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General Walker vs. George De Mohrenschildt (Part 1)


(Photo: George and Jeanne De Mohrenschildt ca. 1970)

The House Select Committee on Assassinations (hereafter HSCA) re-opened the case of the assassination of President Kennedy (hereafter JFK) from 1976 to 1979. The HSCA recalled many Warren Commission (hereafter WC) witnesses and added several others during that period. However, though the WC volumes mention the resigned General Walker more than 500 times in the testimony of dozens of witnesses, the HCSA itself did not subpoena Walker and showed no further interest in him.

At the end of its investigation, the HSCA published its, Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, 22 November 1963. Although the HSCA concluded that there were four shots fired at JFK, yet its findings were unsatisfactory because they failed to identify the other shooter. Here’s the famous excerpt from its final paragraphs:

President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy… The Soviet Government was not involved…the Cuban Government was not involved.

  • Anti-Castro Cuban groups, as groups, were not involved; but that does not preclude the possibility that individual members may have been involved.

  • The national syndicate of organized crime, as a group, was not involved; but that does not preclude the possibility that individual members may have been involved.

…The Secret Service, FBI, and CIA were not involved. (HSCA, 1979, Conclusion)

Although the HSCA flatly reversed the WC conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald (hereafter LHO) was the Lone Shooter at JFK, the HCSA failed to identify any other conspirators. Also, the HSCA said almost nothing about General Walker. Here’s a brief overview of the disappointing results of the HSCA:

  • Although Loran Hall was called to testify before the HSCA on 5 October 1977, we ended with more mysteries than before. This time the HSCA subpoenaed Larry Howard and William Seymour, who both denied meeting Sylvia Odio or even being with Loran Hall in Dallas in September 1963. They provided convincing alibis. Then Loran Hall retracted his WC testimony and claimed that he visited a different woman on that day, and that he never met Sylvia Odio at any time in his life.

  • Although Sylvia Odio was interviewed by Gaeton Fonzi on behalf of the HSCA, she didn’t significantly increase our knowledge beyond her 1964 WC testimony.

  • Although Marina Oswald was interviewed by the HSCA, she didn’t significantly increase our knowledge beyond her 1964 WC testimony.

The brief mention of the resigned General Walker in the HSCA documents is buried deep within the 100-page 1976 manuscript provided by George De Mohrenschildt, entitled, I Am a Patsy! I Am a Patsy! Let’s take a closer look.

THE HSCA AND THE DE MOHRENSCHILDTS

George and Jeanne De Mohrenschildt (hereafter DM) were the wealthy friends of LHO and Marina Oswald in Dallas in late 1962 and early 1963. The dirt-poor Oswalds came to have these two wealthy friends in Dallas by their contact with the small but well-to-do Russian expatriate colony in Dallas.

Generally speaking, the Dallas Russian colony cared a great deal for Marina Oswald during the six-month period from June 1962 through December 1962. Their tendency was to try to save Marina from the uncouth LHO, and yet they tended to lose interest in Marina when it became clear that she would always go back him. The exception to this tendency was the wealthy George DM who retained a longer relationship with LHO (though he cared little for Marina). Opposition to the political views of the resigned General Walker formed a common bond between George and LHO.

The crucial problem that we find in George’s words to the HSCA was that they were often the opposite of his WC testimony. The main theme of this reversal revolved around the resigned General Walker. This fact will be the focus of the current thread.

George DM answered hundreds of questions for the WC during 1964. However, instead of honoring his subpoena to appear before the HSCA, George DM committed suicide on March 29, 1977. Days later, Jeanne DM appeared before the HSCA, bringing them George’s 1976 manuscript along with a previously unseen version of the LHO ‘backyard photograph,’ taken in early April 1963.

The HSCA paid little attention to George’s manuscript. (They made it an appendix in their report with scant comment.) Yet we should review it again for its specific focus on LHO and the resigned General Walker. Overall, George said many nasty things about LHO to the WC, but he reversed many of those positions about LHO in his 1976 manuscript. This thread will eventually concentrate on George’s 1976 manuscript, I Am a Patsy!

To introduce the theme, however, this first blog post will highlight several places where George flatly contradicted his own 1964 WC testimony in the 1976 material that he would posthumously present to the HSCA.

GEORGE’S WC CRITICISMS OF LHO

We should begin by examining some of the negative things that George told the WC in his testimony to attorney Albert Jenner in 1964. Let’s start here:

Mr. JENNER. All right; tell us the circumstances [of how you took Marina away] and why.

Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Well, George Bouhe, started telling me that “...Lee is beating Marina. I saw her with a black eye, and she was crying, and she tried to run away from the house. It is outrageous.” And he was really appalled by the fact that it actually happened. And Jeanne and I said, let’s go and see what is going on…So, we drove up there to that apartment…and indeed Marina had a black eye. And so, [we]…told Lee, “Listen, you cannot do things like this.”

Mr. JENNER. What did she say?

Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. She said, “He has been beating me.” As if it was normal – not particularly appalled by this fact… So, I said, “You cannot stand for that. You shouldn’t let him beat you.” And she said, “Well, I guess I should get away from him.” Mr. JENNER. [Then what happened?]

Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Now, I do not recall what actually made me take her away from Lee.

Mr. JENNER. Now, Mr. De Mohrenschildt, there has to be something. Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Bouhe…called us in and asked us to take her away from him… But it was because of his brutality to her…I said [to Lee], “If you don’t behave, I will call the police.” “Well,” he said, “I’ll get even with you.”


We’ll see in his 1976 manuscript, however, that George portrayed LHO as justified in his beating of Marina. George admitted that he regretted his role in separating LHO from her.

Mr. JENNER. Did there go through your mind speculations as to whether Oswald was an agent of anybody? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. No…I did not take him seriously – that is all.

Mr. JENNER. I know you didn’t. Why didn’t you? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Well, he was not sophisticated, you see. He was a semi-educated hillbilly. And you cannot take such a person seriously. All his opinions were crude, you see…

Mr. JENNER. Did you have the feeling that his views on politics were shallow and surface? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Very much so.

Mr. JENNER. That he had not had the opportunity for a study under scholars? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Exactly. His mind was of a man with exceedingly poor background, who read rather advanced books, and did not even understand the words in them. He read complicated economical treatises and just picked up difficult words out of what he has read and loved to display them. He loved to use the difficult words because it was to impress one. Mr. JENNER. Did you think he understood it? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. He did not understand the words – he just used them. So how can you take seriously a person like that? You just laugh at him. Mr. JENNER. Did you form any impression…whether our Government would entrust him with something that required a high degree of intelligence…? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. I never would believe that any government would be stupid enough to trust Lee with anything important.


We'll see in his 1976 manuscript, however, that George portrayed LHO as more intelligent than most people, including his own children and many of his friends.


Mr. JENNER. Give me the basis of your opinion. Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Well, again, as I said, an unstable individual, mixed-up individual, uneducated individual, without background. What government would give him any confidential work? No government would…

Mr. JENNER. You used the expression “unstable.” Would you elaborate on that? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Well…his life is an example of his instability. He switched allegiance from one country to another, and then back again; disappointed in this, disappointed in that, tried various jobs. But he did it, you see, without the enjoyment of adventure like some other people would do in the United States, a new job is a new adventure, new opportunities. For him it was a gruesome deal. He hated his jobs. He switched all the time.


We'll see in his 1976 manuscript, however, that George portrayed LHO as a life-affirming, serious and patriotic individual.

Mr. JENNER. Did you form an impression…whether he was…given to violent surges of anger or lack of control of himself?

Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Of course, he was that. The fact that we took his wife away from him, you know, was the result of his outbursts and his threats to his wife. Mr. JENNER. What kind of threats? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Well, that he will beat the hell out of her. I… seem to vaguely remember that Marina said that he would…beat her sometimes so hard that he will kill her. So that is the reason we went out there and said – well, let’s save that poor woman.

Mr. JENNER. George Bouhe was? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. George Bouhe. He was actually physically afraid of him. He told me, “I am scared of this man. He is a lunatic.”


We'll see in his 1976 manuscript, however, that George portrayed LHO as unusually gentle, sensitive, sympathetic and kind.

Mr. JENNER. And did you ask him what he was looking for? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. A Utopia. I knew what he was looking for – Utopia. And that does not exist any place.

Mr. JENNER. This man could not find what he was looking for anywhere in this world. Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. He could not find it in the States, he could not find it any place.

Mr. JENNER. He could find it only in him. Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Exactly. He could find it in himself, in a false image of grandeur that he built in himself. But at the time that we knew him that was not so obvious. Now you can see that, as a possible murderer of the President of the United States, he must have been unbelievably egotistical, an unbelievably egotistical person.


We'll see in his 1976 manuscript, however, that George assertively portrayed LHO as politically astute, altruistic, and patriotic.

Mr. JENNER. Did you ever discuss with him his experiences in Russia with respect to hunting? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. I did not know even that he was interested in weapons ‘til the day – which probably you will ask me later on – Easter, I think, when my wife saw his gun. I didn’t know he was interested. I didn’t know he had the gun. I didn’t know he was interested in shooting or hunting. I didn’t know he was a good shot, or never had any impression.


We'll see in his 1976 manuscript, however, that we have reason to doubt George’s truthfulness with regard to his knowledge about LHO’s shooting at the resigned General Walker on April 10, 1963. It centers around the night before Easter, 1963, and the strange, often-changing story of George and Jeanne DM at the Oswald home.

Mr. JENNER. Tell me about that incident. Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. . That incident is very clear in my mind…In 1963…The very last time we saw them…around Eastertime.

Mr. JENNER. Do you recall the occasion...? Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. I didn’t want him to shoot Walker! I don’t go to that extent you see…. 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 historical orientation for George’s remark is the Ole Miss racial riot on the final night of September 1962. Walker was arrested for the riot, but Walker was acquitted in January 1963 and continued to make national headlines with his anti-JFK speeches coast-to-coast. This was Walker’s “big showoff” according to George. Notice how George offered little detail about how he “definitely knew that.”

We’ll pick up this same thread in our next blog post.

Regards,

--Paul

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