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Warren Commission Report: Page 415« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER VII - Lee Harvey Oswald: Background and Possible Motives)

Kennedy was a "ruffian and a thief." He replied that he "would not agree with that particular wording." 399 It should also be noted, however, that one witness testified that shortly before the assassination Oswald had expressed approval of President Kennedy's active role in the area of civil rights.400


Although Oswald could possibly have been motivated in part by his sympathy for the Castro government, it should be remembered that his wife testified that he was disappointed with his failure to get to Cuba and had lost his desire to do so because of the bureaucracy and red tape which he had encountered.401 His unhappy experience with the Cuban consul seems thus to have reduced his enthusiasm for the Castro regime and his desire to go to Cuba.


While some of Castro's more severe criticisms of President Kennedy might have led Oswald to believe that he would be well received in Cuba after he had assassinated the American President, it does not appear that. he had any plans to go there. Oswald was carrying only $13.87 at the time of his arrest, although he had left, apparently by design, $170 in a wallet in his wife's room in Irving.402 If there was no conspiracy which would help him escape, the possibility of which has been considered in chapter VI, it is unlikely that a reasoning person would plan to attempt to travel from Dallas, Tex., to Cuba with $13.87 when considerably greater resources were available to him. The fact that Oswald left behind the funds which might have enabled him to reach Cuba suggests the absence of any plan to try to flee there and raises serious questions as to whether or not he ever expected to escape.

Possible Influence of Anti-Kennedy Sentiment in Dallas

It has been suggested that one of the motivating influences operating on Lee Oswald was the atmosphere in the city of Dallas, especially an atmosphere of extreme opposition to President Kennedy that was present in some parts of the Dallas community and which received publicity there prior to the assassination.403 Some of that feeling was expressed in the incident involving then vice-presidential candidate Johnson during the 1960 campaign, in the treatment of Ambassador Adlai Stevenson late in October of 1963 and in the extreme anti-Kennedy newspaper advertisement and handbills that appeared in Dallas at the time of the President's visit there.404


The Commission has found no evidence that the extreme views expressed toward President Kennedy by some rightwing groups centered in Dallas or any other general atmosphere of hate or rightwing extremism which may have existed in the city of Dallas had any connection with Oswald's actions on November 22, 1963. There is, of course, no way to judge what the effect of the general political ferment present in that city might have been, even though Oswald was aware of it. His awareness is shown by a letter that he wrote to Arnold Johnson of the Communist Party U.S.A., which Johnson said he did not receive until after the assassination. The letter said in part:

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