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Questions and Doubts on the General Walker shooting

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

Researcher Scott Reid questions the conclusion that Oswald shot at General Walker

General Walker addressing news reporters in Austin, Texas, August 28, 1963

Credit: Wilkinson Archives

Scott Reid from Scotland recently wrote an article on James DiEugenio's conspiracy website titled Oswald and the Shot at Walker: Redressing the Balance. You can read the article here:

This will be a lengthy article but needed to clear up some of the questions and doubts.

Scott's article deals with the many questions that arise about the shooting on April10, 1963. Scott proposes the Oswald shot at Walker belief is not a "slam dunk" fact but needs to be re-examined and looked at in detail before accepting the Warren Commission's conclusion that Oswald tried to murder General Walker.

As part of his conclusion Scott writes:

Even after researching and writing this article, I would not be so bold as to say that Oswald was definitely not involved, either as a lone gunman or as part of some conspiratorial plot. The truth is that nobody really knows who took the shot. It should not though be put exclusively at the door of Lee Oswald when there is so much information to doubt that conclusion. It is unlikely that he would have been convicted in a court of law.

Scott is an honest guy and is open to the possibility that Oswald could have been the shooter, but the evidence is not overwhelmingly convincing in his eyes. Fair enough.

First of all, I should say, unlike DiEugenio, Scott is an intelligent guy and actually does good serious research. Scott's research on William McEwan Duff (an early suspect in the shooting) is excellent and adds to everyone's knowledge. You can view his presentation here:

Before we get into all the questions/doubts presented in Scott's article, it's highly important to understand what motivated Oswald's interest in General Walker. After all, Oswald had photos of the rear of General Walker's home, photos of the MKT (Missouri-Kansas-Texas) railroad tracks above Turtle Creek, Walker's name and phone number in his address book and even mentioned him in letters. What does this all mean?

Let's roll back the clock a couple of months to see if we can find some clues.

Volkmar Schmidt's remembrances of Oswald

Dr. Volkmar Schmidt was born in Heidelberg Germany in 1932. He received his PHD at Kiel University in Germany in 1961. Schmidt was hired by the Magnolia Oil Company (Socony Mobil) after working for a subsidiary of the company in Germany and eventually transferred to Dallas to begin work as a Petrologist (Oil Geologist). Dr. Schmidt passed away in 2012 in Canada. (1)

It was in Dallas where Dr. Schmidt met another Magnolia Lab chemist employee, Everett D. Glover (American by birth) who had worked for Magnolia since 1955. Recently separated from his first wife, pending divorce, Glover remained in his home on 4449 Potomac Av. located in the University Park area of Dallas, just west of Southern Methodist University. Texas divorce laws at that time required physical separation by husband and wife for a 1 year minimum before a legal divorce could be granted. This was the same with Michael and Ruth Paine. Glover's wife moved to Pennsylvania with their son. Separated from his immediate family, Glover decided to open up his home for fellow work colleagues to live with him. Richard Pierce, a fellow Magnolia Lab employee, moved into the Glover residence on December 1,1962. Dr. Schmidt moved in on January 1, 1963.

Everett Glover met the de Mohrenschildts through a casual encounter in the late 1950's. George de Mohrenschildt's wife Jeanne was an avid ice skater. Glover met Jeanne in an ice-skating rink while accompanying his son who also enjoyed ice skating. They struck up a friendly conversation and in turn he was introduced to her husband George de Mohrenschildt. After the initial acquaintance, there was a gap in time until Glover reunited with the de Mohrenschildts through a doubles tennis match. It was then they became more socially involved. Glover was asked many questions regarding George de Mohrenschildt by Albert Jenner of the Warren Commission. Glover characterized him as a bit of a non-conformist who at times voiced his political opinions of President Kennedy's handling of Cuba. Glover said de Mohrenschildt was of the opinion that the U.S. shouldn't be antagonizing Castro. This of course was Oswald's belief as well. Glover then was introduced to Marina Oswald at the de Mohrenschildt's apartment. They told Glover about the marital differences that Marina and Lee had, wanting to help Marina find a place to stay. Later Glover met the Oswalds again at the de Mohrenschildt's apartment. Later on, February 13, 1963, the de Mohrenschildts held a dinner party in their apartment. Dr. Volkmar Schmidt attended that party, and it was the only time he met and talked to Lee Oswald. (2)

On November 29, 1963, Dr. Schmidt was interviewed by the FBI at his current residence in Duncanville, a suburb of Dallas. Schmidt mentioned that he spoke to both Marina and Lee Oswald in their native tongue, Russian. This is in contrast to Glover's WC testimony that Schmidt never spoke Russian. Nevertheless, the FBI wanted to know the nature of Schmidt's hours-long conversation with Oswald. Schmidt said they talked politics, Russian and American societies, and Oswald's disillusion with the Soviet system of Communism. In sharp contrast to his later statements on the PBS Frontline program Who was Lee Harvey Oswald aired in 1993, Schmidt made no mention to the FBI of Oswald speaking of President Kennedy or his policies. Schmidt did mention to Oswald that he thought President Kennedy was doing a good job helping the working-class welfare of the nation. This FBI interview of Schmidt was conducted before Marina admitted that her husband tried to kill General Walker on December 2, 1963. (3)

What is consistent in Schmidt's FBI interview and the Frontline documentary is this passage from the FBI report.

Schmidt stated that Oswald, from outward appearances and from his conversation, appeared to have a burning dedication to political truth. Schmidt surmised that Oswald had great ambitions but realized that he could not fulfill these ambitions because of limited education. Throughout the conversation, Oswald did not express any views which would indicate violent action but appeared to be a violent person. Schmidt stated he did not see Oswald at any time after their conversation at the party.

Before we explore Schmidt's PBS Frontline Interview, here is Bill Kelly's telephone interview of Schmidt in 1995.

Here is Volkmar Schmidt on the Frontline documentary.

As you can see (at 2:22), Schmidt did talk about General Walker to Oswald in February 1963.

Recently I was in contact with Gus Russo, who worked on the Frontline documentary, in regard to the General Walker portion of the documentary. Gus mentioned to me that they travelled all over the world speaking to different individuals. For the Volkmar Schmidt interview, they travelled to Canada. As usual in filming documentaries, there are many outtakes as the film production staff finally settle on in the final cut. Gus graciously forwarded me the transcript of the Schmidt and Walter Kirk "Case" Coleman portions and gave me permission to use them.

Here are some comments by Dr. Schmidt on June 17, 1993, that were not included in the final film version in Who was Lee Harvey Oswald. Forgive the transcription errors.

Volkmar, describe the relationship between George and Lee.
SCHMIDT: ƒ When eh, George talked to me about this dinner party, he gave me the impression that he was genuinely trying to help. This young couple. And that Jean and him put out a lot of effort to...assist them. Invite them for meals and give them any help possible. Because they were truly struggling. Had no car. He only had a little job. And Marina couldn't speak English. And uh, he also felt, that uh...Lee Harvey Oswald was a bit of a lost soul. But an interesting and...young fellow. And uh, so, he wanted to have Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife to connect up with other young people who could give them help, and just provide a...interaction, human interaction with, for them.
SCHMIDT: ƒ During our conversation, Lee Harvey Oswald brought up the subject of the invasion of the Bay of Pigs. And he was exceedingly critical of the role which the Kennedy Administration played in supporting this invasion. He also very much idealized the eh social government, socialist government in Cuba. I noticed that he was really, really obsessed with this idea and with this animosity towards Kennedy. And I got very concerned. In order to kind of...lure him out of this emotional trap which he had built himself, I thought at that time, I mentioned another subject, which truly deserved criticism, and this is the bigotry and racism which then existed in the United States. And which Kennedy himself tried to cure. So I praised Kennedy. And I said Bay of Pigs may have been one mistake, but there were many, many good things which Kennedy did and that he was the best hope, the western world, the world in general had. So I truly went to bat for President Kennedy. But on the other hand, I then channeled the true criticism which was necessary at that time, towards this bigotry and racism, and which was personified in General Walker. Who just, shortly before...this eh dinner party, had enticed ah, students at the University of Mississippi to get very agitated; while in the agitation then they shot and killed a few reporters.
SCHMIDT: ƒ At that time, I had realized very clearly in my mind that Lee Harvey Oswald was a deeply troubled man. Who was spiritually totally empty. And what was most perturbing to me is, that he had no emotional relationship to his wife and his child. That he was totally obsessed with his own...political agenda.
R-reviewing the events, as you know them know, I mean, can you talk about the the short period of time between your talking to Lee, his buying a gun, the Walker shooting?
SCHMIDT: ƒ Ah, looking back. I eh must say that it weighs very heavily on my mind that Lee Harvey Oswald bought his guns a few days after I talked to him. But, I tried to help him as good as I could. And knew he was a man in, in deep despair. And I had to leave the country. I left some money with my friends in a, the house where I stayed with some friends, which I rented. We arranged a big party for Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, and at the time of the assassination, his wife stayed with one of the couples she met at that party. (Author's note: Ruth Paine)
What was your initial reaction when you saw the picture?
SCHMIDT: Horror.
Sorry, back up and say again.
SCHMIDT: ƒ Um, when I saw the picture of Lee Harvey Oswald with his guns, it was horror! Because, having looked in his mind a little bit and seeing this picture, I knew he was a murderer.

Would Oswald now be turning his sights on General Walker, a perceived right-wing extremist, segregationist and outspoken critic of Castro's communist regime? Who happened to live in Dallas?

Let's take a chronologically look on what Oswald did next.

Oswald's known actions

News of General Walker and evangelist Billy James Hargis of their "Midnight Ride" tour hit the Dallas newspapers on February 17, 1963. Hargis (who J. Edgar Hoover called a "Hillbilly Preacher") and Walker told the Dallas Morning News the "Midnight Ride" bus tour would commence on February 27th in Miami, stopping in 27 major cities, finishing up in Los Angeles on April 3, 1963. Sleeping accommodations were aboard the bus. The article goes on to say Walker's command post was at 4011 Turtle Creek, next door to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), operated by a staff of volunteers. It's possible that Oswald may have read this newspaper article. (4)

Of note is this statement by Walker in the article.

"I was told today of the unloading of another shipload of Cubans in Florida. Cuba has become very significant in respect to what our policy stands for and with regard to its intents".
"I don't believe the public has been brought up to date on what seems to be the differentiation between 'communism' and 'communist aggression'. One seems acceptable and the other is not".

If Oswald read this article, no doubt he would be angry at Walker.

Using W. Tracy Parnell's reliable timeline, here's the major sequence of events following Oswald's conversation with Dr. Schmidt.

February 22, 1963: The Oswalds attend a dinner party at the home of Everett Glover,

where they meet Ruth Paine.

March 2, 1963: The Oswalds move to 214 West Neely Street.

March 9-10, 1963: LHO takes photographs of the home of General Edwin Walker, a right-

wing activist. (Author's note: March 10th most likely)

March 11, 1963: The Militant, a prominent left-wing publication, publishes a letter signed

L.H., probably written by LHO. (Author's note: The March 11, 1963, edition of The Militant on page 7 under the "Letters From Our Readers" column, shows the L.H. letter (News and Views from Dallas). This was the same issue of The Militant in Oswald's hand in the backyard photos.)

March 12, 1963: Ruth Paine visits Marina at the new apartment (214 W. Neely). Also, that day, LHO orders a rifle from Klein's Sporting Goods in Chicago.

March 20, 1963: The rifle and the revolver are shipped.

March 25, 1963: LHO picks up the weapons.

March 31, 1963: Marina takes the infamous "Backyard Photos" of LHO.

April 1, 1963: LHO is fired by Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall.

April 2, 1963: The Oswalds attend a dinner party at the home of Ruth and Michael Paine,

where General Walker is mentioned. (Author's note: Michael Paine WC testimony)

April 5, 1963: LHO's last day at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall. (Author's note: Correction: it was April 5th not April 6th on Tracy Parnell's timeline)

Sometime, most likely before March 25th, Oswald manufactured an amateurish fake Alex Hidell Selective Service card, which was probably for use as ID if questioned to pick up his rifle and revolver. We know where Oswald was from the weekdays from the Jagger-Chiles-Stovall time sheets. March 31st was on a Sunday when the backyard photos were taken. The Saturday before he ordered the Klein's rifle (March 9th), Oswald was working overtime at JCS, extra money he needed to help buy his weapons.

General Walker returned home on April 8, 1963, from his 5-week speaking tour with Hargis.

Questions and Observations by Scott Reid

Scott describes how Oswald's name first came up as being a possible suspect in the Walker shooting before Marina's admission on December 2, 1963, that her husband did shoot at Gerneral Walker. From his article:

It was a right-wing German newspaper called the Deutsche National-Zeitung und Soldaten-Zeitung that first highlighted Oswald’s possible involvement in the Walker shooting incident when they published an article on 29th November 1963. This was based on interviews General Walker had given to the newspaper in the days following JFK’s assassination. It was likely Walker who planted the seed with them about Oswald being the person who took the shot at him.

Indeed, that did happen when the right-wing German newspaper published the telephone interviews of General Walker. The reporter gave a fictitious name of Hasso Thorsten to Walker in his interviews. In reality it was a West German Hamburg journalist, Helmut Herbert Muench who conducted the interviews representing the Deutsche National-Zeitung (German National Newspaper). Walker told "Thorsten"(Muench) to give his regards to a Dr. Frey. Apparently, Walker knew Dr. Frey most likely from his time in Germany in command of the 24th Infantry. As it turned out, Dr. Frey was the editor of the Deutsche National-Zeitung Und Soldatenzeitung. Muench gave the two Walker interviews to Dr. Frey, and it was published. One of the articles mentions an outlandish charge that Attorney General Robert Kennedy knew Oswald took that shot at General Walker, and intervened halting the investigation of Oswald in the shooting. Muench said that was an embellishment on Dr. Frey's part as he inserted that crazy allegation. Most likely Dr. Frey was making up that story in connection with Robert Kennedy's arrest (through Federal Marshals) of Walker in the Ole Miss campus riots. (5)

The question remains, did General Walker tell Muench that he was of the opinion Oswald may have to tried kill him, before Marina Oswald admitted it? Muench said he did, but Walker denied that in his Warren Commission testimony chalking it up to a lucky guess by the Germans. I believe there was a high probability Walker did say he was of the opinion Oswald tried to murder him, which was characteristic of his Anti-Communist fervor.

But news reporters were already speculating on a possible link to the Walker shooting on November 22, 1963. (Start at 6:00 minute mark)

Chief Curry being asked about Oswald and General Walker, November 22, 1963

As DPD Captain Orville Jones noted about Walker, "it is difficult to investigate any type of matter where General Walker is involved since Walker apparently does not know the truth from fiction and leads the police up many blind alleys". (6)

Here is a good example of that statement by Captain Jones.

Letter to Jesse Curry, Edwin A. Walker Papers, Briscoe Library

DPD Police chief Jesse Curry ignored this silly English translation of the National Zeitung article when it was mailed to him on December 20, 1963. Walker would keep promoting this crazy idea that Oswald was captured and released on the night of the shooting. Even a year before his death, kept blaming the Kennedy brothers for protecting Oswald.

Walker letter to Kerrville, TX newspaper

The Letter to Marina

Scott then poses questions on the so-called Walker Letter. I wrote an article some time ago whether or not Oswald actually wrote the unsigned, undated letter.

In that article I mention Oswald cashing his last JCS check of $34.48. That check was drawn on the Mercantile National Bank in downtown Dallas on April 12, 1963. JCS payroll checks were processed weekly on Wednesdays. The letter to Marina mentions the check coming. This suggests that letter was written sometime before April 10th. Oswald had cashed other JCS payroll checks before at the Mercantile Bank. It should be noted that the Mercantile Bank was a short distance away from Oswald's Post Office Box on Ervay Street. Oswald was officially given notice of his termination at JCS and allowed to work till April 5, 1963. Therefore the $34.48 check was his last payroll check. (7)

Scott Reid's explanation on the true meaning of the Walker letter

Scott poses the idea that this letter to Marina was possibly not connected to the Walker shooting, but his activity passing out pamphlets in front of the H.L Green variety store in downtown Dallas on an unknown date in April. Scott acknowledges it was Oswald and I agree. But does this theory hold up as reasonable?

No is the answer, for the following reasons.

As I mentioned before, Oswald's last JCS payroll check was cashed by Oswald on April 12, 1963, after the Walker shooting. However, he instructed Marina to go to the Post Office and retrieve the check and cash it. This most certainly suggests the letter was written either on April 10th or before, not after the Walker shooting.

Furthermore, in the letter, Oswald mentions this.

If I am alive? Passing out pamphlets in front of the H.L. Green store on the busy corner of Ervay and Main streets was a life-threatening operation? Of course not, that doesn't make sense either. There were civil rights demonstrations there before, nobody got killed. They were cussed at, just like Oswald mentioned in his letter to V.T. Lee of the FPCC. (8)

Scott brings up the old "no Lee or Marina" fingerprints on the Walker letter. That's an old favorite of conspiracy theorists trying to suggest someone else wrote the letter. What's never mentioned about fingerprints on a porous substance like paper, is that they are time sensitive, meaning if a print was made, it can deteriorate over time. We know the 2-page folded Walker letter was stuck in the Russian homemaker book for 6-7 months as Marina hid it from her husband to use if he tried another act of violence/murder in which she vehemently objected to. The fingerprints found on the letter were most likely fresh latent prints from the Secret Service agents who found it and examined it.

The Secret Service sent a Russian speaking agent out of Los Angeles to assist in translation with Marina's interrogation. Peter Gregory did the initial translations and Leon Gopadze took over later. Gopadze along with Marina translated the letter from Russian to English. Gopadze noted the Russian was very poor. (9)

In a private conversation with Paul Gregory, Peter Gregory's son, he said that Oswald spoke good conversational Russian. However, Paul mentioned Oswald's written Russian grammar was horrendous, almost unrecognizable.

The badly misinterpreted Walker complaint to the HSCA on the bullet

This is another oldie myth handed down over the years by conspiracy believers.

Scott writes:

In fact, during the HSCA investigation in the 1970’s, General Walker himself said that the bullet in evidence was not the same bullet that was found in his house on 10th April 1963. He wrote to the Attorney General in February 1979 and said that it was “a ridiculous substitute.” He went on to state that “I saw the hunk of lead, picked up by a policeman in my house, and I took it from him and I inspected it carefully. There is no mistake. There has been a substitution for the bullet fired by Oswald and taken out of my house.”

General Walker was watching the HSCA televised hearings, and for some reason he was incensed about seeing a bullet displayed that was not the same bullet he observed in his home the night of the shooting. Again, over the years people have interpreted this statement to mean General Walker was saying CE573 was not the actual Walker bullet that he saw that night. It gets repeated over and over to the point people think it was a fact.

For more on that subject, including General Walker's written letters objecting to that bullet, see this article.

It's a myth, so let's clear this up once and for all.

Here's the letter from Walker to the Attorney General on February 12, 1979.

Of major significance in that letter, Walker states:

The bullet used and pictured on the TV, by the U.S. Senate Robert Blakey Committee on Assassinations is a ridiculous substitute for a bullet completely mutilated by such obstruction, baring (sic) no resemblance to any unfired in shape or form.
I saw the hunk of lead, picked up by the policeman in my house, and I took it from him and I inspected it carefully. There is no mistake. There has been a substitution for the bullet fired by Oswald and taken out of my house.

Bottom line, Walker was objecting to a pristine unfired bullet being shown. Perhaps Walker was confusing CE399 often referred as pristine, which was discussed on the same day.

End of myth.

Questions on connecting Oswald's rifle with CE573

Scott writes this:

What we can say with confidence is that it has never been established beyond doubt that the bullet found at the Walker house on 10th April 1963 was fired from the same rifle allegedly used to assassinate President Kennedy. Even the Warren Commission, hardly the biggest defenders of Oswald, recognized that their experts were never “able to state that the bullet which missed General Walker was fired from Oswald's rifle to the exclusion of all others.”

CE573 was examined by FBI Robert Frazier and questioned if they could make a determination that could tie that bullet to Oswald's rifle to the exclusion of all others. Frazier said due the mutilation of CE573, they could not conclude that. What Scott has failed to mention here is the Warren Commission did not solely rely on the FBI. They routinely and wisely used independent forensic specialists in comparative analysis to the FBI findings. In the case of CE573, Joseph Nicol, Superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation of the State of Illinois, was chosen to examine the bullet. In Warren Commission testimony, Nicol was asked about the FBI conclusion on CE573.

Warren Commission Testimony of Joseph D. Nicol

What Nicol is saying is there was probable evidence that CE573 was fired by Oswald's rifle, but due to the mangled condition of the bullet, he could not say to the exclusion of all other guns. This was stated in the Warren Commission conclusions.

The punched-out license plate dilemma

Scott brings up an old myth about Oswald's photo depicting the 1957 Chevrolet parked in Walker's back driveway. This involves numerous researchers over the years looking at a picture in Jesse Curry's book, JFK Assassination File. Here is the photo from Scott's article.

At first glance, it appears that the license plate is intact. However, when the Warren Commission viewed the original photo, the license plate was mutilated or punched out. Scott displays this photo in his article.

Naturally this led to all kinds of speculation that someone on the Dallas Police force intentionally punched out the license plate to hide the identity of someone known to them visiting the Walker home. Adding to the confusion, Marina was questioned by the Warren Commission if she remembers seeing the hole in the license plate. She responded that she did not see the hole.

As Scott noted in his article:

Another piece of vital information that cannot be ignored, is the photograph of the back of Walker’s house with the parked car, identified as a 1957 Chevrolet (see Commission Exhibit 5). The license number of the car has clearly been punched out. When police officers found this picture at Ruth Paine’s house in the days following the JFK assassination, they said that this was how the picture looked and that it had already been mutilated.

The two detectives that Scott mentioned finding that photo and saying it was already mutilated, were Guy (Gus) Rose and Richard Stovall.

In Jesse Curry's book it does show the Oswald photo lying flat on other papers in a low-resolution photo. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission had a first generation print of the photo. Magnified, there is a hole. Author Dale Myers was the first to discover this.

Hole is present in Jesse Curry's book

Read here for more details on the license plate.

The bottom line here is when that photo was found at the Paine home, the license plate was punched out. There was no chicanery with that photo while in Dallas Police custody.

Whose car was that anyway? No, it wasn't the Cuban exile Vidal Santiago's (another popular myth).

It belonged to Charles Klihr, a General Walker volunteer, exactly as Robert Surrey said in his Warren Commission testimony.


Other points brought up by Scott Reid, such as the Surrey sons (Bill and David) video, Kirk Coleman and the Walker shooting scenario will be addressed in another article.

At some point in all this, logic and common sense have to be applied. While some people question Marina's testimony as being totally truthful, we can say without a doubt she never disclosed her husband's involvement with the Walker shooting until she was shown that letter. At that point, she did admit it after hiding the fact from interrogators.

Does anyone really think Marina made this whole General Walker story out of thin air? She was already up to her eyeballs under stress with her husband's murder of the President and Officer Tippit, why make up this fantastic story about General Walker?

Yes, let's keep looking into the Walker shooting, but this time with facts and evidence. The preponderance of evidence squarely rests on Lee Harvey Oswald.

2 - Warren Commission Testimony of Everett D. Glover

3 - FBI Interview of Volkmar Schmidt, November 29, 1963

4 - Dallas Morning News, "Walker Preparing for Crusade", Allen Duckworth, February 17, 1963

8 - V.T. Lee was on a speaking tour on the West Coast when Oswald's letter arrived at FPCC headquarters in New York City. A staffer fulfilled Oswald's request of more pamphlets (40 or 50) shipped on April 19, 1963. These would have arrived in Dallas before Oswald left to go to New Orleans. Those pamphlets were certainly more of Corliss Lamont's The Crime Against Cuba in which Oswald distributed in New Orleans and some were stamped F.P.C.C. 544 Camp Street on them. None of the "Hands Off Cuba" handbills were stamped with 544 Camp, only the Corliss Lamont pamphlet #14 (which Oswald requested in his letter to V.T. Lee). Author Fred Litwin and long-time researcher Paul Hoch have done extensive verifiable research into the Lamont pamphlets and handbills.

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