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The WC Testimony of Michael Paine (Part 5)

[Photo: Typed letter to the Soviet Union, typed by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 9, 1963, on Ruth Paine’s typewriter]

We’re going to finish up with Michael Paine’s WC testimony now, and then begin a long process to analyze what we’ve seen in the past month. WC attorneys will raise the name of General Walker in this final part of Michael’s WC testimony, and at length we’ll come full circle back to the theme of this website – the resigned General Edwin Walker.

WC attorney Liebeler asked Michael, since he had dinner with LHO on April 2, 1963, did he have any information that LHO was going to shoot at General Walker on April 10, 1963? None at all replied Michael. Liebeler then asked whether Michael and LHO had spoken about General Walker on the night of April 2, 1963, before, during, or after dinner. Michael replied that yes, they mentioned Walker.

It’s worthwhile reviewing some of that testimony:

Mr. LIEBELER: Do you remember any other conversation you and Oswald had during this first evening that you met?

Mr. PAINE: … I think we probably spoke critically of the far right. It even seems to me we may have mentioned Walker. I had been bothered at the time that Walker had – I guess it doesn’t do any good to enter into the matter because I don’t remember his response.

This is interesting testimony. During their first personal meeting on April 2, 1963, Michael Paine and LHO spoke critically about the far-right wing in US politics, and the name that came up for both of them was General Walker. Let’s analyze Michael’s sentence: “I had been bothered at the time that Walker had – I guess it doesn’t do any good to enter into the matter…

Exactly what about General Walker had bothered Michael at the time? He cut off his own sentence! So, let’s dig deeper. Look at the date of this, their first conversation – April 2, 1963. What was General Walker doing on that date? He was finishing up his so-called Midnight Ride coast-to-coast speaking tour with segregationist Reverend Billy James Hargis and his so-called Christian Crusade agenda.

Walker had started this tour in late February 1963. Walker had planned the tour starting in late January 1963, after a Grand Jury in Mississippi had acquitted Walker of wrongdoing in his leadership role in the violent racial riot at Ole Miss University, for which he was imprisoned on October 1, 1962. That racial riot was national and international news in October 1962, overshadowed only by the Cuban Missile Crisis itself.

This scenario defined the times in which Michael Paine spoke, when he said, “I had been bothered at the time that Walker had…” and then he cut off his own sentence. Why would Michael cut off his own sentence? Most likely because this conversation with LHO that evening about General Walker’s recent behavior was likely more enmeshed than Michael wished to recollect. Let’s continue reviewing his testimony.


Senator COOPER: Did he indicate in any way that he knew about General Walker at that time?

Mr. PAINE: We seemed to agree at least superficially in thinking that the far right was unfortunate in its thoughts…

Mr. LIEBELER: Confining the Senator’s question to the meeting in April, he didn’t 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.

Not only did Michael Paine and LHO talk about General Walker in their context of criticizing the far-right wing in the US, but General Walker was the only individual they mentioned in that context. They even recalled, evidently, Walker’s direct connection with the segregationist Christian Crusade.

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, shall we say…the Christian [Crusade]…

Senator COOPER - Are you sure whether or not Oswald made any comment at any time during this conversation about Walker?

Mr. PAINE: …I knew that Walker was known to Lee….

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.

The WC attorneys established crucial facts for history. Michael Paine and LHO, in their first conversation, agreed that the far-right wing in the US was “unfortunate,” and the name that came up with General Walker, and both had an “adverse view of General Walker.” Given all this, WC attorney Liebeler asked Michael whether, after the Walker shooting, whether Michael thought that LHO was a likely suspect. “Absolutely not” replied Michael.

At this point, former CIA Director Allen Dulles rose up to question Michael Paine about the relationship between his wife and Marina Oswald. Michael would visit his wife several times weekly throughout 1963, and she kept Michael updated. Marina spoke no English but only Russian, explained Michael, and Ruth loved practicing her conversational Russian all day long.

Michael testified, from his conversations with Ruth, that Marina Oswald didn’t care for serious discussions about religion, social class, or political economics. Instead, they both shared the practical concerns of childcare, housekeeping, shopping, and their rocky marriages. Those topics involved all-day Russian conversation and Ruth was happy with that. For casual chatting they compared US movies with Russian movies.

Therefore, testified Michael, his wife Ruth’s knowledge of Marina Oswald’s life was fairly shallow. Marina was a good guest – politely subdued, reserved, so that Ruth and Marina were always on polite terms; they never quarreled, but neither were they ever genuinely close. Ruth loved this arrangement, testified Michael – she went out less, spent less money, and was always in a cheerful mood whenever he came to visit.

Allen Dulles inquired further. If they were so chummy before the JFK murder, then why did Marina and Ruth abruptly stop talking after the JFK murder? Michael explained that Ruth became quite upset with Marina after reading in newspapers that Marina had known that LHO had been General Walker’s shooter in way back in April 1963. Marina never told the authorities or anybody – not even Ruth.

True, their friendship was only six weeks old at that time – but in late September 1963, when Marina moved in with Ruth to bear her new baby at Parkland Hospital free of charge, and to convalesce in Ruth’s home free of charge – some honesty could have made a big difference – Ruth would have known exactly where she stood and about the risks involved.

Furthermore, continued Michael, after the JFK murder the US public sent Marina sympathy donations through Ruth’s address, and Ruth sent the money over to Marina through her new business manager and landlord, James Herbert Martin. Ruth expected to receive at least one acknowledgement from Marina that she was getting all this cash, but Marina never replied to Ruth – through her manager or a letter or anything. Ruth wondered if Marina ever saw those donations, so she called James Martin on the phone about it, asking to speak with Marina.

James Martin explained to Ruth that he wasn’t a messenger. He told her that Marina possessed her own telephone, so that if she ever wanted to call Ruth, she could just pick up her phone anytime. Since Marina didn’t call, then obviously she didn’t wish to speak with Ruth. Ruth accepted this, yet now she felt insulted by Marina, testified Michael. Ruth wondered if she might have offended Marina somehow. Or was Marina simply too ashamed for bringing the JFK disaster to Ruth’s home? Or had Marina always despised Ruth and never told her? Ruth would break down in tears over these dilemmas.

In Michael’s opinion, James Martin, Robert Oswald, and the US Government had all advised Marina to push Ruth out of her life in order to simplify their extremely complex situations. Ruth worried that Marina was surrounded by money grubbers – but Marina was a free agent, so ultimately it was none of Ruth’s business.

Allen Dulles then asked Michael what he did on the night of the JFK Assassination. Michael answered that everybody (except Ruth’s two small children) went to the Dallas Police Station at about 4 p.m. and they stayed there until about 9 p.m. Soon Marguerite Oswald showed up, and so did Robert Oswald.

The police offered to let Michael speak with LHO in jail, and Michael declined. Ruth declined too. Marguerite and Robert Oswald did speak with LHO, but Michael knew nothing about what LHO might have told them. Michael knew one thing – Marguerite loudly complained that LHO had no legal counsel. So, Michael called the ACLU to investigate, and the ACLU promised that a delegation would arrive in the morning.

After leaving the Dallas Police Station, the Paines and the Oswalds drove back to Ruth’s home where Michael had brought some fast-food hamburgers and fries for everybody’s late supper. LIFE Magazine also knocked on the door, taking photographs and irritating Marina. Ruth soon asked them to leave – and to return in the morning – not too early.

That was substantially the end of Michael Paine’s WC testimony.

All right. Let’s begin now to review and analyze what we’ve seen in the WC testimony of Michael Paine in our past several blog posts. Let’s make it easier and go by numbers.

1. We have plenty of evidence that Michael Paine heard much about LHO as early as February 1963 – from both Everett Glover and Ruth Paine. Yet Michael emphasized that he never met LHO until April 2, 1963, and he preferred to begin his timeline there.

2. Everett Glover, however, testified that Michael had come to his February 1963 party where LHO was on display all night for young Dallas engineers. If so, then what was Michael hiding?

3. Although Michael Paine never interacted with the Russian exiles in Dallas (mainly because he never attended the Russian Orthodox Church services in Dallas and he spoke no Russian), still, one of his best friends in Dallas was the oil engineer Everett Glover, and one of Glover’s best friends was oil engineer professor George De Mohrenschildt (hereafter DM). George DM was an influential Russian exile in Dallas, and the main man who promoted LHO outside of the Russian community.

4. Although Michael had known Glover for years, he did his best to minimize his friendship with Glover when he gave his WC testimony. Though Michael admitted he knew that Glover and George DM were close friends, Michael insisted that he never really met George DM.

5. Michael also knew Glover’s roommates and their girlfriends. In particular, Michael knew Volkmar Schmidt, another oil engineer and another good friend of George DM. Michael didn’t tell the WC that when he’d separated from Ruth in late 1962, he briefly moved in with Glover and Volkmar. That was the time period when Glover first met Marina Oswald at George DM’s home so many times.

6. At Glover’s February 1963 party, Volkmar was there and challenged LHO to a battle of wits. LHO decried JFK and his handling of the Bay of Pigs in early 1961. Volkmar countered with JFK’s deft handling of General Walker at Ole Miss in late 1962. “Walker was like Hitler,” proclaimed Volkmar forcefully to LHO.

7. Evidently Volkmar made an impression, because that was the same reason that LHO gave to Marina on midnight, April 10, 1963, when he confessed to her that he had just taken a shot at General Walker.

8. Also at that February party, Ruth Paine met Marina Oswald and immediately liked her. Marina gave Ruth her contact information, and Ruth quickly made contact and stayed in contact. In their many meetings, Marina complained that LHO was pushing her to return to Russia, but she didn’t want to go. This made Ruth angry at LHO. Then Marina told Ruth that she was also pregnant. This made Ruth furious at LHO.

9. Ruth decided to ‘save’ Marina Oswald and she told Michael all about it. Could she bring Marina home, please? Pretty please? Michael decided that it would be a patriotic act to keep Marina in the US and out of the USSR – but only if it was above board and wouldn’t anger LHO. LHO had to agree fully.

10. They set up a dinner for all of them to meet. The night of that dinner was April 2, 1963. Michael drove to the Neely address to give them a ride. Marina was slow to pack the baby’s necessities, so LHO and Michael had a long conversation about politics there on the Oswald couch. (Michael didn’t tell the WC that LHO had showed him a photograph of himself with his rifle, pistol, and two Marxist newspapers. Michael later admitted this to Dan Rather and Gus Russo in 1993.)

11. Again – the date was April 2, 1963, and LHO’s last day at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall was only one day before. LHO didn’t tell Michael (in fact, LHO didn’t even tell Marina; he pretended to go to work every morning for a full week before he summoned the courage to tell Marina).

12. To change the topic, Michael told the WC that he didn’t like LHO very much, because LHO was so cruel to Marina during that first meeting.

13. Eight days after this dinner, LHO tried to assassinate General Walker in Dallas. Michael claimed that he never imagined that LHO was Walker’s shooter – yet we might easily doubt that. Michael, like Glover, Volkmar, and George DM, was a Dallas liberal who openly despised General Walker, as they all regarded Walker as a threat to a Democratic Republic.

14. If Michael ever suspected LHO of the Walker shooting, he spared Ruth the worry (nor did he tell her of any Backyard Photograph). So, Ruth kept pulling Marina closer into her circle – and more energetically when she learned that LHO was out of work again. After all – Marina was pregnant.

15. The problem vanished in a few more days, however, when LHO moved to New Orleans. Ruth Paine made this move easier by volunteering to take Marina and baby June into her own home to wait there for LHO to get settled in New Orleans. LHO agreed.

16. Ruth expected that LHO would abandon his family, so she planned to take care of Marina and baby June until the educated Marina could become self-supporting in the good old USA. But if LHO got a new job in New Orleans, then she also agreed to drive Marina and June to New Orleans, personally.

17. Two weeks later, LHO called from New Orleans asking for his family. Ruth packed up her station wagon and drove them to New Orleans. After that trip, the Paines and the Oswalds wouldn’t see each other for more than five months.

18. In late September 1963, Ruth Paine learned that (i) LHO was out of work again; (ii) the Oswald’s had no income, no savings, or insurance; (iii) Marina was now eight months pregnant; and (iv) Marina had not yet seen a doctor.