Testimony of William Kelly

Hearing of 10/11/94 -- Washington, DC.
CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Our next witness is Mr. William Kelly, also a co-founder of the Committee for an Open Archives.

Good afternoon, Mr. Kelly.

MR. KELLY: Hello. Yes, I am also a journalist who came to the National Archives last week to look up one specific file. There are many thousands of pages that have been released, and we appreciate that, and I found many researchers pondering over these files, but the one file that I requested was being withheld for reasons of national security. That concerns Mr. Martino who Dan Alcorn had talked about earlier, and I am from Mr. Martino's hometown of Atlantic City, and I am working on a story concerning his life.

I think that the missions that Mr. Martino was involved in are extremely important and associated with the assassination, and these files are -- it is important that we obtain access to them.

Mr. Martino deposited some commandos in Cuba, and we would like to find out the fate of these commandos who were captured by the Cuban government, and I think some people with the Coalition for Political Assassinations are working -- Wayne Smith, particularly, has already opened up dialogue with the Cuban government in obtaining some information about what happened to these people. He said that the Cuban government has already agreed to furnish us with the information that we request.

I just find it ironic that we might be able to obtain from the Cuban government information concerning Mr. Martino's mission that our own government, at the same time, is still withholding from us.

I would like to call your attention to a few obscure files that might not otherwise be called to your attention. These are in the hands of private individuals who might not be willing to make them a part of the record, although I think that if you are charged with obtaining a complete record it would be important for you to obtain these documents.

They are, Mr. Manchester, William Manchester, has extensive files concerning the assassination that he compiled while putting his book together, The Death of a President. Ruth Payne, when she testified before the Warren Commission referred to notes that were never made a part of the record that I think should be included. There are a number of private corporations that are entwined with the assassination that I think the personnel records of these corporations should be examined and made a part of the record. These include Collins Radio, different organizations that Oswald worked with for a period of time, and other private corporations that somehow have been connected with the assassination.

Lastly, I want to share with you an experience that I have had with a file concerning Mr. Jim Braden. He was arrested in Camden in 1948, Camden, New Jersey. When his story about how he was arrested at Dealey Plaza was published in a book called Legacy of Doubt, the author, Peter Noyes, attempted to obtain this file from the Camden Police Department. He was unsuccessful, but a few years later I obtained this file, the original Camden Police document.

When the House Select Committee was established, I personally handed this file or a copy of the file to the first chief counsel, Mr. Sprague, Richard Sprague from Philadelphia. After the House Assassination was dissolved and no longer existed and its files were locked away, I received a call from Mr. Blakely, the second chief counsel, who learned that I obtained this file, and he asked me for a copy of it, and I was shocked that he had not seen it since I had already hand-delivered it to his Committee. But he informed me that the files that Mr. Sprague had obtained were not totally passed on to his Committee when he took over the Committee. So I am just suggesting to you that there are files out there in private hands, including Mr. Sprague's files, that should be brought back and made a part of the record.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. Kelly.

Any question from members of the Board?

[No response.]

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you. We appreciate your help and your information today.

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