Author: United States. Warren Commission
John F. (John Fitzgerald)
1917-1963 — Assassination
Warren Commission (09 of 26): Hearings Vol. IX (of 15)
Cover created by Transcriber and placed in the Public Domain.
THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY
Before the President’s Commission
on the Assassination
of President Kennedy
Pursuant To Executive Order 11130, an Executive order creating a Commission to ascertain, evaluate, and report upon the facts relating to the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy and the subsequent violent death of the man charged with the assassination and S.J. Res. 137, 88th Congress, a concurrent resolution conferring upon the Commission the power to administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses, receive evidence, and issue subpenas
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON: 1964
For sale in complete sets by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Washington, D.C., 20402
ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY
Chief Justice Earl Warren, Chairman
- Senator Richard B. Russell
- Senator John Sherman Cooper
- Representative Hale Boggs
- Representative Gerald R. Ford
- Mr. Allen W. Dulles
- Mr. John J. McCloy
- J. Lee Rankin, General Counsel
- Assistant Counsel
- Francis W. H. Adams
- Joseph A. Ball
- David W. Belin
- William T. Coleman, Jr.
- Melvin Aron Eisenberg
- Burt W. Griffin
- Leon D. Hubert, Jr.
- Albert E. Jenner, Jr.
- Wesley J. Liebeler
- Norman Redlich
- W. David Slawson
- Arlen Specter
- Samuel A. Stern
- Howard P. WillensA
- Staff Members
- Phillip Barson
- Edward A. Conroy
- John Hart Ely
- Alfred Goldberg
- Murray J. Laulicht
- Arthur Marmor
- Richard M. Mosk
- John J. O’Brien
- Stuart Pollak
- Alfredda Scobey
- Charles N. Shaffer, Jr.
Biographical information on the Commissioners and the staff can be found in the Commission’s Report.
A Mr. Willens also acted as liaison between the Commission and the Department of Justice.
The testimony of the following witnesses is contained in volume IX: Paul M. Raigorodsky, Natalie Ray, Thomas M. Ray, Samuel B. Ballen, Lydia Dymitruk, Gary E. Taylor, Ilya A. Mamantov, Dorothy Gravitis, Paul Roderick Gregory, Helen Leslie, George S. De Mohrenschildt, Jeanne De Mohrenschildt and Ruth Hyde Paine, all of whom became acquainted with Lee Harvey Oswald and/or his wife after their return to Texas in 1962; John Joe Howlett, a special agent of the U.S. Secret Service; Michael R. Paine, and Raymond Franklin Krystinik, who became acquainted with Lee Harvey Oswald and/or his wife after their return to Texas in 1962.
|Paul M. Raigorodsky||1|
|Mrs. Thomas M. Ray (Natalie)||27|
|Thomas M. Ray||38|
|Samuel B. Ballen||45|
|Gary E. Taylor||73|
|Ilya A. Mamantov||102|
|Paul Roderick Gregory||141|
|George S. De Mohrenschildt||166|
|Jeanne De Mohrenschildt||285|
|Ruth Hyde Paine||331, 426|
|John Joe Howlett||425|
|Michael R. Paine||434|
|Raymond Franklin Krystinik||461|
|Commission Exhibit No. 364||93|
|De Mohrenschildt Exhibit No.:|
|Paine (Michael) Exhibit No.:|
|Paine (Ruth) Exhibit No.:|
|Raigorodsky Exhibit No.:|
Hearings Before the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
TESTIMONY OF PAUL M. RAIGORODSKY
The testimony of Paul M. Raigorodsky was taken at 11:15 a.m., on March 31, 1964, in his office, First National Bank Building, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Albert E. Jenner, Jr., assistant counsel of the President’s Commission.
Mr. Jenner. Mr. Raigorodsky, do you swear that in the testimony you are about to give, you will tell the truth, and nothing but the truth?
Mr. Raigorodsky. I do.
Mr. Jenner. Miss Oliver, this is Paul M. Raigorodsky, whose office is in the First National Bank Building, Dallas, room 522, and who resides in Dallas.
Mr. Raigorodsky. At the Stoneleigh Hotel.
Mr. Jenner. Who resides at the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas.
Mr. Raigorodsky, I am Albert E. Jenner, Jr., of the legal staff of the Warren Commission, and Mr. Robert T. Davis, who is also present, is the assistant attorney general of the State of Texas and is serving on the staff of the Texas Court of Inquiry. The Commission and the attorney general’s office of Texas are cooperating in their respective investigations.
The Commission was authorized by Senate Joint Resolution 137 of the U.S. Congress and was then created by President Lyndon B. Johnson by Executive Order 11130 and its members appointed by him. The Commission has adopted rules and regulations regarding the taking of depositions. The Commission to investigate all the circumstances of the assassination of President Kennedy.
We have some information that you are particularly well acquainted with the overall so-called Russian emigre community in Dallas, and you are an old time Dallasite, and while frankly we do not expect you to have any direct information as to the assassination, today, we think you do have some information that might help us with respect to—using the vernacular—cast of characters, people who touched the lives of Lee Harvey Oswald and Marina Oswald, as the case might be, and as I understand it you appear voluntarily to assist us?
Mr. Raigorodsky. Oh, sure.
Mr. Jenner. Helping out in any fashion your information may assist us in that regard?
Mr. Raigorodsky. Sure.
Mr. Jenner. I think it will be well if you, in your own words, gave us your general background, just give us your general background—when you came to Texas and in general what your business experience has been.
Mr. Raigorodsky. My background?
Mr. Jenner. Yes.
Mr. Raigorodsky. Well, commencing—I don’t know where to start, please?
Mr. Jenner. Well, where were you born?
Mr. Raigorodsky. I was born in Russia, I lived in Russia until I was, oh, let’s see, I escaped from Russia in 1919, went to Czechoslovakia to the university there.
Mr. Jenner. You did what, sir?
Mr. Raigorodsky. I went to the university there and I am escaping from Russia—I fought against the Bolsheviks in two different armies and then came to the United States with the help of the American Red Cross and the YMCA.
Mr. Jenner. When was that?
Mr. Raigorodsky. In December—the 28th, 1920.
Mr. Jenner. 1940?
Mr. Raigorodsky. 1920.
Mr. Jenner. How old are you, by the way?
Mr. Raigorodsky. Sixty-five—exactly.
May I have this not on the record?
Mr. Jenner. All right.
(Discussion between Counsel Jenner and the witness off the record at this point.)
Mr. Jenner. All right, go ahead.
Mr. Raigorodsky. Well, I came to this country.
Mr. Jenner. In 1920?
Mr. Raigorodsky. Yes; and they told me that for the money that they advanced for me to travel, that we only have to serve in the United States for some capacity, so when I came in, I enlisted in the Air Force and was sent to Camp Travis, Texas, and then in 1922 I received an honorable discharge, and because it was I enlisted in time of war, I became full-fledged citizen in 4 months after I arrived to this country. We still were at war with Germany, the peace hadn’t been signed. And then I went to the University of Texas in 1922 and graduated in 1924.
Mr. Jenner. What degree?
Mr. Raigorodsky. Civil Engineering. That’s all they were giving, even though my specialty is petroleum engineering, but I took courses in different subjects.
By the way, first, I speak with accent and second, I speak with colds, and you can stop me any time and I will be glad to repeat.
And, that was in 1924—then I went to work in Los Angeles, Calif. I simultaneously married and that was in 1924. I married Ethel Margaret McCaleb, whose father was with Federal Reserve Bank—a Governor or whatever you call it.
Mr. Jenner. Federal Reserve Bank?
Mr. Raigorodsky. It was here in Dallas under Wilson in 1918—he was appointed. At that time he was a banker and was organizing banks. Then, I stayed in California for some—from 1924 until more or less—until 1928. I worked as an engineer with E. Forrest Gilmore Co.
Mr. Jenner. Is that a Dallas concern?
Mr. Raigorodsky. No; that was a California concern, specializing in the building of gasoline plants and refineries. Then, I worked for Newton Process Manufacturing Co. and for Signal Oil and Gas Co.—just, that is, progressive—you see, it was going from one to another, getting higher pay and things like that, and then in 1928 the Newton Process Manufacturing Co. was sold out and three of us, I was at that time chief process engineer, and the other man was chief construction engineer, and the third one was chief operational engineer—we organized a company called Engineering Research and Equipment Co., and we started to build gasoline plants and refineries. Then, I was sent to Dallas because our business was good—I was sent to Dallas.
Mr. Jenner. Your business was growing?
Mr. Raigorodsky. Oh, yes; growing. I was sent to Dallas and I organized an office here. Then, we moved the company from Dallas and made the Los Angeles office a branch office. Then, I went to Tulsa and opened an office of our company there, and that way we were building lots of plants in Louisiana, in Texas, in Oklahoma. Then, I sold out my third in 1929. It was a good time to sell out, and I organized the Petroleum Engineering Co., which company I have had ever since, until just now—it is inoperative.
Then, I continued to—I opened an office in Houston and continued to build gasoline plants and refineries under the name of Petroleum Engineering Co. and built about 250 of them all over the world and in the United States—lots of them—even in Russia, though I never went there, we had a protocol (I believe No. 4), under which we were supposed to have given them some refineries and gasoline plants—you know the “chickens and the eggs” situation. The fact is I had an order from the Treasury Department and one of them was sunk. Maybe this should be off the record?
(Discussion between Counsel Jenner and the witness off the record at this point.)
Mr. Raigorodsky. Let’s see, now, Pearl Harbor was in 1939?
Mr. Jenner. 1941; December of 1941.
Mr. Raigorodsky. 1941?
Mr. Davis. 1941.
Mr. Jenner. December 8th.
Mr. Davis. The war started in 1939.
Mr. Raigorodsky. Yes.
Mr. Jenner. The Germans invaded Poland in September 1939.
Mr. Raigorodsky. Already then we had the War Production Board, though to begin with it was the Defense Board, and then War Production Board, but I was asked to come to Washington. Now, let’s see, which year was it? Probably 1941—before the war.
Mr. Jenner. Before the war with Japan, you mean?
Mr. Raigorodsky. Before Pearl Harbor.
Mr. Jenner. All right.
Mr. Raigorodsky. I was asked to come to Washington to organize the Department of Natural Gas and Natural Gasoline Industries for the United States, which I did, and then I had to open—I worked under DeGolyer. I organized the Department from nothing until I had five offices. We had districts in California and Tulsa and Chicago, Houston and New York, and then in 1943 I resigned, and in the meantime I got ulcer, you know, working like you do, until 11:30 nights, so in 1943 I resigned and came back to my business.
Mr. Jenner. Here in Dallas?
Mr. Raigorodsky. No, in Houston. At that time I officed in Houston. By the way, while I was building plants for others, I also built plants for myself for the production of motor fuel, L.P.G. and other pipeline products, and the first plant was built in 1936—the Glen Rose Gasoline Co. The second one was built in 1943—the Claiborne Gasoline Co. Then, I lived in Houston until about 1949 or 1950 and I got sick with my back. You know, I have a very bad back. They wanted to operate on me there but Jake Hamon here, a friend of mine, told me that he wouldn’t speak to me unless I come to Dallas, so believe or not, they brought me to Dallas.
That’s very interesting what I am going to tell you—in an ambulance from Houston—and there was a Dr. Paul Williams—he told me that without operation he would put me on my feet. I never went back to Houston, even to close my apartment or to close my office, but I moved my apartment and my offices here to Dallas and I offered people that worked with me, that I would pay them for whatever loss they had, because in selling their houses and moving here, lock, stock and barrel, I never went back. I was so mad, and I have lived here ever since with one exception. I believe it was in 1952—in 1952 I was asked by—you know General Anderson, by any chance?
Mr. Jenner. No.
Mr. Raigorodsky. He was what we call—there was an organization in Europe called SRE, Special Representatives to Europe. There was an Ambassador Draper at the head of it, and Ambassador Anderson is a Deputy, and in 1952 Ambassador Anderson asked me to come to Europe and help them with production, so I went to Europe to improve the production of tanks, planes, ammunition, et cetera for all the NATO countries.
I was Deputy Director of Production. Now, I think I was getting along all right and again I got sick in my neck this time, so they flew me—they flew me to Johns Hopkins and found out that I had bad neck. By the way, I’m not supposed to have this, but here is my card.
(Handed instrument to Counsel Jenner.)
I left in