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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. V - Page 534« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Bernard William Weissman Resumed)

Mr. Weissman.
Senator COOPER. As one of your aims, did you have the purpose of money out of this movement?
Mr. Weissman.
Out of the movement itself, no. Out of the business, yes. Because I think it would be foolish to go on the premise that if we would devote ourselves a hundred percent to politics that we could make money at it, because there are laws against it, and in order to survive while you are in politics, you have to have a business interest, managed by yourself part time or by others full time, that can support you while you devote yourself to politics.
Senator COOPER. Was this business interest to be these organizations which you were going to infiltrate and whose treasuries you might capture?
Mr. Weissman.
Senator COOPER. Or was it to be--you hoped to develop businesses because of your political influence; is that it?
Mr. Weissman.
Yes; to put it straight on the record, we had discussed this and what we would do if we came into any of the treasuries of these organizations. We felt that you can incur a lot of legal problems if you are caught taking funds, tax-free funds, and using it for personal gain and so forth. I am sure there are laws against it. Exactly which ones, I do not know. I am sure there are laws against it.
And so we felt there is nothing wrong, and it is done occasionally in government, where occasionally you would use--you would meet someone politically--because generally these are more affluent individuals, people in politics. By dint of their drive they have acquired property or moneys, et cetera. "And these individuals might be willing to invest some of their capital in some up-and-coming young businessmen, young politicians. And we had hoped to get some money this way. Plus the fact, by using our heads, by setting up businesses on our own that would support us in the political goal.
Senator COOPER. Did you study methods of propaganda?
Mr. Weissman.
Study methods of propaganda? No; we had discussed ways of bringing about recruitment and so forth, in the way of pamphlets, or things of that nature, but this never got out of the talking stage itself. As a matter of fact----
Senator COOPER. You felt the way to move into political life quickly was to get into these extreme organizations which do use a great deal of propaganda, and are against things?
Mr. Weissman.
Yes; in general, we thought these organizations because they grew so quickly, would be relatively unorganized and easy to infiltrate, and this proves to be quite true. They were more or less autonomous within their own regions, and they did not have a national director keeping tabs on everything they did.
I have something here that was made up. It is just a list. I just happened to remember. Publicity tactics, for example--rallies, hangings-these are effigies, I would imagine--demonstrations, picketing, sit-downs, stickers, billboards, boycotts, lectures, songfests, talkathons, telephone campaigns, door-to-door campaigns. Publicity--letters, brochures, pamphlets, booklets, stationery, flags, songs, emblems on blazers, stickers, match covers, billboards, radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, streetcars, taxicabs. Fund-raising would be personal solicitation, get firms to do things free for us, parties, teas, bridges, lectures, assessments, dues, sale of books, pins, buttons, stationery, flags, emblems, match covers, brochures, and pamphlets. That is it.
Mr. Jenner.
That was your program?
Mr. Weissman.
This was our advertising program; yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. Some of these activities are certainly activities carried on by political parties. But did it ever occur to you that some of the activities which you planned, in fact which you undertook, such as infiltration into an organization, to try to seize control of it, and these methods that you used---do you consider that as in the regular spirit of our system of government?
Mr. Weissman.
I would say this, sir.
Senator COOPER. Democratic system you spoke of?
Mr. Weissman.
It was a question of doing something like that or absolutely nothing at all, never getting off the ground. And while my belief would say no, of course not, this is not the way you do it, this is not the way it should
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