27: I Am a Patsy

I Am a Patsy! by George de Mohrenschildt

We are alive and enjoying life in a very different way. We moved away from the business world to the academic world and it’s more rewarding. For this I have to thank Lee Harvey Oswald and FBI.

Fortunately also, we did not lose our real friends. Nor were we sent to a concentration camp like the Japanese in World War II or the Navajos in XIX century in Arizona. And we do not complain, life is interesting and exciting for us. Often we wish Lee were here with us to share some of the good changes we are having in this country and in the world. He was too young when he died.

But more often we think of shady aspects of this gruesome “investigation”, of the harm done to this country and especially to the damage to the memory of Lee, my dead friend.

Penn Jones’s Opinion of Lee Harvey Oswald

Jones, the editor of the Midlothian, Texas newspaper, and a simple honest man, told me upon my return to the United States: “I shall never forget Lee Harvey Oswald’s face, beaten brutally to a pulp, of his terrified expression when he was being led by beefy policemen the day of President Kennedy’s assassination. And this young man kept shouting ‘I am a patsy! … I am a patsy!’ And,” continued this elderly newspaperman, “I swear to God I knew that he was telling the truth.”

I had a premonition the day of Kennedy’s assassination. 3,000 miles away, in Haiti, that Lee was involved in some way, that he was in deep trouble. It’s strange how those things work…

Think on the inscription on the picture we had discovered in our luggage. How could a hunter of the fascists be the assassin of a young and liberal President? Would Lee address this photograph so endearingly to me, knowing well how much I liked John F. Kennedy, had he intended to assassinate him?

Would his wife call him even sneeringly, “the fascists” hunter, if her husband was preparing to assassinate the most liberal President America ever had?

Whether you were responsible, even partially, even as a patsy, in the conspiracy to assassinate, I do hope that this book will help you sleep in peace.

Knowing Lee and his truthfulness, my wife and I believe that had Lee had the chance to speak, he would have told the truth. If he even had some part in the assassination, he would have proudly thrown to the world his reasons for it.

Lee was above all an individualist, an idealist who hoped to change the world, not a blind slave led by his prejudices, by an excessive devotion to a defined doctrine, to proconceived notions.

Recording Lee Harvey Oswald’s Interrogation

He denied that he was the assassin to the last moment of his life. And while Dallas police questioned him for forty some hours, he never admitted anything. For some reason, the police chief never released to the Warren Commission any notes of this interrogation and he denied that the interrogation had been tape–recorded. Dallas police supposedly had not a single tape–recorder at the time. As primitive as the Dallas police had been, such negligence is hardly credible.

Chief Justice Warren, while interrogating the chief of police who had said “we never got around to buy a tape–recorder”, asked acidly: “wasn’t it worth while to borrow a tape recorder when the assassination of the President of the United States was being investigated?”.

The City of Dallas was certainly rich enough at the time to have acquired a tape–recorder.

And so the tape of Lee’s interrogation either did not exist or had mysteriously disappeared.

George de Mohrenschildt’s Opinion of Lee Oswald

In my opinion Lee would have told the truth during this lengthy interrogation, during which he must have been beaten and maybe tortured, he would have cracked down but his last words were: “I am a patsy!” And so he was.

What I have been trying to concentrate on was Lee’s personality and on what I had remembered, taped and noted, of his opinions, his jokes and his remarks in our conversations.

Naturally, I could to avoid to relate what our relations with Lee and Marina, and especially my friendship with Lee, had had on our lives.

I hope that this book will correct the generally low opinion people in this country have had on Lee. Maybe this new focus on him will have some influence on the ultimate judgement on the assassination of President Kennedy.

Lee Harvey Oswald might have been sometimes violent, like almost anyone amongst us, he might kill a person he hated, he might have been violent to a racist or a pseudo–racist, to someone who might want to hurt him and his family. But to assassinate the President he rather admired, just for the glory of it, is entirely foreign to his personality.

Lee cared for freedom in this country and he cared for the improvement of the world tension at the time. And this type of a person was being moved from one place to another by the Dallas police, the movements were announced, the crowds were there, and thus he was shot and killed.

Some other aspects of Lee’s personality must emerge from this book. It shows that Lee was not a harmful person, on the contrary a rather inspiring individual. His deep desire to improve relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. It took twelve years and a man like Kissinger to achieve partially this purpose. At last the latent animosities between these superpowers are dissipating.

But Lee hoped for more; he hoped that these two powerful countries would become friends and he strived to achieve it in a naive and maybe foolish, but sincere, way. It is clear now that the war between these two countries would end in a holocaust. And so, Lee Harvey Oswald had dreamed and hoped for a détente and for friendship, not so bad for a high–school dropout from a New Orleans slum.

It is always better for all of us to be friends than to fight, only insane people would want to fight now with the available nuclear arsenal. These insane people are forcing other to believe in the superiority of any weaponry. We can kill all the Russians hundred of times over and they can do the same to us. So where does a “superiority” lead?

It is my firm opinion that lee was never sure he was right, but he was always groping for truth, for a light.

It must come out clearly from all the material I had gathered here that Lee was above all anti–segregationist, he was anti any people who discriminate against any minorities, against any underprivileged.

Both Lee and I firmly believed that subservience to any dominant political idea is wrong, people should try to discover an ideology which fits them, even though it might be unpopular, and follow it. If not, we would become the same dummies Russians were during Stalin’s time. Their servility backfired and they became victims of it. “They did not try to find out who was right and who was wrong,” Lee told me during one of our conversations, which often dealt with the Stalinist times in Russia. He had learned a lot in Minsk. “Free people,” he had said, “should not remain mere pawns in the world game of chess played by the rulers.”

Some time ago I saw a program, sponsored by some safety razor firm, which featured Lee talking in New Orleans on the radio. This was regarding his pro–Cuban activity. The program was taped and Lee’s photos were inserted. Lee spoke rather intelligently but the inserted photos made his look ugly and threatening. It was a nasty way to portray a dead man. Technically the program was awful; had no much sense anyway, but its purpose was to brainwash the American people into believing more firmly that Lee was the sole and only assassin.

And we will never know the whole truth until someone will come forward, confess and will accept the guilt.

Let’s recall some of my conversations with Lee regarding Fidel Castro. Lee was rather an admirer of Fidel and especially of Che Guevara, a romantic, swashbuckling personage. In his mind Fidel was a sincere man who aimed to the best for his country, to eradicate racial prejudice and to bring a social equality to his people. I do not think he knew very much about Cuba and his information came through his contacts with Cuban students and technicians he had met in Minsk.

Lee liked Fidel as a representative of a small country, an underdog, facing fearlessly a huge and powerful country like United States.

Che appealed to him as a handsome, brilliant doctor, who had traveled around Latin America, discovering basic injustices and who eventually tried to correct them . He did know that in some of the poorest parishes of Mexico the peasants considered him a new Savior. Now Che is dead, the man who killed him was assassinated recently in Paris. So it’s all immaterial.

Lee Harvey Oswald’s Opinions about Cuba

Regarding the Bay of Pigs, Lee thought it was an utter disaster. He was sure that we would not have gotten involved in the internal affairs of Cuba. He was against the Cuban refugees, but this subject was not discussed too much between us. He thought that Cuba before Castro was a whorehouse for the American tourists, headquarters of American racketeers like Lansky and Co. These were his opinions.

As far as I was concerned, I was not sure whether he was right or not, I knew Cuba very slightly myself, I was there a year or so before Castro’s victory over Batista. To me it was a cheerful, corrupt country; but austerity did not seem to fit the Cuban sunny natures.

Lee thought President Kennedy should not [have] allowed any invasion of Cuba, but he was not vehement or violent in his views on this subject. I have the impression that the matter was of not much interest to him. Lee never expressed any hatred for Kennedy because of the Bay of Pigs, he just calmly assessed [it] as a very foolish action.

Remember that many Cuban refugees and their relatives paid with their lives for this invasion, and the ones who remained alive and here consider the disaster Kennedy’s fault. I cannot visualize Lee being in cahoots with these Cuban refugees in New Orleans, as some sources suggest but he might have played his own game, meeting some of them, checking just for the hell of it what their motivations were.

Lee Harvey Oswald “Was an Actor in Real Life”

The amusing and attractive side of Lee’s personality was that he liked to play with his own life, he was an actor in real life. A very curious individual.

On the other hand, I can very easily visualize Lee joining a pro–Castro group.

In my humble opinion, as indicated by some events and conversations in this book, the Kennedy family did not want to pursue the matter of finding the real, unquestionable, assassin, nor a conspiracy. And they could have done it with their own, immense, private resources. If somebody would kill my son or my brother, I certainly would want to be sure who did it. But possibly the personality of Lee Harvey Oswald suited perfectly the political purposes of the Kennedy family.

Lee was a “lunatic” and a “Marxist” who killed John F. Kennedy without any reason and made a martyr of him. And so, the matter was closed for ever. Why look for more responsible people?

Regarding Lee’s real or imaginary attempt at General Walker’s life will remain a mystery. There are stories going around that, according to Marina, Lee also wanted to shoot Nixon, whom he considered a reactionary of the same type as Walker. This was at the time when Nixon was Vice–President. But Lee never even spoke to me about Nixon, so it remains pure speculation.

The picture appearing with this book was taken by Marina, so she says in her deposition in January or February of 1962. Dedications were made probably at the same time.

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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