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John Simkin

Vincent Lee

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Harry, I was wondering if you knew of Lee's background.  He was asked fewer background questions than any other witness, basically none.  There was a union man named Vincent Lee who feuded with Ruby in the fifties.  I'm wondering if this wasn't the same man, and that's why the WC avoided his past.  This is one of those nagging questions that should be easy to clear up, but isn't. Any help appreciated.

Pat, have you seen this:

Vincent T. Lee, interviewed by J. Lee Rankin (17th April, 1964)

J. Lee Rankin: Was there any connection with you or your organization or anyone from your organization that you know of with the acts of Lee Harvey Oswald in connection with the assassination of the President?

Vincent T. Lee: With myself or organizationally, to the best of my knowledge, no; nor have I heard or know of any other person related to the organization in any way. Definitely there would be no connection between the act - acts of Lee Harvey Oswald. Whether or not he did anything in relation to the assassination, I don't know. As I understood, this is what is trying to be determined, and so forth, with this hearing. But whether he did or did not in relation, we had no - nothing to do with this. In fact I would feel very free to say that this particular act by anybody would be the worst possible thing that we could conceive of. Our idea was certainly not to engage in any activities of violence or illegal actions of any kind. We try very much to maintain a character of nonviolent participation in community affairs. In fact we have organizationally held, in which I directed and participated, demonstrations in which we made a very firm commitment to peaceful assembly and demonstration, and even when attacked physically did not respond to the attack but withheld and conducted ourselves peacefully and legally.

J. Lee Rankin: Was Lee Harvey Oswald a member of your organization?

Vincent T. Lee: I have no record of this. You see, we never kept a membership file. We never at any time maintained a membership file. If somebody asked to join the organization, we made out a membership card for them and the card was sent to the person, but there was no duplicate and there was no special recording of it; it was just a simple formality, and we just sent them the card. And so there is no way that I can tell for sure that he was or he wasn't, because we never did maintain a file in this direction.

J. Lee Rankin: Do you recall anything about his being a member, as far as your recollection?

Vincent T. Lee: I am not sure on that score. I mean I don't know. It is entirely possible. It is entirely possible. But I can't say that I recall, you know, filling out a card for him. It is entirely possible. I may very well have. But as far as saying absolutely I remember, no, I don't, I can't say that, because I really don't remember, but I will say it is entirely possible. In fact I would assume from the communications - I would assume from the communications which were conducted with this gentleman that it is very likely that he asked to join, and our membership was the type of thing where it was open to anybody who asked to become a member, was given membership. We had no restrictions on membership. In fact we had one of the policy statements of the organization, its constitution and bylaws, was that it was open to all regardless of race, creed, color, religion, national origin or political opinion. It was open to anybody, anybody at all could join, and from the communications, since I was writing to him in connection with - he - was asking if he could start a chapter, well, I can't conceive of my writing to a nonmember in the direction of starting a chapter. It is very - I assume that he must have at some point along the line asked to join as a member and met the simple requirements of sending in a membership fee, which was really a subscription to any of our publications, and I assume that he must have been, otherwise I can't quite conceive of my having written to him about membership, starting a chapter, replying to such a question without having - the letters - evidently there would have been some communication saying, well, "You can't do it unless you join," and from the letters you showed me, which I assume are correct, he must have already at some point in the communications decided to join the organization.

J. Lee Rankin: I call your attention to the first paragraph, Mr. Lee, of Exhibit No. 2.

Vincent T. Lee: Oh, yes; sure, here it is, "I am requesting formal membership in your organizations." Well, evidently at this point, at the end of May, 1963, he requested formal - I don't - let's see, is there a note in here of having sent him - well, anyhow, assuming that accompanying this letter there was...

J. Lee Rankin: Let me call your attention to Exhibit 3, and there is in the first paragraph there...

Vincent T. Lee: Oh, yes; evidently he did join, yes. I assumed that it was so, because I can't conceive of having written him about a chapter unless he had joined. One doesn't organizationally ask people to help the organization who are not members.

J. Lee Rankin: Do you know of any combination, conspiracy or common action of any kind that worked with Lee Harvey Oswald in connection with his acts concerning the assassination of President Kennedy?

Vincent T. Lee: I have no knowledge of any such thing....

J. Lee Rankin: Do you know of any members of Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans that were working with Lee Harvey Oswald in connection with anything he did there for the committee?

Vincent T. Lee: No; I have no recollection of any such thing. In fact all I can recall is that the man communicated I think to me that somehow in these letters that he had nobody and that he was completely alone, and that in fact I think one of the letters mentioned how he was out somewhere all alone and that he had no--nobody at all, nobody working with him or through him or for him or around him or anything else. He gave me the impression that he was completely isolated in his community, which became obvious to me from his actions which would certainly isolate him in his community. I could see very well how he would be...

J. Lee Rankin: Do you know of any members of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in Dallas?

Vincent T. Lee: As I said, I never kept a membership file and I don't recall who is a member and who wouldn't be a member. I know we received many communications requesting literature of various types and things like that from all over the country, and I don't know of any state of the union which has not been sent some material at some time during the 3 1/2-year history of the organization. I would assume that somewhere, at some time, in Texas some people wrote in and received something, some communication, but as far as doing anything particularly about Dallas, no. The only thing I know about Dallas is what I read in the papers, which doesn't tell me too much.

J. Lee Rankin: And that same situation about whether there were any members of the committee in New Orleans would be true, would it?

Vincent T. Lee: Well, it is like I say. As for membership, this is an almost impossible situation in view of the fact that we didn't conduct a membership file or a duplicate membership card system and we just had mailing lists. In fact the mailing lists - even the mailing lists wouldn't tell very much, if anything, and that was just a case, anybody who thought somebody should receive a communication gave the name of somebody, in fact for now deceased Governor Lehman was on that list, Senators and Congressmen were placed on the mailing list, everybody and his brother who we thought should be - well, we thought some reason should receive the material which we sent out, we just sent material. It could be anybody. And like I say, stuff went to all over the country, just automatically, just did large mailings to every place we could think of, dream of or hope for in any of our activities of mailing.

But as far as particularly there was never an active organization of the committee in these areas. We have had in the past - there was in existence in the committee a series of chapters, committee chapters, in various parts of the country, but there were never any chapters or active participation on a local level, to my knowledge, in either Texas or Louisiana at any time during the entire history of the organization.

J. Lee Rankin: Is there any information, evidence or knowledge that you haven't given us that would bear upon this assassination of President Kennedy, that might help the Commission?

Vincent T. Lee: No, sir; I have no information whatsoever. I have more than personal, more than just curiosity, and I hope very much to know the truth about this incident and hope very much that the truth is known, particularly for my own personal reasons, as well as any other reasons, because having been practically a victim of very serious slander in this direction, both by individuals and by elements of the press and various periodicals, I have very serious concern about developing the truth. I have been threatened. People have tried to break into my home, somehow connecting myself and my organizational activities, quite falsely, with the assassination - I would like to see the truth come up, because I am quite sure that any investigation will show that this was not true, that I didn't have any part of this. I am as much interested and probably more interested in my own way in having the facts presented than many of the average people on the street. I have a personal involvement in this.

http://jfkassassination.net/russ/testimony/lee_v1.htm

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The only info. I know re; V.T. Lee is that he had lived in Florida, he made several trips to Cuba., and was a firebrand for Castro. He arrived at FPCC in New York long after my time in the Chicago Chapter 60/61. Prior to V.T. Lee's position at FPCC, Richard Taber and Richard Gibson 'were FPCC',  with whom Chicago FPCC leaders held a meeting and as FPCC secretary I was present, 1960.

All I can say re; the Vincent Lee/Jack Ruby feud is that the age of V.T. Lee may not fit?

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I have just heard that Vincent T. Lee died in Berkeley in October, 2012.

Richard Gibson is still alive and living in London. According to Paul Hoch the CIA have 700 pages of material on Gibson that they will not release.

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