he returned from the Soviet Union state that he was 5'9", except when he was initially interviewed by two FBI agents in Dallas, at which time he stated he was 5'11" and that Marina was 5'5",(69) when in fact she was two inches shorter. Although Aline Mosby did not specifically indicate how tall Oswald was in her November 15, 1959 article, she did state for the Warren Commission (as though in answer to a question) that "the young man I saw was 5 feet 9 inches tall,"(1) as though she had actually measured him.

Possibly Miss Johnson decided it wasn't necessary to mention that Oswald was a six-footer or realized from seeing him on television that he wasn't that tall, or had based her original description of him from having seen his passport through her contacts at the American Embassy. Whatever the case may be, this particular detail appeared to bother Miss Johnson so much that when she was asked to write a summary of her 1959 notes for the State Department in early December, 1963 ,(70) she included every detail written down in her notebook in the exact same order except for the notation "Hair brown, grey eyes - 5'11", 150 lbs." - which was not included.

Following the description of Oswald's physical features, the original 1959 report dealt briefly with the growing concern at the American Embassy about the fact that this was "their third case of attempted defection this fall."(73) A brief summary of the other two cases involving Nicholas Petrulli and Robert Webster was given, and the fact that both of these men "had marital troubles back home," suggesting some emotional instability. In the case of Petrulli, he was also described as having "a history of mental illness." In contrast, Miss Johnson pointed out that Oswald was not married and did not suggest any emotional problems, other than being upset at the American Embassy, which he accused of "stalling" on his request to renounce his American citizenship. She also indicated that Lee would be eligible for Russian citizenship since Russians "come of age at 18." For whatever reason, all of this information related to a pattern of American defections or possibly fake defections was deleted from her revised version.(74)

Miss Johnson concluded her 1959 report on an uncertain note, quoting Lee as insisting that "he'll never go back to the U.S.A.," although noting that he seemed to realize that his decision was not for "everyone."(75) He appeared to anticipate that he'd have to make a lot of adjustments, and would still be treated as an "outsider" by Soviet citizens, although he believed he was "doing right." Her final statement was simply: "That's why Lee won't take any calls when his mother telephones from Ft. Worth to beg him not to defect." He had decided what he wanted to do with his life, and was determined to remain steadfast, despite pressures from both his family and the American Embassy to convince him otherwise.

In her revised version,(76) Miss Johnson added an incorrect remark to this final statement, suggesting that Oswald "had refused to speak to any American correspondents" (other than herself), claiming later during her interview with Slawson and Mosk that she was unaware of Aline Mosby's earlier interview(77) (but which she did mention in her 1977 book, Marina and Lee).

Following a question as to why Oswald was willing to be interviewed by herself, which she was unable to find an answer to, Miss Johnson seemed to sense, in retrospect, that Oswald was headed for trouble of some sort, as though she could see into the future, when actually she was looking back and recreating what she might, or might not, have thought four years earlier:(79)

"As our conversation drew to a close ... I had a terrible feeling of futility. Disillusion, I was sure, awaited him. As he was leaving, I asked him to come to see me again. The Russians, Oswald told me, had warned him that he mustn't talk to Americans. But he promised before closing the door, that he wouldn't do anything decisive without at least letting me know. Two days later I went to the second floor ... and asked for Mr. Oswald...'He's gone,' she said" [referring to a hotel employee]

Obviously ignoring the information that she had provided to McVickar, referred to in the November 19, 1959 postscript to his memo, Miss Johnson concluded her revised report with a final statement that was full of implications: "I'd wondered what had happened to him since. Now I know." Strongly suggesting that Oswald had turned into a fanatical, disillusioned assassin, even she couldn't anticipate Oswald's own murder, a few hours after her story was published. Again, the finality of this remark was in stark contrast to the uncertain but somewhat supportive way in which Priscilla had ended her original report. Less than 48 hours after the assassination, the evidence against Oswald was far from overwhelming, despite the claims made by prosecutor Henry Wade and, of course, in a democratic society the accused is still innocent until proven guilty - in a court of law, and not through the media.

Given everything we have learned about Oswald in the past 27 years, did Miss Johnson really think she knew what had happened to him since their interview in Moscow? Despite writing about political and social developments in the USSR for Harper's,(81) The Nation,(82) Saturday Review,(83) and The Reporter(84) during the early sixties, along with returning to Moscow for the third-time in 1962(85) after a two-year absence, no further mention was made of Oswald or defectors in general in any of her articles. Oddly enough, although Aline Mosby wrote a book on her experience in Moscow published in 1962,(86) she also failed to mention her contact with Oswald. Nor did the New York Times carry any further reports on the ex-Marine, although it did carry a series of articles on Robert Webster,(87) who returned to the U.S. as a Soviet citizen in May, 1962.

Nevertheless, when the assassination did occur, Miss Johnson promptly retrieved her profile of Oswald from Sid Goldberg at NANA(88) and quickly redefined the subject of her report. One possible reason behind Miss Johnson's decision to change drastically the slant of her report was the fact that she was interviewed by two FBI agents, Darrel Currie and James Sullivan, on November 23, 1963. According to their report, which remained "classified" until November, 1977, "the purpose of the interview was to obtain information about Lee Harvey Oswald." It was also stated that "incidental thereto and without indicating possible Bureau interest in her as a suspect in the captioned case, she was advised that inasmuch as she is a potential witness, that biographical and background data on her would be advisable."(89)

The FBI's interest in Priscilla had actually begun on October 26, 1963, almost a month before the assassination, when Hoover began receiving a series of letters about her. According to former Dallas Morning News reporter Earl Golz, an "unsubstantiated report" had been received by the Bureau suggesting that Miss Johnson was "of interest to KGB for possible recruitment."(90) Golz pointed out that the "letters and inquiries about [Miss Johnson's] status at Harvard from Oct. 25 through Nov. 19 [1963] coincided with the period during which FBI agent James Hosty of Dallas was trying to learn more about Oswald's activities in this area ... the FBI noted it surreptitiously had established where [Miss Johnson] was living on the university campus and that she was 'doing some work at Harvard'." Miss Johnson suggested to Golz in 1977 that the most likely source of the "unsubstantiated report" was the former Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Llewellyn Thompson, in that Miss Johnson had informed Thompson about how some Russians had tried to "ply her for information during her ... trip to the Soviet Union from 1958 to 1960," (during which time she had interviewed Oswald).

Although Miss Johnson (who became Mrs. McMillan in 1966) tried to obtain her FBI file through the Freedom of Information Act prior to its release, she informed Earl Golz that "she didn't know that they [the FBI] were watching me prior to the assassination." It should be noted that no reference was made to the FBI's interest in her during the Warren Commission interview with her conducted by Slawson and Mosk. Miss Johnson did indicate during her interview having "thought about him [Oswald] ... as recently as 3 weeks before the assassination, and wondered...'whatever happened to that little Lee Oswald?!'"(91) There is no evidence that Priscilla made contact with the Oswalds after they arrived in the U.S., but it is certainly possible. If this were the case, and the FBI became aware of such contact, Miss Johnson certainly would want to disassociate herself immediately.

Even if the FBI didn't know of Miss Johnson's contact with Oswald in 1959 prior to the assassination, they certainly knew about it by November 23, 1963, as reflected in a memorandum sent to Belmont of the FBI (with copies distributed to Sullivan and DeLoach, Hoover's closest assistants) and recently reprinted in The Third Decade.(93)

Reference was made to a previous memo from DeLoach to Mohr also dated November 23, identifying John McVickar as a Foreign Service Officer who had dealt with Oswald at the American Embassy in Moscow. Two women listed as former "State Department employees at the American Embassy" by Jack Lynch, a security officer at the State Department, are also mentioned by name. Lynch advised that one Priscilla Johnston (sic) and Mrs. C. Stanley Brown also had contact with Oswald in Russia," and that "their contact with Oswald was official business." [emphasis added] The memo went on to state that "Priscilla Johnston [sic] is no longer with the State Department and now reportedly resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts, no former address available." No specific address or phone number was given, however, as was the case with Mrs. Brown, a resident of Alexandria, Virginia. There is no indication in the memo that Miss Johnson had been a free-lance journalist representing NANA in November, 1959, as she claimed to be; unlike Miss Mosby, who had clearly been working for UPI in 1959. In fact, when she wrote to me last year, Miss Mosby asked at the outset if I could explain who John McVickar was.(94)

Given the fact that Miss Johnson had returned to her career as a journalist as well as working on a book on Soviet affairs at the Russian Research Center at Harvard University,(95) she was now in a position to "exploit" her knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald, dead or alive it would seem. Whether the intention was really to enlighten the general public as to who the alleged assassin really was is questionable. While working on her revised portrait for the Boston Globe, with time out for an interview with the FBI, Miss Johnson managed also to make contact with both Time and Life magazines. Although unidentified in Time, she recalled Oswald "talking in terms of capitalists and exploiters, and said he was sure if he lived in the U.S. he wouldn't get a job, that he'd be one of the exploited. But I didn't perceive what the essential thing was - that this guy would be unhappy anywhere."(96) In Thomas Thompson's lengthy account for Life, slightly adjusted as a result of Oswald's unexpected death, Miss Johnson was described as a "correspondent ... who was stationed in Moscow when Oswald arrived, who remembered him vividly."(97) She indicated to Thompson having come into contact with several defectors but that Oswald was the "only ideological one," whom she described as being "like a babe in the woods, a lost child." At the same time, however, Miss Johnson "realized he had a sort of vein in him that was beyond reason, maybe that was fanatic." (It should be noted that, although she was described by NANA as "perhaps the only person to have been good friends of both the President and his suspected assassin,(98) Miss Johnson was clearly determined to minimize such a relationship, given the events of November 22.)

Following the death of Oswald, shortly after publication of her report, Priscilla was interviewed by the "Christian Science Monitor."(99) On the question of whether Oswald ever showed any signs of being capable of killing the President (who, in 1959, was Eisenhower), Miss Johnson emphasized in her comments the he was "a young man intensely bitter at the United States, who displayed absolute single-mindedness about whatever he was attempting to do - at the moment, to obtain Soviet citizenship." In her opinion, Oswald "... when he left the Soviet Union ... put the same single-mindedness for learning whatever he needed to learn for this act ... I just think he was the kind of person that might ... he would have gone about it in a methodical way. He would have learned whatever he needed to know." Although she suggested he was "bitter against 'capitalism' and 'worker exploitation' in the United States," she pointed out that he "never expressed any hatred ... of John F. Kennedy, then a young Massachusetts Senator."

Although Miss Johnson did not recall Oswald speaking of politics in a personal way or advocating the use of murder as a political weapon, she nevertheless told the Christian Science Monitor that he was "...a man capable of a whole lot" because of his bitterness (which was not emphasized in her original 1959 report for NANA). As for his defection, she believed that the motivation was his hatred for the United States and not a passion for Marxism. Being American herself, she seemed to resent the fact that another American could renounce his allegiance to the United States and develop an affection for a totally different system of government, based not only on what he had read about Marxism, but related to his own personal experiences in the South, in New York and overseas as a Marine. Of course, the possibility that his "defection" was nothing more than a charade was not discussed nor inferred.

Miss Johnson also noted Oswald's inability to speak the Russian language, his frustration at not receiving co-operation from the Embassy, and his indifference towards phone calls from home. She was surprised that he "never once during the seven-hour interview mention[ed] Cuba or Castro," despite the fact that he later "became chairman of a Dallas branch of Fair Play For Cuba." (In fact, no evidence had surfaced that an FPC chapter in Dallas even existed; Oswald had opened a chapter, however, in New Orleans.)

Overall, Priscilla described her interview as having been "deep and cordial" and told the Christian Science Monitor writer that she found Oswald to be an interesting combination: "troubled, plausible, and unknowingly emotional " - all the ingredients of a future assassin! As in her original report, reference was made to Oswald's promise to contact Miss Johnson again, followed by his "disappearance." In contrast to McVickar's statement in his 1959 memo, Miss Johnson now indicated that Oswald had "jumped the hotel and went to live as a Russian." When she returned to speak to him at the Metropole Hotel, the staff "just threw up their hands and said, 'He's gone.' He vanished without a trace." No reference, of course, was made to a December 1, 1959 confidential airgram to the State Department from Richard Snyder to the American Embassy, suggesting that Oswald "had earlier mentioned intention to depart to American correspondent who had maintained contact with Oswald at Metropole."(100) In the same airgram, Snyder had referred to Miss Johnson's belief that Oswald "may have purposely not carried out original intent to renounce Amcitship in order to leave crack open..."

On December 5, 1963, Miss Johnson submitted a summary(101) of her eighteen pages of notes written in the course of her interview with Oswald.(102) In an introduction to her summary, she mentioned having "frequently thought about Oswald in connection with doing an article on defectors to the Soviet Union,"(103) feeling that Oswald was different than most, in that he defected for "ideological" reasons, not because of personal problems at home. In fact, Miss Johnson even considered Oswald to be "realistic" in terms of his reasons for defecting, as opposed to the more typical defector like Webster "who came only because he was trapped in an unhappy marriage at home and fell in love with a Russian waitress." She pointed out to the State Department that, in fact, the Russians were more likely to accept someone like Webster than Oswald, in that he would be easier to control. Although she "had thought of Oswald often" since returning to the United States with the thought of writing about defectors, she had abandoned the idea because she "had not fully comprehended Oswald," whom she felt was "the key to the piece and the inspiration of it."

Miss Johnson's report to the State Department was certainly far more thorough than the 1200-word article she had submitted to NANA in 1959, covering fifteen typed pages. Clearly one of the most important statements made to her, which she had underlined in her notes (although not mentioned in either her original or revised article), had to do with Oswald's desire to communicate his point of view related to his defection. According to Oswald, he hadn't planned to make any formal statement about his decision to defect and the reasons behind it, until he learned that the American Emphassy had notified the press about his presence in Moscow. However, he had reconsidered and agreed to an interview because, as he put it, "I would like to give my side of the story - I would like to give people in the United States something to think about."(104)

In attempting to reassess the significance of each and every word spoken by Oswald that night in her hotel room, Miss Johnson pointed out that "in retrospect, that is an important remark. It may have more bearing on his motives in the assassination." At the same time, she realized that the comment possibly related merely to his frustrations in dealing with the Embassy. She quoted Oswald as stating that "once having been assured by the Russians that I would not have to return to the United States, come what may, I assumed it would be safe for me to give my side of the story."(105) Clearly, Oswald was preoccupied with his status in the Soviet Union and, given the publicity back home surrounding his defection, did not want to express his anti-American feelings, knowing that he might be sent back to an unfriendly reception. The suggestion that Oswald killed Kennedy (which she assumed was the case without hesitation) in order to give the American people "something to think about" was totally unsubstantiated speculation on her part - pure amateur psychology. Given the fact that the FBI's investigation had not yet been completed, and that the Warren Commission's massive undertaking hadn't even been launched as yet, Miss Johnson seemed in a hurry to convict Oswald, who was no longer able to defend himself and tell "his side of the story."

Picking up where she left off, Miss Johnson contributed a lengthy article on her contact with Oswald for Harper's in the spring of 1964 entitled, "Oswald in Moscow"(106) in the midst of the Warren Commission's investigation. She began her account by referring to an unnamed "colleague" who had made her aware that a defector was staying at her hotel, quoting her "friend" as saying that "Oswald won't talk to any of us" (without identifying "us" to mean "the American Embassy" and not the news media). Much of the content was similar to her original 1959 report to NANA, which she failed to mention. Instead, she repeated her December 5, 1963 remark to the State Department that she had given up the idea of writing "a profile of his highly unusual defector" because "the key to this curious boy had eluded me." Again, she emphasized his loneliness, as he waited anxiously to hear whether or not he would be granted citizenship or at least residence status. No reference was made to the Intourist guide, Rima, whom he appeared to see frequently (undoubtedly trained by the KGB(107)). Much of the article dealt with Oswald's Marxist beliefs, his criticism of conditions back home, and his reasons for defecting.

Midway through the article, Miss Johnson focused her attention on the psychological factors that might have brought about Oswald's transformation from defector to assassin. However, she did qualify her remarks with the comment: "...if Oswald were, in fact, the assassin..."(108) - undoubtedly having taken note of much of the conflicting and questionable evidence being published almost daily. As she had mentioned in the Christian Science Monitor interview, Miss Johnson suggested that Oswald displayed great single-mindedness in his defection, which would have been, in her opinion, "a dry run for the assassination," since planning to kill a president would take the same kind of determination and methodical planning as required in defecting. (If she wanted to choose a "dry run," you'd think she would refer to the alleged attempted assassination of General Walker, which Oswald was subsequently blamed for.)

She also noted that Oswald behaved in a secretive way towards his family and during his three years in the Marines, apparently not aware that his nickname in Japan was "Oswaldkovich" because of his intense interest in the Soviet Union.(109) Miss Johnson pointed out that he had been equally "evasive about the circumstances of his defection,"(110) not at alI suspicious that he might have been "faking" his decision to defect.(111) She did recognize that "discretion was no doubt appropriate to some of these questions,"(112) but failed to point out, as she did later in her Warren Commission testimony, that her room at the Metropole Hotel was undoubtedly bugged."(113) Instead, she linked this "tightlipped, conspiratorial attitude" to her other dubious evidence, suggesting it was an "invaluable" prerequisite to the assassination.

Miss Johnson also wrote in Harper's that she believed by then that because of Oswald's "refusal to cooperate with authority," he was unlikely to confess to having killed President Kennedy, whom she felt was for Oswald only an "abstract being" and a mere symbol of authority in his mind, not someone he had come to hate. Overall, she concluded that "Oswald yearned to go down in history as the man who shot the President," although at the same time he denied the act. In her opinion, he had a need to think "of himself as extraordinary" and "to be caught, but not to confess."

She briefly made reference to "trained psychiatrists" who she speculated would have no difficulty evaluating him. Seemingly, Miss Johnson had joined their ranks without any training in the field. Recognizing his failure as a defector both in the eyes of people back home and "even among the Russians," Oswald, Miss Johnson suggests, was driven "to perform a more memorable, and outrageous act." In her final statement, she recalled asking Oswald why he had agreed to be interviewed, but, unlike in her State Department summary, she chose this time to "edit" Oswald's reply, by leaving out his expressed desire to "tell my side of the story."(114) Instead, Oswald was quoted as stating that he would like "to give the people of the United States something to think about,"(115) almost as though he said it in reference to having killed the President, rather than in connection with his defection. It was a comment Miss Johnson would make use of again.

Shortly after writing her Harper's piece on Oswald, she apparently signed a contract with Harper and Row to "co-author a biography with Marina Oswald," now that she was becoming recognized as an "Oswald expert," as noted facetiously by Robert Anson years later.(116) According to Anson, Miss Johnson had received a reported advance of $100,000 from the publishing firm; and, in June of 1964, she arrived in Dallas to meet Mrs. Oswald for the first time, and spent much of the summer and fall with Marina and a group of Secret Service agents, both in Dallas and in Santa Fe, New Mexico.(117)

However, on July 25, 1964, Miss Johnson was in Washington, D.C. to be interviewed by David Slawson, a 31-year-old graduate of Harvard Law School, assisted by 24-year-old Richard Mosk, also from Harvard (where Miss Johnson was then working at the Russian Research Center(118)). Even though she was certainly an important witness, no members of the Warren Commission participated in the interview, despite the fact it took place in the Capitol.(119) Unlike most witnesses, she was not asked about her background prior to 1959, no reference was made to her November 23, 1963 FBI interview, nor the fact that she was then spending time with Mrs. Oswald for a forthcoming book.(120)

A number of exhibits were identified by Miss Johnson at the outset of the interview, including her original 1959 typewritten report to NANA, which she stated had been submitted "to the Soviet censor on November 18, 1959,"(121) although she was not asked when and where it was published at that time. She also identified the Boston Globe version, which she emphasized had been written for NANA, stating that "it probably appeared in other places, too." No mention was made by either Slawson or Mosk as to the significant alterations between the 1959 and 1963 versions, only that the updated copy had been "filed on November 22, 1963" (which didn't give her much time to make the alterations, unless she decided to make further changes after being questioned by the FBI). Although both the interviews with her by the Christian Science Monitor and her report in Harper's were also presented as exhibits, no reference was made to the theories developed by Miss Johnson in either article.

The entire interview dealt, instead, with Miss Johnson's five-hour conversation with Oswald, with numerous references to both her notes and McVickar's memo. At the outset, she inquired as to whether the Commission knew what had happened to Oswald, claiming that "when I went back [to the hotel] they said he had left."(122) Slawson replied that Oswald had written a letter to his brother, dated November 26, 1959, giving his address as room 201 instead of 233, and speculated that he might have been given a less expensive room. Later in the interview, Slawson made reference to the postscript added to McVickar's memo, mentioned earlier in my report, which was based on a discussion with Miss Johnson dated November 19, 1959, after she had submitted her article to NANA. (McVickar been asked about the conversation during his June 9, 1964 interview with Coleman.(123) Apparently not having done his homework, Slawson failed to ask Miss Johnson about the content of the postscript, which stated that Oswald would be leaving the hotel by week's end to be trained in electronics, and that Miss Johnson had asked him to keep in touch. She matter-of-factly suggested that the postscript was merely "an afterthought on the part of Mr. McVickar, or conceivably a second conversation,"(124) but Johnson was not asked about the obvious contradiction between the postscript and her final statement in the 1963 Boston Globe article, repeated at the outset of this interview. She clearly had known what was to happen to Oswald and possibly even kept in touch with him as she hoped.

Slawson was informed by Miss Johnson that no second conversation had taken place between her and Oswald, but Slawson avoided asking the other obvious question as to where Miss Johnson had learned that Oswald would be leaving the hotel to be trained in electronics. Given the fact that Miss Johnson had described Oswald as vanishing into thin air in several earlier articles, the postscript was most important, and seemed to suggest that Miss Johnson was not telling the truth; nor were Slawson and Mosk eager to question her honesty or lack of it.

In addition to discussing Oswald, Miss Johnson also recalled her awareness of several other defectors, namely Webster, Petrulli and a couple named Block, and stated that "we had defectors on the brain right then in Moscow, all of us"(125) (What "we" - what "us?" Journalists or embassy employees?), blaming the problem on the large number of tourists in Moscow at that time. Again, she used the word "colleague'' in reference to Korengold of UPI, whom she mentioned had "supported" Petrulli "while he was thinking it over and deciding not to do it [defect]." The distinction between being a journalist and a representative of the American Embassy in Moscow seemed to have become very thin indeed.

As she had already demonstrated in her previous articles, Miss Johnson was fascinated with Oswald's motives for defecting at such a tender age, and compared him with many of the members of the "Western press corps" in the 1930s whom she had read about, describing them as "fellow travellers or Communists" who were seeking the "Promised Land."(126) She now suspects that behind Oswald's ideological reasons were emotional factors that she didn't understand, remarking that "had [I] known he was back I probably would have tried to see him." Given the FBI's interest in her prior to the assassination, possibly she had, in fact, made such an effort. She did admit to Slawson and Mosk that she had "thought about him ... as recently as 3 weeks before the assassination." Why she happened to think about him at that particular time did not seem to be of any interest to Slawson; nor was he concerned by the fact that Johnson now recalled Oswald being "little," as opposed to the "six-footer" described in her 1959 report.(127) Why had that description been changed to "a nice young man" in the revised version;(128) and why was his height, weight and eye/hair color not included in the State Department summary of December 5, 1963? No such questions were put to her.

Reference was made to Aline Mosby's earlier interview with Oswald, which Miss Johnson revealed she had not been aware of, even though they knew each other. All her information came from McVickar at the Embassy, including the suggestion that she contact Korengold for further details. Because she was working for "the weakest of the American agencies,"(129) namely NANA, she was clearly competing with AP and UPI, and therefore relied on the Embassy for assistance, who likewise needed the services of a journalist looking for an "exclusive," as Miss Johnson put it.(130) Her position as a truly independent journalist may have been greatly compromised and possibly was nothing more than a charade to begin with. She had also sent two reports to The Progressive magazine in 1958 and 1959; and you would think that an article about a defector would have been of interest to them. You are left with the impression that the primary purpose of her interview with Oswald was not journalistic at all, but was to assist the American Embassy and the State Department, which she certainly accomplished.

Unlike her previous references to Oswald's desire to give the people of the U.S. something to think about, Johnson did at least relate to Warren Commission counsel the entire remark made back in 1959, saying that she felt Oswald was being both "pretentious" and "a publicity seeker."(131) The possibility that such publicity was designed to help legitimize a fake defection was not dealt with, however.

Following her interview, Miss Johnson returned to her work with Marina for a book expected to be published by the end of the year which, in fact, was not published until 1977; an incredible delay considering the large advance provided by Harper and Row and their expectations for a major bestseller.(132) But Miss Johnson kept herself busy in more ways than one during these thirteen years and beyond.

- Peter R. Whitmey, April, 1999

Continued in Part Two


1. Warren Commission Hearings and Exhibits, Volume 20, p. 290.
References to this source cited hereafter in format: 20H290.

2. Including the Dallas Morning News, a copy of which was sent to me by Tim Wyatt; all references to "Lee" have been changed to "Oswald" and reference to his "dependency discharge" in the Boston Globe was changed to "dishonourable discharge." Presumably the DMN did not obtain Priscilla's permission to make these subtle alterations.

3. 20H291.

4. Time, November 29, 1963, p. 27 (written prior to his death, referring to "Oswald's trial, which may come up in January").
Life, November 29, 1963, p. 38 (also written prior to his death although with an opening paragraph added, an additional concluding statement and a slightly altered headline below Jack Beers' photo of Ruby about to shoot Oswald - see Loudon Wainwright's 1986, "The Great American Magazine," chapter 14, for a full description of Life's coverage).

5.20H307-311. The article had been torn out of the bound edition at Western Washington University library, back when photocopiers were scarce and expensive, no doubt.

6. Robert Sam Anson, They've Killed the President!, (New York: Bantam Books, 1975), p. 136.

7. 5H602.

8. Both of whom now live in Los Angeles where Mosk is a law partner and Slawson is a professor of law at the University of Southern California.

9. Listed in the New York Times Index for 1959; part of the "dispatch was held in censorship," according to the Associated Press.

10. "American Awaits Soviet Word." New York Times, November 3, 1959, p. 6.

11. Reprinted in The Third Decade, vol. 6 #1, November 1989. Aline Mosby retired from UPI in 1986 and is now a freelance reporter living in Paris, although she returns each spring to her "childhood home," where I managed to contact her.

12. 26H90.

13. "Oswald's Full Russian Diary." Life, July 10, 1964, pp. 28-31.

14.The diary's last entry is for March 27, 1962, several months before he left the Soviet Union, which is also odd.

15. Timothy Cwiek, "Priscilla and Lee: The Interview That Never Was?" The Third Decade, vol. 2 #2, pp. 10-13.

16. In CE 914 (18H110), Richard Snyder used the word "defection" in quotes in reference to the Webster case in a letter to the Department of State; and in the December 10 reply (CE 915, 18H112), the word "defected" was also in quotes in reference to "Webster, Oswald cases, etc." Usually putting a word in quotes suggests uncertainty or a double meaning.

17. 16H97; referred to in Cwiek, "Priscilla and Lee..." p. 11.

18. Cwiek (Priscilla and Lee) notes the date of "1963 Nov. 22 PM" on Miss Johnson's 1959 report to NANA, which is more likely the date it was turned over to the FBI. In a recent letter from Sid Goldberg of United Media, formerly managing editor of NANA, he stated that "Priscilla phoned me on November 22 in the hope that I still had her story in our files. She did not have a copy of it. It happens that I did have her story and so we were able to distribute it..." (after numerous alterations discussed in this report.) Her original report was dated "Nov. 18" at the beginning, undoubtedly 1959.

19. 20H277-285.

20. 20H286-289.

21. The address had been handwritten at the top along with their phone number, although it is hard to determine when.

22. 20H290.

23. 20H292-306.

24. 11H443.

25. Edward J. Epstein, Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald (New York: Reader's Digest Press, 1978), p. 100. Published in Washington Star November 26, 1959, p. 20.

26. According to his letter of October 10, 1990, although "Priscilla had many NANA stories published - perhaps over 100 - we chose not to publish Priscilla's Oswald interview in 1959 ... we had more interesting stories on hand ... We chose the most interesting ones for distribution..." (working on a "daily budget"). This was not the case after all.

27. Edward J. Epstein, "Reading Oswald's Hand." Psychology Today, April, 1978.

28. Although Priscilla claimed to be a free-lance journalist, Sid Goldberg stated to me that he assumed she was still working for the State Department in 1959 as a translator, as her earnings from NANA were minimal.

29. At that time the CIA provided intelligence analysts to the State Department quite often with the "cover" of "journalist" - see Carl Bernstein, "The CIA and the Media." Rolling Stone, October 20, 1977, pp. 55-67.

30. In October, 1958, she was identified as an editor "on Soviet Law for the "Current Digest for the Soviet Press" by The Progressive magazine, which published her article, "Jefferson Among the Soviets" as well as in their February, 1959 edition below "The New Soviet Education." No reference is made to NANA, even in a May 5, 1962 Saturday Review report.

31. It is possible Miss Johnson also submitted her 1959 report to The Progressive, but they have no record of it, according to Erwin Knoll. It certainly would have fit into their "liberal" oriented position. Of course, it is also possible Miss Johnson was merely "going through the motions" in terms of getting her profile published.

32. I spoke to her at length in October, 1987, and again in November, 1989.

33. Mailed from Paris, June 22, 1990.

34. Priscilla Johnson McMillan, Marina and Lee (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), originally coauthored by Marina Oswald.

35. In the April 23, 1967 edition of the New York Times, Svetlana is referred to as a "guest [of] Stuart H. Johnson, Sr., a retired 69- year-old stockbroker: and father of "Mrs. Priscilla Johnson MacMillan [soc]" who was to translate the memoirs of Svetlana Stalin. In the April 28, 1967 edition of Time, "she was staying at the home of Long Island Socialite Stuart Johnson," repeated in the May 29, 1967 edition.

36. Which took place on July 25, 1964, in Washington, D.C., conducted by David Slawson and Richard Mosk; 11H442-460.

37. Earl Golz, "FBI Probed Oswald Book Author as Possible KGB Spy." Dallas Morning News, December 18, 1977. (Thanks to Earl for a copy of his report.)

38. CE 911 (18H106-107).

39. Under Richard Snyder; according to Miss Aline Mosby, she did not know McVickar and still does not know who he was, although Snyder himself knew Aline, referring to her as "Ellie" during this Warren Commission interview on June 9, 1964 (5H292).

40. 11H444.

41. 20H286-289.

42. See CE 3098 (26H707-708) for Korengold's affidavit.

43. 11H442-46O.

44. 20H291.

45. McMillan, Marina and Lee, p. 86. Miss Mosby of UPI also stated in an undated post-assassination reported provided to the Warren Commission (CE 1385) that "following Soviet custom, he [Lee] had been shipped off to unglamorous Minsk" and also recalled seeing Oswald once in a crowded theatre lobby. Mosby told me that she was contacted by the "Warren Commission" in Paris "about including my report," which possibly was published by UPI.

46. Priscilla stated that she had submitted it on November 22, 1963, which would have been prior to her FBI interview, presumably to the Boston Globe, but could have revised it some some on November 23 prior to publication.

47. Anson, They've Killed the President!, p. 135.

48. 20H286-289.

49. Priscilla used his first name throughout both versions of her report.

50. 20H290.

51. 20H286 and 20H290.

52. 20H290.

53. "Oswald's Full Russian Diary," p. 28.

54. 8H307; no reference is made to the Folsom interview in Epstein's Legend.

55. See Legend, Reasonable Doubt and Conspiracy for details on Oswald's growing interest in the Soviet Union while stationed in Japan.

56. 20H290.

57. Dallas Morning News, November 24, 1963.

58. 20H290.

59. Anson, They've Killed the President!, p. 135.

60. "The Accused." Time, November 29, 1963, p. 27.

61. "Assassin - the Man Held - and Killed - For Murder." Life, November 29, 1963, p. 37.

62. 20H290.

63. 20H290.

64. 20H287.

65. 20H290.

66. 20H277.

67. See Michael Eddowes, The Oswald File (New York: C. Potter, 1977), pp. 211-212, "An Analysis of Heights." Also Anson, They've Killed the President!, pp. 208-9.

68. Eddowes, The Oswald File, p. 214.

69. Eddowes, The Oswald File, p. 212.

70. Eddowes, The Oswald File, p. 212. Also Time, February 14, 1964, p. 20.

71. CE 1385 (21H701).

72. 20H292-306.

73. 20H288.

74. 20H290.

75. 20H289.

76. 20H290.

77. 11H450.

78. McMillan, Marina and Lee, p. 86.

79. First discussed by Anson in They've Killed the President! - one of the many reasons why David Belin didn't want anyone to read it ("The Book You Shouldn't Read." National Review, February 6, 1976).

80. 20H290. This-paragraph was printed in the newspaper in darker print for emphasis.

81. "Friendship U in Moscow." Harper's, December, 1960. "Death of a Writer." Harper's, May, 1961.

82. "Notes on the Khrushchev-Stalin Feud." The Nation, December 9, 1961.

83. "New Heretics in Soviet Writing." Saturday Review, May 5, 1962.

84. "Old Terror and New Doubts." The Reporter, December 6, 1962; "The New Men of the Soviet Sixties." May 9, 1963; "Russia: Poetry, Politics and the Unpredictable." November 21, 1963.

85. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Final Report, p. 271. Upon returning to the U.S. after her third posting in Moscow, Miss Johnson was debriefed in an affidavit filed with the HSCA in 1977. The meeting took place at the Brattle Inn, which had been written at the bottom of her 1959 NANA report on Oswald, and which was located near Harvard University in Cambridge. The meeting took place in November, 1962, suggesting her trip had been short. She was asked about her impressions of the Soviet literary and cultural climate, and the circumstances surrounding the confiscation of her papers and notes by the KGB. She stated that she had been under "heavy surveillance and the KGB knew what Soviet citizens I had seen. Many were Russian liberals." According to Miss Johnson, she felt it "might help them if the CIA knew what the KGB already knew" but did not elaborate.

86. "The View From Number 13 People's Street," referred to in Epstein, Legend, p. 292.

87. "American Picks Life in the Soviet." New York Times, October 20, 1959; "U.S. Defector in Soviet Can Return as Alien." New York Times, May 26, 1960; "American in Russia Seeks Return Here." New York Times, March 24, 1962; "Man Who Renounced U.S. to Return." New York Times, May 17, 1962; "Defector to Soviet is Back, to 'Undo Wrong' to U.S." New York Times, May 21, 1962.

88. In a letter to me dated October 10, 1990, Goldberg wrote: "I don't recall who called from the Boston Globe re: publishing her story in revised format on November 24. I don't recall ever being interviewed by the FBI in regard to Priscilla. I never got the feeling that Priscilla might be working for the CIA or the State Department as an intelligence analyst..."

89. Golz, "FBI Probed Oswald Book Author as Possible KGB Spy."

90. Golz, "FBI Probed Oswald Book Author as Possible KGB Spy."

91. 11H449.

92. As Cwiek (Priscilla and Lee) points out, Priscilla had Marguerite Oswald's address in her notes.

93. Commission Document 49, p. 24, quoted in Anson, They've Killed the President!, p. 137; also The Third Decade, vol. 6 #2, January, 1990, p. 13.

94. Letter from Aline Mosby dated June 22, 1990.

95. Cited in Saturday Review, May 5, 1962.

96. "The Accused." Time, November 29, 1963, p. 27.

97. Thomas Thompson, "Assassin: The Man Held - and Killed - For Murder." Life, November 29,1963, p. 37+.

98. 20H290.

99. 20H291.

100. CE 921, 18H12O.

101. 20H292-306.

102. 20H277-285.

103. 20H293.

104. 20H295.

105. 20H296.

106. 20H307-311.

107. Implied by Priscilla herself in McMillan, Marina and Lee, p. 81.

108. 20H309.

109. Epstein, Legend, p. 86.

110. 20H310.

111. See reference to Otto Otepka's half-finished study of "defectors" in Bernard Fensterwald, Coincidence or Conspiracy?, pp. 230-231.

112. 20H310.

113. 11H445.

114. 20H295.

115. 20H311.

116. Anson, They've Killed the President!, p. 136.

117. McMillan, Marina and Lee, pp. 1-10.

118. And where she still has an office today.

119. 11H442-460.

120. Which wasn't published until 1977.

121. 11H443; actually Miss Johnson did not mention the year (1959).

122. 11H444.

123. 5H301.

124. 22H451.

125. 11H448.

126. 11H449.

127. 20H287.

128. 20H290.

129. 11H452.

130. 11H448.

131. 11H456.

132. In reply to a letter I wrote to Harper and Row in regard to the long delay in the publication of Priscilla's book, Mr. Wyeth, Jr. stated, in part: "...The fact that her manuscript of Marina and Lee was not delivered is not an unusual development in publishing, unfortunately. However the books are often worth waiting for, and this one certainly was ... Many people simply find writing a book takes much longer than they expect..." (December 7, 1989)

The Third Decade contributor Scott Van Wynsberghe offered another possibility in a letter to me (January 12, 1990): "... I believe the Code Name Zorro book speculates that the interminable length of time needed before publication of Marina and Lee effectively prevented any other writer from getting at Marina for well over a decade."

Timothy Cwiek, in a letter to me (October 8, 1990), recalled having spoken to Marina Oswald Porter in the early 1980s: "...By that time she already sounded quite disillusioned with Priscilla ... She said the book, Marina and Lee, was a big disappointment, appearing much too late to be a big seller."

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