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The Assassination Story (Part 3)

I find it interesting that the Walker-Surrey publication, The Assassination Story (1963) became a topic of questioning during the Warren Commission (WC) Hearings. It may be worthwhile to quote some of that WC material here -- specifically from the WC testimony of Robert Alan Surrey. Here's a sampling:

Mr. JENNER. Are you also the president of a book publishing company located in Dallas?

Mr. SURREY. The American Eagle Publishing Co? ...Yes; I am.

Mr. JENNER. ...There was a publication of reprints of newspaper stories.

Mr. SURREY. Called, The Assassination Story, yes, sir.

Mr. JENNER. And your name appeared, I think, in that as the president of the company.

Mr. SURREY. A cover letter that was on the back cover.

Representative BOGGS. ...What does the book allege?

Mr. SURREY. We took the 10-day period following the assassination from both Dallas papers, the Dallas Morning News, and Dallas Times Herald, and just all the clippings pertaining to it were in chronological order, and just shot them cold, and published them.

Representative BOGGS. Nothing else -- just newspaper clippings?

Mr. SURREY. Just newspaper clippings.

Representative BOGGS. ...And what is the letter on the back?

Mr. SURREY. It said -- this is just to the best of my knowledge; I don't recall exactly -- "This is the local report of what happened when President Kennedy was assassinated. It is difficult to muzzle a local reporter in his own local paper. And we feel that some of the news that might not get out would be included in this book. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the information, but it will pose some questions, a few perhaps that the Warren Commission will not see fit to answer;" I believe was in there.

Representative BOGGS. ...What was the implication of that?

Mr. SURREY. The implication being, as I see it, in Dallas -- a local reporter...from the Times Herald went down to the Western Union office several days after the assassination, and was told by the people in the Western Union office that, yes, they remembered Oswald, he had been in, he had gotten money orders, either the day before or just recently he had sent a wire to somebody, and they recalled his Swahili handwriting, and so forth. Well, I feel that surely Western Union knows who sent Oswald money, and so forth. Now, I don't know if this will come out of this Commission or not.

Representative BOGGS. The implication was that this Commission would not investigate these allegations?

Mr. SURREY. ...Oh, no, sir; this was not the implication of the muzzling. This was not the implication.

Representative BOGGS. What was the implication of the statement you made a moment ago, about questions that would not be asked by this Commission?

Mr. SURREY. News happens in an area, and after it has been up to the national news system, and then comes back through, and analyzed and so forth, I don't put full credit any longer.

Representative BOGGS. Your theory is that in a matter as significant as the assassination of the President of the United States, that the news as reported outside of Dallas would be untruthful?

Mr. SURREY. Possibly.

Representative BOGGS. Is that the substance of the book?

Mr. SURREY. No. No; the substance of the book is strictly newspaper clippings.

Representative BOGGS. Plus a letter.

Mr. SURREY. The letter is on the back cover of the book, just a cover letter.

Representative BOGGS. ...You used that word; I didn't use it. "Muzzle," when you refer to a bipartisan Commission, established by the President of the United States, with a mandate to obtain the truth, is a rather serious word. I didn't use it -- you used it.

Mr. SURREY. Based on some past experience that I have had -- I was in Oxford, Mississippi, with General Walker. Based on past experience of the newspaper in reports I heard coming out of national news media on that incident, which I saw with my own eyes, I could not believe any longer things which I read in the newspaper. Now, the local paper there -- and I was not privileged to read the local at the time -- may have had some of the truth that went on there. But there certainly wasn't a good deal of it coming out in the national news media.

Representative BOGGS. ...Was this pamphlet that you printed included in the book? ..."Wanted for Treason"? (CE 996)


Representative BOGGS. You didn't make that a part of the record of the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy?

Mr. SURREY. ...I had nothing to do with making it a part of the record.

Representative BOGGS. ...Who printed it?

Mr. SURREY. I decline to answer on the grounds it may tend to incriminate me...

We see there that the WC attorneys and Chairman pressed Robert Alan Surrey about the back cover of this publication, The Assassination Story (1963) which he published in association with General Walker. The back cover consists of about one paragraph of text written by Robert Alan Surrey.

Going by memory, in his testimony above, Surrey remembered most of it, yet since most readers will never see a copy of, The Assassination Story (1963), then perhaps many readers would like to read the exact wording. So, I'm reproducing that text today, with this post. Now, the back cover also happens to be Commission Exhibit #1015, so the reader can also find it on the Internet at this URL:

For those whose Internet browsers cannot view the WC pages, I will reproduce the first few paragraphs here:


January 1, 1964

Since the assassination of President Kennedy on the 22nd of November last, we have been flooded with letters from all parts of the country (and of the world, too) asking for information. It is evident from these letters that a great deal of the news available here in Dallas has not been made available elsewhere.

Even in these days of a controlled national news media system, it is difficult to muzzle the local reporter in his own local newspaper. Although we cannot, of course, guarantee the complete accuracy of the clippings assembled in this book, it undoubtedly will give the reader a better coverage of the incidents involved, answer a few questions, and pose some additional ones. A few, perhaps, that the Warren Commission will not see fit to answer.

We trust that this convenient book will prove of value to you.

R. A. Surrey President American Eagle Publishing Co.

There we see the brief "cover letter" by Robert Alan Surrey on the back cover of his publication, The Assassination Story (1963), which consisted of carefully selected newspaper clippings from two local Dallas newspapers (DMN and DTH) covering approximately a two week period after the JFK Assassination.

The spirit of the paragraph is that perhaps the Dallas newspapers can be trusted more than the "national news media", which tends to "muzzle" newspaper reporters.

The term "muzzle" comes originally from the Bible, from Deuteronomy 25:4, "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." It was repeated as a metaphor by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:9, to mean, "Do not silence a preacher doing the Good Work." It was recommended to Walker by his good friend, the segregationist preacher Billy James Hargis.

More recently, it came from the titles of two of Walker's American Eagle pamphlets, entitled, "Who Muzzled the Military?" (1961) and "Walker Unmuzzled" (1962); two of his well-known speeches of the era. It was a term Walker often used. Here it was borrowed by Robert Alan Surrey to suggest that the national news media, in collusion with Washington DC and Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, would "muzzle" Walker's allegations about Lee Harvey Oswald working within a Communist plot to assassinate JFK.

By the way, perhaps you noticed that in Robert Alan Surrey's WC testimony above, he referenced the rumors about LHO receiving money orders from Western Union -- a topic that we also examined on this blog a few weeks ago!


--Paul Trejo

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