Here’s my interpretation of the June 1964 Warren Commission (WC) testimony of Bernard Weissman.
1. Attorney Jenner knew enough about CUSA to immediately ask about Larrie Schmidt.
2. Bernard Weissman, worried that he might slip up, brought a lawyer with him to testify.
3. CUSA, in my opinion, was little more than a high-school boys club with delusions of grandeur. Five US Army men had formally registered CUSA in Munich as a partnership – and revealed their naïveté.
4. Members of CUSA were young patriots defending the Berlin Wall from Communism – but they also read widely about the rapid rise of the Radical Right in Dallas, including the resignation of General Edwin Walker after his 30 years of his otherwise distinguished service in the US Army. Walker had been serving in Germany since late 1959 and resigned in late 1961 amid a scandal that he was too Right-wing even for the Allies. He was the only US General to resign from the US Army in the 20th century. Walker quickly became a hero to the US Radical Right and made the cover of Newsweek, as we can see here:
5. The CUSA fantasy that they would swagger into Dallas and unite all Rightist groups was charming in a schoolboy sort of way. Their one sober idea was to support Barry Goldwater for US President. Larrie was the only CUSA member to have read, “Atlas Shrugged” (1957) by the self-proclaimed egoist, Ayn Rand. This evidently gave him the elevation to be CUSA leader.
6. CUSA founders carefully monitored Dallas politics starting in 1962. CUSA was interested in obscure Dallas political groups like the NIC and the YAF. Weissman had been clear that he wished to steer clear of Rightist Radicals like General Walker and the JBS – whom he regarded as bigots and anti-Semites. Yet Larrie suddenly revealed his almost instant connection with General Walker and the JBS. Weissman saw Walker as a dangerous Dallas Radical.
7. CUSA thought that these Dallas organizations would be relatively disorganized and easy to infiltrate. This was true of the NIC. But the YAF was a different story. It had been organized by two American intellectuals – Dr. Robert Morris and William F. Buckley Jr. It was a major college organization; nobody’s fool. In my reading, Dr. Robert Morris – a former attorney for Senator Joseph McCarthy, a personal friend of H.L. Hunt and an influential devotee of General Walker – quickly mesmerized Larrie Schmidt and swung him into the orbit of General Walker without Larrie knowing what happened. Larrie told me personally that he had regarded Dr. Morris as his older and respected mentor.
8. CUSA proceeded along its high-school level, copy-cat methods of organization in publicity.
9. CUSA proceeded along its high-school level, copy-cat methods of organization in ad media.
10. CUSA proceeded along its high-school level, copy-cat methods of organization in fund-raising. Weissman rightly recognized that CUSA was starting from zero.
11. CUSA strategy, according to Weissman, was to outsmart theses bigoted organizations, seize control and exploit them toward his more liberal agenda.
12. Larrie very likely met Robert Alan Surrey in early 1963 through the charming Dr. Robert Morris – one of the personal lawyers of General Walker. Surrey, whose office was in Walker’s home, was about the same age as Larrie. Dr. Morris invited Larrie to exclusive political gatherings and introduced Larrie to many. Robert Alan Surrey learned that Larrie’s brother, Robbie Schmidt, was looking for work, and Surrey got Robbie to work for General Walker as a live-in chauffeur. Larrie wrote to Weissman to boast about all this.
13. Dr. Robert Morris helped Larrie secure control of the (failing) NIC and a distinguished post in the YAF (executive secretary; unpaid).. Larrie didn’t seem to know that Dr. Morris had created the YAF (along with William F. Buckley Jr.) and that Morris could do whatever he wanted with it. Dr. Morris also gave Larrie key connections inside the JBS – a well-respected Dallas institution with members like H.L. Hunt, General Walker and Reverend Billy James Hargis.
14. Weissman’s initial response to Larrie’s questionable contacts in Dallas was disappointment. Larrie had diverged from the original CUSA plan to avoid General Walker and the JBS – and had fallen smack dab in the middle of them.
15. On October 1, 1963, Larrie sent a letter to Weissman (CE 1033), telling him about the plans already made to humiliate Adlai Stevenson on October 24, 1963, for his proposed “UN Day” speech. Larrie wrote: “Plans already made, strategy being carried out.” Yet Chris Cravens (1993) tells us that Dallas reporters knew that General Walker was the leader of that plot. Weissman could not have known that – but if Larrie didn’t know it, then he was less than forthcoming.
16. It is irrelevant to history that another CUSA member, Larry Jones, 21, traveled with his girlfriend to Dallas in October 1963, and left before the month was over.
17. On October 24, 1963, as he admitted to me personally, Larrie Schmidt participated in the public humiliation of Adlai Stevenson in Dallas. He helped plan it for at least a month in advance, including every aspect of the plot, such as booby-trapping the Dallas Memorial Auditorium with a gigantic JBS banner, hung from the ceiling.
18. After the humiliation of Adlai made national news, Larrie called Weissman to boast about it – practically taking credit for the entire event, according to Weissman. Finally, Weissman agreed that Larrie was truly gaining legitimate power for CUSA.
19. Weissman hated the connection of Larrie with General Walker directly through Robbie Schmidt, but Larrie had argued that CUSA would soon control General Walker. So, on October 28, 1963, Weissman and Burley decided to move to Dallas. They arrived on November 4, 1963 (only 18 days before the JFK Assassination). Their first order of business – find jobs as carpet salesmen.
20. Weissman finally met Robbie Schmidt. Larrie had built up Robbie as a great man. Weissman saw him as a political ignoramus who drank too much. This situation could never infiltrate Walker’s group; here was another disappointment.
21. Weissman was further disappointed: the NIC filed bankruptcy and the YAF chairman hated Larrie Schmidt.
22. Weissman confirmed his suspicions about the JBS; most of them seemed racist and anti-Jewish. Larrie had asked Weissman to change his name. Weissman refused. Larrie seriously advised Weissman to convert to Christianity – as a cynical strategy. This offended Weissman.
23. At the start of CUSA, Weissman had warned Larrie about linking CUSA with anti-Semites – because CUSA might acquire a bad reputation and never live it down. Weissman believed in Larrie’s patriotism – but he often doubted Larrie’s judgment.
24. Weissman reluctantly agreed to work with Larrie and the JBS. To explain the contradiction, Weismann hoped that the CUSA could infiltrate these repulsive groups in the interest of an opening strategy – a necessary starting point, since CUSA was starting from zero.
25. CUSA planned (naïvely) to seize control of these groups along with their treasuries and membership dues, and thus get enough money to pursue politics full-time; the big dreams of youth.
26. CUSA members also hoped to ask oil billionaires of Dallas to donate money. For example, JBS leader Joe Grinnan, got the $1,450 to pay for the 1963 “black-bordered ad” from the friends of the son of H.L. Hunt.
27. Finally we come to the “black-bordered ad.” As Weissman had recalled, the idea for this ad originally came from JBS coordinator Joe Grinnan. He told Larrie that after the Adlai scandal, conservatives in Dallas needed to rebuild credibility. So, Joe (and the JBS) conceived this ad on or about November 15 – eleven days after Weissman had arrived in Dallas. Weissman recalled that Larrie produced the raw material for the ad – a list of 50 questions attacking JFK. Weissman was uncertain of the source of this list. Weissman did not discuss the obvious – that the origin of the list was the same as the origin of the original idea for the ad – Joe Grinnan and the JBS.
28. Weissman testified that Larrie came up with the first draft. Yet Weissman also testified that Joe Grinnan and the JBS controlled all the content. Strangely – the JBS refused to sign their ad. Larrie didn’t volunteer CUSA as the signer, either. There was a hidden agenda and a pretense in the production of the “black bordered ad.” They would use cash to pay, so there would be no formal accounting – no paper trail. They made up a bogus group – the American Fact-Finding Committee – to be signed by a Jewish name.
29. Weissman lacked the connections that Larrie had. Weissman had arrived in Dallas only days ago and had only Larrie to vouch for him. This “black bordered ad” would be Weissman’s big chance to infiltrate the Dallas Radical Right. Weissman fell for it.
30. Weissman knew that Joe didn’t use his own money – but he never asked where it came from. The Warren Commission, however, learned that it came from – members of the JBS in Dallas.
31. Weissman objected strongly to two questions: (1) “Why has the foreign policy of the USA degenerated to the point that the CIA is arranging coups and having stanch Anticommunist allies of the US. bloodily exterminated?” It referred to the November assassination of South Vietnam President Diem, suggesting that JFK had ordered the CIA to do this assassination.
32. And (2): “Why have you ordered or permitted your brother Bobby, the Attorney General, to go soft on Communists, fellow travelers, and ultra-leftists in America, while permitting him to criticize loyal Americans, who criticize you, your administration, and your leadership?” Calling the US Attorney General, RFK, by this diminutive, familiar name, “Bobby” was an obvious insult. Weissman’s objections were squashed without discussion.
33. One question made Weissman waver: “Why has Gus Hall, head of the US Communist Party, praised almost every one of your policies and announced that the Reds will endorse and support your reelection in 1964?” Weissman finally agreed to it – since he hoped that it would soften JFK’s heart.
34. The only question that Weissman originated was the one about Cuba: “Why have you scrapped the Monroe Doctrine in favor of the spirit of Moscow?” Weissman was evidently unaware that this question was already a part of a well-known 1962 speech by General Walker, and Weissman incorrectly believed that he himself had made it up.
35. CUSA members, Larrie Schmidt, Bernard Weissman and Bill Burley did the secretarial work – they rented a PO Box, designed the headline, requested a quarter inch black border, and paid the cash – $1,463 – to start on Thursday evening and to stop after Friday morning.
36. Weissman signed his name to the ad, but he admitted that the words themselves belonged to those who paid the money. Weissman said he signed it because he worried that Larrie would have – and if it really worked, then Larrie would lord it over Weissman forever.
37. Weissman conceded to the WC that the “black bordered ad” was conceived by the JBS specifically for JFK’s visit. Weissman conceded that the JBS didn’t want their name associated with it.
38. Weissman conceded to the WC that the “black bordered ad” was really the work of the JBS. He claimed that Joe Grinnan was the only man in the JBS hierarchy that he had ever met. Weissman and Burley refused to join the JBS and they continually fantasized that CUSA would one day control the JBS. In the meantime, they would do the bidding of the JBS.
39. On the day of the JFK Assassination, Weissman left a sales meeting at 12:30 PM, when Bill picked him up to go to the Ducharme Club to meet Larrie and Joe. Weissman turned on the radio and heard the first rumors that JFK had been shot – the news never stopped all weekend.
40. Larrie was waiting for them on the street, without Joe Grinnan. News announcers continually gossiped about a Right-wing plot. Joe was in hiding.
41. CUSA drank beer and watched TV. An hour later, TV news reported that Officer JD Tippit had been killed in action, and the Dallas Police had captured a suspect inside a movie theater. A half hour later, TV news reported the suspect’s name: Lee Harvey Oswald. I believe Weissman when he said that he never heard of Oswald before.
42. CUSA prayed that the assassin was not one of Walker’s men. Soon, the TV news reported that Oswald was a Communist. CUSA was so relieved. (J. Edgar Hoover, however, had told the WC in 1964 that Oswald wasn’t a Communist. In 1968, NOLA DA Jim Garrison also demonstrated that Oswald wasn’t a Communist. Larrie Schmidt told me personally that he refused to believe Hoover or Garrison.) In his WC testimony, Weissman relied on the story that Oswald was a Communist.
43. Around 5 PM, the party broke up and they all went home – fearing they would now be targets, because of the “black bordered ad.”
44. Perhaps 10 PM, Weissman and Burley went to Larrie’s apartment to worry. Larrie conveyed Joe Grinnan’s advice: “Don’t say anything, don’t do anything, don’t get any more involved than you have to. Lay low, keep out of it; it’s going to be pretty bad.”
45. The next morning, Saturday, an editorial in the Dallas Times Herald still blamed the Dallas Right-wing for the JFK murder. Weissman and Burley stayed in hiding.
46. On Saturday night they took Larrie to the bus station to pick up an Army buddy from Munich, political scholar Kenneth Glazbrook. Ken had arrived in Dallas by bus that night. He was on his way to California and had long ago planned to visit CUSA in Dallas. He would stay only a couple of days. Of course, he was fascinated by all this news.
47. The next day, Sunday the 24th, Weissman, Burley and Glazbrook picked up the mail at about 8 AM – about 60 letters. They returned to the apartment and read them. About twenty were post-marked before the JFK killing and were mainly favorable. About forty, post-marked after the JFK killing, were mainly unfavorable and even threatening. Larrie came over for a few hours and then went to a bar.
48. Larrie watched TV at the Ducharme Club and called Weissman to report that Jack Ruby had just killed Oswald on live TV. Weissman now considered confessing everything to the FBI. Joe Grinnan argued, “If they want you, they’ll find you. They know where you are.” So Weissman waited.
49. On Monday, when Weissman returned to work, he asked his sales manager, Frank, if the FBI had been around. Frank answered, yes. So, the FBI really knew how to find Weissman whenever they wanted.
50. As for the WANTED FOR TREASON: JFK posters, Weissman heard the following week from Larrie and Robbie Schmidt that these posters had circulated in North Dallas on the University of Dallas campus (where Dr. Robert Morris had been a past president). Larrie denied any involvement.
51. On November 29, Robbie Schmidt drove up to the Ducharme Club in General Walker’s station wagon. Weissman noticed one of the WANTED posters crumpled up in the back seat. Weissman didn’t ask about it, because he only wanted to forget everything and leave Dallas.
52. Weissman claimed ignorance about the WANTED poster, and about Robert Alan Surrey, Robert Klause, Clifford Mercer, Dorothy Mercer, the Monk Brothers Printing company, Lettercraft Printing company and Johnson Printing company. I believe him. Weissman was basically over his head.
53. Weissman denied ever meeting General Walker at any time while he was in Dallas. I believe him. Weissman was in Dallas only 18 days before the JFK murder. Weissman was cynically exploited by the Dallas Radical Right – directly through Larrie Schmidt.
54. Weissman did not recognize any persons from the 60 or so letters he got from the mailbox that Sunday morning.
55. Weissman never considered this ad as possibly inciting to violence. Nobody had ever mentioned that.
56. Weissman left Dallas on Wednesday, December 4, 1963 – exactly one month after arriving in Dallas – he just skipped town. Larrie was terribly angry to be left alone in Dallas holding the bag and sent Weissman many angry letters before he calmed down and thanked Weissman for his role.
57. I find no evidence to connect Weissman with Jack Ruby.
58. I find no evidence to connect Weissman with Lee Harvey Oswald.
59. I find no evidence to connect Weissman with Officer JD Tippit.
60. I find no evidence to support Mark Lane’s charge that Weissman knew JD Tippit.
In conclusion – what we learn from the young and naïve Bernard Weissman, is that the JBS was uniquely responsible for the “black bordered ad.” We have already learned from Robert Klause that JBS member, Robert Alan Surrey, was responsible for the WANTED FOR TREASON: JFK poster.
Thus – we have ample evidence to link the famous “black bordered ad” as well as the famous WANTED FOR TREASON: JFK poster with the Dallas JBS. This justifies our further investigation of any and all members of the Dallas JBS – specifically, those who testified for the Warren Commission in 1964.
In my opinion, Bernard Weissman was fooled by the JBS into signing his name to the “black bordered ad” which they had composed and paid for. They appealed to Weissman’s vanity. They appealed to Weissman’s political naïveté which had pretended that CUSA was manipulating the JBS, instead of the other way around.