(Members present at this point: Chief Justice Warren, and Mr. Dulles)
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, the Commission will come to order. Mr. Coleman, would you make a statement as to the purpose of the meeting this morning?
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Chief Justice, the first witness is Mr. Richard E. Snyder, who is presently first secretary in the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, and


was second secretary and consul, American Embassy, Moscow, U.S.S.R., in 1959, and remained in that post in Moscow through at least the middle of 1961.
Mr. Snyder will be asked to testify concerning Lee Harvey Oswald's actions when he came into the American Embassy in Moscow on October 31, 1959, and stated that he desired to renounce his U.S. citizenship, the actions which the Embassy took at that time, and the information which it gave to the State Department.
Mr. Snyder also handled the interview of Oswald when he appeared at the Embassy in July of 1961, and had his passport returned to him, and will be asked to testify about the return of the passport.
Mr. Snyder will also be asked to identify for the record the various Embassy dispatches and State Department instructions which were exchanged concerning Oswald in 1959, 1960, and to the middle of 1961.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Snyder, it is customary for us to read a statement of that kind to the witness, so you will be apprised of what we are going to interview you about.
Will you please rise and raise your right hand and be sworn?
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give before this Commission shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. SNYDER. I do, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You may be seated.
Mr. Coleman will conduct the examination.
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Snyder, will you state your name for the record.
Mr. SNYDER. Richard Edward Snyder.
Mr. COLEMAN. And what is your present address?
Mr. SNYDER. 118 Geary Drive, South Plainfield, N.J.
Mr. COLEMAN. Are you presently employed by the Federal Government?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. In what capacity?
Mr. SNYDER. As a Foreign Service officer of the Department of State.
Mr. COLEMAN. Where are you presently stationed?
Mr. SNYDER. In Tokyo, American Embassy.
Mr. COLEMAN. Directing your attention to the fall of 1959, were you employed by the Federal Government at that time?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Where were you stationed?
Mr. SNYDER. At the Embassy in Moscow.
Mr. COLEMAN. What was your title?
Mr. SNYDER. Second secretary and consul, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. I take it that you have had called to your attention a copy of the joint resolution which was adopted by Congress with respect to the Commission.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. And I also take it that since you have been back in the country that you have had an opportunity to look at the various State Department files dealing with Oswald.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Calling your attention to the date of October 31----
Mr. DULLES. Could I ask one question, Mr. Coleman, about that? What previous posts had you had before going to Moscow?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, my first post in the Foreign Service----
Mr. DULLES. I am interested as an old Foreign Service officer.
Mr. SNYDER. I see. I served for a brief time in HICOG in Frankfurt, Germany and then for about 2 years in Munich, in the consulate general, which was my first post in the Foreign Service.
My second post, I spent 1 year in the boondocks of Japan, in Niigata, on the Sea of Japan, in a one-man cultural center.
Mr. DULLES. As a Foreign Service officer?
Mr. SNYDER. As a Foreign Service officer; yes, sir. I was assigned to this duty at a time when USIS was still part of the State Department, and when I reached my post it had already been separated, so I was on loan to them. And


then a year and a half in Tokyo. Then a summer and an academic year at Harvard, in Russian area studies.
Mr. DULLES. In what school there?
Mr. SNYDER. In Littauer.
Mr. DULLES. Did you learn Russian at that time?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I had had Russian in college before.
Mr. DULLES. So you speak Russian fairly fluently?
Mr. SNYDER. Fairly fluently; yes, sir.
Mr. DULLES. And then Moscow was your next post?
Mr. SNYDER. And then Moscow for 2 years; yes, sir.
Mr. DULLES. What 2 years?
Mr. SNYDER. July of 1959 to July of 1961. I arrived there just before the Vice President.
Mr. COLEMAN. Directing your attention, sir, to October 31, 1959, did you have occasion to see Lee Harvey Oswald on that day?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Had you ever seen him before?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir.
(At this point, Representative Ford entered the hearing room.)
Mr. COLEMAN. Had you ever heard about him before?
Mr. COLEMAN. Could you state for the Commission just what happened when you saw Mr. Oswald on October 31, 1959, indicating the time of day, what he said, and what you did?
The CHAIRMAN. Before you answer that question, may I say that this is Congressman Ford, a member of the Commission.
This is Mr. Snyder of the State Department now stationed in Tokyo, and who was stationed at the Embassy in Moscow when Oswald attempted to defect.
Representative FORD. Thank you.
Mr. SNYDER. Well, as for the time of day, I am afraid I draw a blank. I Can make some assumptions as to the time of day, for what they are worth.
But since I told Oswald--and you will come to this, I think, a little later on--that the Embassy was closed theoretically at the time, I presume this was a Wednesday afternoon or perhaps a Saturday afternoon, but I just don't recall.
Mr. COLEMAN. For the record, I think it was a Saturday, sir.
Mr. SNYDER. Was it a Saturday?
So, at any rate if it had been a morning, I could not have used this particular approach with him. So I presume it was an afternoon.
Oswald came into the Embassy without prior announcement. He didn't call or in any other way communicate with us, to the best of my knowledge.
Mr. DULLES. You had no way of knowing he was in Russia?
Mr. SNYDER. I had no previous knowledge of his presence; no, sir.
At any rate, he came in to me cold, so to speak. I was told that an American wanted to see me, wanted to see the consul. And I am not sure whether I went out and brought him in or whether he was taken into my office by someone else. At any rate, this was my first meeting with Oswald.
I will be glad to give you such recollections as I have as to his general demeanor and this sort of thing, if you would like.
Mr. COLEMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. SNYDER. And I might inject at this point something which I mentioned to Mr. Slawson before our session began, and that is that I reviewed the files, our own files, on Oswald, enough to refresh my memory as to the basic facts and the chronology of events and this sort of thing, but I have attempted not to go; too deeply into details with the thought that what the Commission is interested in, presumably, is what I honestly remember at the time and not so much what may have been planted in my mind by reviews since that time.
As to his general appearance, I do recall that he was neatly and very presentably dressed. I couldn't say offhand whether he was dressed in a suit and shirt, though I think probably he was. At any rate, he presented a nice physical appearance.
I presume that he was well shaven. Otherwise, I would not have had this feeling about him--that he, in general, was competent looking.


He was extremely sure of himself. He seemed to know what his mission was. He took charge, in a sense, of the conversation right from the beginning. He told me in effect that he was there to give up his American citizenship. I believe he put his passport on my desk, but I am not sure. I may have asked for it. In general, his attitude was quite arrogant.
Mr. DULLES. Could I ask one question there? When you say you presume you asked for it, you mean you asked to see it-- you didn't ask to take it from him?
Mr. SNYDER. No, I asked to see it. If he didn't put it on the desk, then I asked for it early in the game one way or the other.
He told me, among other things, that he had come to the Soviet Union to live, that he did not intend to go back to the United States, that this was a well thought out idea on his part. He said, again in effect, "Don't bother wasting my time asking me questions or trying to talk me out of my position."
He said, "I am well aware" either he said, "I am well aware" or "I have been told exactly the kind of thing you will ask me, and I am not interested, so let's get down to business"--words to that effect.
Well, he was a very cocksure young man at that time.
I am not sure that he sat at all throughout the interview, but certainly in the early part of it he did not.
I asked him--I recall asking him to take a seat, and he said, no, he wanted to stand. He may have relented later on.
At any rate, I did nevertheless probe about and elicited a bit of information about him which was in my report to the Department of State.
Mr. COLEMAN. Sir, was anyone else present at the time you were talking to Mr. Oswald?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I believe Mr. McVickar was in the next room. But there was no one in the room with us at that time.
Mr. COLEMAN. How long did the interview with Mr. Oswald last, approximately?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, I would have to pull it out of the air, really. It would be on the order of magnitude of half an hour. It might have extended to three-quarters of an hour, something of this sort.
Mr. COLEMAN. Other than the passport, did he give you any other piece of paper?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, yes; he did. He gave me a written statement saying something along the line of what I have said he mentioned to me orally. That is, that he had come to the Soviet Union to live, that he desired to renounce his citizenship, that he was going to become a citizen of the Soviet Union, words to that effect.
Mr. DULLES. We have that written statement, do we not?
Mr. COLEMAN. I have marked as Commission Exhibit No. 913 a photostatic copy of a handwritten letter which is signed by Lee H. Oswald, and ask you whether that is a copy of the letter that Oswald gave you on October 31, when he appeared at the Embassy?
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 913 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; I would say it is, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. After he gave you the letter and the passport, did he do anything else?
Mr. SNYDER. No; after his initial statement of purpose and intent, and after giving me this statement, the interview was then pretty much in my hands. He was, I would say, a reluctant interviewee from there on.
He had announced initially his desire not to discuss the matter with me, but simply to get on with the business for which he had come and, therefore, anything else that was to be said was up to me to get said.
Mr. COLEMAN. Did you' at that time go through whatever formalities are required for a person to renounce his citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I did not.
Mr. COLEMAN. What does an American citizen have to do at the Embassy to renounce his citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, the law requires, in general, that an American citizen, to renounce his citizenship, must appear before I am not sure whether the law

731-221 O---64---vol. V----18

confines it to a consular officer---but at any rate must appear, in the case of the Foreign Service, appear before a consular officer, and swear to an affidavit in the proper form, something of this order. In practical terms, it means that the consul draws up a statement, the content of which--the exact wording of which is contained in our regulations, and has the person swear to it in his presence.
Mr. COLEMAN. Well, did Mr. Oswald ask for such an affidavit?
Mr. SNYDER. I don't think he asked for such an affidavit in those terms. I am not sure that he understood that completely, what the procedure was. But he did ask to renounce his citizenship.
Mr. COLEMAN. Well, did you provide him with the affidavit?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir; I did not.
Mr. COLEMAN. Why didn't you provide him with the affidavit at that time?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, as the consul and, of course, the responsible person at the time, it didn't seem to me the sensible thing to do-in the sense that--I can't, I suppose, speak for all consuls, but it is sort of axiomatic, I think, in the consular service that when a man, a citizen comes in and asks to renounce his citizenship, you don't whip out a piece of paper and have him sign it. This is a very serious step, of course, an irrevocable step, really, and if nothing else you attempt to provide enough time for--to make sure that the person knows what he is doing. You explain, for one thing, what the meaning of the act is; and, secondly, again speaking for myself---I cannot speak for the Foreign Service in this--provide a little breather, if possible make the man leave your office and come back to it at a later time, just to make sure for what value there is in making sure---that the man's action is not something completely off the top of his head.
Representative FORD. Mr. Chairman, would it be helpful for the record to have put in the record at this point whatever the law is in this regard, and whatever the Department regulations are on this point?
The CHAIRMAN. That may be done; yes.
Mr. COLEMAN. I would like to say, sir, at 2 o'clock the Legal Adviser to the State-Department is coming in, and he is going to put it in at that time.
Mr. DULLES. May I ask a question at this point?
Mr. COLEMAN. If you want it in now, we can indicate the sections which are applicable.
Representative FORD. I think there ought to be some citation at this point, because the witness is talking specifically about the process of the law and the regulations.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have the law there, Mr. Snyder--is that the law?
Mr. SNYDER. I brought nothing with me, myself.
The CHAIRMAN. I saw a book there that you were looking at, and I thought that would suffice.
Mr. SNYDER. Shall I read the section of law, sir?
This is the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 349(a)(6).
Section 349(a) states, "From and after the effective date of this Act, a person who is a national of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by"--then section 6 under that, subsection, states, "making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State."
Mr. COLEMAN. Sir, the Secretary of State has promulgated regulations which are found in 22 Code of Federal Regulations, sections 50.1 and 50.2 and they are also reproduced in 8 Foreign Affairs Manual, section 225.6.
Basically, as I understand it, those regulations provide the form in which the citizen is to make the renunciation, and it is to be done in four copies, and then one copy is to be given to the person who makes the renunciation. Is that your understanding?
Mr. SNYDER. This is my understanding; yes, sir.
Representative FORD. Are those forms available? Are they printed up, or do you have to draft them? What is the circumstance?
Mr. SNYDER. They are not printed forms, to my knowledge, Mr. Ford--at


least I have never seen a printed form. The only time that I have used them in my Foreign Service experience I have had them typed up on the spot.
The CHAIRMAN. You may continue, Mr. Coleman.
Mr. DULLES. We ought to have in the record, Mr. Chief Justice, a copy of that form--either here or later.
The CHAIRMAN. As I understood, someone from the State Department is coming here to testify on the procedures, and the witness did not bring anything with him, he says.
Mr. SNYDER. That is right, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Snyder, when you were talking to Mr. Oswald on October 31, 1959, did he say anything with respect to applying for Soviet citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; this was contained in his written statement, for one thing, and I believe that he also stated this to me orally.
Mr. COLEMAN. Did he say anything with respect to having any information since he had been in the Marine Corps that he would be willing to make available to the Soviet Union?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; he did. He stated again, in effect, that he would make available to the Soviet authorities or to the Soviet Union what he had learned concerning his specialty--he was an electronics specialist of some sort, a radar technician--at any rate, he would make available to the Soviet Union such knowledge as he had acquired while in the Marine Corps concerning his specialty.
He volunteered this statement. It was rather peculiar.
Mr. COLEMAN. You say that the interview lasted about a half an hour. I take it he then left. Did he say he was going to return?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I don't believe he did. He gave no particular indication of when he would return, if he would return, or this sort of thing.
Mr. COLEMAN. Do you recall just what he said when he left your office?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. I show you a document----
Mr. DULLES. Could I ask one question there? Did he take his passport or did he leave it?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I kept it.
Mr. DULLES. You kept the passport?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. I show you a document which has been, marked Commission Exhibit No. 908, and it is a Foreign Service dispatch dated November 2, 1959. This is from Embassy, Moscow, to the Department of State, Washington. It is signed by Edward L. Freers, but on the first page there is an indication it was actually drafted by you. Do you recall drafting the original of that document?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 908 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. That statement was drafted within a day or two after you had the interview with Mr. Oswald. I take it it reflects what happened at that time.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. DULLES. Was there any cabled report of this incident?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; I cabled a report on the 31st, Mr. Dulles. Commission Exhibit No. 908 is a somewhat fuller report, 2 days later.
Mr. COLEMAN. To answer Mr. Dulles' question, I show you a document which has been marked Commission Exhibit No. 910, which purports to be a copy of a cable from Moscow to the Secretary of State, and ask you whether that is the cable which was sent off on October 31, 1959.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 910 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. I also had marked, and I would like to show you, Commission Exhibit No. 909, which is a copy of a telegram from American Embassy, Tokyo, to Secretary of' State, dated November 27, 1963. This telegram purports


to be an interview which the Ambassador in Tokyo had with you immediately after the assassination in which you attempted to recall what happened on October 31, 1959, when Mr. Oswald appeared at the Embassy.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 909 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. I ask you if you can identify that telegram?
Mr. SNYDER. Might I just inject something? I notice in my reports, on my first interview with Oswald, that I mention the Petrulli case. You might at this time or later on wish to refer to the Petrulli case.
Mr. DULLES. Mr. Chairman, this cable is very short and quite significant. I wonder if it could not be read into the record at this point, just for the continuity of the record.
Mr. SNYDER. There is a slight problem of classification on these, Mr. Dulles. I don't know how public the records are.
Mr. DULLES. Maybe you could paraphrase it, then. You mean it is a question of codes?
Mr. SNYDER. It is a question of code security; yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. If this is in the record, it will be published.
Mr. COLEMAN. Off the record.
(Discussion off the record.)
The CHAIRMAN. Back on the record.
Mr. COLEMAN. Would you be kind enough to read Commission Exhibit No. 910 into the record?
Mr. SNYDER. In paraphrase?
The CHAIRMAN. Paraphrase, yes; in your own way.
Representative FORD. Of course keeping the intent of what was said precisely as it was sent.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
A person appeared at the Embassy today, October 31, identified himself as Lee Harvey Oswald, and stated that he had come to renounce his American citizenship. He was the bearer of U.S. passport No. 1733242, date of issuance September 10, 1959, which showed him to be unmarried and gave his age as 20, or which showed him to be 20--it gives his date of birth. Mr. Oswald stated that he had applied for Soviet citizenship in Moscow. He stated that he had entered the Soviet Union from Helsinki, Finland, on October 15. He said that he had contemplated this action for the previous 2 years. The main reason given was that "I am a Marxist." he has a mother living at 4936 Collinwood Street, Fort Worth, Tex., which was also his last address.
His attitude was arrogant and aggressive. He stated that he had recently been discharged from the Marine Corps. He also volunteered the information that he had offered to the Soviet authorities any information which he had acquired as an enlisted radar operator in the Marines.
In view of the Petrulli case, the Embassy proposes to delay completing the renunciation procedure until the action of the Soviet authorities on his request for Soviet citizenship is known or the Department advises.
A dispatch follows.
The press has been informed.
The CHAIRMAN. Would the Commissioners like to see the document itself?
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Snyder, could you tell the Commission what the Petrulli case was?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes. The Petrulli case I remember quite well.
Mr. Petrulli was an American citizen who came into the Embassy some weeks before, I believe, asking to renounce his American citizenship. Mr. Petrulli hung around Moscow for quite some time, again a number of weeks, and perhaps as long as 3 weeks or a month. He had entered the Soviet Union as a tourist, I believe.
It is not clear what intent he had when he arrived.
But, at any rate, he did apply for Soviet citizenship while in Moscow, and he did come into the Embassy, and was interviewed by me to renounce his American citizenship. I did not, in accordance with the thinking which I outlined to you earlier--I did not accept his renunciation the first time he came in, but did


accept it when he subsequently appeared, and insisted that is what he wanted to do.
The case had a--I might skip over the minor details, but it had a rather rapid denouncement, when the Soviet authorities, after having looked him over for a number of weeks, decided they did not want him as a citizen or resident of the Soviet Union. And when we subsequently learned, that is I learned, from my reporting to the Department, and correspondence with them, that Mr. Petrulli had been discharged from the Armed Forces some time earlier on, I believe, a 100-percent mental disability--the Soviet, I think it was the head of the consular section of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, called me into the Foreign Ministry one day and' said words to the effect that an American citizen Mr. Petrulli, has overstayed his visa in the Soviet Union, he is living here illegally, and "We request that you take steps to see that he leaves the country immediately."
I told the Soviet official that to the best of my knowledge Mr. Petrulli was not then an American citizen, he having executed a renunciation of citizenship before me.
The Soviet official said in effect, "As far as we are concerned, he came here on an American passport, and we ask that you get him out of here."
Well, again to end what was a long, involved and terribly time,consuming story at the time, it was determined by the Department that Mr. Petrulli's renunciation was null and void because he was not competent, and therefore he was an American citizen, and we shipped him home.
The Petrulli case, as I say, was very much in my mind when Mr. Oswald showed up.
Mr. COLEMAN. After you sent the telegram, which is Commission Exhibit No. 910, to the State Department, I take it that the first word that you received from the State Department is a telegram which I have marked as Commission Exhibit No. 916.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 916 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. Yes.
Mr. COLEMAN. Now, by paraphrasing, could you read the second paragraph of that telegram into the record?
Mr. SNYDER. "For your information, in the event that Mr. Oswald insists on completing a renunciation of his United States citizenship, the Embassy is precluded by the provisions of section 1999 of the Revised Statutes from withholding the right to do so without regard to the status of his application for citizenship which is pending before the Soviet government and without regard to the Petrulli case."
Mr. COLEMAN. At the same time that you were notifying the State Department that Oswald had appeared, someone in the Embassy also sent a telegram to the Navy Department, didn't he, advising that Oswald, a former Marine, had appeared at the Embassy and stated that he was a radar operator in the Marine Corps, and that he had offered to furnish the Soviets the information he possessed on radar.
I have marked as Commission Exhibit No. 917 this telegram and ask you whether that is the telegram that went forth to the Navy Department.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 917 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. I don't recall that I saw this telegram at the time. But I would say from the content of it, and the form, that it is clearly a telegram sent by the naval attache of the Embassy to his home office.
Mr. COLEMAN. We also have had marked as Commission Exhibit No. 918 the telegram which the Navy sent in reply to Commission Exhibit No. 917.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 918 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. Have you seen that before and can you identify that?
Mr. SNYDER. I do not recall having seen this telegram before; no, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Now, sir; the next contact that you had with Oswald was by a letter dated November 3, 1959, which has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. 912, is that correct?


(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 912 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. Yes--to the best of my knowledge, this was the next thing that I heard of Oswald--the next thing I heard from Oswald.
Mr. COLEMAN. How did the original of Commission Exhibit No. 912 come into your possession?
Mr. SNYDER. I believe it came through the mail.
Mr. COLEMAN. And after you received commission Exhibit No. 912, what did you do?
Mr. SNYDER. I wrote Mr. Oswald a reply, I believe, the same day.
The CHAIRMAN. Exhibit No. 912 was a request to revoke his application to renounce citizenship, was it not?
Mr. COLEMAN. No, Mr. Chief Justice; Commission Exhibit No. 912 is a letter from Mr. Oswald complaining that the Embassy had not permitted him to renounce.
The CHAIRMAN. I misread it. Yes; that is right. Excuse me.
Mr. COLEMAN. You say you wrote Mr. Oswald a letter the same day?
We have had marked as Commission Exhibit No. 919 a letter from Richard E. Snyder, to Lee Harvey Oswald, dated November 6, 1959.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 919 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. I show it to you and ask you is this a copy of the letter which you wrote to Mr. Oswald?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Representative FORD. Mr. Chairman----
Mr. DULLES. Could we have some indication of what that letter is, for the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Referring back to Exhibit No. 912, where I was acting apparently under some misapprehension I read the first three lines and it said "Nov. 3, 1959. I, Lee Harvey Oswald, do hereby request that my present United States citizenship be revoked." Well, that is consistent with what was said.
Representative FORD. I think that is a pretty categorical statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; it is.
Representative FORD. He subsequently, in Exhibit No. 912, makes a protest about the fact that he was not accorded that right previously. But I don't see how we could come to any other conclusion but the first three lines are a specific request for the right to revoke his American citizenship.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; but I had misread that first sentence, and I had asked if it wasn't a revocation of his original request. I was in error when I said that. You are correct, absolutely, on your interpretation of it.
Mr. COLEMAN. As a result of receiving Commission Exhibit No. 912, you wrote Mr. Oswald a letter which has been--a copy of which has been marked and identified as Commission Exhibit No. 919, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Earlier in your testimony, when asked about what a citizen has to do to renounce his citizenship, you referred to section 349(a)(6).
I would like to call your attention to the fact there is also another provision--section 349(a)(2)--which provides that an American citizen shall lose his nationality by "taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof."
Did you consider whether the Oswald letter, marked as Commission Exhibit No. 912, was such an affirmation or other formal declaration?
Mr. SNYDER. There is a considerable body of law, I believe, interpreting this provision of law as to what constitutes an affirmation or other formal declaration. I believe that I was quite aware at the time that a mere statement did not constitute a formal declaration within the meaning of the law.
Mr. COLEMAN. Did----
Mr. DULLES. May I ask one question about Exhibit No. 912?
In the second paragraph of this letter, Exhibit No. 912, Oswald says, "I appeared [sic] in person at the consulate office of the United States Embassy, Moscow, on Oct. 31st, for the purpose of signing the formal papers to this effect. This legal right I was refused at that time."


Do you know how he learned about his legal rights? Did you tell him his legal rights in your conversation with him? Or where did he get the information about his legal rights, if you know about that?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, to the best of my knowledge, Mr. Dulles, I did discuss with Oswald both the significance of his act and the legal basis of it, and so forth. And I believe that in the letter which I wrote to him----
Mr. DULLES. Which was subsequent to Exhibit No. 912, was it not, in answer to 912?
Mr. SNYDER. In answer to Exhibit No. 912---in the letter which I wrote, replying to this, I purposely used the word, I think, "again", or words to that effect, and I put that word in there at the time, indicating that he had been told this before, and that I was repeating it to him.
Mr. COLEMAN. You are talking about Commission Exhibit No. 919, the third paragraph, is that correct, where you use the word "again"?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; that is correct.
In other words, at the time Oswald was there, the reason which I gave him for not taking his renunciation at the time was not that he was not legally entitled to have it, but that the office was closed at the time. In matter of fact, I don't think I had a secretary there to type out the form and so forth. But this is really quite beside the point.
But the reason which I gave him was not that I had any legal right to refuse him--that is, it wasn't based on a provision of law, as it was based on simply the fact that the Embassy was closed at the time.
Mr. COLEMAN. You will recall in Commission Exhibit No. 913, which was the first letter-that Oswald gave you, that the last paragraph states, "I affirm that my allegiance is to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics," and once again I take it that you didn't think that that was the type of oath or affirmation which is set forth in section 349(a) (2)?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir; that is right.
Mr. SLAWSON. Mr. Snyder, in reference to the same document, Commission Exhibit No. 913, do you think that Mr. Oswald, when he appeared before you and gave this to you, believed in his mind that this was sufficient to renounce his citizenship?
The CHAIRMAN. How could he tell what was in his mind?
Mr. SNYDER. I really don't know.
Mr. SLAWSON. Do you believe that if you had given Mr. Oswald the opportunity to carry through with the procedures, that he would have renounced his citizenship at that first appearance?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; I have every reason to believe he would have.
Mr. COLEMAN. Sir, I also would like to show you a copy of a passport issued by the United States, which has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. 946, and ask you whether that is the passport that Mr. Oswald gave to you when he came into the Embassy on October 31, 1959.
Mr. DULLES. May I ask a preliminary question about Exhibit No. 913?
This is undated. Do we know the date of the receipt of this by the Embassy?
Mr. COLEMAN. Yes, Mr. Dulles; the testimony is that when Mr. Oswald came into the Embassy, sir, he handed this document to Mr. Snyder.
Mr. DULLES. That is the first time he came in, he handed this document to you?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
This is undoubtedly his passport; yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. After you received Commission Exhibit No. 919, which is the second letter from Oswald, the letter dated November 3, 1959, you then prepared and sent to the Secretary of State in Washington an airgram which the Commission has had marked as Commission Exhibit No. 920.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 920 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. I show you the document and ask you whether you prepared the original thereof and sent it to the State Department?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Representative FORD. May I ask a question here?
When Oswald first came in, and either placed his passport on the desk or the


table, or you asked for it, did you note that he had overstayed his visa by 5 days?
Mr. SNYDER. I can't recall that I did or did not, Mr. Ford.
Representative FORD. Is that something that you would normally examine and determine under circumstances like this?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, I might if there were some reason to look at it---if it were particularly relevant to something I was thinking at the time or asking about at the time.
In terms of Soviet practice, it is not really too relevant. That is, if the Soviet authorities find it to their interest to keep a person around, then there is no problem. And if they do not, one does not overstay one's visa in the Soviet Union.
Representative FORD. But if it is, for some Soviet reason, a good reason to keep somebody around beyond the time of their visa, wouldn't that be of some interest to us--I mean to the United States officials?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes; but, of course, that assumption was already strongly made in the Oswald case by other circumstances in this case. There was no question in my mind that Mr. Oswald was there in Moscow for the purposes for which he stated he was in Moscow, and that this was known to the Soviet authorities, for he said he had applied for Soviet citizenship.
Representative FORD. Is it the usual thing for them to let an individual stay beyond their visa termination date?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, I would say it is not usual. Again, one can never cite a list of specific instances in these things, but I think that when you are working as a consul in Moscow for a couple of years, you have a considerable feel for these things, and that I would say it is not unusual--people simply do not overstay their visas in the Soviet Union without the knowledge, by and large, of the Soviet authorities.
And this is because of the nature of the passport registration system at your hotel, and all of this sort of thing. It simply is not normally done be oversight or by lapse either on the part of the individual or on the part of the Soviet State.
Representative FORD. When he presented the passport, or when you were given the passport by him, did you examine it?
Mr. SNYDER. I undoubtedly examined it.
Representative FORD. Where in the passport would this fact be noted that he had overstayed his visa by 5 days?
(At this point, Senator Cooper entered the hearing room.)
Mr. SNYDER. It may either be on the original visa or on the police stamp placed in his passport at the time. This is to the best of my recollection.
Mr. COLEMAN. Congressman Ford, as I understand it, one of the stamps in the passport, which would be in Russian, indicates the visa that he got in Helsinki, and also indicates the length of time he was permitted to stay.
Representative FORD. So it is clearly a Soviet document in the passport?
Mr. SNYDER. I could probably find these for you, if you would like.
Representative FORD. When Oswald came in, did you notice anything peculiar about his physical appearance--any bruises, any injuries of any kind?
Mr. SNYDER. No, no; as I said--you may not have been here, Mr. Ford, at the time I made my original comments on his appearance.
He was very neatly dressed, very well composed, and to all outward appearances a respectable-looking young man.
Representative FORD. I was there then, and I was interested because I think we have testimony to the effect, or we have documentation to the effect, that he had tried to commit suicide prior to his coming to the American Embassy for the purpose of renouncing his citizenship. In other words, he had cut his wrist and had been in a Soviet hospital or medical facility. And I was wondering whether you had noticed that.
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir; I did not.
Representative FORD. You did not.
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Snyder, on November 2 you sent forward Commission


Exhibit No. 908, which is the Foreign Service dispatch. You had also sent forth 2 days earlier a telegram advising them about Oswald.
And on November 12 you had sent forth Commission Exhibit No. 920. Now, according to the files that we have, except for Commission Exhibit No. 916, which is the telegram asking where the dispatch was, we have no other communication during this period from the Department to the Embassy giving you advice on what to do in the Oswald case.
Was there any messages that went back to the Embassy, other than Commission Exhibit No. 916, during that period?
Mr. SNYDER. I can't really say, Mr. Coleman, that I have personal recollection. But I have no reason to believe that there was anything else came in, other than what is now in our files.
Mr. COLEMAN. Well, would you expect to get some answers to those dispatches that you were sending forward to Washington?
Mr. SNYDER. Not really--not really. The thrust of information in something like this is from the field to the Department. The Department really answered the only thing which I asked them. That is, I told the Department what I intended to do concerning his request for renunciation, and the Department responded to that. And this was really all I would have expected from them at the time.
I would have expected--if the Department had had any information concerning Oswald in its files--I would have expected them to let me know if they had indication, for instance, that Oswald was mentally unbalanced or emotionally unstable or anything else of this sort, anything which might look like a repeat of the Petrulli pattern, I would have expected them to let me know this, so I would know how to handle the case.
Mr. COLEMAN. Sir, 3 days before Mr. Oswald came into the Embassy, did you have occasion to write a letter to Mr. Boster in Washington, asking him how you should handle these matters of attempted renunciation of American citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. Well----
Mr. DULLES. Is this the first time he came into the Embassy?
Mr. COLEMAN. This is 3 days before he came.
Mr. DULLES. The first time?
Mr. COLEMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. SNYDER. I recall writing. I think probably the letter you have in mind----
Mr. COLEMAN. I show you Commission Exhibit' No. 914 which is a letter dated October 28, 1959, from Mr. Snyder to Mr. Boster, and ask you whether that is a letter you sent.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 914 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. Is that a copy of the letter that you sent to Mr. Boster?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Doesn't that letter, at the bottom, indicate that you were attempting to get advice on how to handle an attempted renunciation of American citizenship? At the bottom of the first page.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; this is a letter which I wrote to Gene Boster. This letter, I might add, did not refer to any particular case, but was a letter in which I had put down ideas which had been circulating in my mind for some time, based on my initial handling of cases in Moscow. And it was by way of putting down, as I say, some general ideas on the subject, and asking Gene what the Department felt about this general area of notions. It wasn't directed at any particular case.
Representative FORD. Do you feel that the regulations then, as well as now, and the law as well, are archaic in this regard?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, no; it is simply that--not the law, and certainly not the regulations--and certainly not the law, can ever take the place of the judgment of the officer on the spot.
Mr. DULLES. Was this motivated by the Petrulli case?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I don't think it was. The Petrulli case was a clear-cut case, there was no problem with the Petrulli case, legal or otherwise.
It was motivated, as best I can recall, by my experience with a few other


cases. Well, let's say--let's go back a little bit further, in a more general vein. The kind of people, the kind of Americans, and I suppose not only Americans but Frenchmen, Englishmen, and otherwise, who occasionally drift into the Soviet Union and state that they want to roll up their sleeves and go to work for socialism for the rest of their lives, or something of this sort, are usually quite a peculiar kind of person.
In the first place, they are rarely Marxists in any meaningful sense of the term. That is, they don't really know what it is all about. They probably don't know two words about Marxist theories, or Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, or anything else. Even less do they know anything about the country that they have chosen to spend their lives in, theoretically.
Almost universally they have never been to the country before. They speak no Russian. And they are rebounding from something--in some cases, such as the Petrulli case, the man is simply incompetent. In other cases, as in the Webster case, he appears to have been fleeing from his wife and the general responsibilities of his prior position, and finding that he could not escape from them in the Soviet Union either.
In the case of Oswald, a man who, for one reason or another, seemed to have been uncomfortable in his own society, unable to accommodate himself to it, and hoping he will make out better some place else.
At any rate, almost universally, the pattern is of a person who is not acting out of any ideological grounds. He simply doesn't--and I think this is essentially true probably of Oswald--this was my feeling in speaking with him--that Oswald really knew nothing about Marxism and Leninism, that he professed to be modeling his life after.
Mr. DULLES. Isn't it possible, though, from this discussion--maybe this should be asked to your legal adviser--that our procedure under law about renunciation may be in conflict with general international law, because if he comes into the country with an American passport, as an American citizen, I gather under ordinary international law we have to take him back. We are responsible for him. And no renunciation he makes changes that, as the Petrulli case shows.
Now, in the Petrulli case you had a situation where he was incompetent, and you could throw the thing out on the ground he didn't know what he was doing. But in these other cases, maybe you can't.
Mr. SNYDER. Well, in the specific instance and circumstances of the Soviet Union, you obviously have a major problem, there is a major state problem.
Mr. DULLES. That might arise in other cases. Isn't that true in any case If an American citizen arrives with an American passport, the country where he arrives doesn't have to keep him, does it? Isn't it our responsibility to take him back?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, this is a point----
Mr. DULLES. That is a question of law.
Mr. SNYDER. This is a question of law which I really cannot answer.
And where we have an extradition treaty, I think there is no great problem, perhaps, or at least the problem is somewhat different from where we do not have an extradition treaty, as in the case of the Soviet Union.
And I just don't know whether we are in the last analysis required to take back a person who is no longer one of our citizens, and under circumstances where we do not have an extradition treaty with the nation, where that person now resides.
Representative FORD. Do we have an extradition treaty with the Soviet Union?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir.
Well, we did not at that time, and I don't think we have subsequently. But we did not at that time.
Representative FORD. Do the legal advisers to the Department know whether we have an extradition treaty now?
Mr. CHAYES. We do not have an extradition treaty with the Soviet Union.
The only bilateral treaty we have with the Soviet Union, the Senate has not yet given advice and consent--but the only bilateral agreement is the consular agreement.
But so long as I am on the record here, I don't see how the extradition treaty has any bearing at all on the requirement of taking back a former American


citizen who may get into trouble in the other country. That would be a matter governed by general principles of international law, and also one's own humanitarian outlook on the particular circumstance, rather than---or there could be treaty provisions perhaps, commerce and navigation, that might bear on it. But in the usual case, I think not.
Senator COOPER. May I ask a question here? It might save time.
Is there any statutory--any statute bearing on this question of renunciation?
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Cooper, we just went through that, and it has been put in evidence here, and the statute has been read and it is very simple. All he has to do is go there and renounce before a consul or State officer to satisfy the regulations and requirements of the State Department, and he is out. Isn't that correct, generally speaking?
Mr. CHAYES. Yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. Is there any other statute bearing upon the effect of that renunciation with respect to any application or petition he might make later to renew his citizenship in the United States? Is there any?
Mr. COLEMAN. I would assume, sir, if he has made a valid renunciation, he is then just like any other non-American that wants to come into the United States. He has to go through one of the immigration quotas.
Mr. SNYDER. He must get an immigration visa.
Senator COOPER. I remember during the war and after the war we had problems with persons who had become naturalized citizens, and were returned to their countries, and in effect renounced their citizenship in various ways. As I remember, under certain circumstances they could renew their citizenship with the United States. But, as I understand it, there is no provision of law respecting a citizen of the United States who actually renounces his citizenship.
Mr. CHAYES. The issues in all those cases, I believe, were whether the purported expatriating act was Actually an expatriating act. Whether they had voted voluntarily or served in a foreign army voluntarily, or something like that.
Senator COOPER. All this matter, the legal side of it, will be put into the record?
Mr. COLEMAN. At 2 o'clock, sir.
Now, Mr. Snyder, after you wrote that letter to Mr. Boster, which is Commission Exhibit No. 914, you received a reply to your letter which was signed by Nathaniel Davis, acting officer in charge, Soviet affairs, dated December 10, 1959, which has been marked Commission Exhibit No. 915.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 915 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. Yes.
Mr. COLEMAN. Sir, also on December 1, 1959, you sent an airgram to the State Department indicating that you had been informed that Oswald had left the hotel at which he had been staying in Moscow, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. I show you a document which has been identified as Commission Exhibit No. 921, and ask you whether that is a copy of the airgram you sent forward to the Department.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 921 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. Yes.
Mr. COLEMAN. In Exhibit No. 921, you stated that you felt that he had not carried through with his original intent to renounce American citizenship in order to leave a crack open. Now, what information did you have which led you to put that in the airgram?
Mr. SNYDER. I am not sure whether this was my statement or----
Mr. COLEMAN. Well, would you look at that, sir?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; this was the statement of the correspondent. The correspondent states that.
Mr. COLEMAN. Oh, you were informing the Department that the correspondent told you that she felt that Oswald may have been leaving a crack open?
Mr. SNYDER. That is right. This crack part here is part of the sentence "correspondent states."
Mr. COLEMAN. Who was the correspondent?
Mr. SNYDER. This was Priscilla Johnson.


Mr. COLEMAN. And I take it you were the one that prepared Commission Exhibit No. 921?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. You also state that no known Soviet publicity on case. I take it you meant by that there had been no mentioning in the Soviet press about Oswald.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Are you saying from the time he came into your Embassy office until the time you wrote that airgram, that there was nothing in the Soviet press about Oswald?
Mr. SNYDER. Not to my knowledge.
Mr. COLEMAN. Is that unusual in these cases, where Americans attempt to renounce their citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. I think if there is a usual pattern--and, again, this is difficult to use words like "unusual" because there are never two cases alike in this sort of thing--but if there is a usual pattern, it is that there is some exploitation of the defector in Soviet public media, usually after the details of his defection have been settled, particularly the detail as to whether the Soviet Union desires to have him.
Up to that point, publicity in the Soviet press probably is not to be expected.
Mr. COLEMAN. After you sent the airgram dated December 1, 1959, to the Department of State, which is Commission Exhibit No. 921, you didn't have any more contact with Oswald until some time in February 1961, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. In the meantime, however, there was correspondence between the Embassy in Moscow and the State Department, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Did----
Mr. SNYDER. Well, let me see.
Mr. COLEMAN. I will mark----
Mr. SNYDER. I guess there was. There was one or more welfare and whereabouts inquiries concerning him from his mother, which I think was the bulk, if not all, of the correspondence which we were engaged in between those two periods.
Mr. COLEMAN. Well, one such memorandum which went from the State Department to Moscow was a memorandum dated March 21, 1960, which has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. 922, which indicates that Representative Wright of Texas had made inquiry with respect to the whereabouts of Oswald.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 922 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. And attached to the operations memorandum which was marked as Commission Exhibit No. 922 is the letter sent to Congressman Wright, which has been marked as Exhibit 923.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 923 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. And also a letter sent to Mrs. Marguerite Oswald, which has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. 924.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 923 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. In reply to Commission Exhibit No. 922, you prepared and sent to the Department of State an operations memorandum under date of March 28, 1960, which we have marked as Commission Exhibit No. 927.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No.927 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. In Commission Exhibit No. 927, you make the statement that the Embassy has no evidence that Oswald was expatriated himself other than his announced intention to do so "and the Embassy is, therefore, technically in a position to institute an inquiry concerning his whereabouts through a note to the Foreign Office."


Do you recall that statement in the operations memorandum?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Was it your thought, then, that based upon all the documents you had and what transpired on October 31, 1959, and the subsequent letter that Oswald sent, that in your judgment he had not renounced his American. citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. The statement which I made in that letter---to be quite accurate, as to its content--was made not for the that is, the statement wasn't directing itself to the question has Oswald lost his citizenship or not, but rather to the question would we have the right in Soviet eyes to ask about the whereabouts of this man. The Soviet authorities took a very strict line that no foreign government had the right to inquire about any resident of the Soviet Union unless he was their citizen. So that my statement was merely--was meant there to support my conclusion that the Embassy, as far as we could see, would have the right in Soviet eyes to ask about the whereabouts of Oswald--because we had no reason to.believe he was not our citizen, and, therefore, we had a perfect right to ask about where he might be.
Representative FORD. In other words, in your own mind, at that point, he had not renounced his citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. There is no question he had not renounced his citizenship; yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. You considered that he was still an American citizen as of March 28----
Mr. SNYDER. No evidence to the contrary.
Mr. DULLES. That is, he hadn't taken the procedures required under the law to renounce his citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. He had not renounced his citizenship, and there was-no evidence that he had acquired Soviet citizenship. These were the two things under which I think he could possibly have lost his citizenship at that time. So, for lack of evidence to the contrary, he was an American citizen.
Mr. COLEMAN. On April 5, 1960--you received an operations memorandum from the Department of State, dated March 28, 1960, which we have had marked as Commission Exhibit No. 929. Do you recall receiving that?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 929 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. The second paragraph of that memorandum indicates that a lookout card or file has been opened or prepared.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. What does that mean?
Mr. SNYDER. Never having worked in this end of the Department of State, I can say only what it would mean in general terms--when one says a lookout card has been prepared, it means that an entry has been made in the file in such fashion that should someone look in the file for--under this name or this category, that there would be that their attention would be flagged by this entry, and their attention would be called to the fact that there is something that they ought to look into. In other words, it is kind of a red flag placed--perhaps red flag is not the word to use here but it is a flag placed in the file to attract the attention of anyone looking in the file under that.
Mr. COLEMAN. Then on May 10, 1960, and again on June 22, 1960, you received two operations memorandums from the State Department making inquiries with respect to Mr. Oswald. Can you identify those?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. You remember receiving those?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. The operations memorandum dated May 10, 1960, was given Commission Exhibit No. 928, and the operations memorandum dated June 22, 1960, has been given Commission Exhibit No. 925.
(The documents referred to were marked Commission Exhibits Nos. 925 and 928, respectively, for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. In response to those two operations memorandums, you, then, on July 6, 1960, sent forth an operations memorandum which has been given Commission Exhibit No. 926, which states that until you get other instructions,


you are not going to make any further inquiry or do anything further in connection with Oswald, is that correct?
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 926 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. That is correct.
Mr. COLEMAN. Then, sir, on February 1, 1961, you received a Department of State instruction which was marked as Commission Exhibit No. 930, which requested the Embassy to ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs--to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Mr. Oswald's moth was worried about his personal safety, and was anxious to hear from him.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 930 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. Did you ever make such an inquiry of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
Mr. SNYDER. No, I think I did not.
Mr. COLEMAN. Do you know just when that Department instruction reached the Embassy in Moscow?
Mr. SNYDER. The date should be stamped on the document.
Mr. COLEMAN. Well, on the copy we have, sir, there is no date. I take it you have no independent recollection?
Mr. SNYDER. No; it should have been within a week, though.
Mr. COLEMAN. I take it, though, you would say that Commission Exhibit No. 930 went by diplomatic pouch.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. This didn't go by cable?
Mr. SNYDER. No, that is not a telegraphic form.
Mr. COLEMAN. On February 13, 1961, you received a letter from Mr. Oswald, did you not?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. I show you a copy of a letter which has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. l 931, and I ask you whether that is a copy of a letter you received from Mr. Oswald.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 931 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Representative FORD. Mr. Chairman, it would be helpful, I think, if we would pass these around, or if copies would be available to us at the time. Otherwise--at least I am not able to know what is transpiring between the counsel and the witness.
Are these extra copies of these we could have to examine as the exhibit is submitted to the witness?
Mr. SLAWSON. We could have them made up, Mr. Ford. I don't think there are any extra ones right now.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, suppose before you pass it to the witness you pass it to me, and I will pass it to Congressman Ford, and then over to Commissioner Dulles.
Mr. SNYDER. This letter is presumably the reason why no action was taken on the previous operations memorandum. It was overtaken, presumably, by Oswald's letter.
Mr. COLEMAN. Could you indicate for the record what Oswald said in his letter which has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. 931?
Mr. SNYDER. Perhaps I might just read the letter into the record.
The letter is dated February, no date.
"Dear sirs"----
Mr. DULLES. What year?
Mr. SNYDER. 1961.
"Since I have not received a reply to my letter of December 1960, I am writing again asking that you consider my request for the return of my American passport.
"I desire to return to the United States, that is if we could come to some agreement concerning [sic] the dropping of any legal proceedings against me. If so, then I would be free to ask the Russian authorities to allow me to leave.


If I could show them my American passport, I am of the opinion they would give me an exit visa.
"They have at no time insisted that I take Russian citizenship. I am living here with non-permanent type papers for a foreigner.
"I cannot leave Minsk without permission, therefore I am writing rather than calling in person.
"I hope that in recalling the responsibility I have to America that you remember your's in doing everything you can to help me since I am an American citizen.
"Sincerely Lee Harvey Oswald."
Mr. DULLES. That is addressed to the American Embassy in Moscow?
Mr. SNYDER. It is simply "Dear sirs :" As near as I can recall, it came by mail, through the Soviet mail, addressed to the Embassy.
Mr. COLEMAN. Had you received a letter from Mr. Oswald at a date of December 1960, the way he mentioned in the first paragraph of his letter?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir; we did not.
Mr. COLEMAN. This is the first letter you received?
Mr. SNYDER. This is the first communication since he left Moscow.
Mr. COLEMAN I would next like to mark as Commission Exhibit No. 933 the reply which you made to Mr. Oswald, which is dated February 28, 1961.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 933 for identification.)
Mr. DULLES. When you say since he left Moscow, that was in----
Mr. SNYDER. November 1959, sir.
Mr. DULLES. November 1959?
Mr. SNYDER. This is what we presume was the date.
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Dulles, we have other evidence that he didn't leave until January 7, 1960.
Mr. DULLES. The last the Embassy heard from him was in November 1959?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. You have been shown Commission Exhibit No. 933. Is that a copy of a letter which you sent to Mr. Oswald?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. At the same time did you inform the State Department that you had received a letter from Mr. Oswald?
Mr. SNYDER. I presume that I did.
Mr. COLEMAN. I have had marked as Commission Exhibit No. 932 a Foreign Service Despatch under date of February 28, 1961, from the Embassy in Moscow to the State Department in Washington. I would like to ask you whether this is the despatch which you sent forth to the Department.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 932 for identification.)
Representative FORD. Do the records show the date that the letter from Oswald was written--yes; February 5--and received February 13. This communication is dated February 28. Is that a long or a short time in communicating with Washington?
Mr. SNYDER. I would say it is a long time.
Representative FORD. Is there any explanation why it is a long time?
Mr. SNYDER The only thing I could think of is simply that Moscow is a very busy office, and Mr. Oswald's case was no longer the top of my docket.
Representative FORD. Had there been any communication with the State Department in Washington concerning the inquiries. of the mother, other than this?
Mr. SNYDER. I don't know, Mr. Ford. The only knowledge I had at the time of inquiries is what I was informed of by the Department. I presume that they informed me of all inquiries--since they could hardly act upon them themselves.
Representative FORD. What is the date of the last inquiry by the mother as to Oswald's----
Mr. COLEMAN. Sir, I think the record will show that on January 26, 1961, the mother came to the State Department and as a result of that visit, that


inquiry of February 1, 1961, went forward, making the inquiry. It has already been put in as an exhibit.
Representative FORD. This is the trouble not keeping copies available. It is a little difficult to follow the sequence.
Mr. COLEMAN. It is Commission Exhibit No. 930.
Representative FORD. This document, Commission Exhibit No. 930, shows what, as far as you are concerned, Mr. Snyder?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, it shows an interest by Oswald's mother in his whereabouts.
Representative FORD. As of what date, and where?
Mr. SNYDER. It says that Mrs. Oswald called at the Department of State on January 26, 1961; she personally called at the Department to inquire about her son.
Representative FORD. And that was communicated to the Embassy in Moscow?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Representative FORD. When was it received in the Embassy in Moscow?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, this doesn't show the date of receipt, but it was sent on February 1, and was received within a week of that time.
Representative FORD. And according to the records, the letter written by Oswald on February 5, 1961, which was received---was received February 13, 1961.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes.
Representative FORD. And this document, Commission Exhibit No. 933, shows a reply was given February 28, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. I think that is correct, sir.
Mr. DULLES. Does that mean it took 8 days to go from Minsk to Moscow?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. DULLES. Isn't that an unusually long time?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, not too much of that time is transit time.
Mr. DULLES. That is what I was getting at.
Representative FORD. It also shows it took 15 days to get out of the American Embassy.
Mr. SNYDER. You must remember that in my eyes, as the officer on the spot, Mr. Oswald had no claim to prior action from the Embassy among other cases. And although the consular officer attempts to be as impersonal as he can about these things, in matter of fact it is very difficult to be entirely impersonal.
Mr. Oswald had no claim to any unusual attentions of mine, I must say.
I think that the letter from Oswald from the Metropole Hotel to the Embassy took something like 3 days or 4 days.
Representative FORD. What does that mean to you? Does that mean that his correspondence was intercepted?
Mr. SNYDER. There was no question about that, Mr. Ford?
Representative FORD. Intercepted by Soviet authorities?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes; this has been known for years.
Representative FORD. Common practice?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes; every embassy there knows the system, and operates within it. All mail from or to a foreign embassy in Moscow goes to a separate section of the Moscow Post Office, called the international section, and this is the screening office for all mail to and from any embassy.
Representative FORD. As far as you know, is that still the process today?
Mr. SNYDER. I am sure it is, sir. The essentials of the Soviet State haven't changed.
Senator COOPER. May I ask a few questions?
I have been examining these exhibits which have been introduced. The first one I have looked at is Exhibit No. 908, which refers to Lee Harvey Oswald's call at the Embassy and your interview with him.
Mr. DULLES. Is that from Moscow to Washington, the State Department?
Senator COOPER. Yes; it is your interview with Oswald.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir; that is right.
Senator COOPER. In this he states that he applied for a Soviet tourist visa in Helsinki on October 14. He applied for citizenship by letter to the Supreme Soviet on October 16, in Moscow. And your report to the State Department


said that he appeared at the Embassy on October 31, and presented his request for renunciation in writing.
I assume that you have had other cases of this kind, have you not?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, particularly the Petrulli case, yes; a few weeks earlier.
Senator COOPER. Would it be normal in your judgment that this period of time, from the time he applied to the Soviet for citizenship, the Supreme Soviet, which was on October 16, as he said, it would not be acted upon in 2 weeks?
Mr. SNYDER. I would think it would be highly unusual if it were acted upon in 2 weeks; yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. Did others talk to him in the Embassy beside you?
Mr. SNYDER. Not to my knowledge; no, sir.
Senator COOPER. Did you know whether or not newspaper people, American newspaper people were talking to him?
Mr. SNYDER. I know that Priscilla Johnson talked to him. Whether others got to him, I don't know. He wasn't terribly communicative.
Senator COOPER Did she tell you she talked to him?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes.
Senator COOPER. But you do not know whether or not other members of the Embassy staff talked to him?
Mr. SNYDER. I have no reason to believe that anyone else talked to him, other than myself, Senator Cooper. That is, at this time. I mean at a later time, Mr. McVickar, I presume, talked to Oswald. He talked to his wife, I am quite sure. I presume that Oswald was with her. But up until the time that I left Moscow, Oswald was my baby, and I don't think anyone else talked to him in the Embassy.
Mr. DULLES. Were there other cases, other than the Petrulli and the Oswald case, where Americans attempted to or did renounce their citizenship while you were in Moscow in this period?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir.
Senator COOPER. To whom were you directly responsible in the Embassy?
Mr. SNYDER. My immediate superior was Mr. Freers, Edward Freers, who was the Deputy Chief of Mission.
Senator COOPER. Was he informed about this case?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. Who was the American ambassador at that time?
Mr. SNYDER. Ambassador Thompson.
Senator COOPER. Did he know about it?
Mr. SNYDER. I presume he did. Ambassador Thompson knew everything that went on in his shop. If through no other means, both the Ambassador and the DCM, the Deputy Chief of Mission, read the correspondence coming in and out, arid this is their basic line of information.
Senator COOPER. In your report, Commission Exhibit No. 908, you stated that he knew the provisions of U.S. law on loss of citizenship, and declined to have them reviewed by the interviewing officer. Is that correct? He said he knew how he could renounce his citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; I attempted to explain to him at the time the seriousness of his move, the meaning of it, the irrevocability of it and the section of law applying. He was quite curt in his manner, and apparently among other things, declined to have me read the law to him.
Senator COOPER. Exhibit No. 920 refers to the letter received by the Embassy from Lee Oswald, who was residing in the Metropole Hotel. It does show that it was dated November 3, and received, according to this, on November 12, no, date sent November 7.
This could be a speculation. It appears to me, though, it is a very well written letter. "I, Lee Harvey Oswald, do hereby request that my present United States citizenship be revoked. I appered [sic] in person, at the consulate office of' the U.S. Embassy, Moscow, on Oct. 31st for the purpose of signing the formal papers to this effect. This legal right I was refused at that time. I wish to protest against this action and against the conduct of the official of the United States consular service who acted on behalf of the United States Government. My application requesting that I be considered for citizenship in the Soviet Union is now pending before the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. In the event of

731-221 O---64---vol. V----19

acceptance, I will request my government to lodge a formal protest regarding this incident."
Signed "Lee Harvey Oswald."
I would assume that the last sentence referred to the Soviet Union.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. From your examination and interview with Lee Harvey Oswald, your talks with him, does that letter appear to be one which he had the capacity to write in that language and form?
Mr. SNYDER. That is a difficult thing to speculate on, Senator Cooper. I would say this----
Senator COOPER. It is a very good letter.
Mr. SNYDER. At first blush, I would not say that it was beyond his capacity. He did strike me as an intelligent man. He was certainly very articulate. Actually still a boy, I suppose, in a sense---he was 20 at the time I saw him. He was a very articulate person, and quite intelligent. I don't think from what I saw of him that the letter is beyond his capacity to have written.
There is also an element of it which is very much Oswaldish, and that is the last paragraph, the rather strident tones of it. One finds this in his other correspondence with the Embassy, and in the tone which he took when he first spoke with me--extremely strident tone. It is almost comical in a sense, this last paragraph, in its pomposity, its sonorousness. I am quite prepared to believe that the last part at least is Oswald's.
Senator COOPER. One other question.
In your report you noted that he had made statements about the United States, derogatory statements.
Did he ever direct his statements toward any individual in the United States, any official?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I have no recollection that he directed his statements against anyone, Senator Cooper. I think that if he had, I would likely have reported this matter. As a matter of fact, on the general subject of the molding of his attitudes, he was not very communicative.
Mr. DULLES. Was he technically correct there in his statement--I believe he said that his application was pending before the Supreme Soviet. Is that technically correct?
Mr. SNYDER. That is technically correct; yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You may continue, Mr. Coleman.
Mr. COLEMAN. Now, Mr. Snyder, on March 24, 1961, you sent a Foreign Service Despatch to the Department indicating that you had received a second letter from Mr. Oswald on March 20, 1961, ,and you said that the letter was postmarked Minsk, March 5, and Moscow March 17. I would like to show you a Commission document which has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. 940, and ask you whether that is a copy of the Foreign Service Despatch which you sent forth to the Department.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 940 for identification.)
Mr. DULLES. Could this be very briefly summarized for the record while it is being read?
Mr. COLEMAN. In this despatch, he sets forth the letter which Mr. Oswald Sent, which basically said that it would be hard for him to get to the Embassy in Moscow, and why can't they send the papers to Minsk?
Mr. DULLES. These are the papers about his return?
Mr. COLEMAN. Yes, papers that he would have to fill out to see if he was entitled to get his passport back.
Would the witness identify the despatch? Is that the one you sent?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; it is.
Mr. COLEMAN. I take it that the first answer you got from the Department to your despatch of February 28, 1961, which is marked as Commission Exhibit No. 932, indicating the first letter you received from Oswald, and then the second despatch marked Commission Exhibit No. 940, was a State Department instruction dated April 13, 1961, which was marked as Commission Exhibit No. 934.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 934 for identification.)


Mr. COLEMAN. Is that the despatch which you received?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. And then again on May 26, 1961, you sent another despatch to the State Department indicating that you received another letter from Oswald, and stating that you thought you would return to Oswald his passport, and that has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. 936.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 936 for identification.)
Mr. DULLES. Mr. Chairman, I note a reference in the margin here, in Commission Exhibit No. 934.
Do you know whose handwriting that is in, Mr. Snyder?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir; that is my handwriting.
Mr. DULLES. What does that say?
Mr. SNYDER. It says, "May be necessary give him before he can arrange depart."
Mr. COLEMAN. Now, Mr. Snyder, on or about July 10 or 11, 1961, Mr. Oswald physically appeared at the American Embassy again, did he not?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; I saw him once more I believe once more possibly twice.
Mr. COLEMAN. Actually he came in on a Saturday, did he not, which was July 8, and then you saw him again on the following Monday, isn't that correct? Didn't you actually see him twice during that period?
Mr. SNYDER. I think that I must have. As I say, I think I must have, because of my review of the record at the time indicates that I think I saw him on the 8th, and the application was taken on the 10th, which means, I presumably saw him twice.
Mr. COLEMAN. Do you recall when he came into the Embassy on the 8th and what he said, and what you did?
Mr. SNYDER. No; in fact, I have no recollection of his having come in at that time, Mr. Coleman.
Mr. COLEMAN. In the course of theSe two interviews on the 8th and on the 10th, he actually filled out an application for renewal of his passport, did he not?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. And you handled that application? That is correct?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. I next have marked as Commission Exhibit No. 938, a six page document which purports to be an application for renewal of passport, together with a questionnaire which was attached thereto, and ask you whether that is a copy of the application for renewal which you filled out at that time.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 938 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. With reference to his visit on the 8th, it is possible that he telephoned. Again, I don't know quite what our record shows on that.
Mr. COLEMAN. Well, to help you refresh your recollection, sir, there has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. 935 a Foreign Service Despatch dated July 11, 1961, in which you described the meeting with Oswald. Perhaps you would want to be reading that.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 935 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. This is the interview which I thought I had on the 10th.
Representative FORD. What does it mean in this questionnaire [Commission Exhibit No. 938] where Oswald says, and I quote, "I received [sic] a document for residence in the U.S.S.R. but I am described as being 'Without Citizenship'"?
Mr. SNYDER. This undoubtedly refers to his so-called internal Soviet passport, Mr. Ford. Every Soviet citizen living in urban areas, and also in the border areas, bears an internal passport which identifies him, has certain other information about him, and bears a notation of nationality. There are, as I recall, three varieties of this. One is for Soviet citizens, one is for citizens of foreign countries, I believe, and another is for stateless persons.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the last category?
Mr. SNYDER. Stateless persons. My mind is not clear at this stage as to whether the passports for foreigners and stateless persons is the same or not.


I don't quite recall. At any rate, there is an entry in there which asks to state his nationality. No, it is a separate passport. As I recall the title of it, it is called--it is a separate passport.
Mr. DULLES. Did the Soviet Union ever indicate to the Embassy, as far as you know, that they considered Oswald as stateless, or is that Oswald's own statement?
Mr. SNYDER. The only indication is the internal passport which he had, which was made out by local officials, and which may have been based upon a statement that Oswald himself made to them. He may have regarded himself as being stateless, I don't know, at the time he applied for that document.
Mr. DULLES. And that did not necessarily require, as far as you know, reference to Moscow?
Mr. DULLES. You think the local authorities could have done that on their own, and on the information they got from Oswald?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; the term "stateless," I might interject here, is used rather loosely by Soviet authorities, because, in the first place, they have clearly no authority and no basis upon which to determine whether a person is a citizen of a foreign state. I mean only the foreign state can determine that.
So that the Soviet authorities had no basis on which to determine whether Oswald was or was not a citizen of the United States or of six other countries.
Mr. DULLES. Except the fact that they had seen his passport and knew of the existence of his American passport.
Mr. SNYDER. On that basis, they would-well, he was certainly an American citizen when he entered as far as they were concerned; yes, sir.
Representative FORD. Is a person who is stateless the same as a person who is "without citizenship"?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir; this distinction is only in translation, Mr. Ford.
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Snyder, in the passport application, at the bottom there is a place where you have to cross out "have" or "'have not" in connection with four questions. Could you read into the record the printed part at the bottom of the application?
Mr. DULLES. Would you just clarify for us what application this is?
Mr. COLEMAN. This is the application for the passport renewal which Oswald signed----
Mr. DULLES. For the American passport to return to the United States?
Mr. COLEMAN. Well, this is a renewal of the passport.
Mr. DULLES. A renewal of the passport to return to the United States?
Mr. SNYDER. It says, "I have have not--been naturalized as a citizen of a foreign state; taken an oath or made an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state; entered or served in, the armed forces of a foreign state; accepted, served in, or performed the duties of, any office, post or employment under the government of a foreign state or political subdivision thereof; voted in a political election in a foreign state or participated in an election or plebiscite to determine the sovereignty over foreign territory; made a formal renunciation of nationality, either in the United States or before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state; been convicted by court martial of deserting the military, air or naval service of the United States in time of war, or of committing any act of treason against or of attempting by force to overthrow, or of bearing arms against the United States; or departed from or remained outside the jurisdiction of the United States for the purpose of evading or avoiding training and service in the military, air or naval forces of the United States.
"If any of the above-mentioned acts or conditions are applicable to the applicant's case, or to the case of any other person included in this application, a supplementary statement under oath should be attached and made a part hereof."
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Snyder, as I read the application, what you did was to cross out the "have not" which means that Oswald was stating that he had done one of those acts which you have read, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. This is what it would mean.
Mr. COLEMAN. Which one of the various acts that you have read was it your impression that Oswald was admitting that he had done?


Mr. SNYDER. Well, there are two possibilities here. One possibility is that the crossing out of "have not" is a clerical error, and that he did not intend to do this.
Mr. COLEMAN. How could that be a possibility. Don't you pretty much negate that possibility by the fact that you did require him to fill out the questionnaire which only has to be filled out if he admits that he has done one of the various acts?
Mr. SNYDER. No; the questionnaire is filled out routinely in Moscow in any kind of problem case.
Mr. COLEMAN. Even though the citizen has done none of the acts which are set forth in the passport renewal application?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; well, I say in a problem case. I don't mean an American tourist coming in to get his passport renewed, on whom there is no presumption of any problem at all. But a person who has resided in the Soviet Union----
Mr. COLEMAN. Is it your testimony this is only a typographical error?
Mr. SNYDER. This is one possibility. The other possibility is that he may have said, "I have taken an oath or made an affirmation or formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state."
He had, on several occasions, you know, stated that his allegiance was to the Soviet Union.
He may have put this down--that is, he may have said "have", having that act in mind, knowing that I knew it, and that there was no need to attempt to hide the fact. This is possible.
Mr. COLEMAN. Do you recall just what you had in mind on July 10 when he gave you that application filled out in the manner it was?
Mr. SNYDER. I am sorry, I don't think I understand the question.
Mr. COLEMAN. Then I will withdraw it and rephrase it. Do you now recall what reaction you had in mind when you received the application which had been crossed out in such a way that indicated that he was admitting that he had done one of the various acts which are set forth on the form?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I don't. Of course what I would have been concerned with at the time in more detail really is the questionnaire, which is an expansion of this paragraph, and is much more meaningful. So I would have been concerned. both with what he said on the questionnaire and with the facts of his case whether he thought he committed one of these acts is not material to the fact of whether he had committed it or whether he lost his citizenship thereby.
At any rate, my attention would have been directed to the expanded questionnaire in which he had to fill out individual paragraphs concerning each one of these things, and to a determination of the facts in the case.
Mr. DULLES. Do you recall whether or not that striking out was noted at the time the passport application or extension was considered?
Mr. SNYDER. I do not, Mr. Dulles; no.
Representative FORD. Did you have his file out and looking at it, reading it, studying at the time he was there and this came up?
Mr. SNYDER. I presume I did, Mr. Ford, but--I am sure his file was there. But in any event, I was the officer handling his case. Having written virtually everything in the file from the outgoing point of view, I was very well familiar with it.
Mr. COLEMAN. In any event, having received the questionnaire and the application, you determined that Mr. Oswald was entitled to an American passport, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. And you sent forward the application and the questionnaire in the Foreign Service Despatch of July 11, 1961, which has been marked Exhibit No. 935, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. And your recommendation was that the passport should issue--the passport office should issue a new passport, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. I would issue the passport; yes.
Mr. COLEMAN. And also on the same day, at the end of the interview on July 10, 1961, you returned to Mr. Oswald the American passport which he had given you in 1969. Is that correct?


Mr. SNYDER. Yes.
Mr. COLEMAN. Didn't you stamp that passport before you returned it to him? I show you Commission Exhibit No. 946 and ask you would you indicate to the Commission----
Mr. DULLES. Could I ask one question before the witness answers this question? Was that application and questionnaire considered in the State Department before the passport was issued, or was the passport issued on general instructions before they received this application?
Mr. SNYDER. I will have to correct a word we used before. It is renewal, and not issuance.
His passport was good for another 2 years if we renewed, and he was applying for renewal of his passport, not issuance of a new one.
In either event, the issuance or renewal would have been done by the Embassy, by me.
Mr. COLEMAN. The problem, Mr. Dulles, is the existing passport he had, by its term, would expire September 1961, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. And you felt he would not be able to get out of the Soviet Union prior to September 1961, and therefore his existing passport would have to be renewed?
Mr. SNYDER. I don't recall offhand what the purpose of renewing the passport at that time was. There was no prospect of his leaving the Soviet Union at that time, and probably not for quite some time to come, in my estimation, and based upon my experience with other cases he would have required his passport, and I presume this is why I was returning it to him.
Mr. COLEMAN. On July 10, 1961, you did two things with respect to the passport. First, you returned to him his old passport, isn't that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. I think I did I might reread my despatch and see.
Mr. COLEMAN. And, second, you accepted his application for renewal of the passport.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; my mind is clear on that. Yes; I recall now.
Mr. COLEMAN. When you returned to him his old passport, you first stamped the old passport?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes.
Mr. COLEMAN. Will you indicate for the record how you stamped the old passport?
Mr. SNYDER. The passport was marked "This passport is valid only for direct travel to the United States." (Commission Exhibit No. 946, p. 6.)
Mr. DULLES. Are you quite clear you returned the passport to him before he made his final plans to return?
Mr. SNYDER. I am not entirely----
Mr. COLEMAN. Sir, before you answer the question, I suggest if you look at the Foreign Office Despatch dated July 11, 1961, you will find that you told the Department what you did at the time.
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes.
Mr. DULLES. Could that be read into the record--just what he did say about the handling of the passport at that time--that is July what?
Mr. SNYDER. July 8, 1961.
This was July 8. "Oswald intends to institute an application"----
Mr. COLEMAN. Pardon me. Wasn't it really July 10? July 8 was the day he came over to the Embassy just for a few moments. Then he came back on the 10th.
Mr. SNYDER. I don't know. It isn't clear from my despatch, I would say.
Mr. COLEMAN. Would you read----
Mr. SNYDER. Actually, if we knew what day of the week the 8th was----
Mr. COLEMAN. Subject to check, it was a Saturday.
Mr. SNYDER. "Oswald intends to institute an application for an exit visa ira-mediately upon his return to Minsk within the next few days. His American passport was returned to him for this purpose after having been amended to be valid for direct travel---for direct return to the United States only."
Mr. COLEMAN. In that same Foreign Service Despatch you indicated at the end


that you were sending to the Passport Office in Washington the application for renewal, isn't that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; that is right.
Representative FORD. May I ask Mr. Snyder--on Commission Exhibit No. 938, where Oswald said, "I have been naturalized as a citizen 0 a foreign state," and so forth--if that was the only statement that was made, what effect would that have had on his application either for a renewal or a new Passport?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, it would have the effect of flagging the consular officer to ask some questions, Mr. Ford.
Representative FORD. Would it have automatically disqualified him for renewal or the issuance of a new passport?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir.
Representative FORD. Not under the law or the regulations?
Mr. SNYDER. Not to the best of my knowledge. In other words, what he says, to my knowledge, is immaterial to a finding of his loss of nationality. It is the act which counts.
Mr. COLEMAN. I don't think that is quite the Congressman's question. His question is if he had actually naturalized himself, could he be entitled to get an American passport?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, no; of course, if he had committed the act of accepting naturalization in a foreign state, he could not have. He would have lost his American citizenship.
Representative FORD. But limiting your knowledge to what he said in this paragraph, this in and of itself would have precluded either the issuance of a new passport or renewal?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I don't think we can say that, Mr. Ford, because no matter what he says in there, this does not affect his right---does not affect his American citizenship. It is the determination of facts which determines it. And the only thing this does, really--well, the first thing it does is to alert the consular officer to start asking him some questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, I have a call from the Court. I must go over there now. We have the Court conference at 2 o'clock. Will someone be here to preside at 2 o'clock?
Representative FORD. Mr. Chairman, I have to leave, too. We have a quorum call over on the floor of the House. I can be back at 2. But I do have to leave at the present time.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you be back at 2 to preside until I return from the Court?
Representative FORD. I would be very glad to Mr. Chairman.
Senator COOPER. Mr. Chairman. I will be able. to be here part of the time this afternoon. But we are voting this afternoon. I don't know exactly what time.
Mr. DULLES. I will be here at 2:30, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, fine.
Representative FORD. May I ask how much longer you intend to go on?
Mr. COLEMAN. I think I can finish in about 4 minutes with Mr. Snyder.
Representative FORD. Off the record.
(Discussion off the record.)
Representative FORD. Back on the record. We will recess now until 2 o'clock.
(Whereupon, at 12:25 p.m., the President's Commission recessed.)
Afternoon Session
The President's Commission reconvened at 2 p.m.
Representative FORD. The Commission will come to order. Will you proceed.
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Snyder, we have marked as Commission Exhibit No. 947,


which is a covering airgram and another copy of the application for renewal of passport, which is a copy which remained in the Embassy at Moscow until May 29, 1964, when it was sent to the State Department.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 947 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. I show it to you, sir, to' call your attention that on this copy the "X" is over the "have" rather than the "have not."
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. I had originally shown you Exhibit No. 938, which was the other copy of the application for renewal of passport.
I take it when you compare those two copies, you note that one is not a direct offset of the other.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. Do you have an explanation of why on July 10, two separate typings were made of the application for renewal?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir; I do not.
Mr. COLEMAN. Also on or about July 11, 1961, at the same time you were interviewing Oswald, the State Department was sending instructions, answering your earlier despatch of May 26, 1961, is that correct? I show you Commission Exhibit No. 937.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 937 for identification.)
Mr. SNYDER. This communication would have been received after my departure from Moscow.
Mr. COLEMAN. You never saw that communication?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir.
Mr. COLEMAN. That communication does indicate, doesn't it, that the State Department was saying, that based upon its records, that Oswald had not expatriated himself, or was still technically an American citizen?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; the one operative sentence there in the communications states, "In any event in the absence of evidence showing that Mr. Oswald had definitely lost United States citizenship he apparently maintains that technical status."
Mr. COLEMAN. But you say you never saw that document?
Mr. SNYDER. No; this arrived after I departed from the post.
Mr. COLEMAN. I show you Commission Exhibit No. 939, the State Department operations memorandum dated August 18, 1961, and ask you if you saw it?
Mr. SNYDER. No; it arrived after I left.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 939 for identification.)
Mr. COLEMAN. On July 8 and July 10, when Oswald was at the Embassy, did you see his wife, Marina?
Mr. SNYDER. Not to the best of my knowledge, Mr. Coleman.
Mr. COLEMAN. Did you have any knowledge that she was also in Moscow?
Mr. SNYDER. I don't really know. I can't say whether at that time I had knowledge that she was or not. I don't ever recall having seen her, no.
Mr. COLEMAN. When you spoke to Oswald on the 8th or on the 10th of July, did he indicate that his wife was in Moscow?
Mr. SNYDER. I am sorry, I don't know.
Mr. COLEMAN. In connection with the various decisions you have made in this matter, did you consult with anyone?
Mr. SNYDER. I think perhaps the word "consult" isn't quite the word. I kept my superiors informed of what I was doing, and, of course, they did see my communications, and in most cases countersigned them before they went out. But in the sense of asking their opinion of what I ought to do, I don't think so.
Mr. COLEMAN. Did anyone instruct you as to what particular decision you should make in connection with any requests made by Mr. Oswald?
Mr. SNYDER. No; this was my responsibility, really. There was no one who was presumed to know more about it at the post than I did. I mean in the sense that I was the officer in charge of that activity.
Mr. COLEMAN. There is one other question, sir.
We have some information that Oswald stated that in 1959, when he was in


the hospital, that he was in the same ward with an elderly American. Do you have any idea who the elderly American could have been?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I am afraid not.
Mr. COLEMAN. Would there be any record in the Embassy which would indicate what Americans were in Moscow at that time, and whether there was an elderly American who had been hospitalized?
Mr. SNYDER. We kept an informal file of all information relating to the presence of Americans any place in the Soviet Union.
In other words, any time we had a report of any kind, of any level of credibility, we kept some kind of a record. It was known that there were Americans in the Soviet Union under various circumstances against their own will, or persons who might be Americans, or might have had a claim to American citizenship, who might have been dual nationals--one doesn't know. But we would get reports occasionally from a state camp, a labor camp, of a sighting of an American, or a person who claimed to be an American. This sort of thing.
Mr. COLEMAN. Would that information be in a special file in the Embassy, or would it be spread throughout various files?
Mr. SNYDER. No; it was in, as I recall, a separate informal listing. In other words, they were also reported to the Department of State. The chances are that the Department also maintained----
Mr. COLEMAN. Have you any idea what that file might be called, if we were going to ask for it by name what name we would give so that the people in Moscow would know what we are trying to take a look at?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I don't. But it would most likely have been under "Welfare and Whereabouts." The files in Moscow, I might say, the classified files are not that extensive. I mean they were one-drawer files for the most part that we officers worked on ourselves, physically.
Mr. COLEMAN. When Oswald came in to see you in 1959, did you have any feeling that somebody was coaching him, or had instructed him what to say or do?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, I think I am accurate in saying at that time I assumed he had been in contact with some level of Soviet representative or official and had discussed his intended actions, and perhaps had had some advice from them as to what to do or how to approach things--in the sense that his words were somebody else's, I don't think I could say, because he gave me the impression, the times I saw him, of an intelligent person who spoke in a manner, and on a level, which seemed to befit his apparent level of intelligence.
However, he did say in my first interview with him either "I have been told what you are going to tell me," or "I am very familiar with the arguments you are going to use on me," or words to this effect, which would be the most direct evidence, shall we say, that he had discussed what he intended to say, and how he intended to handle himself, before he came in to me.
But, in any event, I think it is a foregone conclusion, from what I know of the procedures and things like this, that he was in contact with a Soviet official, he was under somebody's charge in a sense during the time he was there. This was certainly the pattern in the Petrulli case. My whole knowledge of the system and the way it works, the whole internal consistency of it, would lead me to believe that this were the case, unless I had firm evidence to believe otherwise.
Mr. COLEMAN. How about when he reappeared on July 8 and 10, 1961? Did you feel he was being coached at that time in connection with his attempt to get his passport returned to him?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I don't have any direct evidence that he was coached, I think, in the terms in which you mean. For one thing, his manner of speech and his general approach to the degree that I recall it was, well, less stiff, less formal, and certainly less haughty than it had been on the first occasion. He also didn't use with me the kind of Marxist sloganeering which I got from him on the first interview, which also, I think, is in a sense an evidence of his having been well briefed on his talk with me.
The second time around this was pretty much absent from his conversation.
Mr. COLEMAN. You say you felt he was well briefed on his first conversation with you in 1969, but not in connection with his second?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, again, I cannot say that he was well briefed. I just don't


know. But I say, it seemed to me evident at the time that he had discussed with, presumably, a Soviet person or persons what he intended to do at the Embassy, and perhaps the line he should take at the Embassy.
Mr. COLEMAN. Well, how do you feel or do you think there is any special significance to the way he entered the Soviet Union from Helsinki in October of 1959?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, there is some significance perhaps, but not a great amount of significance. As most travelers, most tourist travelers come into the Soviet Union on a prearranged tour--many do come from Helsinki. Many of them do not come to Moscow. They go only to Leningrad, spend a day or two, and go back again across the border. It is the shortest entry onto Soviet territory from non-Communist territory.
It was at least one other case, when I was in Moscow, of a person--that is with possible defecting intent, who came into the Soviet Union through Helsinki, and who got his visa apparently directly at the Soviet Embassy, which I think is what Oswald did, although. I cannot be sure. But it was my impression at the time that he did not have a prepared tourist tour sort of thing. But I cannot be sure on this point.
Mr. COLEMAN. Do you draw any significance from the fact that he was able to come from Minsk into Moscow on July 8, apparently without any difficulty?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I cannot say that he came without any difficulty. He may have had considerable difficulty. It was my feeling that he would have some difficulty in coming to Moscow.
Representative FORD. Did you make any inquiry about that? Did that rouse your curiosity, that he was able to come?
Mr. SNYDER. No; because I expected that he would be able to come, Mr. Ford. As a matter of fact, the letter which I wrote to him in reply to the first letter to me which I received was very carefully worded with this in mind. It was written, for one thing, partly addressed to the Soviet authorities who would read it. And partly to Oswald--which could be used by him in a sense should he run up against real difficulties in getting permission to come to Moscow.
At any rate, I think it was my feeling at the time that he probably could come to the Embassy, although it might cost him considerable difficulty. But I saw no reason to spare him this difficulty.
Mr. COLEMAN. Is there any other information you have which you think the Commission would be interested in in connection with its work and its investigation?
Mr. SNYDER. I can't really--well, let me say that I don't know of any other facts pertinent to the investigation, or pertinent to Oswald in any way which I have not presented, at least not knowingly.
There may well be---there is much that I could elaborate on, on what I have said, relating to Oswald. There are a good deal of small things which perhaps under further questioning might be elicited.
But I am not aware of anything which I have not mentioned and which is in any way pertinent, and which ought to be mentioned.
There are other observations about Oswald and this sort of thing I suppose I could elaborate on to some extent.
Representative FORD. Earlier in the interrogation, Mr. Coleman had you outline what transpired the day that Oswald walked into the Embassy, in the first instance?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Representative FORD. The Commission has in the various papers picked up following Oswald's apprehension, and murder, what purports to be his observations or his diary during his stay in the Soviet Union. Have you read any of those?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir.
Representative FORD. He describes in one of these documents his experience that day he came into the Embassy. Would you in some detail relate that again, as you understand what transpired? What time of day it was, where you were, in what office, and so forth. Who was with you, if anybody.
Mr. SNYDER. I might begin, I think, as I began originally, by stating that I don't recall the time of day. But from my knowledge of the facts of the case, and the fact that I told him the Embassy was closed and so forth, it had to have


been either a Wednesday or a Saturday afternoon, if not a Sunday. I am told that the date on which he came actually was a Saturday, so I presume it was a Saturday afternoon that he came.
Representative FORD. Don't spare of the detail, because it would be interesting to get your version and his as he purportedly related it in a document of his own subsequently.
Mr. SNYDER. I am not sure whether he was brought in to me or whether I went out and met him at the door and brought him in. I don't recall whether one of my secretaries might have been on duty that afternoon. Normally, she would not have been.
I believe that Mr. McVickar was working in the office adjoining mine. The offices in Moscow are quite small and the door between our offices is usually open. And I think that Mr. McVickar told me he was in the next office.
There was no one in the office with me at the time I saw him.
Oswald was well dressed and very neat appearing when he came in. I don't recall whether he was wearing a suit and shirt and tie. But at any rate, his appearance impressed me at the time. And I recall that he looked very presentable.
He was very curt, very proper. At no time did he insult me or anything of that sort personally. He was just proper, but extremely curt.
Representative FORD. Did he just walk in the door and you were seated at your desk? What was the way in which you first spoke to one another?
Mr. SNYDER. I don't recall whether he was ushered into my office by the secretary or one of the employees, or whether I was told that there was someone waiting for me outside, and I went and got him. It is unlikely that he walked into the offices, because he would have had to walk through two other offices to get to mine.
Well, he stated--he gave me a written statement, which is in the record, almost immediately upon his arrival, I believe.
Representative FORD. That is Commission Exhibit No. 913.
Mr. SNYDER He stated in effect that he had come to the Soviet Union to live in the Soviet Union, that he desired to renounce his American citizenship, though I don't think he used the word "renounce"--I think he used another word--but that he desired to renounce his American citizenship. That his allegiance was to the Soviet Union.
I think initially this was pretty much what his statement was. And would I please do what was necessary to get this over with.
Well, during this period of the interview, as far as I recall, he was standing. And he may have seated himself some time later in it. But I think for the initial part of the interview, he remained standing and declined to take a seat.
When I began to question him, he then rejoined with words to the effect, "I know what" or "I have been told what you are going to ask me, you are going to try to talk me out of this, and don't waste your time, please let's get on with the business."
I then asked him--I continued to probe and see where I could find a chink in his armor some place. And I think that the initial chink which I found was regarding his relatives and place of residence in the United States.
I had his passport. I don't recall whether he handed it to me, though he probably did, or whether I asked him for it.
I noted that on the inside of the cover page of his passport his home address had been crossed out.
When I asked him where he lived, he declined to tell me. When I asked him about his relatives--I had noted from his passport that he was 20 years old. When I asked him about his relatives, he also said this was none of my business, and would I please get on with the business.
Well, I told him at that time, or fairly early in the interview, having found this kind of chink I could work on, I told him that I would have to know certainly where he lived in the United States in order to do anything else with his case.
At that stage, he kind of hemmed and hawed a bit and said--well, I live at so and so. And from there on it opened the crack a li recall--quite so adamant about refusing this kind of question as he did about questions closer to the bone. That is, what knowledge do you have of Marxism, or where did you first come across this, or did you meet someone in the Marines?
Representative FORD. Did you go into those questions in your probing with him?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes; this sort of question he parried. I won't say he parried them--he simply refused to answer them. The only thing which he did say in the interview was "I am a Marxist." And I recall telling him then in a jocular vein, which evoked no response, that he was going to be a very lonesome man in the Soviet Union.
But I found at that point, and from there on, that for all I could determine he was completely humorless. And this was my impression of him on the other occasions on which I saw him. He was intense and humorless.
Representative FORD. What prompted the breakup of the interview, or the meeting?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, the interview finally broke up when I couldn't get any more out of him.
Representative FORD. Was he satisfied or dissatisfied with the result of his conference with you?
Mr. SNYDER. I think he was dissatisfied, if anything. I think he had come in there to renounce his citizenship, and had found himself thwarted. It is quite possible, though, this is reading into it things which were not necessarily evident to me at the time. It is quite possible that this was to be his big moment on the stage of history as far as he was concerned. He may have contemplated this for some time, as he said--and thus my refusal at that time to complete his renunciation may have been a hurdle which he had been totally unprepared for.
Representative FORD. Did he demand at any time that this was a right he had to renounce his citizenship, and demand why you would not permit him to proceed?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, I cannot really reconstruct our conversations on that line. But I clearly pointed out to him his right. And he did decline as I recall, to have me read the law to him. He said he was familiar with it, or something, so that I need not read the law to him. So I pointed out, I believe, at that time he had a right, as any citizen has a right to give up his citizenship if he so desires.
That other consideration is that the consul has a certain obligation towards the individual, and also towards his family, to see that a person--or that the consul at least does not aid and encourage an individual, and particularly a 20-year-old individual, to commit an irrevocable act on the spur of the moment or without adequate thought.
But I told him in any event that the consulate was closed that afternoon, that I had no secretary there to prepare the papers. and that if he would come back during normal business hours I would, of course, go through with it.
So I don't think that he left the room happy--if I can use that term--in his attitude towards me.
I recall probing a bit on the subject of the formation of his attitudes towards Marxism. I developed at this time the impression that he really had no knowledgeable background at all of Marxism. I think I asked him if he could tell me a little bit about the theory of labor value, or something like that, and he hadn't the faintest notion of what I was talking about--I mean something basic to Marxism. And I probed around a bit as to the sources of his attitudes. And I think the only thing he told me at the time was that he had


been doing some reading, and that is about as far as I got. On that subject, he simply would not be drawn out.
Representative FORD. Did you ask him anything about his knowledge of the Russian language? Did he volunteer anything?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; I did ask him a bit about that. He said he had been studying Russian. And, again, I had the impression---I don't recall--I may have spoken some Russian to him--but I at least formed the impression that he did not know very much Russian. I don't think he could have gotten along on his own in Russian society. I don't think he could have done more than buy a piece of bread, maybe.
Representative FORD. Did he converse with any other member of the staff at the Embassy, to your knowledge, during the time of this first visit?
Mr. SNYDER. No, no; at this time he definitely did not. And I don't think that he did during the time I was there unless it was simply a passing word with the receptionist, or something of this sort.
But as far as I know, he had no knowledgeable conversation with anyone there.
Actually, there were only--well, when he first came there were only two officers, McVickar and myself, and at the time I left, three officers, with whom he might have talked. And it is inconceivable that either of the other two officers would have talked to him, knowing my interest in the case, or if I were not there somebody would have done so without making a memo for the file and for me of the conversation.
Representative FORD. In retrospect, assuming the tragic events that did transpire last year didn't take place, and this circumstance was presented to you again in the Embassy in Moscow, would you handle the case any differently?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I don't think so, Mr. Ford. You mean in terms of would I have taken his renunciation? No; I think not.
Representative FORD. In other words, you would have put him off, or stalled him off, in this first interview, make him come back again?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; I would have.
(At this point, Mr. Dulles entered the hearing room.)
Mr. SNYDER. Particularly, since he was a minor. Normally, it would have been, I think, my practice to do this in any event, though. Obviously no two cases are alike, and the consul must decide. But particularly in the case of a minor, I could not imagine myself writing out the renunciation form, and having him sign it, on the spot, without making him leave my office and come back at some other time, even if it is only a few hours intervening.
Representative FORD. In one of the despatches I believe you sent to Washington, you indicated that you had informed the press--I don't recall what exhibit that is.
Mr. SNYDER. I think I said, "Press informed."
Mr. COLEMAN. Commission Exhibit No. 910, sir.
Representative FORD. You say, "Press informed." Is that the same as informing the press?
Mr. SNYDER. No; this simply----
Representative FORD. What is the difference?
Mr. SNYDER. This simply tells the Department that the press is onto the case, and that they can expect something from Moscow on it. The Department hates to be caught by surprise, they hate to read something in the newspapers before they have gotten it back home. And I am simply telling them that the Moscow press corps is aware of Oswald's presence, and that there would likely be some dispatches from the press from MoscOw on the case.
Representative FORD. That doesn't mean the Embassy informed the press?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, no.
Representative FORD. How did you know the press had been informed?
Mr. SNYDER. Again right at the moment, I cannot say. At what stage--- Priscilla Johnson, I think, was one of the first to be aware of Oswald. Just how she became aware of him, and Just where I became aware of her knowledge of him, I don't quite know. But this, I think, was quite early in the game.
Representative FORD. Was he given much attention by the press in Moscow?


Mr. SNYDER. I cannot really speak with great authority on the point. I don't think so. This is based on several things.
One, there was very little about Oswald, I think, at the time other than what was sent in by Priscilla Johnson.
Secondly, I believe that Oswald himself had declined to talk to some other press persons of the American press corps.
Priscilla, as I recall, was the only one who seemed to have an entree to him
Representative FORD. But you did not inform the American press in Moscow of Oswald?
Representative FORD. Did you ever talk to any of the American press or any other of the press, about Oswald at this time?
Mr. SNYDER. No; not that I recall, Mr. Ford. It was my normal practice not to discuss cases of this kind. They were occurring all the time in Moscow. If it wasn't one kind it was another. And it was my practice not to discuss the details of such cases with the press simply because the cases---each one being different in any event--the cases were always ticklish. And every little bit helped or hurt in a case of this kind. And the consul needed, to the extent possible, to minimize the forces acting on the case, so that---and the press understood this very well.
Representative FORD. Were you familiar with his interview with Miss Mosby?
Mr. SNYDER. I don't recall that I was. I knew that Priscilla Johnson had seen him and had been seeing him.
But I don't recall that I was aware that Ellie Mosby had seen him.
Representative FORD. You were acquainted with Miss Mosby as well as Priscilla Johnson?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes; very well.
Representative FORD. Are any of these stories that these correspondents write on these defector cases ever checked out with your office, or people, in corresponding position?
Mr. SNYDER. Normally not, I would say.
Representative FORD. Were you at all aware of the 5,000 rubles that Oswald was given by Soviet authorities or by an agency of the Soviet Union which is sometimes called, I guess, the Red Cross? Are you at all aware of that?
Representative FORD. Are you aware of that organization in the Soviet Union?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes.
Representative FORD. Would you describe it for us, as far as you know what it is?
Mr. SNYDER. Well----
Representative FORD. 5,000 rubles excuse me.
Mr. SNYDER. This was the old rubies at that time. No; I don't----
Mr DULLES. For the record, what was the date of the change in the value of the ruble? I think I remember it. It was around 1960--May-June of 1960, I think. When it went into effect, I don't remember.
Mr. SNYDER. I am sorry, I don't either, Mr. Dulles. It was during my term there. It seemed to me it was in the second half of my tour in Moscow. But I cannot really recall.
Mr. DULLES. I think somewhere in the record that ought to appear. I have an idea it was May of 1960.
Mr. EHRLICH. January 1, 1961.
Mr. DULLES. That is when it went into effect?
Mr. EHRLICH. It was officially revalued.
Mr. DULLES. January 1, 1961--let the record show that--the ruble was re-valued, so that it took about 10 rubles to make 1 new ruble.
Representative FORD. So 5,000 rubles in 1959 was not an inconsequential amount.
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, no.
Mr. DULLES. It wasn't very much.
Mr. SNYDER. No; but 5,000 rubles at that time was probably two-thirds to three-quarters of the monthly salary of an average Soviet worker.
Representative FORD. Could you describe----


Mr. DULLES. About $500, isn't it, roughly---10 to 1 in those days?
Mr. SNYDER. Wait a minute; yes.
Mr. DULLES. It was a considerable sum.
Representative FORD. It would be more than a month's salary, then.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes; an average month's salary at the time was about 750 rubles, something around there.
Mr. DULLES. I think the legal rate was 20 cents, but the sort of going rate was around 10, I think. I think you could buy tourist rubles around 10, as I recall--10 to the dollar. The legal rate, I think, was 5 to the dollar.
Mr. SNYDER. No; I think the legal rate was 10 to a dollar, Mr. Dulles.
Mr. CHAYES. In the same letter that states the date, which we supplied to the Commission at the Commission's request, it states that the legal rate was to 1 until January 1961. But that was the official rate.
Mr. DULLES. I understand.
Mr. SNYDER. There were different rates. The official rate was not the rate which was used for all things. For instance, we got 10 to 1 for our rubles. The so-called official rate was used, for instance, in clearing foreign trade accounts and this sort of thing.
Representative FORD. Can you tell us your impression of this so-called Red Cross in the Soviet Union?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, again, I cannot speak of--about the Soviet Red Cross with any great personal knowledge. It is not a Red Cross organization in quite the sense in which we know it. It is clearly an organ of the State in a totalitarian state, which means it is not an independent organization, and its policies flow from the policy of the state, and of the central committee.
I don't think that the Soviet Red Cross conducts public fund-raising campaigns, for instance, in the way ours does.
It also is not an organization to which an individual might turn routinely for assistance as he might in our society.
Since the Soviet State does not admit that there is need in the Soviet Union, that there can be poverty or difficulty for which there are not organizations already in existence who are fully competent to deal with such problems, since they don't admit this kind of a situation--they also do not admit of public welfare organs in a sense such as the Red Cross.
Representative FORD. Do you know of any other cases during your period of service there where there were payments by this organization to American citizens, or Americans,. those who had given up or tried to give up or failed to give up their citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir; as a matter of fact, the only way in which the Soviet Red Cross impinged upon my experience in Moscow was that they were the organ for handling whereabouts inquiries of persons living in the Soviet Union. If an American citizen wrote to the Embassy asking our assistance in locating a relative in the Soviet Union, this inquiry would go from us to the Soviet Red Cross, who was charged under the Soviet system of things with actually checking into it and letting us know if they felt that was in their interest. This was the only way in which the Soviet Red Cross impinged upon us.
I do recall on a few occasions advising persons who had come into the Embassy in one way or another and who were in dire need that they go to the Soviet Red Cross.
But the reaction of such persons indicated to me that they felt the Soviet Red Cross was not the place to go.
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Snyder, had you ever heard, while you were in the Embassy in Moscow, the secret police referred to as the Red Cross?
Mr. COLEMAN. You never heard the MVD, for example, referred to in that way?
Mr. SNYDER. No; to my knowledge--I mean there is an organization called the Soviet Red Cross, which carries on at least in the international sphere some of the normal activities of international Red Cross organizations.
The big point of departure is that they on the one hand are not independent organizations as they are in free societies, but they are an organ of the state.


And, secondly, I do not think they have the same role internally that our Red Cross organizations do.
Mr. DULLES. Have you heard of it being used in other instances for what might be called extraneous payments--that is, payments not related to Red Cross work?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir.
Representative FORD. Is there a policy that you were familiar with, as far as the Soviet Union was concerned, for permitting a person to apply for and be given Soviet citizenship?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes; there is a well-defined way of acquiring Soviet citizenship under Soviet law.
Representative FORD. Was Oswald familiar with that, as you could tell from your conversation with him?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, he obviously was familiar with what one does. That is, he had made application to the Supreme Soviet, which is what one does.
Representative FORD. Did he tell you that?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes.
Representative FORD. He did?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir; this is not something which is common knowledge. One would have to have inquired and found out, and had someone show you or give you the proper form on which to make application, and tell you where to address it, and this sort of thing.
Representative FORD. What did he tell you had happened when he did that?
Mr. SNYDER. All he said was that he had made application.
Representative FORD. He didn't indicate the application had been processed and approved?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I cannot recall what our conversation was on that score. It was quite clear that he had not received Soviet citizenship.
But, also, I would not have expected him to receive it that early in the game. I mean, for one thing the Supreme Soviet does not act on these things on a continuing basis, but acts upon them periodically.
Representative FORD. En masse, so to speak?
Mr. SNYDER. That is right. It has them on its calendar. So many times a year it acts on petitions for Soviet citizenship, presumably.
Presumably before it is sent to the Supreme Soviet with a favorable recommendation by the various Government organs, a thorough investigation is made by MVD and other organs, and various officials presumably at different levels have got to stick their necks out and recommend he be accepted--that sort of thing.
Representative FORD. If you had known that Oswald was in Minsk, what would your reaction have been?
Mr. SNYDER. Serves him right.
Representative FORD. Why do you say that?
Mr. SNYDER. You have never been in Minsk.
Well, in the first place, my own feeling is that there is no better medicine for someone who imagines he likes the Soviet Union than to live there awhile.
Rep y in the Soviet Union, is a pretty grim experience to someone who has lived in our society--not necessarily American, but simply in western society. It might be just the same if he lived in Denmark, or some place. I mean to land up in Minsk, working in a grubby little little factory is quite a comedown.
Representative FORD. Have you ever been in Minsk?
Mr. SNYDER. I spent about an hour walking around Minsk, between trains, one time.


Representative FORD. Is there anything significant about him being sent to Minsk, as far as you are concerned?
Mr. SNYDER. No, no; the only pattern that I would discern is that it is in all cases to my knowledge all cases of which I have had knowledge, the invariable pattern of the Soviets is to send defectors somewhere outside of the capital city--to settle them in some city other than Moscow. There have been some minor exceptions to this.
What is the name--the British defector, and the two foreign office men Burgess and McLean. McLean lives or did live, until his death, just on the outskirts of Moscow.
Mr. DULLES. McLean is still alive.
Mr. SNYDER Pardon me Burgess. Is Burgess the one married to an American?
Mr. DULLES. Philby is married to an American.
Mr. SNYDER. One of the two, Burgess or McLean, is married to an American.
Mr. DULLES. McLean is.
Mr. SNYDER. I had an interview with McLean's mother-in-law at the Embassy. At any rate, this was one exception.
Representative FORD. It has been alleged that in Minsk there are certain training schools for foreigners, or possibly for citizens of the Soviet Union. Are you at all familiar with that? Is there any information you have on it?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I have not, Mr. Ford.
Representative FORD. Did you ever contact any Soviet officials about Oswald at the time of this first interview?
Representative FORD. Is that unusual or is that usual?
Mr. SNYDER. It is usual.
Representative FORD. In other words, you, in your capacity, would not normally contact a Soviet official about someone such as Oswald?
Mr. SNYDER. That is right; yes, sir. In other words, there is nothing at that stage of the game which--for which I would have any reason to go to the Soviet authorities.
Representative FORD. Even the fact that he had a visa 5 days overdue?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, of course, I am already aware in a sense and am acting under my awareness that he is living under controlled circumstances. He is not simply living in a hotel and nobody knows about it. That he is in contact with Soviet authorities, and is there with their knowledge and consent. So that----
Representative FORD. It is implied consent, even though it may not be official as far as the documents are concerned?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, actually, the document itself is quite eloquent on this subject, I think. There is the very negative fact that his visa is 5 days overdue, and he is still there that speaks pretty loudly for the fact that he is living there without a valid visa, at least without a valid visa in his passport, with the knowledge and consent of the Soviet authorities. It could hardly be otherwise.
Representative FORD. Mr. Dulles, we have a quorum call over on the floor of the House. I will have to leave. Will you take over as Chairman? I will be back shortly.
Mr. DULLES. Very gladly. I have one or two questions.
(At this point, Representative Ford withdrew from the hearing room.)
Mr. DULLES. Is there any question as to whether a minor can renounce his nationality?
Mr. SNYDER. To my knowledge, there is not. To my knowledge----
Mr. DULLES. I will withdraw that question and ask Mr. Chayes that when it comes, because that probably is a matter for him rather than for you.
Does the Embassy in Moscow have any facility for learning about or finding out about errant American citizens, or any American citizens that are wandering around Russia? Do they register at the Embassy?
Mr. SNYDER. They may.
Mr. DULLES. There is not a requirement?

731-221 O---64---vol. V----20

Mr. SNYDER. No; as a matter of fact, most do. Most that are in Moscow do stop in.
Mr. DULLES. There is a book in the Embassy that they can come in and sign?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes.
Mr. DULLES. Oswald did not sign in the book, I gather.
Mr. SNYDER. I don't think he would; no. There would be no need for him to. He came into the Embassy and spoke to an officer, which is a higher form of registration in a sense.
Mr. DULLES. For the record, how long was it after his arrival in Moscow that he reported to the Embassy?
Mr. COLEMAN. He arrived on October 16, and he didn't go into the Embassy until October 31.
Mr. DULLES. That was about the time has visa-his permission to stay was going to expire?
Mr. COLEMAN. His permission to stay as designated on his visa had already expired.
Mr. DULLES. Was that a 12-day?
Mr. COLEMAN. He was in the Soviet Union 15 days before he went to the American Embassy.
Mr. DULLES. How long was his permit good for?
Mr. COLEMAN. His permit was good for 6 days.
Mr. DULLES. Only 6 days? You, of course, get no word from the Soviet Union when they give visas to Americans to come into the country.
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, no, no; we get no cooperation from the Soviet authorities on anything concerning American citizens excepting in circumstances where they desire the Embassy's help. A citizen gets sick while he is traveling in the Soviet Union, and they want the Embassy assistance in some way or other. But even in such cases, surprisingly often, we do not hear from the Soviet authorities. We hear from the traveler himself, somehow, but not from the authorities.
Mr. DULLES. Am I correct in my understanding that the State Department, having issued a valid passport for travel abroad, had no way of knowing whether the owner of that passport is going to the Soviet Union or not?
Mr. SNYDER. Well, no.
Mr. DULLES. They have no way of knowing? So they have no way of informing you about it?
Mr. DULLES. I think there is a misunderstanding by a great many American people that there are certain countries that are named on the passport, which at one time I think was the case, but no longer is. As I recall it now an American passport was only stamped "Not good for Hungary," as I believe Oswald's passport was stamped. That has been changed,, has it not.
Mr. SNYDER. These stamps are changed a little from time to time.
Mr. DULLES. I will ask Mr. Chayes that question.
Mr. SNYDER. Hungary, North Korea, North Vietnam, and China----
Mr. COLEMAN. Now Cuba.
Mr. DULLES. Could I see that passport for a moment? I think at this particular time this passport was issued, I thought the only stamp was Hungary.
Mr. SNYDER. I think there must have been others, and Hungary was added after 1946.
Mr. DULLES. I will just read this.
"This passport is not valid for travel to the following areas under the control of authorities with which the United States does not have diplomatic relations: Albania, Bulgaria, and those portions of China, Korea, and Vietnam under Communist control."
Now, that speaks as of--this is a printed notice in the passport, and that speaks as of the date of issue of the passport, September 10, 1959. And then there is a stamp--I guess that is printed on the passport--also printed, in a special box, "This .passport is not valid for travel in Hungary."
Mr. CHAYES. And then that is superimposed with a void stamp when we took Hungary off the list of restricted areas.


Mr. DULLES. Right. I don't know whether that void stamp was put on in 1959--but it is not important as far as we are concerned.
In any event, this passport, as I understand, is perfectly good to travel to Russia without any notification to the State Department, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes.
Mr. COLEMAN. I should state for the record, sir, actually the application which Oswald filed on September 4, 1959, included Russia as a place where he intended to visit.
Mr. CHAYES. On the other hand, the State Department has no mechanism for notifying posts abroad of ordinary travel to those countries.
Mr. DULLES. I wonder if it would not be a convenience to you if in the case, let's say, of the Soviet Union, or possibly other Communist countries, just as a routine matter they took off this note from the passport so you would have some record there if anything turned up th LLES. You might; you might not. They don't always toll you. You don't think that would be of any particular value, though?
Mr. SNYDER. No; I don't, Mr. Dulles. Under any circumstances under which it was useful to the Embassy to know whether a person had said he was coming there, we can have the information by cable within 24 hours. So to attempt---it would seem to me to attempt to notify embassies abroad----
Mr. DULLES. I am not saying embassies abroad. I am saying the Soviet Union.
Mr. SNYDER. But why the Soviet Union and not Poland, CzechosloVakia, Bulgaria?
Mr. DULLES. I said the Communist countries, I think, before. I certainly would not do it for Britain, France, and friendly countries. There is no point.
Mr. SNYDER. This would involve a clerical job of major magnitude which from the Embassy's point of view I don't see that it would serve any purpose.
Mr. DULLES. Well, if a young man 20 years old just out of the Marines says he is going to the Soviet Union, isn't that of some significance?
Mr. SNYDER. Not necessarily. I mean in terms of the thousands of people thousands of Americans who flutter back and forth across the face of the earth----
Mr. DULLES. I am not talking about people floating back and forth across the earth. I am talking about people going to the Soviet Union.
Mr. SNYDER. In other words, if I had looked at Oswald's application at the time he made it, knowing nothing else about it than he had just gotten out of the Marines, I would not think it was so terribly unusual, or.of great interest to me that this young boy is taking a trip to a number of western European countries, including the Soviet Union. Nor would there be anything in such knowl edge which would in any way I think trigger any action on my part.
Mr. DULLES. Do you have any special instructions other than the ones that you have referred to about the handling of those that renounce their citizenship, or have you covered that, do you think, quite fully? Are there any special instructions that the Embassy in Moscow prescribed?
Mr. DULLES. There are none?
Mr. SNYDER. No; there are none; no, sir. This sort of thing is down to the meat of the consular officer's job. That is, he is out on his own pretty much on something of this sort. He has got to use his judgment, and such experience as he has, and such commonsense as he has.
Mr. DULLES. He has got to know the law, too---he has to know the law and regulations.
Mr. SNYDER. Oh, yes; if you don't know, the first thing you do is look up the regulation and the law and see what your basic requirement is.


In renunciation cases, it is a fairly simple matter--that is, for the consular officer, as far as the law is concerned. He doesn't have a large body of law. He has a specific law which tells him exactly what the conditions are for renouncing citizenship, and that is it.
Mr. DULLES. I differ from you a little bit, in the sense that I don't think if a young fellow 20 years old came in to me and wanted to renounce his citizenship, and if I were doing consular work, as I was at one time---I think I would feel that that was a pretty--rather a tough one to handle.
Mr. SNYDER. I don't say it is not tough to handle. What I meant to say was that the legal basis under which the consul, or within which the consul has to operate----
Mr. DULLES. I will talk to Mr. Chayes about the problem of a minor doing that.
Mr. SNYDER. From the consular's point of view it is a fairly simple one. It doesn't require a lot of legal research.
Mr. CHAYES. Just to have that in the record at this point the statute provides very clearly on the age problem, section 351(b) of the act provides that below 18 years the act specified--the citizen shall not be deemed to have expatriated himself by the commission prior to his 18th birthday of any of the acts specified in paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Mr. DULLES. That includes renunciation?
Mr. CHAYES. Yes, 6 is renunciation. But he has to assert---within 6 months after obtaining the age of 18 years---he has to assert his claim to U.S. nationality, in order to get this automatically. But I would think the courts would go further and hold that, especially where volunteerism is involved, as in renunciation, below 18 years is the cutoff point--not 21. It used to be 21, but the Congress reduced the age limit to 18.
Mr. DULLES. Well, that covers the point here. Was there anything about the Oswald case in the Soviet press at any time to your knowledge?
Mr. SNYDER. To my knowledge, there was not, Mr. Dulles.
Mr. DULLES. And the Soviet authorities have given you no information about Oswald that hasn't been communicated to us? You have no other information at all from the Soviet authorities about Oswald?
Mr. SNYDER. No, sir; I never communicated with the Soviet authorities about Oswald in any form, nor did they ever ask me anything about him.
Mr. DULLES. And you don't know any of the other circumstances under which his case was reconsidered after his attempted cutting of his wrists and suicide? You don't know what channels that went through in the Soviet Union?
Mr. SNYDER. I was not aware of this element of the case.
Mr. DULLES. You were not aware, of course, at that time of this element of the case. Do you know what intourist guides were in charge of him?
Mr. DULLES. Do you know any other case during the period when you were in Moscow of an American who had married a Soviet wife and was given an exist visa as quickly and as easily as Oswald and Marina were given theirs?
Mr. SNYDER. I don't know offhand whether Marina Oswald got her visa, her exit visa, that quickly and easily.
Mr. DULLES. Well, I think that is a matter of record--when she applied and when she got it.
Mr. COLEMAN. The American visa----
Mr. DULLES. This is the Soviet exit visa.
Mr. COLEMAN. You are talking about the Soviet passport? She applied for her passport----
Mr. DULLES. It is a visa to get out.
Mr. SNYDER. It is both. She needs a Soviet passport. They are issued at the same time.
Mr. DULLES. That is correct.
Mr. COLEMAN. She applied for her Soviet passport in July 1961. and she was informed that it would be issued to her approximately on December 25, 1961.
Mr. DULLES. About 6 months. Do you know of any case where that has been accomplished in 6 months, other than this case, during your' period there? I


don't think I ought to ask you about any period other than the period you were in the Soviet Union.
Mr. SNYDER. I think that a review perhaps of a few other of the cases of American citizens marrying Soviet girls during the time I was there might show that 6 months is not a terribly short period. There isn't, again, any standard for things like this. In the first place, so much depends upon the local officials in the beginning of the thing, and whether they drag their feet or don't, and how much pressure they put on the girl to talk her out of it, and all of this sort of business.
My offhand feeling is that 6 months is not an unusually short period of time, but it certainly is getting down to about probably the minimum of our experience with such things.
Mr. DULLES. That is all I have, Mr. Witness.
Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Chairman, at this time I would like to offer for the record Commission Exhibits 908 through 940 except for Exhibit 911, which we didn't identify.
Mr. DULLES. Let me take these one at a time.
Exhibits Nos. 908 through 940, except for Exhibit No. 911, shah be admitted.
(The documents heretofore marked for identification as Commission Exhibits Nos. 908-910, and 912~-940 were received in evidence.)
Mr. DULLES. Now, for the record, what about these two numbers that are omitted?
Mr. COLEMAN. When Mr. McVickar testifies he will be able to' identify the documents.
Mr. DULLES. You will have these admitted at a later date?
Mr. DULLES. Now, the second category you wanted to have admitted.
Mr. COLEMAN. I would like to also offer into evidence Commission Exhibit 946 which is the Oswald passport.
Mr. DULLES. It shall be admitted.
(The document referred, to heretofore identified as Commission Exhibit No. 946 for identification, was admitted into evidence.)
Mr. COLEMAN. I offer for the record Commission Exhibit No. 947 which is the second copy of the passport renewal application, which has been identified after lunch.
Mr. DULLES. And Exhibit No. 9