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  » Appendix XVI
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  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 257« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER VI - Investigation of Possible Conspiracy)

his 2 years and 10 months of service. he received $3,452.20, after all taxes, allotments and other deductions.107 Moreover Oswald could certainly have made the entire trip on less than $1,000. The ticket on the ship he took from New Orleans to Le Havre, France, cost $220.75;108 it cost him about $20 to reach London from Le Havre: his plane fare from London to Helsinki, where he received his visa, cost him $111.90; he probably purchased Russian "tourist Vouchers" normally good for room and board for 10 days for $300; his train fare from Helsinki to Moscow was about $44; in Moscow he paid only $1.50 to $3 a night for his room and very little for his meals after his tourist vouchers ran out; 109 and apparently he did not pay his hotel bill at all after November 30, 1959.110 Oswald's known living habits indicate that he could be extraordinarily frugal when he had reason to be, and it seems clear that he did have a strong desire to go to the Soviet Union.

While in Atsugi, Japan, Oswald studied the Russian language, perhaps with some help from an officer in his unit who was interested in Russian and used to "talk about it" with Oswald occasionally. 111 He studied by himself a great deal in late 1958 and early 1959 after he was transferred from Japan to California.112 He took an Army aptitude test in Russian in February 1959 and rated "Poor." 113 When he reached the Soviet Union in October of the same year he could barely speak the language. 114 During the period in Moscow while he was awaiting decision on his application for citizenship, his diary records that he practiced Russian 8 hours a day.115 After he was sent to Minsk in early January 1960 he took lessons from an interpreter assigned to him for that purpose by the Soviet Government.116 Marina Oswald said that by the time she met him in March 1961 he spoke the language well enough so that at first she thought he was from one of the Baltic areas of her country, because of his accent. She stated that his only defects were that his grammar was sometimes incorrect and that his writing was never good.117

Thus, the limited evidence provides no indication that Oswald was recruited by Soviet agents in the Far East with a view toward defection and eventual return to the United States. Moreover, on its face such a possibility is most unlikely. If Soviet agents had communicated with Oswald while he was in the Marine Corps, one of the least probable instructions they would have given him would have been to defect. If Oswald had remained a Marine radar specialist, he might at some point have reached a position of value as a secret agent. However, his defection and the disloyal statements he made publicly in connection with it eliminated the possibility that he would ever gain access to confidential information or programs of the United States. The very fact that he defected, therefore, is itself persuasive evidence that he was not recruited as an agent prior to his defection.

The Commission has investigated the circumstances under which Oswald obtained a visa to enter the Soviet Union for possible evidence that he received preferential treatment in being permitted to enter the country. Oswald left New Orleans, La., for Europe on September 20, 1959, 118 having been released from .active duty in the Marine Corps on

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