My interpretation of the WC testimony of Dallas civilian Robert Alan Surrey will require several blog posts. I’ll start with the most obvious fact about Surrey’s WC testimony, namely, that he refused to testify concerning the poster, Wanted for Treason: JFK (CE 996). He pleaded the 5th Amendment for all questions on that topic, because honest answers would have tended to incriminate him.
This suggests my key premise for interpretation, namely, that whenever Surrey took the 5th because an honest answer would be incriminating – then we may surmise that the simplest, Yes or No answer, which would also be incriminating, must therefore be the Honest Truth. My opinion about Surrey's testimony will be based on this premise; so let’s review those questions and then I'll insert Surrey’s omitted but theoretically correct answers, as follows:
Do you know which printing company printed the poster, Wanted for Treason: JFK? Yes, I do.
Do you know Robert G. Krause? Yes, I do.
Was Robert Krause formerly employed by Johnson Printing Company? Yes, he was.
Do you know of a printing company, Lettercraft Printing Company? Yes, I do.
Did you prepare the copy for CE 996, the poster, Wanted for Treason: JFK? Yes, I did.
Did you give that item to Robert Krause of Lettercraft Printing, for reproduction? Yes, I did.
Did you give those ‘mug shots’ of JFK to Robert Krause for reproduction? Yes, I did.
Did you pay Robert Krause and his wife to print 5,000 to 10,000 of these handbills? Yes, I did.
Did you distribute copies of CE 996 around Dallas on 11/22/1963 and earlier? Yes, I did.
Do you know Mrs. Dorothy Mercer? Yes, I do.
Do you know Mr. Clifford Mercer? Yes, I do.
Do you a photoengraving company in Dallas named Monks Brothers? Yes, I do.
Do you know J.T. Monk or J.T. Monk, Jr.? Yes, I do.
Did you have one of the printing workmen at Johnson Printing set type for CE 996? Yes, I did.
After that type was set, did you have photos made of that type? Yes, I did.
Do you know Bernard Weissman? Yes, I do.
Have you had any business relations Bernard Weissman? Yes, I have.
Was anyone associated with you in the publication of CE 996? Yes, there was.
Did General Walker have anything to do with CE 996? Yes, he did.
Did you tell any Johnson Printing partners about CE 996 or Lettercraft Printing? Yes, I did.
Did you tell all Johnson Printing partners about CE 996 or Lettercraft Printing? Yes, I did.
Can you name the Johnson linotype operators during November 1 to 22, 1963? Yes, I can.
Can you name the Johnson “Ludlow” operators during November 1 to 22, 1963? Yes, I can.
Are these lines on CE 996 Ludlow productions? Yes, they are.
Do you remember where you bought the paper that was used for CE 996? Yes, I do.
Did you see another reproduction of CE 996 at any time during November 1963? Yes, I did.
Were any funds of American Eagle Publishing donations or sales used for CE 996? Yes, they were.
Now let me summarize the positive implications of all those pleadings of the 5th:
Surrey wrote the text for CE 996, the poster, Wanted for Treason: JFK
Surrey knew all linotype and all Ludlow machine operators at Johnson Printing in November 1963.
Surrey gave his CE 996 text to a workman at Johnson Printing to set type on their Ludlow machine.
The lines on CE 996 are Ludlow type settings.
After that type was set, Surrey had technical printing photos made of that type.
These photos comprised the "printing copy" for CE 996.
Surrey paid JT Monk and JT Monk, Jr. of Monks Brothers, to photoengrave two "mug shots" of JFK.
Surrey knew Robert Krause of Lettercraft Printing as a former employee at Johnson Printing.
Surrey merged his "printing copy" and the JFK "mug shots" to hand to Robert Krause for reproduction.
Surrey also bought special printing paper for Robert Krause to use for CE 996.
Surrey knew that Krause used the printing press of his mom and stepdad, Dorothy and Clifford Mercer.
Surrey paid Krause and his wife to print 5,000 to 10,000 copies of CE 996.
Surrey told all his Johnson Printing partners about CE 996 and about Lettercraft Printing.
Surrey associated with several people in the publication of CE 996; including General Walker.
Surrey saw at least one other reproduction of CE 996 sometime during November 1963.
Funds from American Eagle Publishing Company (AEPC) donations and sales were used for CE 996.
Surrey had a business relationship with Bernard Weissman regarding other propaganda against JFK.
Surrey himself had personally distributed copies of CE 996 around Dallas on 11/22/1963 and earlier.
To make this section easier to read, I’ll summarize it again in narrative form, instead of the ‘bulleted’ form above. In my opinion, Robert Alan Surrey, by declining to answer under oath, suggested the following under Warren Commission questioning.
Sometime before the JFK parade through Dallas, Surrey himself wrote the text for CE 996, the famous “Wanted” poster in order to circulate it widely through Dallas on the day of JFK’s parade there. Also, the Dallas company in which Surrey was a partner, Johnson Printing Company, had various “Ludlow” type-setting machines. He knew all the typesetters in his company, and which could operate the Ludlow machines. Surrey gave his “Wanted” text to a workman at Johnson Printing to set type on their Ludlow machine. (This is evident since the type set on the “Wanted” poster are Ludlow type settings.) After the type-set was completed, Surrey made a technical printing photograph of that type; the “printing copy.”
Then, Surrey hired two friends, J.T. Monk and J.T. Monk, Jr. of Monks Brothers, to photoengrave two "mug shots" of the face of JFK – a frontal view and a side view. Photoengraving is a different technology than simple type-setting, and it requires special equipment. Monks Brothers possessed such equipment and they provided Surrey with printing photographs of the “mug shots.”
Surrey combined his “printing copy” with his “mug shots” and went forth to find a printer to mass-produce up to 10,000 copies of these “Wanted” posters as inexpensively as possible. He knew that young man and a former employee of Johnson Printing Company, Robert Krause, was seeking to start his own company, named, Lettercraft Printing Company.
Krause didn’t have his own equipment, but he might get permission to use his parents’ printing press equipment which they kept in their garage. Their names were Clifford and Dorothy Mercer. Surrey bought special paper to make up to 10,000 posters, and he brought the paper, the "printing copy," the "mug shots" and the payment to Robert Krause and his wife to make these copies.
Because Surrey moved in Radical Right circles in Dallas, and this included his partners at Johnson Printing Company, and because each partner knew the politics of each and all, Surrey had no problem showing his friends several samples of the “Wanted” posters that he planned to distribute throughout Dallas, and to explain the details about his procedures. It was all between friends. Actually, during November 1963, Surrey saw at least one other version of his poster – so somebody else had offered to help in their own original manner.
Surrey acted in association with several people in the publication of these “Wanted” posters – including Ex-General Edwin Walker. Surrey had used funds from their common establishment, the American Eagle Publishing Company, from both donations and sales, to help finance the mass production of these “Wanted” posters. Although Surrey had a business relationship with Bernard Weissman of “Conservatism-USA” in Dallas, with regard to different propaganda against JFK, Weissman was not part of the “Wanted” poster itself.
Finally, whatever other labor Surrey might have engaged to help him distribute these thousands of “Wanted” posters throughout Dallas, Surrey himself, personally, distributed copies Dallas on the early morning of 11/22/1963 and even earlier than that.
The 1993 report of Chris Cravens (Edwin Walker and the Right Wing in Dallas 1960-1966) about this “Wanted” poster is interesting. According to Cravens, this famous “Wanted” poster was produced several weeks before JFK ever came to Dallas. It was produced in time for the visit of Adlai Stevenson to Dallas on October 24, 1963. The first time that Dallas residents had a chance to see this poster was at downtown Dallas on the day of Adlai Stevenson’s “UN Day” speech. Since the John Birch Society had regarded all United Nations officers to be confirmed Communists, they had vowed to disrupt Stevenson’s speech by all means possible. This “Wanted” poster of JFK was a part of the Stevenson disruption.
I mention this to underscore the fact that any Dallas officials of any stature – especially the Dallas FBI and the Dallas Secret Service – cannot have missed the circulation of this scurrilous poster around Dallas during the political event of a national Democratic figure like Stevenson visiting the city on October 24, 1963.
Furthermore, Dallas FBI agent, James Hosty, had been specifically assigned to monitor the Dallas Radical Right with special emphasis on General Walker and his minions like Robert Alan Surrey. It is impossible that James Hosty would be ignorant of the circulation of this poster, or who had published it during October 1963. And if James Hosty knew, then it is equally certain that Dallas Secret Service agent Forrest Sorrels knew as well, since they had worked closely together for decades. And, both knowing the score in October 1963, it is amply certain that both knew the score on November 22, 1963 in Dallas as well.
In any case – this is my opinion – this is what I surmise from the WC testimony of Robert Alan Surrey when he pleaded the 5th Amendment to any and all questions about the “Wanted for Treason: JFK” poster in Dallas.