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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. V - Page 344« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Abram Chayes Resumed)

Mr. Ehrlich thinks he recalls that one of the files was already being examined by the Secret Service or the FBI, the passport file. My own recollection, which I am sure of, is that later on in the evening, about 8 o'clock or 9 o'clock, we established contact with the FBI and they came over and read the files in our office at the same time we were reading them. Now actually there was nothing in any of the files that wasn't duplicated in the others in essence. I mean much of our files consisted of FBI or CIA reports.
Much of their files consisted of these letters and documents that you have seen that we had come into possession of when Oswald attempted to renounce. We worked, as I say, through the night. One thing that we did other than go through the files was to go down to the lookout card file to see whether there was a lookout card for Oswald. We got Mr. Johnson, who is the General Counsel of the Passport Office, to open up the lookout card file which is a large room that has a combination lock on the door, and is also plugged into a general alarm system, got into the room and examined the lookout card file and found that there was no card for Oswald.
This was the first experience I had ever had with the lookout card file, and I said all the things that you have said here, why wasn't there a card. But we were very careful in doing that to record, Mr. Lowenfeld, Mr. Ehrlich and I and Mr. Johnson and Mr. Schwartz all went in and we all mutually recorded what steps we took. I think there are notes of that, if anybody is interested in them, but I don't think there is any need to see them.
Nothing of significance happened. We did find----

Mr. Dulles.
May I ask is the passport office under you as Assistant Secretary and Legal Adviser?
Mr. Chayes.
No, sir; the passport office is under Mr. Schwartz.
Mr. Dulles.
Under Mr. Schwartz?
Mr. Chayes.
It is Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs.
Mr. Dulles.
And he is directly under the Secretary of State.
Mr. Chayes.
Yes; he is Assistant Secretary. His chain of command goes through the Deputy Under Secretary for Administration, but he like I has the rank of Assistant Secretary and he operates a bureau just as I do. The Legal Adviser's office is a separate bureau.
We did prepare a 10- or 12-page document by dawn the next day which in fact is the basis of this report, the Commission Document No. 2.
Mr. Coleman.
We will give that Commission Exhibit No. 950, your first report.
Mr. Chayes.
The one we did overnight?
Mr. Coleman.
No; the one that you sent us. It is Commission Exhibit No. 950. It has been given a number.
Mr. Dulles.
I wonder if the witness would identify this and verify the circumstances under which it was prepared?
Mr. Chayes.
This report, Commission Exhibit No. 950, is not the one that we prepared overnight. This is the report we prepared for the Department of Justice before the Commission was appointed when the Department of Justice itself was, looking into the matter.
What I say is that Commission Exhibit No. 950 is essentially an expansion and elaboration of the document that we prepared that night.
Representative Ford.
There have been fears expressed by some that somehow we don't have before the Commission all of the documents that are in the hands of the Department of State or any other agency pertaining to Oswald. You can only testify as to the Department of State. Do you testify that we have been given everything that was at any time in the files of Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. Chayes.
To my knowledge that is the case. However, let me say again what I said at the beginning of the testimony. We have constantly and persistently gone around to all the places in the Department, and that has been done under my supervision, and we have made very aggressive efforts to assure that every office or subdivision of the Department that might have documents pertaining to Oswald should give them to the Commission, through me to the Commission.
I think there was one stage where perhaps that wasn't understood, but we got
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