Testimony Of Peter Paul Gregory

The CHAIRMAN - Mr. Gregory, you were given a copy of a statement of the reason for our meeting today, were you not?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN - Then I will read it to you. This is customary--
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN - We read a statement to the witness.
The purpose of this hearing is to take the testimony of Mr. and Mrs. Declan P. Ford, and Mr. Peter Paul Gregory. The Commission has been advised that Mr. and Mrs. Ford made the acquaintance of the Oswalds shortly after their arrival in the United States in June of 1962, and that Mrs. Marina Oswald lived in the Ford home on two different occasions, in November 1962, and for a period following February 12, 1964.
The Commission has also been advised that Mr. Gregory was contacted by Mr. Lee Harvey Oswald shortly after Mr. Oswald's return from Russia as a result of which Mr. and Mrs. Oswald made the acquaintances of a large number of Russian speaking people in the Dallas and Fort Worth area. Since the Commission is inquiring fully into the background and possible motive of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin, it intends to ask the above witnesses questions concerning Mr. Oswald, his associations and relations with others, and any and all matters relating to the assassination.
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN - Will you raise your right hand and be sworn, please, Mr. Gregory.
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you give before this Commission will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. GREGORY - I do.
The CHAIRMAN - You may be seated.
Mr. Liebeler will ask the questions of you.
Mr. LIEBELER - Would you state your name for the record, please?
Mr. GREGORY - My name is Peter Paul Gregory.
Mr. LIEBELER - And will you tell us where you were born?
Mr. GREGORY - I was born in Chita, Siberia.
Mr. LIEBELER - Would you tell us briefly how you came to the United States?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir.
I came to the United States on or about August 1, 1923. I landed in San Francisco; came from Japan where I lived for 2 years prior to that. And my purpose was, of course, to come as an immigrant and to attend the University of California.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you attend the University of California?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir; I enrolled at the University in 1923 and I stayed out of the University for a couple of years but I graduated in 1929 as a petroleum engineer at Berkeley.
Mr. LIEBELER - What educational background did you have in Russia or Japan before you came to the United States?
Mr. GREGORY - I started my primary education in Russia, in 1912, and my education was interrupted by civil war in 1919. I finished high school or the equivalent of high school in Tokyo, Japan, where I attended the American school in Japan.
Mr. LIEBELER - Where did you learn to speak English?
Mr. GREGORY - I learned it in Japan.
Mr. LIEBELER - Were you personally involved in the civil war in Russia?
Mr. GREGORY - Not personally, no. I was too young; I was only 16, 17 at the time.
Mr. LIEBELER - Were any of your relatives involved in that?
Mr. GREGORY - My older brother was an officer in the White Russian Army.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you presently reside in Fort Worth?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir. I have been residing in Fort Worth for the past 20 years, and prior to that in the oilfields in the western part of Texas for 15 years, and prior to that I resided in California from 1923 to 1929.
Mr. LIEBELER - You are presently self-employed in Fort Worth, is that correct?
Mr. GREGORY - I am presently chairman of the Yates Pool Engineering Committee which is a group of engineers supervising activities in the Yates oilfield in Pecos County, Tex., and I am also a consulting petroleum engineer.
Mr. LIEBELER - And you are fluent in the Russian language, are you?
Mr. GREGORY - I am, I think.
Mr. LIEBELER - In fact, you teach Russian at the Fort Worth Public Library, is that correct?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, I do; as a civic enterprise. I teach Russian once a week from 10 to 20 weeks a year.
Mr. LIEBELER - Approximately how long have you been doing that, sir?
Mr. GREGORY - For about 3 or 4 years.
Mr. LIEBELER - Would you tell us about your first contact with Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir.
It was in the middle of June 1962. On that particular morning, I was in the office, my telephone rang, and the voice on the other end told me that my name was given to him by the Fort Worth Public Library. He knew I was teaching Russian at the library, that he was looking for a job as a translator or interpreter in the Russian and English languages, and that he would like for me to give him a letter testifying to that effect.
He spoke to me in English, so I suggested to him, not knowing who that was, that he might drop by my office and I would be glad to give him a test. He did. He came by the office, about 11 o'clock that morning, and I gave him a short test by simply opening a book at random and asking him to read a paragraph or two and then translate it.
He did it very well. So I gave him a letter addressed to whom it may concern that in my opinion he was capable of being an interpreter or a translator.
Mr. LIEBELER - What happened after you gave Mr. Oswald--this individual was Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir; that individual was Lee Harvey Oswald.
After that, I asked him--I noticed that he spoke with what I thought to be a Polish accent, so I asked him if he were of Polish origin, and he stated that he was not, that he was raised in Fort Worth, Tex., but that he learned Russian in the Soviet Union where he lived for 2 1/2 or 3 years.
He also told me that he married a Russian girl, and that he brought his wife with him, and that they also had a baby. I told him that I knew of no openings at the time--I didn't know of any--for services of a translator or interpreter, but that if he would leave his address I would be glad to get in touch with him if and when I learned of any such openings.
He gave me his address. He lived with his brother at that time at the western edge of Fort Worth.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you ever send him any work as a translator or interpreter?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you and Mr. Oswald have lunch together that day.
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir. It was about noontime when I gave him that test, so I invited him to lunch, and during the lunch being naturally curious about the present day life in the Soviet Union, I was asking him questions, asked how people lived there, and so forth.
He told me that he was employed in a factory in Minsk as a sheetmetal worker. He told me a little bit about the working conditions and living conditions in that country.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did he tell you how he was paid as a worker?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes; I think I asked him what he was paid and my recollection is that he told me he was getting about 80 rubles a month. I may be wrong about that but that is my recollection.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did he compare his salary with the salary of other workers in Russia?
Mr. GREGORY - Other workers in the Soviet Union?
Mr. GREGORY - No, he did not. By way of comparison, I was curious as to what the purchasing power of his earnings would be, I asked him what 80 rubles would buy, and I think he mentioned, as I say, a pair of shoes cost around 15 rubles.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did he indicate to you that he had any source of income other than his job at the factory?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir; he did not.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did he tell you anything about why he went to Russia?
Mr. GREGORY - The only statement he made that I remember, he said, "I went to the Soviet Union on my own," but I did not feel like prying into his affairs. I did not press the question.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you notice anything about the way he was dressed or anything else about him that would seem strange to you?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes; it was a very hot mourning. You know in Texas in the middle of June, it is generally hot. I remember that he wore a flannel, woolen coat. suit, and atrocious looking shoes that were made in Russia.
I know he was very uncomfortable because he was too warmly dressed for that time of the year.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did Mr. Oswald tell you anything else at that time about conditions in the Soviet Union or his attempt to come back to the United States or bringing his wife back that you can recall?
Mr. GREGORY - I don't recall of anything outstanding that he told me. But I think be did tell me that they, he and his wife, left Moscow by train, and they went through East Germany to Berlin, I believe, and that their destination was Amsterdam, I believe, where they took a ship to come to New York.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did he express anything about any difficulties that he might have had in returning to the United States?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir; not to my recollection.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did it seen extraordinary to you that his wife was able to leave the Soviet Union with him or didn't you think about that?
Mr. GREGORY - I thought at the time it was more than extraordinary.
Mr. LIEBELER - Why do you say that?
Mr. GREGORY - Because simply from reading accounts of the difficulties experienced by so many Americans who married Russian girls in the Soviet Union, and all the difficulties they had to secure permits from the Soviet Government for an exit visa for their wives.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you discuss that with Mr. Oswald?
Mr. GREGORY - I did not.
Mr. LIEBELER - When was the next time you saw him?
Mr. GREGORY - The next time was a few days later, and the occasion was this, to the best of my recollection. My youngest son Paul, who at the time was a junior at the University of Oklahoma, Paul majoring in economies and also studying the Russian and the German languages, Paul expressed a wish to meet Marina Oswald simply because she was fresh from the country, Russia; that presumably her language was pure Russian language as compared to mine which became, shall we say, affected by my 40 years living in the United States, is not pure Russian any more probably, in fact, he thought that maybe he could take lessons of the Russian language from Marina Oswald.
So, I arranged; I called Lee Oswald at his brother's residence, and asked if it would be, if they would be, at home, that my son and I would come out to visit them, and we did. I don't remember the date but it must have been within possibly within 10 days, the first 10 days after his initial contact with me at the office.
Mr. LIEBELER - Let us try to set the date of your initial contact. I have here a copy, not a confirmed copy, but just a typewritten copy of a letter entitled "To Whom it May Concern." I show it to you and ask you if that is the letter to the best of your recollection that you gave to Mr. Oswald?
Mr. GREGORY - I think that is a copy of the letter I gave. That was on June 19, 1962.
Mr. LIEBELER - I ask that it be admitted in evidence and marked as the next exhibit.
The CHAIRMAN - It may be marked. It will be marked as Exhibit 384.
Very well, it is admitted as Exhibit 384.
(The letter referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 384 for identification and received in evidence.)
Mr. GREGORY - I would hazard a guess that the second contact with Lee Oswald that I just referred to was made, say, around the 25th, toward the end of June 1962.
Mr. LIEBELER - And you went to see him at his brother's house?
Mr. GREGORY - At his brother Robert's, Robert Oswald's house. Paul and I spent there perhaps an hour, speaking Russian with Marina, and mostly with Marina. They showed some pictures, snapshots of their friends, of themselves, taken in Minsk. We talked about the living conditions, just in a very general way.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you discuss politics with Mr. Oswald?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir; we did not.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you discuss politics with him at any time?
Mr. GREGORY - Not with Lee Oswald, no.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you get the impression from just talking to the Oswalds at this time that Oswald was treated pretty much as other Russians were in Russia or did you think he had a special situation there in any way?
Mr. GREGORY - My personal impression was that he was treated there as the rest of the Russians.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did your son subsequently have additional contacts with the Oswalds?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes. He and I made arrangements for Marina Oswald to give him lessons, conversational lessons, I believe it was twice a week, and Paul paid her for these lessons. I don't remember the exact amount, whether it came under the minimum or not, it was around a dollar and a half an hour. And he took those lessons after he made a visit to his aunt in San Francisco in July of 1962. So, I would say that he took lessons from Marina Oswald, say, from approximately August 1 to September 15 when he went back to the university of Oklahoma.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you remember when the last contact was that your son had with the Oswalds?
Mr. GREGORY - To the best of my knowledge his last contact with them was the Thanksgiving Day of 1962.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did your son tell you whether he had discussions with Oswald concerning politics and economics and things like that?
Mr. GREGORY - He mentioned once, I believe, that there were political discussions.
Mr. LIEBELER - What did he tell you about that?
Mr. GREGORY - He told me that he thought Lee Oswald was pretty silly in his views.
The CHAIRMAN - Pretty silly?
Mr. GREGORY - Silly.
The CHAIRMAN - Silly.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did he express any other--
Mr. GREGORY - He also mentioned that he saw some book on Marxism, whether it was Das Kapital or some other book I don't recall now, but he saw a book on Marxism in Lee's residence when they lived on Mercedes Street in Fort Worth.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did he say in words or substance that he thought that Oswald was a half-baked Communist?
Mr. GREGORY - I think that is the expression he used, yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Now, did there--did you ever go to Oswald's own apartment?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, I went there once to take Paul to his lesson. I, in other words I visited in their so-called living room once, when they lived on Mercedes Street.
Mr. LIEBELER - In Fort Worth?
Mr. GREGORY - In Fort Worth, yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Would you tell us what the conditions in their home were like?
Mr. GREGORY - It was practically a bare room. There was no furniture to speak of. There was the bare necessities: there was no playpen or crib for the baby. The baby was playing in the middle of the floor in the living room, as I remember. It was an extremely primitively furnished room, and the rest of the house was the same way.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you have any impression as to whether the Oswald baby was being adequately cared for?
Mr. GREGORY - No; that I don't know. I do know this, that Oswald showed outward signs of love toward the baby. He would pucker his lips and this and that.
Mr. LIEBELER - Indicating that he had affection for the child?
Mr. GREGORY - For the child.
Mr. LIEBELER - At that visit did you have any discussion with Oswald about living conditions or anything else in Russia?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir; I simply took Paul in for that lesson, and I left before the lesson began.
Mr. LIEBELER - Now, did there come a time when you held a dinner party to which you invited Mr. Oswald?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes. Well, really, it was not a dinner party. It was a small dinner. I mentioned the fact that Marina Oswald went to school in Leningrad, formerly St. Petersburg prior to the revolution, and a friend of mine, George Bouhe of Dallas, who is an accountant. was born and raised in St. Petersburg. He indicated to me that he would like to meet Marina Oswald and his fellow townswoman and townsman, so I discussed it with my wife, and she thought she will invite Marina Oswald and Lee Oswald and Mr. Bouhe, and a friend of Mr. Bouhe, Mrs. Meller of Dallas, to their dinner. I am sure Paul was at home at that time, so there were six of us at the dinner and my wife and my son.
Mr. LIEBELER - Will you tell us when the dinner was held?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes; it was before Paul went back to school so I assume it was in the early party of September, maybe it was late in August.
Mr. LIEBELER - Mr. Bouhe is a native born Russian?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes; he was born in St. Petersburg.
Mr. LIEBELER - What about Mrs. Meller?
Mr. GREGORY - I assume Mrs. Meller was born in Ukrania.
Mr. LIEBELER - During this dinner party was there any discussion between Mrs. Meller and Mr. Bouhe with the Oswalds concerning their background, experiences in Russia?
Mr. GREGORY - The conversation, as I recall it, centered mostly on St. Petersburg. Bouhe brought with him his albums of St. Petersburg, and he was asking her and they were both looking at the pictures, and is such and such statue on the main street of St. Petersburg, and so on and so forth. I think that was the gist of the conversation.
They also discussed the present day life in the Soviet Union. I do recall, the conversation was mostly with Marina, and she did not speak any English at that time, so all of that conversation was in the Russian language, which my wife does not understand at all.
I remembered that Lee Oswald hazarded, he would interject into the conversation, and he was a little bit critical of the attitude of the Soviet Government toward its own people, and here is what I am trying to say; he said they make the best shoes in Minsk for export, and the people get the--and I think he indicated his own shoes, which he still wore at that time. Then just very, very slight criticism, not politically, but sort of in the sense of economics that the people were not getting the best products, they were all for export.
Mr. LIEBELER - Now, at that time was there any indication that Oswald was better treated than other people in the Soviet Union or did you maintain the impression throughout your acquaintance with Oswald that he was treated similarly to other Russians?
Mr. GREGORY - That was my impression, that he was treated the same as other Russians.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you detect any friction between Marina Oswald and Lee Oswald at this dinner?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Was there any indication at that time that Lee Oswald had beaten his wife in any way?
Mr. GREGORY - Not at that time; no, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you ever see any indication that Marina Oswald had been beaten?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir; I haven't seen it personally. I have heard reports from my friends that he did mistreat her physically, and that he had blackened her eyes, and once even extinguished a cigarette on her shoulder, something like that.
Mr. LIEBELER - Who told you that?
Mr. GREGORY - To the best of my recollection it was either--I think it was Bouhe or it could have been Mrs. Meller, but I believe it was Bouhe.
Mr. LIEBELER - That was at a time subsequent to this dinner party?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir; subsequent. It was after the assassination of the President.
Mr. LIEBELER - That Bouhe told you?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did Oswald at all discuss the reason why he went to Russia?
Mr. GREGORY - No; he just told me, you know once, the very first time I met him that he went there on his own.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did he indicate any desire to return to Russia
Mr. GREGORY - I learned subsequently that he did but he never indicated it to me.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you know whether Oswald maintained contacts with people that he had associated with in Russia?
Mr. GREGORY - None to my knowledge.
Mr. LIEBELER - You don't know that he wrote them letters?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir. Excuse me, sir, when you asked me about his relations with Marina Oswald, I don't know whether this is of any importance or not, but during my first visit at their apartment on Mercedes Street in Fort Worth, the second time I saw Marina, I suggested to him that he should insist that she learn English as quickly as possible because it would be so much easier for her to get along in this country, and he replied that he would prefer that she did not learn English at all or else he would lose his fluency in the Russian language.

So it showed to me that he didn't particularly care about her. He cared more about himself.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you say anything to him in response to that?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir; I was frankly very much disgusted with that sort of attitude.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did Oswald ever come to your office?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, he came to my office once or twice more. Once I was in the office when he came, and at that time, apparently he was downtown, my office is downtown in Fort Worth, he brought with him some., typewritten sheets which he told me he was writing his memoirs of his life in the Soviet Union.
I remember seeing, I did not read the manuscripts at all, but I saw some snapshots or photographs attached to some typewritten sheets.
Mr. LIEBELER - During this time that you--did you have any other contacts with Oswald?
Mr. GREGORY - Well, he came to the office once more but I was not in the office, my secretary told me that he came by.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you remember what He came to your office for? Did he indicate any particular reason for coming there?
Mr. GREGORY - I don't recall. I don't know why he came back. Frankly, I don't remember. Here is something else that--one of the newspaper reporters came to the office and asked me if I would deliver a letter to Oswald, a reporter who tried several times to contact Oswald and get the story of his life or something like that, and they simply refused to see him. Why he choose me, I don't know. How he learned that Oswald came to my office, I don't. know. But this man came and asked me to deliver this letter to Oswald the next time he came to the office, and I remember now that he did come once or twice more because I handed him that letter, and Oswald took it and put it in his pocket.
Representative FORD - When were these visits, the second and third visits to your office?
Mr. GREGORY - I would say that was probably during the month of July 1962.
Representative FORD - 1962.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did Oswald ever ask you to help him work on a book?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - That he was working on?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Other than these contacts we have discussed, did you have any other contacts with Oswald ever?
Mr. GREGORY - Well, I was at home when my son Paul answered a telephone call from Lee Oswald and he asked if Paul would come to get them, I guess they were at his brother's, they were going to Dallas, they moved to Dallas by then, so it must have been in October or maybe it was--
Mr. LIEBELER - Was it Thanksgiving?
Mr. GREGORY - It could have been Thanksgiving. It was Thanksgiving. It "was Thanksgiving Day. Paul went to Oswald, Robert Oswald, and brought Marina and Lee Oswald and the baby to the house. He fixed some sandwiches for them and he took them to the bus station and they went to Dallas where they had already established residence. That was the last time I saw Lee Oswald and Marina Oswald until after the assassination of the President.
Mr. LIEBELER - On the basis of your contacts with Lee Oswald during this period of time, did you form any judgment of him?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir; I think I did. He impressed me as a man that, first, he carried some sort of a chip on his shoulder. I also had the impression that, probably unfounded on my part, I don't know, I just formed that impression, that he, Lee Oswald, felt that he did not get proper recognition from the people, say, in the United States, maybe even in the Soviet Union. I don't know. In other words, I felt like he thought that he was a better man than the other people thought he was.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you have the feeling that he desired to achieve recognition?
Mr. GREGORY - That is my distinct impression of him.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you have any opinion as to whether he was ever able to command this recognition and respect that he was seeking?
Mr. GREGORY - I don't think so.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you think he was an intelligent person?
Mr. GREGORY - Fairly.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you think he was capable of performing an act such as an assassination of a President?
Mr. GREGORY - Definitely.
Mr. LIEBELER - What do you base that opinion on?
Mr. GREGORY - Well, he was a Marine; he, as I said, he carried a chip on his shoulder. From the best--from what I have read and so forth, I personally am of the opinion that he assassinated the President.
Mr. LIEBELER - Well now, based on your knowledge of him prior to the assassination did you have any reason to believe that he might do such a thing?
Mr. GREGORY - Prior to that time, no, sir. I didn't.
Mr. LIEBELER - You didn't regard him as a dangerous individual or something of that sort, did you?
Mr. GREGORY - Well, I thought he was--I did not think he was an unbalanced person or crazy person or anything like that. I would say he was sort of, I would say I thought he was sort of a peculiar person but I never thought he would do an act like that.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you ever make the acquaintance of the mother?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Would you tell us about that?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes. As I mentioned earlier, I teach Russian once a week at the library. We started a new series of lessons on November 12, 1963, and in my class there was a lady by the name of Marguerite Oswald. Frankly, I never connected her with Lee Oswald. Oswald was just a name to me, and I did not learn about it until the day of the assassination. Or the next day, the next day, that she was his mother.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did Mrs. Oswald call you on the telephone at any time after the assassination?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes. She called me--
Mr. LIEBELER - Tell us about it?
Mr. GREGORY - Sunday morning, November 24, about 7 o'clock in the morning, from Dallas.
Representative FORD - This is the mother called?
Mr. GREGORY - The mother. Sunday morning about 7 o'clock in the morning, and she said, I still remember, she said, "Mr. Gregory, I need your help. The reporters, the news media were badgering me." I think that is the word she used. She said, "I wonder if some of your friends or you could provide a place for me to hide from them."And it sounded like she was crying on the telephone, although I think that woman is not taken to crying.
So I told her--she did not want to identify herself when she called me first. I asked her, I said, "Who are you?" And she said, "I would rather not tell you who I am but I shall identify myself by saying I am one of the students in the Russian class in the library." Of course, I knew it was Mrs. Oswald. In fact, I guessed who she was before she even tried to identify herself. So I told her, I said, "Now, I will tell you what I will do, Mrs. Oswald, you stay where you are and I will promise to you that I will come to see you sometime today." Of course, I knew where she was because the Secret Service told me where they had her before.
Mr. LIEBELER - The Secret Service contacted you the day before?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - On Saturday?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Isn't it a fact they had asked you to come and translate an interview with Marina Oswald?
Mr. GREGORY - That is correct.
Mr. LIEBELER - But you didn't do it because you didn't need to do it that day?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you see Lee Oswald that day?
Mr. GREGORY - No, I did not see him.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you later on Sunday go to see Mrs. Marguerite Oswald?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes. As soon as I hung up the phone, I was talking to Marguerite Oswald, I called the U.S. Secret Service and reported this call, of course, and an agent, I called Agent Howard, who lives just north of Fort Worth, and he said, "Well, that is fine, we will find a hiding place for her, for Marguerite and Marina Oswald and the babies," and he suggested he come by my house in a matter of 45 minutes or an hour and we will go to Dallas and then proceed from there. And that is what we did then. We went to Dallas.
Mr. LIEBELER - You went to the Executive Inn where Marina and Mrs. Oswald were staying at that time, is that right?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir; we went to the Executive Inn, and on the way we stopped en route on the turnpike, where the agents arranged a rendezvous with Robert Oswald and other agents, and we went to the Executive Inn in Dallas by the airport, and Robert and I went in and we told the women to pack up, that we were going to take them to, Robert told them we were going to take them to, the farm of his wife's parents, north of Fort Worth.
Mr. LIEBELER - But Mrs. Oswald objected to that?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, she objected, she said she didn't want to go there. But I told her that she bothered me to come, to call me at the house to provide a place for her and here I am, and if she doesn't like it then I am just through with her.
Mr. LIEBELER - You told her that?
Mr. GREGORY - So she packed up and we got with the agents in two or three cars, two cars, and we started toward that farm of Robert Oswald's parents. But en route we detoured because Marguerite Oswald mentioned the fact that the two little babies were all wet, and that there were no diaper change for them, that Marina and she had no change of dresses, and so forth. and she insisted that we go by Irving where Marina lived with Ruth Paine.
Mr. LIEBELER - Then you went and obtained some materials for the babies there?
Mr. GREGORY - Well, we didn't go to the house because we got the report that Lee Oswald was shot. You see, that all happened Sunday morning, it was 11 o'clock in the morning, we were driving from Dallas to Irving and we got this report that Lee was shot, and the police advised us not to go to the house because there was a mob, so we went to the Chief of Police of Irving, to his residence. Marina telephoned Ruth Paine from there to gather these things for the babies and a change of dress for her and some money and so forth.
Mr. LIEBELER - You went from there, then, to Parkland Hospital where some events occurred and then you came back to the Inn of the Six Flags?
Mr. GREGORY - That is correct.
Mr. LIEBELER - I want to ask you about something that might have happened or happened at the Inn of the Six Flags.
There has been a newspaper report, and Mrs. Marguerite Oswald has said that on Saturday night an FBI agent came to the Executive Inn and showed her a picture of a man who she claims to be Jack Ruby. Have you seen newspaper reports to that effect?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, I have seen reports to that effect.
Mr. LIEBELER - Now, Mrs. Oswald says, also, that while at the Inn of the Six Flags she observed a newspaper that had Jack Ruby's picture in it and exclaimed in the presence of other people that that was the same picture as the FBI had showed her, that is what she says. Did you ever hear her say anything like that?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir; not to my recollection.
Mr. LIEBELER - She never did anything like that in your presence?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - After you met Mrs. Oswald, Marguerite Oswald, and had a chance to observe her, did that further your judgment of Lee Harvey Oswald in any way?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir. I felt that a lot of his, many of his, peculiarities, possibly were brought on by the influence of his mother.
To me, she impressed me as being not necessarily rational. She is quite clever, but she certainly is most peculiar. She demands public attention, she wants to be the center of attention. As, for example, standing there in the middle of the room at the motel of that Six Flags, standing in the middle of the room saying "I want to make a statement," and she made those statements throughout the frequent intervals and always she would precede the statement by saying, "I want to make a statement. I feel that my son can't be buried anywhere but at the Arlington National Cemetery."
Mr. LIEBELER - And you detected similarities between Mrs. Oswald and Lee?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes; I felt they both craved public recognition or to be craving attention or publicity or whatever you wish to call it.
Mr. LIEBELER - In our conversation last evening about your testimony, I asked you about Mrs Ruth Paine, and you told me that Mrs. Ruth Paine had come to visit you at a time subsequent to the assassination.
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir; she never did. Ruth Paine?
Mr. GREGORY - No. She called me on the phone once.
Mr. LIEBELER - Called on the telephone?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes. But I have never met her.
Mr. LIEBELER - What was the conversation between you and her?
Mr. GREGORY - She asked me if I would tutor her in writing letters in Russian. If I remember, she mentioned that she either was going to write to the Soviet Embassy or Soviet Union, something like that, but I told her I was just too busy, I have no time for that. In fact, I didn't want to have anything to do with that sort of--I didn't want to write letters to the Soviet Union or to the Embassy or anybody else.
Representative FORD - How long have you taught Russian, Mr. Gregory?
Mr. GREGORY - In the library?
Representative FORD - Yes.
Mr. GREGORY - For approximately 3 or 4 years from 10 to 20 weeks a year.
Representative FORD - Have you taught Russian in any other area or capacity?
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir; I taught Russian a couple of years ago, not more than 2 years ago, at Carswell Air Force Base at Fort Worth, where I had a class of officers and men in the Russian language. With the result that two out of my class passed the Russian examination, and the rest flunked.
Representative FORD - How long would you estimate it would normally take for a person of average intelligence to learn to speak and write Russian as fluently as Oswald did?
Mr. GREGORY - If he lived in this country or in that country? That would make a lot of difference.
Representative FORD - Well, let's take this country first.
Mr. GREGORY - This country. That would depend again on the effort put out by the particular individual. If he were in earnest I would think he could do it in about 4 years.
Representative FORD - That is an ordinary person living in the United States?
Mr. GREGORY - Living in the United States.
Representative FORD - Who made--
Mr. GREGORY - Going to study Russia, say at the university, normal load, maybe 4 hours a week, plus homework, it would take about 4 years. If he lived in the country--
Representative FORD - In the Soviet Union?
Mr. GREGORY - In the Soviet Union, he probably could do it in 2 or 3 years.
Representative FORD - Did Oswald tell you when he first visited you that he had learned to speak Russian, where?
Mr. GREGORY - In the Soviet Union.
Representative FORD - He never gave you any indication he had learned or studied prior to going to the Soviet Union?
Mr. GREGORY - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - I have about one or two more questions.
Did you discuss at any time with Marina Oswald the conversation that she had with Lee Oswald after the assassination?
Mr. GREGORY - Would you mind to state that again?
Marina Oswald spoke with Lee after the assassination, when he was in the jail.
Mr. GREGORY - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did she tell you about that?
Mr. GREGORY - Well, I don't remember whether it was Marina or whether it was Marguerite Oswald, I don't remember now; they did go to see him in the jail in the city of Dallas, and it must have been Marguerite because she was bragging what a wonderful son he is because he looked at the little girl, June, she is 2 years old, and he said, "You have got to buy her a new pair of shoes," I remember that. It must have been Marguerite because she used that as an illustration of what a wonderful boy he was.
Mr. LIEBELER - Other than that, you have no information as to what transpired at that time, happened at that time?
Mr. LIEBELER - Would it be fair to say, Mr. Gregory, that it was through Oswald's contact with you that he subsequently made the association with and contact with the other members of the Russian community in Dallas and Fort Worth?
Mr. GREGORY - I think that would be a fair statement, yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - I have no more questions.
The CHAIRMAN - Congressman?
Representative FORD - I have one more, Mr. Gregory.
I believe Marina has testified when she first met Lee Harvey Oswald it was approximately 17 months after he had arrived in the Soviet Union. She testified, also, that she could not tell whether he was a native born resident of the Soviet Union or a foreigner by the way he spoke.
Mr. GREGORY - Yes.
Representative FORD - Is that unusual?
Mr. GREGORY - Well, frankly, I don't know. You see, Congressman, the city of Minsk is what we call, they call it, not we call, they call it in the White Russia Republic. You know they called this the Union of Republics, you know, in the White Russian Republic, and Minsk, I guess, is the capital of it.
It is fairly close to Poland, and there are all sorts of people, Poles, Lithuanians, probably Latvians, that lived in that part of the country, and none of those people speak pure Russian.
Now, whether she had reference, whether that had anything to do with her statement--
Representative FORD - Her observations?
Mr. GREGORY - Right; I don't know.
Now, I thought that Lee Oswald spoke with a Polish accent, that is why I asked him if he was of Polish descent.
Representative FORD - But leaving--
Mr. GREGORY - But, otherwise, I would say it would be rather unusual, rather unusual for a person who lived in the Soviet Union for 17 months that he would speak so well that a native Russian would not be sure whether he was born in that country or not.
Representative FORD - That would be a very unusual kind of a person?
Mr. GREGORY - It would be, yes.
Representative FORD - Or a person who had unusual training?
Mr. GREGORY - Right, or unusual ability or training, yes, that is right.
Representative FORD - That is all, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN - Thank you very much, Mr. Gregory. You have been very helpful. (Whereupon, at 1 p.m., the President's Commission recessed