TESTIMONY OF CECIL E. TALBERT beginning at 15H182...

The testimony of Cecil E. Talbert was taken at 10: 45 a.m., on July 13, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Leon D. Hubert, Jr., assistant counsel of the President's Commission. Sam Kelley, assistant attorney general of Texas, and Dean Robert G. Storey, special counsel to the attorney general of Texas, were present.

Mr. HUBERT. This is the deposition of Captain Cecil E. Talbert. Captain Talbert, my name is Leon D. Hubert. I am a member of the advisory staff of the general counsel of the President's Commission.
Under the provisions of Executive Order 11130 dated November 29, 1963, and the joint resolution of Congress, No. 137, and the rules of procedure adopted by the President's Commission in conformance with that Executive order and the joint resolution, I have been authorized to take a sworn deposition from you, among others.
I state to you now that the general nature of the Commission's inquiry is to ascertain, evaluate and report upon the facts relevant to the assassination of President Kennedy and the subsequent violent death of Lee Harvey Oswald.
In particular as to you, Captain Talbert, the nature of the inquiry today is to determine what facts you know about the death of Oswald and any other pertinent facts you may know about the general inquiry.
I understand, Captain, that you appear today by virtue of a general request made to Chief Curry by Mr. J. Lee Rankin, general counsel of the staff of the President's Commission.
Under the rules adopted by the Commission, every witness has the right


to have a 3-day written notice personally directed to him prior to the taking of his deposition, but the rules also provide that any witness may waive that 3-day written notice if they wish.
Captain TALBERT. I wish to waive.
Mr. HUBERT. I will ask you now if you are willing.
Captain TALBERT. Please.
Mr. HUBERT. Will you stand and raise your right hand? Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Captain TALBERT. I do.
Mr. HUBERT. Captain Talbert, you have previously given a deposition in this matter, which I think was on March 24, 1964, isn't that correct?
Captain TALBERT. I gave a previous deposition; yes, sir. The date is correct.
Mr. HUBERT. For that reason, I will not make any attempt to take any information concerning who you are and so forth. I take it you are still with the police department in the capacity you were when your deposition was last taken?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, I want to inquire about a number of matters that were touched upon, I think, last time concerning which we need some elaboration, and that is the reason for calling you back. As I recall the matter, you came on duty on November 24 early in the morning to relieve Captain Frazier, is that not so?
Captain TALBERT. That is true.
Mr. HUBERT. What time, do you remember, did you come on duty?
Captain TALBERT. I would have to give you an approximation, sir, between 6 and 6:15 a.m.
Mr. HUBERT. What shift was it that you were coming on?
Captain TALBERT. It is referred to as the second platoon, working days, as it operates from 7 to 3.
Mr. HUBERT. But you came on sometime before the actual beginning?
Captain TALBERT. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Captain Frazier was there when you came?
Captain TALBERT. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Now I understand also that you proceeded to set up certain security measures in the entire building?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. You did not? What security measures did you begin to set up in the morning when you got there?
Captain TALBERT. Later in the morning at approximately 9 o'clock I instructed Lieutenant Pierce to get squads in to set up security measures in the basement.
Mr. HUBERT. The basement being referred to as the automotive drive area and the area where the prisoner, if he were transferred, would be exposed? That is to say, the basement would be the two ramps and the parking area, is that correct?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir; and the approach to the jail.
Mr. HUBERT. It is actually below the first floor?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. You had not taken any kind of security precautions prior to that?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Now what security precautions did you initiate at about 9 o'clock, you say, on November 24?
Captain TALBERT. I instructed Lieutenant Pierce to----
Mr. HUBERT. That is Rio Pierce?
Captain TALBERT. Yes; Rio Sam Pierce. I instructed him to go over the detail and pull three squads from each of the three outlying stations and four from central stations to acquire as many men as possible by utilizing two-man squads, and search the basement area, clear it, and then keep it cleared of everything but authorized personnel.
Mr. HUBERT. Now did you do that----
Captain TALBERT. By basement area, let me refer back again to the area that we previously defined.

731-231 O-64-Vol.XV---13

Mr. HUBERT. Did you do that on your own initiative, or were you directed or requested to do that by anyone?
Captain TALBERT. I did it on my own due to the buildup of public curiosity seekers around the building, as well as the buildup around the city jail, and traffic conditions in the downtown area on Sunday were extraordinarily heavy due to the situation that had just occurred. And I thought that if a transfer were made, then we should have some precautions to safeguard it, and also to keep from having chaos in attempting to do it immediately.
Mr. HUBERT. Were you aware then that the transfer of Oswald would be made by utilizing some part of the basement area, or were you just assuming that it would?
Captain TALBERT. Strictly an assumption, sir, and from the fact that he might not. Transfer was strictly an assumption from the press, what had been released in the press the day before.
Mr. HUBERT. In other words, you did not know at that time that Oswald would be transferred on Sunday?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Had you been in contact with any superior prior to the institution of these security precautions you have just described?
Captain TALBERT. I had talked to Chief Curry on the telephone in the early morning hours just prior to 7, somewhere along there.
Mr. HUBERT. I think you have already covered that in your previous deposition.
Captain TALBERT. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he at that time direct you to institute any security precautions?
Captain TALBERT. No.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you institute any security precautions other than the ones that you just described concerning the basement?
Captain TALBERT. That I described in the previous deposition, or presently?
Mr. HUBERT. No; in the present one.
Captain TALBERT. You mean further along in the morning, sir?
Mr. HUBERT. Well, no. I was thinking about security precautions in other areas than the basement at that time.
Captain TALBERT. No, sir. I didn't have the personnel.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you take any steps to initiate security precautions as to other areas than the basement at any time on Sunday?
Captain TALBERT. When the crowd began to get heavy, began to gather on Commerce Street, then on the Commerce Street side we had had the previous warning from the FBI and an anonymous caller of a possible mob action, so we moved the civilians from the north side of Commerce to the south side of Commerce and stationed, or had Sergeant Steele station some reserve officers out there to maintain the free sidewalk as well as the surveillance of the ground.
Mr. HUBERT. Was that done at your direction and order?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you receive instructions from some person higher in command than you to do it, or did you do it on your own initiative?
Captain TALBERT. I just saw the necessity of doing it, so I did it on my own initiative.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you ever receive from anyone any specific instructions concerning security precautions other than what you have mentioned?
Captain TALBERT. In reference to the original deposition, I pointed out in there about the receiving of instructions and transferring the prisoner from the city jail to the county jail. I received instructions on this.
Mr. HUBERT. From whom?
Captain TALBERT. From Chief Lumpkin and Chief Stevenson at the time they told me about the prisoner being transferred, that he would be transferred in an armored car.
Mr. HUBERT. About what time was that, do you know? I mean the time that you received that information and these instructions?
Captain TALBERT. I was trying to refer to something for a time. 10:30 to


10:45, somewhere in that vicinity. It would have been in the vicinity of 10:30 or 10:45.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you ever receive any other instructions concerning security from anyone?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir. Well, may I qualify that. You mean prior to Oswald's shooting?
Mr. HUBERT. Yes, sir.
Captain TALBERT. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you recall whether there were any conversations concerning the transfer of Oswald?
Captain TALBERT. I am sure there were many, but not in my presence.
Mr. HUBERT. What were your instructions to Lieutenant Pierce regarding the security measures he should take with reference to the basement area
Captain TALBERT. Clear it and seal it off, or seal it off rather and then clear it, and search it.
Mr. HUBERT. Would you describe what "seal it off" means?
Captain TALBERT. Station officers at the entrances or exits and insure unauthorized personnel not entering the area.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you go down to the basement yourself?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you examine to see all possible entrances and direct that the sealing off process cover those possible entrances?
Captain TALBERT. May I qualify again, or ask a question? Do you mean did I direct the actual sealing off?
Mr. HUBERT. Yes.
Captain TALBERT. No, sir; I did not. I examined it after it had been sealed off to see if it had been properly done, and in my opinion it had been.
Mr. HUBERT. Now the clearing process consisted of what? The clearing out or checking whether the building had been sealed, the basement had been sealed?
Captain TALBERT. Clearing all of the civilian employees out. They had a check. This was done before I went to the basement. But I was instructed, or not instructed, I mean informed after I went down to examine it, of the step by step process that had been taken in checking the news personnel back in, or checking them in the jail office that were in there.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, as I understand it, it was not all cleared out of everybody and then accredited personnel let in, but rather those that were in there were checked out to see if they were accredited?
Captain TALBERT. Right, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. I think the accreditation consisted of their being authentic news media people?
Captain TALBERT. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Now were you given any instructions to the effect that news media were to be permitted to remain in the basement?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Was it then your own initiative that news media were not to be removed from the basement?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. How did that come about?
Captain TALBERT. I qualify that in that Sergeant Putnam--as I recall, Sergeant Putnam--it possibly could have been Sergeant Dean was present at the time when Chief Curry told the newsmen there was no point in their setting up their TV cameras and equipment on the third floor, that the man would come through the jail office of the basement. I didn't personally hear it. It was told by him or one of the other of my superiors that Chief Curry had given them that information, or permission, if you wish.
Mr. HUBERT. In other words, you did not clear the basement of news media because you understood from Sergeant Putnam or someone else that he had heard Chief Curry say to the news media that there was no use in their setting up their equipment on the third floor since the transfer would be made through the basement?
Captain TALBERT. Yes. They were in the process of setting up their live


television cameras and what-have-you, when he gave them this information.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you check with anyone to see if the news media would be permitted to remain in the basement?
Captain TALRERT. No, sir. May I say----
Mr. HUBERT. Sure; go ahead.
Captain TALBERT. Could we hold this up just a moment?
Mr. HUBERT. Yes; but let me say this, whatever we say off the record----
Captain TALBERT. I can go back on the record. I just want to know if you want something.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, let's go off the record, with the understanding that we must put the contents of what you tell me off the record into it, you see.
(Discussion off the record.)
Mr. HUBERT. Let's go on the record. Why don't you just state that? Let's put it this way. There was a short conversation, the substance of which will now be covered by Captain Talbert.
Captain TALBERT. On my previous deposition it was apparently stated as a fact that we utilized the existing general order in following our usual procedure in handling news personnel, and that is general order No. 81. I have since checked it to make sure that is the correct general order number, and that general order was supplemented in 1963 after two incidents in which news personnel felt they had been held away from their story because of unnecessary precautions by police officers, and it was quite adequate as far as assisting them in obtaining their story.
Mr. HUBERT. In other words, you were operating under the provisions of that order No. 81, as amended?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir. I have the amendment. I mean I have No. 81, and I have the additional amendment with me, but I would rather you get it from the department rather than me.
Mr. HUBERT. If you have a copy that could be available, I would just as soon get it.
Captain TALBERT. I was curious enough to make a copy after I was here before. No. 81 is the top figure, and the bottom is the amendment. Not the amendment; actually it is an emphasis of No. 81 where it was emphasized it was to be followed, with punitive measures to be taken if it were not.
Mr. HUBERT. In connection with your present deposition, Captain Talbert, I am going to mark as an exhibit the documents you have just referred to, as follows: "Dallas Police Department General Order No. 81 entitled 'Press Releases', dated June 15, 1958." I am marking that for the purpose of identification as "Dallas, Texas, July 13, 1964, Exhibit No. 1, deposition of Captain C. E. Talbert," signing my name below that, consisting of really about a third of the page. And the second document you have handed me is a photostatic copy of a long memo dated February 7, 1963, addressed to all members of the department, apparently signed by Chief of Police J. E. Curry, that I am marking as follows, for identification: "Dallas, Texas, July 13, 1964, Exhibit No. 2, deposition of Captain C. E. Talbert", and I am signing my name below that exhibit. Now Exhibit No. I and Exhibit No. 2 are the police directives or orders that you were referring to a moment ago?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you recall any conversations you had with Chief Batchelor or Chief Curry or Deputy Chief Stevenson?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir; to some extent.
Mr. HUBERT. Will you tell us about what they were?
Captain TALBERT. Chief Stevenson and Chief Lumpkin wanted to go to the third floor for a cup of coffee, ostensibly. I assume that the true purpose was to tell me about the armored car transfer. And instead, I took them to the second floor to my sergeant's room, or conference room where we had a pot of coffee made, and while we were drinking coffee there they told me that the transfer would be made, that it would be made in an armored car, and wanted me to have a man or two men available on the Commerce Street side to assist the driver of the armored car in backing in. At that time they were concerned about the height of the armored car.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know about what time that was, sir?


Captain TALBERT. Again, I am going to give you an approximation of 10:30 to 10:45.
Mr. HUBERT. That conversation on the second floor was with Chief Batchelor?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir; Chief Stevenson and Chief Lumpkin. Lumpkin?
Mr. HUBERT. And Lumpkin?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you have any conversations with Chief Batchelor or Chief Curry at that time?
Captain TALBERT. Not with Chief Curry. When Chief Batchelor came to the basement, we had quite a few commentaries on various parts of security, but verbatim, I can't recall what they were.
Mr. HUBERT. What was the general nature?
Captain TALBERT. He was checking what we had done there. Chief Batchelor came into the basement parking area, the one we had sealed off, and had checked it, or was checking it, in the process of checking it, and in checking it we had some brief conversation. We moved two cars out on the Commerce Street side prior to the arrival of the armored car, and he moved his car, and I believe Chief Curry's car; had them moved out, I should say. I didn't move them myself.
Mr. HUBERT. Where were they?
Captain TALBERT. They were parked in the basement.
Mr. HUBERT. Where?
Captain TALBERT. I don't recall, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Weren't they by the railing?
Captain TALBERT. Oh, I am sorry, they were always parked in the same place, so I am sure they were there. As you turn into the drive, or rather from the drive into the parking area, the chiefs car is always parked to the right or on the south side of the drive.
Mr. HUBERT. In other words, the cars were removed from the space that the cameras were ultimately placed?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir; they would have been on the opposite side.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you remember the removal of the cars that were in the spaces ultimately and later occupied by the TV cameras?
Captain TALBERT. The TV cameras were the ones that were set up as permanent installations. They were already set up, and there were no cars there when I arrived in the basement.
Mr. HUBERT. That was at what time?
Captain TALBERT. Again an approximation of 10 o'clock; in the vicinity of 10.
Mr. HUBERT. You did not give orders for the clearing of that space of automobiles so that the cameras could occupy that space?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know who did give such orders?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir; I don't know that they were given.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know of any orders to the effect that the news media were to be kept behind the railing? That is to say, on the east side of the railing that divided the ramp from the garage area?
Captain TALBERT. No sir. Although I was in and out of the basement, it might have occurred, but it didn't occur while I was in the basement. Now Chief Batchelor did rearrange the news media, I think, on two different times. He was trying to arrange them in a better situation for us.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you observe that?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir; I wasn't in the basement when either move was made. May I inject here that I was operating a patrol platoon, and this was extracurricular.
Mr. HUBERT. What you say is that you believe, or have learned that Chief Batchelor made two efforts, to your knowledge, to change the press position?
Captain TALBERT. I have been told that; yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you remember a conversation by telephone that you had with Lieutenant Pierce at Parkland Hospital after the shooting of Oswald?
Captain TALBERT. Not with Lieutenant Pierce; no, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you have any with anyone else?


Captain TALBERT. I had several conversations from Parkland Hospital on the telephone after the shooting of Oswald.
Mr. HUBERT. Would you tell us about them, please?
Captain TALBERT. Well, I was at Parkland to clear the hospital and make sure that the chaos or confusion didn't transmit into the hospital itself, and also secure the area where the prisoner was being operated on. And the Governor was there. There was a peculiar situation in that he was on the same floor in close proximity to the operating room where Oswald was being operated on. I was trying to get all the confusion away from the room he was in. He was in the intensive care room. As soon as personnel was placed, I started making telephone calls trying to check to find out how the fellow got in the basement, the fellow being referred to, of course, as Ruby. And I don't recall a specific conversation with Lieutenant Pierce, although I am sure I did talk to him.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you recall anyone else you spoke to?
Captain. TALBERT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Who would that be?
Captain TALBERT. I spoke to R. E. Vaughn. I spoke to Nelson. I spoke to, I believe, now let me see, I think I got a hold of Jez who was on the Commerce Street entrance. I was contacting the men on the various entrances to see how it could have happened, how he could have got in there. Is there such a thing as my correcting an error I made in my first deposition here?
Mr. HUBERT. Certainly; absolutely.
Captain TALBERT. I said in my first deposition, and I recall that after leaving, after my conversation with Chief Curry on the telephone that morning, I didn't talk to him again that day. And for some reason or other, I overlooked the fact that I did talk to him from the hospital. I talked to him twice, possibly three times. I called him, or rather was called by him at the hospital to find out what the condition of Oswald, the existing condition was, and then I called him back sometime during the middle of the operation when I got a report on it, and called back again to tell him the time of Oswald's death immediately after his death.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you speak to him about how the security had broken down during any of those three conversations?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you see Patrick Dean, Sergeant Dean at Parkland?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you speak to him?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir. As a matter of fact, he had assigned some of the men out there.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he say anything to you about what Ruby had told him as to how he had gotten into the basement?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir. That was the first information that I had received on how Ruby said he got into the basement, was from Dean.
Mr. HUBERT. I think you said that you spoke to Vaughn and Jez who were respectively at the Main Street and Commerce Street entrances?
Captain TALBERT. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. When you spoke to Dean, was that before or after you had spoken to Vaughn?
Captain TALBERT. As I recall my contact--I had many contacts with Vaughn regarding, as you may well know, and as I recall that contact, it was after, because I was being rather dogmatic about who was around that entrance with Vaughn at the time. As I recall it, I may be in error here, it might have been after. I mean, it might have been prior to my contact with Dean, and then subsequent contact with Vaughn.
Mr. HUBERT. When you first talked to Vaughn, let's put it this way, did you know that Ruby claimed to have come through the entrance that Vaughn was guarding?
Captain TALBERT. I would like to answer you positively, Mr. Hubert, but I can't. It was the first or second contact. It possibly was the second, but I think it was the first. I believe it was the first.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, the conversation you had with Dean where he told you what Ruby had said about how he entered, was at the hospital site?


Captain TALBERT. Verbatim, you mean?
Mr. HUBERT. No. I mean when you talked to Dean and he told you about what Ruby had said, as to Dean, as to how he got in, that conversation with Dean was at the hospital?
Captain TALBERT. At the hospital; yes, sir. I am sorry, I thought you meant what was my conversation.
Mr. HUBERT. Had you talked to Vaughn prior to that time?
Captain TALBERT. I can't recall. I really can't recall, Mr. Hubert. I don't believe I had been able to get in touch with him. You see, getting into telephone contact with these people took a little time, and it also didn't occur until after I had cleared the lobby of the hospital and posted guards at the doors. But I can't recall. I mean I can't remember to give you a definite answer on that.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you talk to Pierce, Lieutenant Pierce about how Ruby came into the basement, if you recall?
Captain TALBERT. Many times.
Mr. HUBERT. I mean the first time that you talked to him, do you remember?
Captain TALBERT. I can't recall the first time. I can't recall actually getting in touch with Pierce from the hospital. Now I possibly did, but I was a busy man, and I can't recall.
Mr. HUBERT. When you did talk to Pierce about how Ruby claimed he entered into the basement, did he seem to know about it?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir. He was quite vociferous, in fact.
Mr. HUBERT. Vociferous in what way?
Captain TALBERT. Language. We wouldn't want to put it in this deposition, sir. By that I mean he was alleging that he had entered that Main Street entrance. Lieutenant Pierce said he couldn't have. And then the vociferousness.
Mr. HUBERT. It was a matter of emphasis on that point?
Captain TALBERT. Was an emphasis on Ruby's character, actually.
Mr. HUBERT. In other words, Pierce's reaction was that it was not true, so far as he knew?
Captain TALBERT. His reaction was startled, and that he even alleged that he came in that way, and that it couldn't possibly have been true.
Mr. HUBERT. By that you mean that the information conveyed to you by Pierce was that Ruby claimed to have entered through the Main Street entrance as Pierce went out, and Pierce's reaction was negative on that, and of a vociferous nature?
Captain TALBERT. And startled, as I recall. Sam can be rather positive in his views. He is positive in his views, not can be. And he was very positive in that.
Mr. HUBERT. Were you aware at anytime on the morning of the 24th that threats had come through concerning the harm to Oswald during the transfer?
Captain TALBERT. I am sorry?
Mr. HUBERT. Were you aware at anytime prior to Oswald's shooting that threats had come to the attention of the police department concerning the safety of Oswald?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir. That is the reason I took the action of--if you will analyze what I did with assigning the total personnel that I had assigned that day, and that included myself, including all the patrolmen and supervisors, I took all the precautions possible against mob action, and took elementary precautions against an individual action. And needless to say, from the subsequent events, it was unsuccessful.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you in fact address your consideration of security measures to both types of threats? That is, to the mob action and single action by one man?
Captain TALBERT. Right, sir. The individual officer on Main Street, for instance, we had the buildup of the crowd on the opposite side of the building on Commerce where the people obviously knew was an exit ramp, so the individual officer on Main Street was one of, if not the best patrolmen I have. He is the type person that you can depend on thoroughly, and quite sizable physically. I don't know whether you have met Vaughn or not, but if we went into physical


combat, I would want an edge on him of some sort. And if an individual had tried to attack him to get in, we had adequate personnel in the basement to take care of him if they got past. In my opinion, they would never have gotten past. If a mob had tried to attack him, we still had adequate personnel. We had a total of four--let me correct that. I know positively that we had three tear gas cases down there as well as numerous shotguns or side arms, and we could have taken care of mob action with the short notification we would have had after they go past Vaughn.
Mr. HUBERT. I think you said earlier that you took elaborate precautions against a mob, but I think you used the word elementary. What do you mean by that? What contrast do you mean to point out?
Captain TALBERT. Really, you can erase it. With the normal procedure, the precautions taken were adequate either way, with normal procedure. But capricious, if as this investigation has developed, the entry of Ruby occurred at the time and place in which he said it was, and which apparently is true, capricious fate entered into it on the time element for sure at the exit of a vehicle on an entrance ramp, which is the first time that occurred in a number of years. Something I certainly didn't foresee, and that is what I was referring to when I said elementary.
Mr. HUBERT. In your opinion, what would have been completely adequate security against one-man action?
Captain TALBERT. Secret transfer.
Mr. HUBERT. By secret, you mean done in such a way and in such a manner that there would not have been a crowd around? Transferred at night?
Captain TALBERT. No announcement. We know that now. It is quite obvious now.
Mr. HUBERT. What you are saying is, to guard against one-man action you have to do it in such a way that there are not a great many people around?
Captain TALBERT. Anybody can be murdered by an individual who is willing to give up his life to do so. I don't care who it is or where it is, he can be murdered if he wants to give up his life to do it and has adequate time, and the only way to prevent it is to keep him completely away from him and to do it effectively, it has to be a surreptitious action. It can't be an open action.
Mr. HUBERT. It can't be, in other words, where there are lots of people milling around?
Captain TALBERT. That's right, or where a lot of people have knowledge of it. If a lot of people have knowledge of the action, in itself that constitutes a danger.
Mr. HUBERT. Captain Talbert, in your deposition on March 24, 1964, you identified an exhibit which was given Exhibit No. 5066 then, which contains at the very bottom of that page the following sentence, to wit: "He stated in the rush to get into the basement where the loading ramp was located and Oswald was being brought down from the jail, it is highly possible that Jack Ruby may have walked down the ramp with the newspapermen unnoticed." Now two questions I would like to explore there. What was the rush to get into the basement?
Captain TALBERT. I made an exception to that.
Mr. HUBERT. What was the exception?
Captain TALBERT. It either was through my semantics or their shorthand. It just isn't true. There was no rush.
Mr. HUBERT. Is that comment true about the second thought contained in that sentence, and that is, "it is highly possible that Ruby may have come along with the newspapermen unnoticed"?
Captain TALBERT. At first we were contemplating--I am sorry, wrong word--we had information, and this was by some unknown person, that Channel 5 camera coming through the door late, the last camera that come down, started in with a two-man crew and ended up with a three-man crew, and that is what I was referring to there. That was proved to be untrue. One of the newsmen who was already in there stepped up to help steady the camera as it come around the threshold.
Mr. HUBERT. That is what you had reference to?


Captain TALBERT. That is what I had reference to; yes, sir. And this rushing newspaperman, I am sure it is probably my poor English semantics.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know how the press knew that the route would be through the basement area there?
Captain TALBERT. Sorry, sir; I didn't hear your question.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know how the news people knew that the route would be through the basement area?
Captain TALBERT. No, sir. May I back up? When you say how the route would be, you mean whether it would be from the jail office elevator, or from the other elevator?
Mr. HUBERT. Or from any other way.
Captain TALBERT. No, sir; I have no idea.
Mr. HUBERT. It was apparent, though, that it would be that way, from the general setup of things?
Captain TALBERT. The normal procedure would have been that way; yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. You mean on that morning, the fact of the arrangement of the cameras and bringing up of the armored truck and so forth would have indicated that?
Captain TALBERT. Yes; it would have indicated it.
Mr. HUBERT. I believe that is all, Captain Talbert, unless there is something you wish to say.
Captain TALBERT. Can we get off the record and ask you a question?
Mr. HUBERT. Yes; we have to put it back on the record.
(Discussion off the record.)
Mr. HUBERT. You have brought up a point that you said you wished clarified, and it was to this effect. You stated to me during the off-the-record discussion that while you were at the hospital, Captain Fritz came to you and asked you whether or not you had told him to come ahead, at which time you said to him, "Yes." You say to me now that what you had in mind when you told him "Yes," that you had said to him "Come on ahead" was an earlier conversation or telephone call that you had had with Captain Fritz, and not the come-ahead signal just prior to the Oswald movement.
Captain TALBERT. Actually, the earlier call was to Fritz' office, and I talked to a Detective Beck. Captain Fritz was interrogating the prisoner and couldn't answer the phone, so I told Detective Beck to pass on the information to him that the basement had been searched. Whether he ever received that information or not, I don't know.
Mr. HUBERT. It is your understanding now that Captain Fritz thought when you told him "Yes" at the hospital, that you had given the all-clear signal, you thought he was referring to the telephone call?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. But apparently he thought you were referring to an all-clear signal just prior to the exit of Oswald from the jail?
Captain TALBERT. From the jail elevator; yes.
Mr. HUBERT. To get the whole matter straight, your point is you did not give an all-clear signal to Captain Fritz just before Oswald was brought out of the jail, is that correct?
Captain TALBERT. That is quite true. I was out in the driveway and didn't know Oswald was down myself. Lieutenant Wiggins has given a deposition clarifying his asking about it coming off of the elevator, but I thought if a conflict arose in Captain Fritz' deposition, this possibly would clear it up.
Mr. HUBERT. What you have told us just now, does it cover everything you told me off the record?
Captain TALBERT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, sir; is there anything else?
Captain TALBERT. It's been a pleasure talking to you.
Mr. HUBERT. Then I will just ask you this general question. Has everything that we have talked about this morning been covered in the record in one way or another?
Captain TALBERT. Yes; it has.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, sir; thank you very much. I appreciate your coming down again.