1: Preface in Haiti
I Am a Patsy! by George de Mohrenschildt
I am a patsy! I am a patsy! These last words of my friend, Lee Harvey Oswald, still ring in my ears and make me think of the terrible injustice inflicted on the memory of this supposed assassin.
News of the JFK Assassination
November 1963 was fairly uneventful in Haiti — no shootings and no invasions. My young geologist Alston Boyd and I had worked in our office located on Avenue Truman in the center of Port–au–Prince. Since we started very early in the morning to avoid the infernal daily heat, our daily chores were over at 2 p.m. This office occupied a large room of a Quonset building belonging to the Haitian Government and we were kept there virtually incommunicado since it contained government maps and other strategic information.
Alston and I drove to my house overlooking Port–au–Prince in the area called Tonton Lyle and a block away from the presidential retreat, then we ate and took a siesta, like any self–respecting Haitian. Then, later in the afternoon we dressed and went to the reception at the Lebanese Embassy.
The usually animated streets of the capital seemed deserted. “I feel trouble in the air,” said my wife Jeanne. The air was balmy, the soldiers and the tontons macoutes were absent and we could not hear any shots.
We greeted the Lebanese Ambassador and joined the crowd. George Morel, head of Pan–American Airways in Haiti, came up to us immediately. “Didn’t you know your president was killed?” he asked in a strained voice.
At first we thought he was talking about the President of Haiti, Docteur François Duvalier, who was my nominal boss in Haiti. Seeing our blank expressions, Morel explained. “President Kennedy was assassinated to–day.”
I hoped that it wouldn’t happen in Texas and especially in Dallas. But Morel summarily explained the situation — and it was in Dallas.
Gloomily, we filed out of the Lebanese Embassy, where people did not seem to be too badly concerned about President Kennedy’s fate, got in the car and drove away. “If he had his tontons macoutes around, this would not have happened,” I said angrily, and this was my first serious criticism of our services supposed to protect the President of the United States.
We drove gloomily to the American Embassy, located near the sea–shore and not too far from my office. The doors were wide opened and two marines stood there on both sides of a book where the American residents would sign their names as a gesture of reverence to the dead head of state. Having signed our names — we were the first to have done it — we drove to the house of an old friend of mine, Valentin (Teddy) Blaque, an attaché at the Embassy.
Teddy’s house was similar to ours, but more elaborate, with a large terrace overlooking the sparkling bay of Port–au–Prince. Several mutual friends stood around, looking at each other with stunned expressions, and seemed to ask the same question: “Why him?”
“For the fist time we had a president who was young and energetic. And he was trying to solve the problems of the world,” said Jeanne sadly, holding back her tears. “And he had to go…”
The beautiful view seemed funereal to us, as we stood there silently.
“And in Dallas,” I mused aloud. Why there? A conservative and somewhat provincial city, but successful and proud of its success. We knew the Mayor — a charming man — and many city fathers.
“But who did it?” I asked Teddy.
“I just listened to the radio and a suspect was arrested already,” he said.
Before he mentioned the name, I thought of Lee and his rifle with the telescopic lens. “Could it be Lee? No, it was impossible.”
And driving back home, in stunned silence, we thought of Lee and the predicament he was in.
Knowing Lee Harvey Oswald
But since the official version had it that Lee Harvey Oswald was the main suspect, we made our deposition at the Embassy. We did know him and we were aware of the fact he owned a rifle. We would be happy to testify what we knew about him and about our relationship with him and his wife. Be we did not believe he was the assassin.
Then we learned that a letter was sent by someone influential in Washington to the official of the Haitian government to drop me from the payroll and to exile me as fast as possible. Fortunately I had good friends and the latter did not happen. And later, little by little, we were ostracized by the United States Ambassador Timmons, then by the American businessmen and government employees, with whom we had been on very good terms and, finally, came the news of the investigation of all our friends and even acquaintances in the United States.
Then came the man with the white teeth and a flannel suit, an FBI agent trying to scare us off. At last, after a long time, we were officially invited to come to Washington and help the Warren Commission in their investigation. Although we could contribute very little, we still accepted to go to Washington and testify. Although our depositions were supposed to remain confidential, all the three hundred pages of irrevelant conversation were printed and promiscuously distributed. Actually our depositions were longer than Marina’s and Mrs. Marguerite Oswald’s put together! Why? We assume two reasons — to waste taxpayers’ money and to distract the attention of the American people from the people involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. All the gossipy, futile stuff, related to our private lives, half of it not relevant to Oswald, boring and useless. And all this because my wife and I liked Lee Harvey Oswald, tried to defend him and because Lee said, before he died: “I liked and admired George de Mohrenschildt.”