The Vital Documents
What the Warren Report Omits
The Nation, 11 July 1966, pages 43–49
Cohen taught history at Yale and is teaching this summer at Brandeis. He is
presently completing a book on the Kennedy assassination which defends the
Warren Commission’s principal conclusion that Oswald was the lone killer. His
articles have appeared in many magazines including The
Nation, Commonweal and The New Leader.
Several writers have recently suggested that Lee Harvey
Oswald was not a lone assassin shooting at President Kennedy that black Friday
in Dallas and publishers’ fall lists promise several new books developing
variations of the same theory. While the writers we have heard thus far differ
on such crucial details as the number of shots, the timing and source of the
shots, and the precise location of the hits, there is one point upon which all
present and, I would guess, future devotees of the theory could be made to
agree: if there was more than one assassin, then the results of the autopsy
which was performed on the President at Bethesda the night of the assassination
must have been deliberately falsified.
One can reach no other conclusion. Two experienced pathologists and a wound ballistics expert examined President Kennedy thoroughly, internally and externally; and the physical damage described in their autopsy report, submitted, we are told,* on November 24, 1963, two days after the assassination, perfectly sustains the ultimate conclusions of the commission: that two bullets hit the President, both fired from a point “behind and somewhat above the level of the deceased”; that one bullet hit him in the back at the base of his neck, exiting from the lower third of the throat; and that the other bullet, the fatal missile, entered in the back of the skull and exited from the right temple, “carrying with it portions of cerebrum, skull and scalp.”
Let us suppose, then, that the wound in Kennedy’s throat was a wound of
entry, which would place another assassin somewhere in front of him. This is one
of the notions developed by Vincent Salandria in his articles in Liberation.
Now, obviously, such a bullet would have to go somewhere. Either it would have
lodged in Kennedy’s body, in which case it would have been seen in the X rays
and removed by surgery, or, it would have exited from the body at some
discernible point. Internally, the bullet would have left a path and a pattern
of bruises, rips, abrasions, blood clotting, displaced tissue, probably broken
bones, and metallic tracings which could not have failed to indicate the
bullet’s source. But there is not a scintilla of evidence in the autopsy which
would indicate a hit from the front. If there was such a hit, the autopsy must
Or suppose that the President was hit flush in the right temple by an assassin situated to his right on the grassy knoll, as Salandria and Fred Cook suggest. This means that the massive fault in Kennedy’s temple, which was observed in horror by many eyewitnesses to the shooting, was an entry wound; Salandria suggests the use of dumdum bullets to explain how an entry wound could have had such a shattering effect. However, the autopsy says that Kennedy’s temple was shattered by a bullet which entered the base of his skull, leaving a neat, round hole, and then blasted out of his temple. Descriptions of the beveling and splintering of bone and the displacement of brain matter confirm this interpretation, as would the many pictures and X rays taken just before and during the autopsy examination. Again, it is inconceivable that a bullet—even a dumdum bullet—fired from the right, entering the right temple, could have caused damage even remotely resembling that caused by a bullet fired from above and behind which exited from the temple. If Cook and Salandria’s speculations are correct, the autopsy is phony.
Or consider the theories of Edward Jay Epstein, who is described in Richard Rovere’s adulatory introduction to Epstein’s recent book, Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth (Viking): “Mr. Epstein,” says Rovere, “does not challenge or even question the fundamental integrity of the Commission or its staff. He discards as shabby ‘demonology’ the view that the Commissioners collusively suppressed evidence.” However, when one extracts the theory behind Epstein’s line of questioning it is clear that Epstein, no less than the others, suggests that the autopsy was falsified and, I might add, the evidence of this collusively suppressed.”
The pivotal point in the commission’s case for a single
assassin—Epstein and Cook would agree—is its contention that President
Kennedy and Governor Connally were hit by the same bullet. According to the
commission the bullet which hit the President in the back of the neck and exited
from the throat went on to hit Connally and caused all his wounds. If this did
not happen—if Kennedy and Connally were hit by separate bullets—then it
follows that there was a second assassin, as Epstein and Cook’s very similar
analyses of the films of the assassination indubitably prove. Both Epstein and
Cook believe that the bullet which hit Kennedy in the back hit too low to have
exited from his throat and then hit Connally. Cook agrees that the bullet exited
from the throat, but feels its line of flight was too flat to have hit Connally
at the required downward angle. Epstein doesn’t even believe that the bullet
exited from Kennedy’s throat; he suggests that it penetrated the back an inch
or so and then fell out.
Now either the bullet hit high enough on the back to have done what it claimed to do, or it did not; this is a matter of observable, measurable fact. Epstein suggests a wound several inches below the one described in the autopsy. If he is right, the autopsy must have been falsified; doctors, like successful assassins, don’t miss by that margin. Similarly, is it a matter of observable fact whether that bullet exited from the throat or not? Dr. Milton Helpern, chief medical examiner of New York City, points out that “there is no such thing as a rifle bullet’s passing through a neck without leaving a path.” Mr. Epstein says there was no path (op. cit., pp. 58–9). Cook, too, says the pathologists at Bethesda were “unable to…trace the actual path of the bullet.” But the autopsy report described the path in some detail:
The second wound presumably of entry is that described above in the upper right posterior thorax. Beneath the skin there is ecchymosis of subcutaneous tissue and musculature. The missile path through the fascia and musculature cannot be easily probed. The wound presumably of exit was that described by Dr. Malcolm Perry of Dallas in the low anterior cervical region. When observed by Dr. Perry the wound measured “a few millimeters in diameter,” however it was extended as a tracheotomy incision and thus its character is distorted at the time of the autopsy. However, there is considerable ecchymosis of the strap muscle of the right side of the neck and of the fascia about the trachea adjacent to the line of the tracheotomy wound. The third point of reference in connecting these two wounds is in the apex (supra-clavicular portion) of the right pleural cavity. In this region there is contusion of the parietal pleura and of the extreme apical portion of the right upper lobe of the lung. In both instances the diameter of contusion and ecchymosis at the point of maximal involvement measured 5 cm. Both the visceral and parietal pleura are intact overlying these areas of trauma.
The emphasis is suggested by Dr. Helpern who interpreted
this passage for me and assured me that this is a proper description of a path
through the neck. Dr. Helpern also expressed considerable irritation that Mr.
Epstein had quoted him in connection with Epstein’s view that no path was
found. When I asked Helpern what was meant by the statement that “the missile
path…cannot easily be probed” he snapped, “Nobody said it was always easy
to find a path.”
In other words, the President’s body provided the most effective disproof of any contention that there were other hits, other assassins, and anyone making such an imputation, therefore, must be willing to defend the thesis that the autopsy doctors deliberately falsified their report or that the autopsy report reproduced in the Warren Commission Report is a forgery, or both. Such a charge, of course, challenges the good name of many people, including those who lied, those who ordered them to lie, and the many who would know about the deception and are remaining silent.
Has it come to this, then—the doctors’ word against the word of Cook, Epstein, Salandria, et al.? There is, of course, eyewitness testimony and other corroborative evidence on the nature of the wounds, but an objective mind would, it seems to me, find this evidence contradictory. Taking from these contradictions only the evidence which does not confirm the official version, critics easily can convince their readers that the Warren Report is radically flawed. And, sadly, the authors of the report have also been rather selective in their interpretation of the evidence. Whom are we to believe?
Fortunately there is an easy way out of this predicament, for there exists material evidence—the photographs and X rays taken at Bethesda—which could settle almost all the major differences of opinion concerning the wounds. The photographs would pinpoint the location of the back wound, and by showing whether it was high enough to sustain the commission’s theory, would either silence Cook and Epstein or win a Pulitzer Prize for one of them. The photographs could also show alleged wounds unaccounted for in the autopsy, such as the exit wound of a bullet entering the throat, and they would reveal details of the complex wound in Kennedy’s temple. And the X rays would determine, once and forever, if any unaccounted for bullets or bullet fragments lodged in Kennedy’s body. Bullets are as clear in an X ray as a spoon and, together with the photographs, would depict the fracturing in Kennedy’s skull clearly enough to test Salandria’s theory that the massive skull wound was a wound of entry. Indeed, one sentence in the autopsy report makes the point perfectly:
The complexity of these fractures and the fragments thus produced tax satisfactory verbal description and are better appreciated in photographs and roentgenograms which are prepared.
By showing nothing more than the autopsy had led us to expect, these documents would be valuable for they would silence a hundred theories already born or in utero.
All of which leads us to an examination of what may be the most
exasperating mystery surrounding the Warren Report, that of the missing X rays
and photographs. For amazing as it may seem, these documents—the only material
evidence that could confirm or deny the observations of the autopsy
doctors—are not included among the exhibits in the twenty-six-volume Warren
Report, and as far as one can ascertain, were never even examined by the Warren
Commission and its staff. Indeed, after several months of part-time detective
work, I cannot even be sure of the whereabouts of these documents.
This much may be learned from the public record: In the half hour before the autopsy examination some “15–20 photographs both black and white and color” were taken, “depicting significant findings.” Also, “10–12 X-rays” were made at this time, and “perhaps 15–20 more X-rays were made during the autopsy.” I quote from the testimony (II, 348 et seq.) of Dr. J. J. Humes, the chief autopsy surgeon, who went on to say to the Warren Commission that these films were used “extensively” during the autopsy examination. Soon after the autopsy was concluded, all films were turned over to Agent Roy H. Kellerman of the Secret Service by Humes’s superior, Captain J. H. Stover, Jr., and Kellerman then brought them to the White House where he turned them over to Special Agent Robert Bouck.** What the Secret Service did with these documents is, as we shall see, part of the mystery.
On December 6, 1963, Captain (then Commander) Humes submitted a “Supplementary Autopsy Report” (Exhibit No. 391) to Captain Stover containing the results of microscopic examination of Kennedy’s brain, heart and sections of the abdominal organs. In this report Humes writes:
During the course of this examination seven (7) black and white and six (6) color 4x5 negatives are [sic] exposed but not developed (the cassettes containing these negatives have been delivered by hand to Rear Admiral George W. Burkley, MC, USN, White House physician).
We are not told whether the thirteen photographs mentioned
here were taken to the laboratory, or are the same ones which were taken and
exposed in the morgue at Bethesda on the night of the assassination. If they
were taken in the laboratory, there are twenty-eight to thirty-three photographs
extant, and twenty-five to thirty-two X rays. If they were taken the night of
the assassination, the missing photographs number from fifteen to twenty.
Dr. Humes appeared before the commission on March 16, 1964. He quickly explained that before testifying he “did not know whether or not the photographs which we made would be available to the Commission,” and that, therefore, he had asked a Navy artist to prepare drawings of the President’s wounds. The drawings (Commission Exhibits 385–389), the only visualization of the wounds in the entire twenty-six volumes, were made, Humes testified, solely on the basis of his, and his colleague, Dr. J. Thornton Boswell’s verbal description of the location and nature of the wounds. Humes and Boswell worked from notes; they did not have the pictures and X rays before them as they told the artist what to draw. Humes concedes the awkwardness of this procedure, repeating several times that these drawings are only a “schematic representation” and admitting once that “the photographs would be more accurate as to the precise location [of the wounds],” but then he insists, unconvincingly, that the pictures and X rays would be of no particular help to the commissioners. Since, as we have seen, inches count very preciously for the commission’s thesis of a single assassin, it is difficult to understand why the commissioners did not examine the photos.
What did Humes mean when he said that he didn’t know whether these documents “would be available” to the commission? At one point in his testimony he informed the commissioners that some of the X rays taken during the autopsy, as distinguished from the X rays taken before the autopsy, would be “available” if requested, strongly suggesting that the other X rays would not be “available.” Who, we wonder, was telling Humes just what documents would or would not be “available” to the commission? The best guess is someone from the Secret Service, since that agency presumably possessed these documents at this time. Nor is it clear whether the commission ever requested and received the X rays which were available, though in a lengthy interview on June 13, 1966, Arlen Specter of the commission staff told me that he had not seen any of these documents, and that when he asked Justice Warren for them Warren said that the commission had decided “not to press the matter.” Since Mr. Specter, who is now District Attorney of Philadelphia, single-handedly developed the evidence on the autopsy and wrote the first draft of the most widely controverted pages in the Warren Report, his comment on this crucial point may be significant. Of course, his memory may be inaccurate. His reputation is certainly in some jeopardy as a result of accusations made lately, particularly by Epstein. However, this much seems clear from the public record: the Warren Commission did not see all of the X rays, or any of the important photographs.
Surprised by the revelations in Humes’s testimony I began to check
through the Warren Report to see if anyone else who should have seen these
documents actually did see them. For example, on April 27, 1964, three wound
ballistics experts from the Army’s Edgewood Arsenal conducted experiments
relating to the President’s wounds. From animal skin, animal meat and gelatins
they simulated several inert human necks and skulls, and then, under conditions
roughly equivalent to those which prevailed at the time of the assassination,
using Oswald’s rifle, they fired round after round into the dummies in order
to compare the damage done to the simulated necks and skulls with the damage
that had actually been done to the President. They also simulated Governor
Connally’s rib cage for comparison with his wounds. Unquestionably, these
scientists needed the photos and X rays of the President to make precise
comparisons, just as they needed the Connally X rays. (No photographs were taken
of Connally.) They received medical reports on Connally, the Connally X rays and
the Kennedy autopsy, but not Kennedy’s X rays and photos (I, p. 581).
Nor had the commission’s principal ballistics expert, FBI scientist Robert Frazier, seen the X rays or even the autopsy before testifying on May 13, 1964. Asked whether the bullet holes in the front and back of Kennedy’s shirt were made by the same bullet, Frazier refused to comment because, he said, he had not yet seen the autopsy results (V, p. 71). On June 4, 1964, Frazier testified again. He had been to Dallas on May 23 and had conducted an experiment for the commission which reconstructed the circumstances of the assassination. It was mainly from this that the commission concluded that a bullet exiting from Kennedy’s throat, at the angle indicated by autopsy findings, would necessarily have hit Connally, considering the position of the two men at the time of the shooting. But this was not Frazier’s conclusion. He withheld final judgment because he still had not seen the autopsy or other evidence on the wounds which would have indicated exactly what the downward angle of the bullet was (V, p. 168).
The fact that Frazier, the FBI’s leading ballistics expert, had not seen the X rays and photos, or even the autopsy, by June, 1964, strongly suggests that the FBI did not have these documents as it prepared its own report on the assassination, presented to President Johnson on December 9, 1963, less than three weeks after the assassination. The point is crucial, because, as Salandria and Epstein have stressed, the FBI report contradicts the autopsy in the Warren Report in several details. According to the FBI, Kennedy was hit in the back, not the lower neck, and this bullet did not exit from his throat. The throat wound, says the FBI, was caused by a sliver of the bullet which hit Kennedy’s skull. Now, if the FBI had the autopsy when it made this report, the conclusion must follow that the autopsy findings have somehow changed since the time the FBI examined them. Epstein states categorically that the “autopsy report was forwarded to the FBI” before it submitted its report on December 9, 1963. He adds that the “FBI had color photographs of the autopsy.” But his only citation for these statements is an interview with Francis W. H. Adams of the commission staff. When I called Mr. Adams to check, he told me that he did not remember talking to Epstein, did not have Epstein’s name in his calendar for July 8, 1965, the date Epstein claims the interview took place and, most important, that he had no knowledge whatsoever of whether or not the FBI had seen the autopsy and photographs. Unless Epstein can produce firmer documentation for his statement, we must add the authors of the FBI report to the list of people who should have seen the X rays and photos and did not.
Add the authors of the report of the Dallas police to that list also. Much abuse had been directed at the Dallas police for its handling of the case in the days just after the assassination, all of it deserved. It should be said, however, that the Dallas police continued its own separate investigation of the case for several weeks after the assassination, and the report it sent to the Warren Commission (XXIV, pp. 195–404) is well organized and admirably detailed. This report must have been considerably more useful to the commission than the brief and largely rhetorical FBI report of December 9. Within three days of the assassination the Dallas police had received from the FBI laboratory reports on all bullets and bullet fragments, Oswald’s rifle and pistol, finger and palm prints; by December 20, they had an analysis of the Zapruder films of the assassination prepared by the FBI, which had received the films on December 5 (XXV, p. 576). And yet the Dallas police apparently never saw a copy of the autopsy report or of the photographs and X rays.
Where are these documents today? They are not in the National Archives,
which supposedly has all the materials on the assassination. On March 31, 1966,
I spent a day with John F. Simmons and Marion Johnson of the archives staff
working through a long list of all the items in the assassination collection.
Mr. Johnson said he had handled every item on the assassination in the
building—classified, declassified and unclassified—and was sure that he had
not seen the Kennedy X rays and photos, though he did remember photographs of
Oswald’s body. We also checked through all correspondence between the Secret
Service and the commission and found no mention of these documents. The people
at the archives, who were clearly irked that such important material is missing
from the collection, suggested that I get in touch with the Secret Service.
So I wrote to Robert Wallace, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, who forwarded my letter to David C. Acheson. In a tart note Mr. Acheson informed me that the Service had turned all of its material over to the commission or the archives and that the “X-ray films were made available to the Commission and were in fact used in briefing the Commission staff on the autopsy procedures and results.” He said nothing about the photos. I responded, politely, that the X rays were not in the archives despite the fact that the commission had turned over all its material to that library. I asked specifically how and when the Secret Service disposed of these documents, and I asked who exactly had “used the X rays in briefing the commission staff on the autopsy procedure and results,” since it was clear from their testimony that the doctors who performed the autopsy had not seen the X rays since the night of the assassination. I also asked again about the photographs. This letter, dated April 26, 1966, is unanswered. When I wrote it I had not yet interviewed Specter, who told me the X rays had been unavailable.
And I wrote Dr. Humes, requesting clarification on several points and asking whether he knew where the photos and X rays were. He offered a terse no-comment. I wrote to Admiral Burkley, to whom Humes sent thirteen photographs, along with his supplementary autopsy, asking what he did with these photos and whether he knew where the photos and X rays were. He did not answer.
And I wrote a still unanswered letter to Sen. Robert Kennedy on May 5, 1966. Several of the lawyers on the commission staff whom I interviewed had told me they had heard that the photographs and possibly the X rays were not published at Robert Kennedy’s request. The request is not in the record. Nor does the record indicate why the commission acceded to the request, if it was made, and why, if Kennedy merely opposed publication, the commission itself and the doctors and scientists who worked with the commission and the FBI were not permitted access to these documents. One can understand why the Kennedy family would not wish the photographs of the dead President widely reprinted, but why they would object to the publication, or even the examination, of X rays, which are as impersonal as IBM cards, is puzzling. I asked the Senator four questions:
(1) A member of the commission staff told me he had heard that you requested that the photographs not be included among the published exhibits. Did you also request that the X rays not be made public?
(2) When did you make this request, and are you willing that your request be made part of the public record?
(3) Was it also in consequence of your wishes that the commission and its staff apparently did not have these documents available for study?
(4) I understand perfectly your desire not to make a spectacle of President Kennedy by making the photographs generally available. But isn’t there some way that responsible scholars can be permitted to examine them in order to silence what promises to be—if the assassination of Lincoln is any example—a century of harmful accusations?
Mr. Kennedy, of course, has been out of the country. It is hoped that
with the publication of this article he will comment publicly on some of these
Why the secrecy?
Sometimes it all seems like a weird joke. Here are twenty-six volumes on the assassination of the President, displaying a penchant for infinite detail which extends even to an exhibit showing a strand of Oswald’s pubic hair. And yet, perhaps by some innocent oversight, the X rays and photos of the murdered President, the only material evidence on his wounds, the only hard and fast confirmation of the autopsy results, are somehow missing (though the X rays of Connally are published in the report, exhibit 681). Here is a report which explicitly tries to answer troublesome critics, taking great pains, for example, to demolish almost every individual point raised by Mark Lane during the time he was defending Oswald in theatres and lecture halls all over the world. And, yet, the one set of documents which could disarm the speculations of its most serious critics has seemingly disappeared.
There is, of course, the sinister explanation that the autopsy is false, as the appearance of the X rays and photos would demonstrate. If so, there can be little question that there was a second assassin; that the commission covered this up and either helped in or silently observed the fabrication of evidence which would point to Lee Harvey Oswald as the sole assassin. The exposure of such a conspiracy could not fail to discredit the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, the District Attorney of Philadelphia, and many, many other prominent people. I believe it would cause a major political crisis in this country.
Is there an innocent explanation? Let me suggest one in which government officials act like government officials and the Kennedy family acts like the Kennedy family, emphasizing that what follows is only a theory, to be proved or disproved by the publication of the pictures and X rays and an explanation of where they have been.
It is now fairly well known that President Kennedy suffered from Addison’s disease or adrenal insufficiency. Theodore Sorenson is quite frank about that in his biography, Kennedy (Harper & Row). Explaining why Kennedy was so near death after his back operation in 1954, Sorenson writes: “The chief cause of his hospitalization and discomfort was his back; but the cause of his near death in the fall of 1954 was the shock of a spinal operation upon his inadequate adrenal system….The effect of surgery on his adrenal shortage caused, as he had been told might happen, severe postoperative complications. Twice the last rites of the church were administered. Twice he fought his way back to life, as he had once before in the Pacific.” As Sorenson makes clear, the development of adrenal hormones, in the last decade and a half, has almost completely eliminated the debilitating and eventually fatal effects which Addison’s disease once visited upon sufferers. With “simple medication by mouth,” as Kennedy liked to describe the dose of cortisone type drugs he took daily, the disease can be fully controlled, much as diabetes can now be controlled. So there is nothing about the disease to keep a man from being President. As Dr. Milton Helpern said to me: “I don’t know if Kennedy had Addison’s disease, but if he did, I think it would be a marvelous thing if sufferers knew that this unmistakably vigorous man, who was our President, also suffered from the ailment.”
Still, the malady was a political embarrassment, and the Kennedys took pains to cover it up, or at least to avoid the public use of the ominous term, “Addison’s disease.” Though Sorenson is candid on the subject, a recent television series on Kennedy mentioned that the back operation in 1954 brought him to the edge of life, but failed to indicate why a back operation should have caused such peril. Occasionally rumors about Kennedy’s health take a nasty turn, as when Rep. Walter Judd (a physician) commented disparagingly forty-eight hours before the election in 1960, on the “physical and mental health” of Addisonians. Or, as when Oswald’s mother told writer Jean Stafford that her son may have been a mercy killer hired to put a President dying of “Atkinson’s disease” out of his misery.
Conceivably, then, to avert low-minded speculation that Kennedy was a
dying man when he was shot; to avert, in other words, on the occasion of his
death, the kind of speculation about his health that he had tried to discourage
during his life, Kennedy’s family requested that several of the autopsy
findings be kept a private matter. Such a request would explain a curious
omission in the autopsy which has not yet received public comment: that the
report contains no description of the adrenal glands. Nor is there any mention
of the adrenal glands in the Supplementary Autopsy Report of December 6, 1963,
though that report does contain the results of microscopic examination of the
brain, heart, lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys. The omission of any mention of
the adrenal glands in the post-mortem examination of a man with Addison’s
disease is incredible, according to Dr. Helpern and several other doctors. It is
even possible (and this is my speculation, not that of the doctors) that the
first bullet which passed harmlessly through Kennedy’s neck would have created
a fatal adrenal crisis even if he had not been struck, fatally, in the head.
Such a possibility must have been a matter of conjecture among the autopsy
doctors, though the medical record does not reflect it.
As for the X rays: Dr. Austin J. McSweeney of the University of Wisconsin Medical School writes that in cases of “chronic adrenal insufficiency…an X ray of the abdomen may show calcium in the adrenal glands.” When I pressed a radiologist, Dr. Sanford Bluestein, with my layman’s questions, he estimated that X rays show calcium in about 40 per cent of the cases.
My theory, then, is that certain aspects of the autopsy dealing with the adrenal glands were excised at the request of members of the Kennedy family who did not wish the public or anyone to have the X rays or, for that matter, any material which would encourage speculations about the state of the President’s health. The photographs were not released, as stated, for reasons of taste. If the family asked that this material be kept in the family, the Warren Commission might not have pressed to examine it.
Such a theory would clear up some other mysteries. It would explain, for example, why the autopsy report reproduced in the Warren Report is undated, a fact Epstein seizes as proof that the original observations of the autopsy doctors were altered. According to the theory we are offering, the autopsy was altered, or shortened, after the fact, though not for the sinister purposes Epstein suggests. Such a theory also might explain why Dr. Humes inserted a note in the record announcing that he had destroyed notes prepared immediately after the autopsy—a fact which Cook and Salandria stress to indicate the general dubiousness of the autopsy. Humes’s action may simply have been that of a faintly guilty and thoroughly bureaucratic professional conscience. (Why Humes—who would be neck deep in guilt if the autopsy was falsified—should have taken pains to incriminate himself is something Cook and Salandria can probably explain.)
I will not pursue the theory further; the reader is probably testing it against notions of his own. But certainly everyone with an opinion on the Warren Report—those who, by and large, accept it, as I do, and those who seriously criticize it, can agree that the X rays and photos must now be made available for competent study and interpretation. If the Kennedy family—which probably has legal title to the documents—will not release them for publication, or even place them in the National Archives for the use of scholars, perhaps a committee of trusted scholars and doctors can be assembled to examine them. Sinister accusations have been made, and the longer these X rays and photos are hidden, the more credible these accusations will appear. If there is something sinister afoot, let us expose it. If there is not, let us silence these accusations and also inhibit what promises to be decades of dreary fantasizing.
The autopsy document (Exhibit No. 387) is undated. We learn the date it was
submitted in the testimony of the examining doctors (II pp. 349 et seq.).
** Secret Service Report to the Warren Commission, December 18, 1963, Volume II, Exhibit 12. This material is in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Reactions to WCR
Back to WC Period