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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. XIII - Page 266« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Malcolm R. Slaughter)

Mr. Hubert.
Thank you very much. We appreciate your cooperation.
Mr. Slaughter.
That's all right--I hope this was some help.
Mr. Hubert.
Thank you again.

Vernon S. Smart

Testimony of Vernon S. Smart

The testimony of Vernon S. Smart was taken at 12:15 p.m., on March 25, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Burt W. Griffin, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. Griffin.
Lieutenant Smart, my name is Burt Griffin, and I am one of the attorneys on the advisory staff of the General Counsel of the President's Commission Investigating the Assassination of President Kennedy. This Commission has been set up by virtue of an Executive order issued by President Johnson and joint resolution of Congress. The Executive order is No. 11130 and the congressional resolution is No. 137. We have promulgated a set of rules of procedure, the Commission has, and under these rules of procedure, I have been given authority to take your sworn deposition. Part of our rules of standard procedure is to explain to you in advance what the general nature of the Commission's inquiry is. I will state in a general fashion that we are trying to ascertain and evaluate and report back to the President on the facts, and all of the facts, that relate to the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Lee Oswald. Our particular concern in calling you has more to do with the assassination or murder of Lee Oswald than it has to do with the assassination of the President; however, we want to have all of the information that you have which you think is pertinent to the matter that the Commission is involved in. Now, we have addressed a letter, that is, the General Counsel has addressed a letter, to Chief Curry requesting that you be made available to appear here. Under the rules of the Commission, you. are entitled to a personal 3-day notice before you testify. You can waive this notice. I will ask you right now if you want the 3-day notice or whether you are willing to waive the notice?
Mr. Smart.
No; I will waive it.
Mr. Griffin.
Also, you are entitled to have an attorney here, and some of the witnesses do have attorneys and others of them don't, and I take it that, by the fact that you are appearing here alone, that you do not desire an attorney; however, if you do desire to have an attorney present representing you, I wish you would say so at this time, and don't feel that it would be any embarrassment to any of us or we would be concerned about it.
Mr. Smart.
No; I don't feel like I need one right now.
Mr. Griffin.
Well, let me tell you.
Mr. Smart.
Not for this; no.
Mr. Griffin.
We have no authority to prosecute anybody.
Mr. Smart.
Mr. Gpiffin.
This is a factfinding matter, and I think more than very many people fully appreciate that this investigation is intimately connected with the security of the country.
Mr. Smart.
Mr. Griffin.
And, of course, most particularly the security of the President, and it is terribly important from a standpoint of protection and making sure that things don't happen in the future----
Mr. Smart.
I understand.
Mr. Griffin.
That we get everything. We have collected a lot of information in this area, and I can only tell you that what you think might be unimportant or would be more interested in withholding for fear of embarrassing somebody could be terribly important to us when all of the pieces are put together.
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