26: Why Lee and I Agreed on the FBI

I Am a Patsy! by George de Mohrenschildt

Recently it was established that FBI had concealed and destroyed a letter from Lee Harvey Oswald written to the Dallas office before the assassination. I do not think we have an exact text of this letter but [according to] the newspapers’ report [Oswald] was extremely angry at the way FBI kept annoying him and his wife and therefore made his normal pursuit of life impossible. This explains, naturally, why in our conversations Lee had such a dim view of this “great” institution and its leader J. Edgar Hoover.

George de Mohrenschildt and J. Edgar Hoover

I had a personal grudge against FBI, which I will explain in this chapter and I had a personal distasteful impression when I saw J. Edgar Hoover one day, in La Jolla, California. I remember that Jeanne and I were there to visit a partner of mine who had a ranch nearby and made some investments in the oil ventures. In the evening, having dinner at one of the best motels, facing the sea, I recognized Mr. Hoover, sitting together with some of our oil magnates, and behaving in such an obsequious manner, is if he were a servant of these very wealthy people. And he looked like a pompous waiter, or possibly, head waiter. I knew some of the people sitting with him and a meeting could have been very simply arranged, and thus a lot of difficulties would have been avoided for both of us in the future. But something restrained me from approaching the group and I did not do it. Jeanne did not have any special reason to like or dislike the man, but I had a previous experience with FBI which was ridiculous and could have ended badly for me.

Outside of my unimportant experience, similar to Lee’s in a way, the final result is that a letter of paramount importance to the investigation of Kennedy’s assassination was concealed, that President Kennedy was killed and the old idol, head of FBI, remained untouched and secure until his natural death. The President did to get the right type of protection — while mediocrity or failure, or both, remained unpunished.

New back to my tragi–comic trouble with FBI. This will answer possibly why so much money and effort was spent on the investigation of my wife and of me. I had already mentioned it. Why choose us? Why try to persecute us with such a persistence? The reason we knew Lee so well were not enough.

We both traveled a great deal, Jeanne as a famous fashion designer, and she was famous before I met her and ruined her career with my own adventurous deals and this walking trip; I traveled even more as a petroleum consultant, had several wives and was part of the “so called” establishment, mainly for business reasons. People in the “jet–set” or the “café society” are really very boring, the same [the] world over, while an eccentric like Lee was of great interest to me.

In other words, we were successful in our own fields and neither one of us never, but never, paid any attention to politics in the United States, left or right.

George de Mohrenschildt and the FBI in 1941

My early scrap with FBI dates from 1941, soon after my arrival in the United States. At that time I was very young, had some money which I brought from Europe and made a little more in this country and about to be drafted to the US Army. Frankly I was not in a very militaristic mood at the time, as the Germans saved my father from the Russians. We are of so–called Baltic descent, which means a mixture of people of Scandinavian, German, French and other lineages, descendants of the knights who had conquered Estonia, Latvia, Finland and even parts of Russia.

Now, many of the Balts were German oriented, but I had relatives of this type, personally I was French–oriented. I also had spent two painful years in the Polish Military Academy and later “manoeuvering” on horse–back around the Soviet border, a rather dangerous occupation. So I was about to be drafted in the United States Army and did not feel very enthusiastic at the prospect to start in the boot–camp all over again.

But, instead, the doctors found that I had very high blood pressure and declared me unfit for service. I still suffer from this high blood–pressure, so really I owe my life to the good American doctors who had discovered it so early. Now I can keep it under control.

At that time I was not yet an American citizen, but a resident of New York, and madly in love with a Mexican young widow, whom we shall call, Señora L. After meeting her in New York, I asked a Brazilian friend who knew Señora L. well: “I am madly in love with her, shall I marry her?”

“If you marry her, you will be unhappy. If you do not marry her you will be unhappy also,” answered my friend smilingly.

Of course, he was absolutely right. But still we were madly in love with each other. And so, she invited me to drive with her across the United States to her own country Mexico, which she would explore with me. She had been brought up in Europe and lived there most of her life, hence her lack of knowledge of her own country.

Incidentally, she spoke very little English, and I very little Spanish, so we communicated in French, which probably made us most suspicious to FBI. Maybe someone denounced us? We both had enemies. Anyway, our delightful trip in a new convertible Chrysler, along the Eastern shore, then along the Guld of Mexico was rudely interrupted. This happened near Corpus Christi, Texas, where we had rented an apartment in the Nueces Hotel as Mr. and Mrs. X (I forgot the fictitious name we used). We left the hotel early to go to the beach at Aransas Pass and spent a delightful day there. I like to paint water–color landscapes with beautiful female bodies in the foreground, and I made several sketches.

Driving back from the beach we were stopped on a deserted road by a bunch of people, who, we thought were plain American gangsters. We had little money with us, the car was insured, so we stopped without too much fright. The characters identified themselves: they were FBI agents who had taken us for German spies observing United States fortifications …

When I was telling the story to Lee, he could not stop laughing. “This is so typical of FBI. Taking you, at that time you were a reserve officer in an Allied Army, driving along the coast with a beautiful Mexican woman, talking French to her, and painting …” He guffauwed. “You were a typical German spy.”

But, my friends, don’t laugh at FBI’s ingenuity. Soon after having verified our papers and listened to angry Spanish shrieks of Señora L. – they had followed us to the hotel and inspected our luggage — the agents realized they made a foolish mistake. I even understood that one or two of them followed us all the way from New York (another expense to the American taxpayer, but he is always the victim), so the mistake was a very cold one. And so I was accused on an infraction to the old Mann’s Act. Mann Act prohibits, still does, crossing the border from one state to another with a woman who is not your wife for the purpose of committing a licentious act …

Of that we were certainly guilty, we had crossed dozens of borders on the way to Mexico and committed dozens, maybe hundreds of licentious acts. However, we were not put in jail, just had to sign some papers that we were not married and proceeded all the way to the Mexican border. We felt as if someone dirty put his filthy hands in our very personal affairs. Señora L. made a strong complaint to the Mexican Ambassador in Washington and received much later apologies for the FBI agents. As far as I am concerned, five years later, when I was applying for United States citizenship in Denver, an FBI agent came to the hearing and reopened the case, accusing me of immorality and of a flagrant infraction of the Mann Act.

I still would like to find out some day what kind of a puritannical, hypocritical, sob this Mann was…

I already passed my citizenship examinations without a single mistake and was holding an important position with a group of oil companies. So I did get a defence. My lawyer threatened the FBI agent of a personal damage suit in the amount of a million dollars, for damage done to my reputation. And so, the Mann Act was quickly forgotten, the judge laughed at the FBI story, and I was made American Citizen. Maybe not first class, because naturalized, but a citizen still.

And Lee concluded: “and so you lived forever afterwards happy as a naturalized American citizen.”

“You don’t realize, Lee, how important is was for me to be a citizen, as I became after the war a man without a country, a Heimatlos.”

“I guess it’s better to be without a country than to live in a country like this, run by FBI,” was Lee’s bitter conclusion.

I guess in these days of open immorality and of pornography staring at you from each bookstore, nobody would be accused of breaking such an antiquated law as Mann Act. It’s probably buried for good.

During these unbearably long sessions with the counsel for the Warren Commission, Albert Jenner, I got the warning from him that FBI was after my neck. “Better go to see those FBI guys and straighten up your situation with him,” was his advice.

Of course I did not waste my time on visits to FBI, both my wife and I were anxious to get back to Haiti. But now, looking at the report, I think that there must have been other reasons that millions of dollars were spent on my unimportant life, also my wife’s and our children’s, with the final result that our depositions became three times more voluminous than Marina’s. And so much costlier to the American taxpayer. Look at all those innumerable places we lived in, in various countries and different continents, everywhere these FBI agents were sent to and received information through interrogation, bribery or subterfuge. And, naturally, the incident with the rifle activated all this insane activity.

Marina Oswald and the Pot–Shot at General Walker

Again Jenner gave me a hint at the beginning of the interrogation. He asked me: “didn’t you know that Oswald tried to shoot General Walker?”

You already know from the previous chapters what had actually happened, and what Marina had said later.

“Of course not,” I answered, “my pot–shot joke was in a dubious taste but only a joke nevertheless.”

“But Marina said,” continued Jenner, “you knew about it, you said it yourself.”

Now, after all these years, reading for the first time the text of the Warren Commission Report, which had been too repulsive for me to touch, I can see her statement. She quotes me: “how is it possible, Lee, that you missed?” (page 23) [sic]

This is what I was supposed to have said that Easter night when my wife and I arrived to give a stuffed rabbit to little June. And I was supposed to have said that before entering the apartment and seeing the rifle. This statement make me Lee’s conspirator, of course.

However, soon afterwards, in her deposition she affirmed in these words: “George de Mohrenschildt didn’t know about it, he was smart enough to have guessed it.”

And so, such a contradictory and inane testimony forced the US Government, via FBI, to order the cost complete, the most costly and most useless investigation….

Could it be that Marina was told by someone in the Government, especially in FBI, to use this inane accusation, then to change it?

Maybe Marina some day will admit how all this nonsense came about. Generally, she speaks well of both of us in her further deposition, she calls Jeanne a good friend, and me “a strong man” and a “liberal”.

Considering how foolish bureaucracy could be, maybe Marina’s deposition was poorly translated, hence contradictory. Also there was a piece of gossip going on in the Commission Building that Chief Justice Warren liked Marina so much, that he advised her to incriminate us, to take pressure from herself. After all, we were mysterious Europo–Asiatics, living abroad and leading a strange life. This would take away the sting of her guilt, because she did know that Lee tried to shoot General Walker and missed. If it were true, he would have been taken out of the circulation.

Anything is possible in this gossipy, bureaucratic atmosphere in innuendo, the first Watergate of the American Government, the Warren Commission. Because the second version of Marina’s deposition was different again. I would like to quote it exactly: “de Mohrenschildt did not know anything about the shooting. Simply he thought that this was something he thought Lee was likely to do. He simply made a joke and the sting of it hit the target.”

And this finally, by all these devious say we came to the correct version of the incident.

And then Mr. Rankin asked her: “from your knowledge were they (Lee and I) close enough so that your husband would make George de Mohrenschildt a confident of anything like that?”

“No matter how close he might have been to anyone,” answered Marina “he would not have confided such a thing.”

And thus, again, we came to a reasonably true answer.

It’s hard to say whether Lee would have confided in me, this is pure speculation and I tend to agree with Marina. Had he done so, I would have certainly persuaded him not to follow such a foolish enterprise. As much as I dislike fascists, I would have been against such a violent action against such an insignificant man like General Walker. We used to call him for laughs “General Foker”.

Marina is the only one to know the truth whether Lee actually shot at General Walker. If he did, his mind had been made up firmly. He would have remained secretive about it.

But there is a contradiction there; Lee wasn’t a fool, if he had shot at anyone, he would not have kept his rifle right in front of the closet for anyone to look at it. Now, when he had a large apartment with a lot of hiding places, he would have put his rifle in a well–secreted corner.

In conclusion, poor Marina was so mixed up in her testimonies, that she did not even remember the incident described in this book, when we took her away from Lee’s apartment on Beckley Street and carried her and the baby and the belongings to Mr. and Mrs. Meller’s place. She had probably forgotten the burned flesh on her arm, anything, she mush have been terribly frightened.

And so, with her, at first, extremely damaging testimony, we got investigated through and through, at a great expense to American taxpayers, and fortunately for us, came out unscathed fatally, just damaged morally and financially.

A few more words about this lovely institution — FBI, which might have played a good part during the gangster days in the prohibition. FBI should change and be more controlled by the Congress. This institution should adopt [the] more modern and sophisticated ways of Sûreté Général or of Scotland Yard to become more sophisticated, more secretive and less naively vicious. Frankly I even preferred the straightforward methods of the Haitian police, the famous tontons macoutes, these boogie men with dark glasses, as they had effectively protected the lives of President Duvalier, “Papa Doc”, and of his family, and still do protect the life of his son, “Baby Doc.” And FBI could not protect the lives of the President John F. Kennedy, of his brother Robert nor, the most important, the life of Dr. Martin Luther King.

FBI did so much damage to us because, while still in Haiti, I often expressed an opinion that Lee was a patsy, that he was not interested in preparing an assassination of the man he liked and respected. And I was also an open critic of our Government agencies, because J. Walton Moore whom I had contacted regarding Lee, told me that he was a “harmless lunatic.” And, as a result of this frank criticism, FBI tried to crucify is in Haiti, to damage our contract there, with the connivance of the American Embassy. In the final result I lost a lot of business contacts because FBI had pried too much into my private life and exposed it in the wrong light.

I Am a Patsy! : the Text

The complete text of George de Mohrenschildt’s I Am a Patsy! is available online for the first time in valid HTML.

This Edition

The main heading of each chapter is taken from de Mohrenschildt’s typescript. Headings within each chapter have been added for ease of comprehension.

English was not George de Mohrenschildt’s first language. Obvious mistakes in spelling and punctuation have been corrected. There are a few instances in which the correct meaning is unclear; in these cases, the original text is preserved and noted.

The Original Text

A facsimile of George de Mohrenschildt’s original typescript was published in House Select Commission on Assassinations Report, appendix vol.12, pp.69–315.

A scan of the typescript in PNG format is available at http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?absPageId=40273.

Lee Harvey Oswald As I Knew Him

Dr Michael Rinella has edited George de Mohrenschildt’s text and added an introduction, more than 700 endnotes, and several photographs.

Lee Harvey Oswald As I Knew Him is thoroughly recommended for anyone interested in this aspect of Lee Oswald’s life:

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22 November 1963

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