Lee Harvey Oswald's Last Phone Call
Who did Oswald try to reach the night before he died?
NOTE: There’s been a surge of interest in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in recent months. Scholars are still looking through documents that were newly declassified during the Trump Administration. Much of the history on this subject will need to be revised in the coming years as new evidence enters the public realm. A good friend of mine, the renowned journalist Thomas Lipscomb, has just completed a new manuscript (with Jerome Kroth) titled The Oswald Letter and it contains a number of staggering claims based on these federally released documents as well as fresh accounts from new eyewitnesses who have never before been interviewed. The following excerpt is just one of the many important revelations contained in The Oswald Letter.
This call slip, written about 11:00PM, came from the 10 position telephone operators’ switchboard room on the fifth floor of the Dallas Municipal Building. It was filled out by one of the two operators on duty that night, Mrs. Louise Swinney and Mrs. Alveeta Treon. Telephone calls from the Dallas Jail where Lee Harvey Oswald was being held were routed through this switchboard.
The call slip is an integral element of the new material that has emerged since the Warren Report, that makes possible a more clear understanding of just who the “lone nut assassin” Lee Harvey Oswald really was. (This story was initially developed by a remarkable North Carolina academic named Grover Proctor.)
Operator #1 Louise Swinney (who had been on duty) informed her arriving colleague, Alveeta Treon, that Lee Harvey Oswald would be making a phone call and that two men would be entering the switchboard room while it was underway. The men arrived and sat down. It was Mrs. Treon’s impression that they were law enforcement, or Secret Service, or the like.
Lee Harvey Oswald called the switchboard about 10:45 PM, gave the numbers, and asked to make a collect call to a John Hurt in Raleigh, NC. Both Mrs. Swinney and Mrs. Treon were hooked up to the feed and both could hear the call. Mrs. Swinney took the call and was poised to send it over to Long Distance to route the call to Raleigh.
"I listened and watched very carefully for Mrs. Swinney to place the call with the long distance operator. She appeared very nervous and visibly shaken. For a few minutes she just sat there trembling." Mrs. Treon would later comment that she understood Mrs. Swinney's nerves. "I continued watching and listening but she did not place the call." Because Mrs. Swinney's key was closed, it was not possible for Oswald or the men in the equipment room to know what was happening, nor whether she had placed the call that Oswald had requested. But Mrs. Treon did.
"I was dumbfounded at what happened next. Mrs. Swinney opened the key to Oswald and told him, 'I am sorry the number doesn't answer.' I am pretty certain she said number and not numbers. She then unplugged and disconnected Oswald. Immediately, the two men in the equipment room came out, thanked us for our cooperation and left." Mrs. Treon would later say that her "lasting impression of the events that night is that Mrs. Swinney had been instructed by someone to not put the call through to Oswald."
Earlier that day, Oswald had tried to put a call through to a prominent left-wing lawyer in New York named John Abt (also during Louise Swinney’s shift) and that call had also failed to get through. Had that phone call been sabotaged as well? Abt said that he never heard from Oswald.
Mrs. Swinney left about 15 minutes later at 11:00PM and Mrs. Treon decided to fill out a call slip of the information on the call as a souvenir for her daughter. She had listened in and had taken it all down. She signed it with Louise Swinney’s name, since she had been the operator on the call. The call slip did not emerge again until it was presented as evidence before the House Select Committee on Assassinations hearings in 1978. The Committee’s Executive Director, G. Robert Blakey, found it “very troublesome” and “deeply disturbing.”
The man Oswald was trying to call, John David Hurt, was someone whose name had never been mentioned in connection to the JFK assassination in any of the voluminous records — and John David Hurt was an experienced former Special Agent of U.S. Army Counter Intelligence.
As Senator Richard Schweiker had said during the Church Committee Investigations, “"We don't know what happened, but we do know Oswald had intelligence connections. Everywhere you look with him, there are the fingerprints of intelligence."
COMING NEXT: Oswald’s history-changing intelligence connection with John David Hurt.
(This excerpt from the unpublished book The Oswald Letter by Thomas Lipscomb with Jerome Kroth appears courtesy of Don Fehr at Trident Media Group. Inquiries may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org)