<Photo: Montage of resigned General Edwin Walker along with Russian exile in Dallas, George De Mohrenschildt, who was, we propose, the accidental architect of the Walker shooting on April 10, 1963.>
As we’ve seen in our recent blog posts, the resigned General Edwin Walker wrote a letter to Senator Frank Church on June 23, 1975, in which he claimed that “within days” of his April 10, 1963, shooting, he learned that Lee Harvey Oswald (LHO) had been his shooter. Days, not weeks. If this is true then we require a solid account of how Walker knew.
It’s common knowledge that J. Edgar Hoover testified to the Warren Commission (WC) that the FBI knew nothing that would connect LHO with Walker until nine days after the assassination of JFK when Marina Oswald told the Secret Service and the FBI. According to Walker’s signed letter to Senator Church, we must inquire – if Walker knew seven months before the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover himself, then how?
Our blog has been building up to this premise for months. We found some evidence in WC testimony by oil exploration professor George De Mohrenschildt (hereafter DM) and two younger associates (Everett Glover and Michael Paine) which showed that LHO had plenty of local encouragement in his hatred of General Walker.
Let’s review their WC testimony, as well as Volkmar Schmidt’s interview with the Public Broadcasting System (PBS Frontline, 1993) and from Schmidt’s interview with William Kelly (1995). Let’s begin where 1963 begins.
GEORGE DM, LHO, AND HIS JANUARY 1963 SNUB-NOSE HANDGUN
According to Everett Glover’s WC testimony, as 1963 began, he and several younger Dallas engineers (Volkmar Schmidt, Dick Pierce, and Michael Paine) had already lived together in a sort of a bachelor’s pad in a nice apartment in the Dallas suburbs. Michael had recently separated from Ruth, and that’s why he was there.
Everett Glover and Volkmar Schmidt had already known George DM very well. Glover was a frequent dinner guest at George’s home, and he enjoyed tennis and ice skating with George and Jeanne DM. Volkmar, a young oil geologist from Germany knew George as a professor of oil geology at the University of Texas at Dallas. Volkmar enjoyed talking with George about oil geology and the latest European news.
As 1963 begins, we find George DM in close contact with these engineers with whom he formed a politically liberal clique. This clique would invite colleagues to dinners, drinks, and discussions about current events. On January 21, 1963, this clique was outraged when a Mississippi Grand Jury acquitted General Walker from charges of inciting the September 1962 racial riot at Ole Miss University.
Since the summer of 1962, the fairly wealthy George DM had also befriended LHO who was 28 years younger and quite poor. George shared his outrage over Walker with his clique. In his 1977 manuscript for the HSCA, George DM confessed something that he never told the WC attorneys, namely, that he would call General Walker, “General Fokker” to LHO to make him laugh.
On January 28, 1963, LHO purchased his snub-nose .38 revolver. LHO by all accounts was associated with George DM in January 1963, and George was pressing his educated political opinion on the impressionable LHO.
This was how 1963 began for LHO and George DM in Dallas.
THE FEBRUARY 13th PARTY AT GEORGE DM’S HOME
On or around Wednesday, February 13, 1963, George DM invited many of his wealthy Russian friends to his nice Dallas home to meet Fort Worth’s newest spectacle – a former Marine who had defected to the USSR but changed his mind and returned to Texas with his Russian wife and child.
In addition to his Russian friends, George DM also invited two folks who spoke no Russian, namely, Everett Glover and Volkmar Schmidt. Let’s briefly review Glover’s memory here:
Mr. JENNER: It was the latter part of February, in any event, of 1963?
Mr. GLOVER: The meeting at which I first met Oswald was just previous to the meeting where I met Oswald and his wife the second time.
Mr. JENNER: There were two occasions when you met Oswald and his wife?
Mr. GLOVER: That’s right. The first one was at the De Mohrenschildt's...
Mr. JENNER: Now what was the circumstance under which you had your first meeting or first occasion that you met Lee Oswald?
Mr. GLOVER: On that occasion the De Mohrenschildts invited the two Oswalds and invited quite a number of other people to their house – I was included.
Mr. JENNER: About when was this?
Mr. GLOVER: Well, this was just previous to the time that Oswald and his wife came to my house, so I would say it was just a few days or a week before that.
Mr. JENNER: At the De Mohrenschildt's, who was present on that occasion?
Mr.: GLOVER: This is where I have difficulty in recollection…I am not really sure at all who was present. I am sure that De Mohrenschildt and his wife [Jeanne] and Marina Oswald and Lee Oswald, and myself and Volkmar Schmidt [were there].
George was known for producing sensational exhibitions and controversies for his friends. George DM presented LHO to his Russian friends in Dallas as his humble friend. Glover had trouble naming the guests, probably because most of the guests were Russian and spoke Russian fluently with each other. Glover and Volkmar spoke no Russian, so they saw no opening to meet people.
Also, most of George DM’s party guests on February 13, 1963, attended the Russian Orthodox Church in Dallas and some of them helped to build it in the first place. So, Everett Glover and Volkmar Schmidt were like fish out of water at that party. Glover didn’t know any of their names or faces, so naturally, he couldn’t name any when asked by WC attorneys. The few people Glover named above were the only people that he and Volkmar would have known at that party.
The good news for Glover and Volkmar was that LHO spoke both English and Russian. Volkmar reportedly spoke with LHO quite a bit that night and enjoyed it. So, Glover and Volkmar planned to have a similar party at their own apartment in Dallas – a party for English speakers. They scheduled it to occur nine days later.
THE FEBRUARY 22nd PARTY AT GLOVER’S APARTMENT
George offered to drive LHO and Marina to Glover’s house on Friday, February 22, 1963. It was a little bit awkward because LHO would be on average 10 years younger than the other guests.
Volkmar told PBS that at this party on February 22, 1963, LHO had erupted with forceful anger at JFK for his massive failure at the Bay of Pigs. Volkmar (a liberal like most of Glover’s guests) stepped up to argue with LHO that JFK wasn’t half as bad as General Walker. All these young engineers hushed for two hours to hear Volkmar practice his skills of persuasion on LHO.
Volkmar told William Kelly in 1995 that he worked for “two hours” to convince LHO that Walker was as bad as Adolf Hitler and that all true patriots should treat Walker as such. Here’s part of Volkmar’s interview with PBS Frontline in 1993:
VOLKMAR SCHMIDT: In hindsight, I probably – may have given Lee Harvey Oswald the idea to go after General Walker…I certainly didn't tell him to take the law into his own hands. Not at all...I mentioned General Walker who deserved criticism because he was a racist retired general, ultra-right-wing, and who had just a...little time before talked to students at the University of Mississippi, who then got so agitated that they shot and killed some reporters. (PBS Frontline, 1993)
George’s liberal clique posed the idea that if somebody had killed Hitler earlier, the world could have avoided much global suffering. By all accounts, these arguments worked on LHO, because in less than 3 weeks, on March 12, 1963, LHO purchased a cheap rifle over the mail using a US Post Office Money Order payable to Klein’s Sporting Goods in Chicago.
Here’s an excerpt from the PBS Frontline interview of Volkmar Schmidt, now on YouTube. (Skip to minute 1:20).
Volkmar’s words make it obvious – LHO wasn’t the only resident of Dallas who had hated General Walker in early 1963. Many of those Walker-haters gathered around George DM to form a clique. This clique gradually pulled LHO into their orbit.
Marina testified that in early April 1963, only one month after buying this rifle, LHO sat in an alley and tried to shoot General Walker in his own living room. LHO returned home unusually late, and had left a strange note for Marina, beginning with the words, “If I am arrested…” Marina demanded to know what was going on. LHO blurted out right away that he had tried to kill General Walker and didn’t know if he hit him or not.
Marina demanded to know why he would do something so foolish! LHO answered her with Volkmar’s argument – ‘Walker is like Hitler!’ Here’s a part of Marina’s WC testimony:
Mr. RANKIN. Did he tell you why he had shot at General Walker?
Mrs. OSWALD: … He said if someone had killed Hitler in time it would have saved many lives. I told him that this is no method to prove your ideas, by means of a rifle.
Mr. RANKIN: Did you ask him how long he had been planning to do this?
Mrs. OSWALD: Yes. He said he had been planning for two months… According to his conduct, I could tell … he had been planning this for two months or perhaps even a little earlier.
Two months earlier than April 10th is February 10th. So, the timeline fits. So, we must now ask: were George DM, Everett Glover, Volkmar Schmidt, and Michael Paine just as responsible for Walker’s April shooting as LHO was?
WHO WAS ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WALKER SHOOTING?
The evidence shows that George DM and his liberal clique in Dallas played non-violent roles. They were armchair patriots, but LHO (like Walker) would not be passive about his convictions. It seems that LHO, now excited by the politics of George’s clique, took it upon himself to buy these firearms, to do good in the world (i.e., good according to George).
WC attorneys directly confronted George DM with LHO’s shot at Walker, and George testified as follows:
Mr. JENNER: You didn’t want him to shoot anybody?
Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT: Anybody. I didn’t want him to shoot anybody. But if somebody has a gun with a telescopic lens, you see, and knowing that he hates the man, it is a logical assumption, you see. Mr. JENNER: You knew at that time that he had a definite bitterness for General Walker?
Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT: I definitely knew that, either from some conversations we had on General Walker… You know – this was the period of General Walker’s, you know, big showoff, you know.
The period of Walker’s “big showoff” to which George DM referred here was his 7-month media circus: (I) September-October 1962: his Ole Miss racial riot, arrest, confinement in an insane asylum, and his quick release; (II) November-December 1962: his Mississippi Grand Jury trial over Ole Miss; (III) January 1963: his acquittal of all riot incitement charges; and (IV) February-March 1963: his six-week Walker/Hargis Midnight Ride, spreading hate-for-JFK from Miami to Los Angeles.
George DM testified that he himself was non-violent, although he also testified that LHO “hated” General Walker during this period. Oddly, we find no evidence in any of LHO’s writings before January 1963 about hating General Walker.
It was only during LHO’s early 1963 association with George DM and his friends like Everett Glover, Volkmar Schmidt, and Michael Paine, that we begin to see the signs. Marina was first to see the signs, like mysterious photographs of somebody’s house. But LHO wouldn’t explain the photographs to her.
Michael Paine also admitted that he and LHO would join in criticizing General Walker. WC attorneys asked Michael about his first long meeting with LHO on April 2, 1963.
Mr. LIEBELER: Confining the…question to [your] meeting in April, did [Oswald] indicate in any way that he was familiar with Walker’s attitude or activities?
Mr. PAINE: He was familiar with Walker. He knew who Walker was, there was no doubt about that. We were talking about Walker...
Mr. LIEBELER - Did he indicate any understanding to you at that April meeting of Walker’s attitude?
Mr. PAINE - ...I had the impression that he was quite familiar with Walker and probably familiar with the names of various right-wing groups...
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you take it that Oswald agreed with the views that you expressed?
Mr. PAINE - Yes; I did.
Senator COOPER: Are you sure whether or not Oswald made any comment at any time during this conversation about Walker?
Mr. PAINE: ...I remember it very vaguely, but...I knew that Walker was known to Lee. And at least it achieved a certain feeling of similarity there...in our views and feelings about it...
Mr. LIEBELER: It was clear to you at that time that both you and Mr. Oswald had an adverse view of General Walker and did not think favorably of him, is that correct?
Mr. PAINE: That is correct.
Michael (11 years older than LHO) admitted that he and LHO criticized General Walker in early 1963. Michael didn’t tell the WC attorneys what he later told Dan Rather (1993), namely, that he had seen LHO’s famous Backyard Photograph during his first long meeting with LHO.
Yet LHO was the only one in George DM’s clique without a college degree. (Even Marina had a college degree). Most members were over 30 with careers as Dallas engineers. LHO was 23 and had never held a steady civilian job in America.
After meeting George’s liberal clique, however, suddenly several educated, well-to-do, Dallas intellectuals showered LHO with attention. This was a first for LHO. They asked LHO lots of questions and LHO reportedly loved the attention.
Perhaps LHO’s large vocabulary shielded him from any suspicion that he was also emotionally dependent on older, authoritative men (like George DM and later Guy Banister). LHO was young, impressionable, and liable to misinterpret middle-class political signals.
Is it possible that LHO unilaterally chose to kill Walker because he imagined it might please his new, well-to-do friends? We must ask because we have no evidence that the leaders of this Dallas clique ever openly asked for an assassination. Volkmar told reporters, “I certainly didn’t tell LHO to shoot Walker,” and George DM testified, “I didn’t want him to shoot anybody.”
Michael Paine’s WC testimony admitted his distaste for Walker but also emphasized his ideal of an orderly and reasoned political activism. Nevertheless, Michael Paine carefully avoided telling the WC attorneys about George DM’s active clique at Glover’s house, although Michael had lived with Glover, Schmidt, and Pierce during those early weeks of 1963.
In our next blog post we'll develop these themes further as we struggle to explain how General Walker could possibly have known that LHO was his shooter “within days” of the shooting. Walker had claimed this in his letter to Senator Frank Church in 1975, in complete contradiction to his own WC testimony. It's astonishing to us that even J. Edgar Hoover and FBI Headquarters never connected LHO and Walker for seven more months.
© Copyright 2022 by Paul Edward Trejo. All Rights Reserved.
WC Testimony of the George De Mohrenschildt
WC Testimony of Michael Paine (friend of Everett Glover)
WC Testimony of Everett Glover (friend of George DM, Volkmar Schmidt, and Michael Paine)
Penn Jones, Jr., Forgive My Grief (1965)
George De Mohrenschildt, I’m a Patsy! I’m a Patsy! (1977)
Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1992)
PBS Frontline, Interview of Volkmar Schmidt (1993)
William Kelly, Interview of Volkmar Schmidt (1995)