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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. V - Page 341« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Abram Chayes Resumed)

Mr. Dulles.
May I just ask one question there. Our file that I have before me, and your very helpful paper----
Mr. Coleman.
Commission Document No. 2.
Mr. Dulles.
Commission Document No. 2 doesn't indicate really the basis on which the Texas authorities were holding up the visa. Does that appear anywhere in the record?
Mr. Chayes.
I don't know. It may appear in our attachment B answers. In essence it was that they thought this fellow had behaved pretty badly and he wasn't entitled to any special consideration.
Mr. Coleman.
That is why at this time I would like to read into the record part of the regulation under which they will waive. It says:
"If substantial adverse security information related to the petitioner is developed, the visa petition shah be processed on its merits and certified to the regional commissioner for determination whether the sanction should be waived.
"The assistant commissioner shall endorse the petition to show whether the waiver is granted or denied and forward it and notify the appropriate field office of the action taken."
In other words, that since some derogatory information was in the file, and since Oswald was the petitioner, the initial decision made by the field officer of the Immigration Service was that the waiver should not be granted.
Mr. Chayes.
That is Correct.
Mr. Dulles.
I assume that that was motivated probably in one of the letters from the Texas immigration office to the Department of Justice or the Immigration Service here.
Mr. Coleman.
Yes; well what happened, the record was referred to the immigration field officer in Texas, and the record was the history of the fact that Oswald had defected or attempted to defect, and the statements he had made. So they, therefore, made the determination on the field level that they would not waive the sanction.
Mr. Chayes.
That is right. The sanction was waived only after urging from the Department.
Mr. Dulles.
Yes, that appears in this Commission Exhibit, this document that I have referred to. But we do not have in our files the letter of the Texas immigration authorities first refusing as far as I know.
Mr. Coleman.
We will have that. That testimony will be put in through Miss James and Miss Waterman.
Mr. Dulles.
They have that. All right, if they supply that, that will be adequate.
Mr. Coleman.
So I take it that, in your judgment after reviewing the file, you think that the waiver should have been granted?
Mr. Chayes.
Well, I think there that it was not an improper exercise of discretion. That is correct.
Mr. Coleman.
Just one other question. Is there any policy in the Department to delay the acceptance of attempted renunciation of citizenship?
Mr. Chayes.
Well, delay, I don't know that there is a stated policy that you put the person off. The general policy of the Department is first I think to discourage renunciations, to make it clear that the person has a right to renounce, but nonetheless to discourage them.
Secondly, the policy is that the consular officer should assure himself that the person seeking to renounce his citizenship is acting soberly, rationally, and with full awareness of the meaning and consequences of his act. And for that purpose the consular officer can use any means within his Judgment. He can talk to the person. He could invoke a cooling-off period or ask a person to sleep on it or something of that kind. It seems to me how the policy is implemented is something for the particular case. If somebody came up in England and had just married an earl or something like that and said "I want to be an English citizen now" and was in full possession of her faculties apparently there probably wouldn't be much worry about it, although even then the consul would go through a routine of trying to assure that the person knew and understood fully what she was doing.
Mr. Dulles.
Is that routine prescribed, should it be prescribed do you think now in the light of hindsight in this situation?
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