Jack Ruby at Late Night Press Conference

Proving a Connection Between Ruby and Oswald?

Ruby and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee

Conspiracists have long believed there was something sinister about the fact that Jack Ruby, at the late evening press conference on the day of the assassination, corrected District Attorned Henry Wade about the name of the group in which Oswald claimed membership.

Wade told reporters that Oswald was a member of the “Free Cuba Movement,” and Ruby corrected him to say “Fair Play for Cuba Committee.”

Just how is this supposed to suggest a conspiracy? Author Jim Marrs suggests:

While Ruby later claimed to have heard of Oswald’s Fair Play for Cuba Committee affiliation over a local radio station that afternoon, it nevertheless struck researchers as most odd that this nightclub owner with no known politics would note the difference between the anti-Castro Free Cuba Committee and the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Of course, this knowledge would not seem at all odd if the accounts of a Ruby-Oswald relationship are true. (Marrs, Jim. Crossfire [p. 399]. Basic Books. Kindle Edition).
Jim Garrison provides a somewhat different explanation in his Playboy interview:
You may remember that on the night of the assassination, Dallas D.A. Henry Wade called a press conference and at one point referred to Oswald as a member of the “Free Cuba Committee” instead of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Jack Ruby, who just happened to be there, promptly chimed in to correct him.

Ruby was obviously in the jail that night on a dry run prior to his successful murder of Oswald on Sunday — a possibility the Warren Commission never bothered to consider — and could hardly have been eager to draw attention to himself. However, he must have been afraid that if the press reported Oswald was a member of the “Free Cuba Committee,” somebody might begin an investigation of that group and discover its anti–Castro and ultra–right–wing orientation. And so he risked his cover to set the record straight and protect his fellow conspirators.

Then there is Robin Ramsay’s book Who Shot JFK, which claims:
Briefing the press on what they knew about Oswald, [Henry] Wade made what might have been a serious error, describing Oswald as being a member of the Free Cuba Committee, one of the CIA-funded, anti-Castro groups. “Fair Play Cuba,” said a voice at the back of the conference. It was Jack Ruby, steering Wade and the press towards Oswald’s one-man branch of the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee. No-one seems to have thought it surprising that a local mobster would know this.
The movie “JFK” certainly implies that Ruby had some sort of inside knowledge, and some sinister motive:

But What Really Happened?

In fact, newsreel footage of that press conference exists, and it shows something quite different from Oliver Stone’s movie.

Instead of Ruby as the lone voice correcting Wade, a whole chorus of voices chimes in with “Fair Play For Cuba Committee.”

So it seems Ruby did not have any insider knowledge that only a conspirator could have. A lot of people knew about Oswald and the Fair Play for Cuby Committee. Why was this? In reality, Oswald’s membership in that leftist organization had been all over the news for several hours before the press conference.

At right, you an see Frank McGee on NBC announcing that fact. NBC did not have any sort of inside scoop. McGee was working from wire service copy. Essentially every news organization in the country (and many in foreign countries) had that information. This segment was broadcast a few minutes before 4:00 p.m. (Central).

At right, you can see Harry Reasoner of CBS reporting the same thing about Oswald, probably working from the same wire service copy as Frank McGee.

Note the error, reported by many media outlets, saying that Oswald was “chased into a theater” by a police offier.

How Did Ruby Know?

From Ruby’s Warren Commission Testimony:
“Is he the one?" And the question about the gun.

And they questioned Henry Wade, “what organization did he belong to," or something. And if I recall, I think Henry Wade answered, “Free Cuba.”

And I corrected Henry Wade, because listening to the radio on KLIF, it stood out in my mind that it was “Fair Play Cuba.” There was a difference.


We left out in the hallway, and I saw Henry Wade standing there, and I went over to him and said, “Henry, I want you to know I was the one that corrected you.” I think it is a childish thing, but I met Henry Wade sometime back, and I knew he would recognize me.

Of course, KLIF had the same wire service copy that the rest of the media had.

So Jack Ruby, who liked being the center of attention, and was always trying to ingratiate himself with people in authority, was simply trying to help out District Attorney Henry Wade. And the information he had was known to anybody following the news. But not to the rather harried District Attorney.

The video clips of the Wade news conference, and the NBC and CBS broadcasts are courtesy of David Von Pein’s audio and video archive.

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