ANOTHER INCOMPLETE ISSUE
WARREN REPORT PAGE 324
In spite of the fact that it appeared almost certain that Oswald could not have been in Dallas at the time Mrs. Odio thought he was, the Commission requested the FBI to conduct further investigation to determine the validity of Mrs. Odio's testimony.736 The Commission considered the problems raised by that testimony as important, in view of the possibility it raised that Oswald .may have had companions on his trip to Mexico.737 The Commission specifically requested the FBI to attempt to locate and identify the two men who Mrs. Odio stated were with the man she thought was Oswald. 738 In an effort to do that the FBI located and interviewed Manuel Ray, a leader of JURE who confirmed that Mrs. Odio's parents were political prisoners in Cuba, but stated that he did not know anything about the alleged Oswald visit.739 The same was true of Rogelio Cisneros,740 a former anti-Castro leader from Miami who had visited Mrs. Odio in June of 1962 in connection with certain anti- Castro activities. 741 Additional investigation was conducted in Dallas and in other cities in search of the visitors to Mrs. Odio's apartment. 742 Mrs. Odio herself was reinterviewed.743
On September 16, 1964, the FBI located Loran Eugene Hall in Johnsandale Calif. 744 Hall has been identified as a participant in numerous anti-Castro activities. 745 He told the FBI that in September of 1963 he was in Dallas, soliciting aid in connection with anti-Castro activities. He said he had visited Mrs. Odio. He was accompanied by Lawrence Howard, a Mexican-American from East Los Angeles and one William Seymour from Arizona. He stated that Seymour is similar in appearance to Lee Harvey Oswald; he speaks only a few words of Spanish,746 as Mrs. Odio had testified one of the men who visited her did.747 While the FBI had not yet completed its investigation into this matter at the time the report went to press, the Commission has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was not at Mrs. Odio's apartment in September of 1963.
The Commission has also noted the testimony of Evaristo Rodriguez, a bartender in the Habana Bar in New Orleans, to the effect that he saw Oswald in that bar in August of 1963 in the company of a
Latin-appearing man. 748 Rodriguez' description of the man accompanying the person he thought to be Oswald was similar in respects to the description given by Sylvia Odio since both testified that the man may have been of either Cuban or Mexican extraction, and had a slight bald spot on the forepart of his hairline.749 Rodriguez' identification of Oswald was uncorroborated except for the testimony of the owner of the bar, Orest Pena; according to Rodriguez, Pena was not in a position to observe the man he thought later to have been Oswald.750 Although Pena has testified that he did observe the same person as did Rodriguez, and that this person was Oswald,751 an FBI interview report indicated that a month earlier Pena had stated that he "could not at this time or at any time say whether or not the person was identical with Lee Harvey Oswald." 752 Though when testifying, Pena identified photographs of Oswald, the FBI report also recorded that Pena "stated the only reason he was able to recognize Oswald was because he had seen Oswald's picture in the news media so often after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy." 753 When present at Pena's bar, Oswald was supposed to have been intoxicated to the extent that he became ill,754 which is inconsistent. with other evidence that Oswald did not drink alcoholic beverages to excess.755
HSCA VOLUME X PAGE 22
The FBI did attempt to alleviate the "problems." In a report dated September 26, it produced the story of Loran Eugene Hall, who claimed he had been in dallas in September 1963, accompanied by two men fitting Odio's description, and
that it was they who had visited Silvia Odio. Oswald, Hall said, was not one of the men. Within a week of Hall's statement, the other two men Hall had named, Lawrence Howard and William Seymour, had been interviewed. They denied ever having met Silvia Odio. Then, later, Hall himself retracted his statement.
Despite the fact that the commission could not prove Oswald took a bus to Mexico City, and despite the fact that Loran Hall's story was an admitted fabrication, the Warren report was published, with this explanation of the Odio incident: "While the FBI had not yet completed its investigation into this matter at the time the report wet to press, the commission has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was not at Mrs. Odio's apartment September 1963."
The critics the Warren commission have been quick to pounce on this conclusion.
In her book, "Accessories After the Fact", Sylvia Meagher wrote:
"The commission's failure to get to the bottom of his affair, with its inescapable implications, is inexcusable. If the Commission could leave such business unfinished, we are entitled to ask whether its members were ever determined to uncover the truth. Indeed, the Commission did not even give an honest account of such facts as were established. Its own Exhibits expose the "evidence" presented in the Report as a tissue of evasion and deception which discredits more than it justifies the conclusion that Oswald could not have visited Mrs. Odio."
The committee is continuing to investigate the Odio allegation. The approach has been two-pronged. First, the committee has endeavored to interview everyone connected with the allegation. Additionally, the committee has made intensive efforts to identify the two spanish-speaking men who visited Mr. Odio.
Interviews and depositions have been conducted with the principals: Silvia Odop, Annie Odio, Amador Odio, Lucille Connell Light and Dr. Burton Einspruch. The staff also arranged a conference telephone call between Dr. Einspruch in dallas Silvia Odio in Miami, during which they recalled the period when Mrs. Odio was under the doctor's care and related to him the visit of the three men. Mrs. Odio and Dr. Einspruch concurred that the revelation of this event came shortly after its occurrence and prior to the President's assassination.
Loran Hall testified before this committee in executive session on October 5, 1977, and Howard and Seymour were interviewed by the investigative staff.
From a review of FBI files, the committee secured a list of persons who belonged to the Dallas Chapter of JURE, and the committee is continuing its attempts to locate and interview these individuals. Additionally, staff investigators interviewed the leader of JURE, Manolo Ray, now residing in Puerto Rico.
Furthermore, the committee secured photographs of scores of pro-Castro and anti-Castro activists in 1963 who might fit the descriptions of the two latins who Mrs. Odio says visited her. The committee also utilized the services of various Government agencies to run a computerized check on all individuals who used the "war" names of Leopoldo and Angelo, or names basically similar. An extensive search produced the names and photographs of three men who might possibly have been in Dallas in september of 1963. These photographs were shown to Mrs. Odio, but she was unable to identify them as the men she had seen.
The committee has determined, as did members of the Warren commission staff, that Silvia Odio's story still is credible. Over the period of the past 15 years, only minor details have changed, and one important one remains consistent--Silvia and Annie Odio are adamant that "Leon" was Lee Harvey Oswald.
While this committee has gone much beyond the Warren commission's investigation of the Odio story, it, too, has as yet an undetermined meaning.
The so-called "Cubanization of Lee Harvey Oswald" occurred during the time he lived in New Orleans in 1963. It is a puzzling period in a mysterious career, more so for the gaps in the record of his activities, as the Warren Commission was able to document it.
New Orleans was Oswald's home town--he was born there October 18, 1939. In April 1963 he moved back, having lived in fort Worth and Dallas since his return from the Soviet Union the previous June.
He spent the first 2 weeks job hunting, staying with the Murrets, Aunt Lillian and uncle Charles, or "Dutz", as he was called, the sister and brother-in-law of nance man, he sent for his wife, Marina, and their baby daughter, and they moved into an apartment on Magazine Street.
In May, Oswald wrote to Vincent T. Lee, national director of the fair Play for Cuba Committee, expressing desire to open an FPCC chapter in New Orleans and requesting literature to distribute. He also had handouts printed, some of which
were stamped "L. H. Oswald, 4907 Magazine Street", others with the alias, "A. J. Hidell, P.O. Box 30016", still others listing the FPCC address as 544 Camp Street.
The Camp Street address has been a riddle to investigators, official and otherwise, over the years, because the only Cuban activity known to have been based there was of the anti-Castro sort.
Oswald lost his job in July, and his efforts to find another was futile. It is known that through the rest of the summer he filed claims at the unemployment office.
The FPCC campaign attracted attention, since Oswald was perhaps the sole overt supporter of Castro in a city where the Cuban community was strongly opposed to Castro. It also got him into a fight with three anti-Castro Cubans, resulting in Oswald spending a night in jail, but earning him some publicity. On August 17, he was interviewed on radio, and on August 21, he appeared in a television debate