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Warren Commission Report: Page ix« Previous | Next »

(Letter of Transmittal)

Foreword

PRESIDENT LYNDON B. JOHNSON, by Executive Order No. 11130 dated November 29, 1963, created this Commission to investigate the assassination on November 22, 1963, of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. The President directed the Commission to evaluate all the facts and circumstances surrounding the assassination and the subsequent killing of the alleged assassin and to report its findings and conclusions to him.


The subject of the Commission's inquiry was a chain of events which saddened and shocked the people of the United States and of the world. The assassination of President Kennedy and the simultaneous wounding of John B. Connally, Jr., Governor of Texas, had been followed within an hour by the slaying of Patrolman J. D. Tippit of the Dallas Police Department. In the United States and abroad, these events evoked universal demands for an explanation.


Immediately after the assassination, State and local officials in Dallas devoted their resources to the apprehension of the assassin. The U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible for the protection of the President, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation began an investigation at the direction of President Johnson. Within 35 minutes of the killing of Patrolman Tippit, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested by the Dallas police as a suspect in that crime. Based on evidence provided by Federal, State, and local agencies, the State of Texas arraigned Oswald within 12 hours of his arrest, charging him with the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Patrolman Tippit. On November 24, 1963, less than 48 hours after his arrest, Oswald was fatally shot in the basement of the Dallas Police Department by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner. This shooting took place in full view of a national television audience.


The events of these 2 days were witnessed with shock and disbelief by a Nation grieving the loss of its young leader. Throughout the world, reports on these events were disseminated in massive detail. Theories and speculations mounted regarding the assassination. In many instances, the intense public demand for facts was met by partial and frequently conflicting reports from Dallas and elsewhere. After Oswald's arrest and his denial of all guilt, public attention focused both on the extent of the evidence against him and the possibility of a conspiracy, domestic or foreign. His subsequent death heightened public interest and stimulated additional suspicions and rumors.

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