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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. V - Page 328« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Abram Chayes Resumed)

Mr. Chayes.
checks. He was arrested in Australia for fraud and subsequently convicted and sentenced to jail there.
Another one paid for his passport renewal with a worthless check. That in itself is perhaps in the passport fraud category. Left the United States paying for his passage with a worthless check. He represented himself to be an employee of the U.S. Government on leave and continued to put out worthless checks, using his passport for identification. We have summarized these actions under these categories in a letter which I sent to Mr. Rankin, on June 6. It contains a list of the actions in these categories in the years 1962-64 through March of 1964.
Mr. Coleman.
Can the record note that the original of that letter has been given Commission Exhibit No. 949?
Mr. Chayes.
Very good. Now it should be said that there is one category here that does not appear in the list that we have attached to the letter, although it is explained in a paragraph, the third paragraph 0£ the letter, and that is in fact the category that Oswald himself was in, in 1961, when he wanted to come back. That is where there is a person abroad who is in some kind of trouble at the time, or who is anxious to leave where he is and come right back to the United States, as Oswald did.
We issue a passport as the regulation says, for direct and immediate return to the United States. And that action is taken under section 136. But since it is taken abroad, heretofore there has been no central list of the actions of that kind in the Department's files. As a result of the Commission's inquiry a list is being maintained from here on out, but it is not possible without going through a million passport files, to find when action of that kind was taken in the past. I know of a number of cases of my own knowledge where this happened.
For example, one or two, a man and his wife, of the students who went to Cuba last year went on to Morocco, and got into trouble with the Moroccan police and so on, and we marked their passport for immediate return. i am told that the names of those two students are listed under category (a), in 1963 on the list. Their passports were withdrawn because they had violated the travel restrictions, but also, for most of the students we didn't do anything about the passports until they got back to the United States when we withdrew them, but in their particular case, because they got in trouble with the Moroccan authorities and were pretty obstreperous about it, we marked their passport good only for direct and immediate return.
Another case that I remember, in my own experience, was a ease of a notorious gun runner in the Congo, who was running guns to the Katangese rebels during the Congo operation, and he was apprehended by the Congolese authorities. We didn't want him to be tried, and the Congolese didn't want to try him if we didn't want him to be tried. On the other hand they didn't want him around there either.
So we marked his passport good for direct and immediate return. In other words, those cases are cases where you can find either some form of trouble which makes the applicant, the passport holder want to go directly home, and us want to make him go directly home, or some very immediate and direct relation to our relations with that particular country. And as I said yesterday, we have taken the view that it can never be done solely, because of political activities or political associations or the exercise of speech. It has to be something beyond that.
Mr. Coleman.
I take it that judgment is effected in part by the holding of the Supreme Court in the Kent v. Dulles case.
Mr. Chayes.
Yes; it derives from that. The Kent case said that the Secretary was not entitled without statutory authorization, at least as we have read the case, was not entitled in the absence of statute, to withhold a passport on grounds related to political association and beliefs.
Mr. Coleman.
Yesterday you testified that you had reviewed all of the State Department files dealing with Oswald, and you paid attention to those files as they existed as of June 1963, and that it was your Judgment that the Passport Office could not have refused to issue a passport to Oswald in June 1963.
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