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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. X - Page 106« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Arnold Samuel Johnson)

Mr. Rankin.
Did you have any contact with Columbia Broadcasting System in regard to news matters relating to Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. Johnson.
That's what I was referring to before, that as soon as---yes, on the --I was trying to say the date, on the 23d, the day after the assassination, I called and issued a statement to all the news media in which I made it clear that Lee Harvey Oswald was not associated with us in any way and so forth, and they carried this on the radio or on television, I think one of them did. But it was also carried on the front page of the New York Times and through other papers. That was called in to all the stations, not just to Columbia. There was a seven-sentence statement.
Mr. Rankin.
Did you ever say that Lee Harvey Oswald was not given citizenship in the Soviet Union because they considered him a Fascist, or words to that effect?
Mr. Johnson.
I don't recall that. I don't recall that.
Mr. Rankin.
Was that your belief?
Mr. Johnson.
I never got involved in the reason, as I recall, as to why he was not given citizenship there. I assumed they had good reasons.
Mr. Rankin.
Did you ever see any writings or communications or anything to indicate that he had a Fascist philosophy?
Mr. Johnson.
The only feature within that would be, within one of these letters, when he refers to the fact that he attended the Walker meeting down there in Dallas; another reported story of his volunteering to be on both sides as far as Cuba was concerned, and then the further point, and this is a matter of political orientation maybe as to why he was in contact with Senator Tower instead of Senator Yarborough; that is just pure speculation, it doesn't mean very much.
Mr. Rankin.
Most of his expressions in his correspondence that you produced indicated an interest and sympathy with the Communist Party rather than any Fascist group, didn't they?
Mr. Johnson.
But the main point would be that this act is so contradictory to anything in the Communist viewpoint, and that would be the essential test, that any person who has that kind of a mentality could just as well be covering up in communications, and that would be one of the difficulties of it; but the act itself, you see, would be an act, that kind of act of terrorism based upon the climate and everything there which would have been an act from a Fascist-minded person instead of from a Communist-minded person.
Mr. Rankin.
Do you have any evidence or know of any evidence to indicate that this assassination was a rightist or extreme right plot of any kind, conspiracy?
Mr. Johnson.
Not of evidence in that sense, no. If you draw conclusions from the materials that were being circulated in Dallas, that ad in the newspaper that morning, and the various communications of people, of the added hate atmosphere, the warnings that were made of that hatred, that was all of a rightist character.
Mr. Rankin.
But that wouldn't necessarily mean that there was any plot or conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, would it? Or does it to you?
Mr. Johnson.
Well, I would rather think not. I mean I would rather think that nobody would proceed from any of this to the point of assassination. And there it is a matter I think where a person may have an opinion and not necessarily have evidence that could substantiate the opinion.
Mr. Rankin.
Or you could speculate easily?
Mr. Johnson.
That is speculation.
Mr. Rankin.
Whether it was a rightist plot or there was a leftist plot?
Mr. Johnson.
If there was a plot, it was only a rightist plot.
Mr. Rankin.
And you say that because you consider the act of assassination to accomplish political ends is not within the Communist Party philosophy; is that right?
Mr. Johnson.
That is basically true. The second basic point would be the attitude of the Communist towards President Kennedy was one of high regard and respect, even though sharply differing on many things, but it was always that.
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