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I have been attempting to find out more about the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. All the books I have on the JFK assassination have very little to say about the organization except the Vincent T. Lee was its founder and that he established offices in New York.

The web is not very useful either although it does have an interview between Lee and J. Lee Rankin on 17th April, 1964.

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

In the interview Lee claims that he kept no membership records. He only had a mailing list but this is of no help as it mainly contains the names of politicians and other national figures. Surprisingly, Rankin dies not ask Lee to estimate how many people were members of the organization. Nor does he ask how many chapters the FPCC had.

Yet in his letter to Oswald, Lee says: "I have just gone through our files and find that Louisiana seems somewhat restricted for Fair Play activities."

On 26th May, 1963, Oswald wrote to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and proposed "renting a small office at my own expense for the purpose of forming a FPCC branch here in New Orleans".

Three days later, without waiting for a reply, Oswald ordered 1,000 copies of a handbill from a local printers. It read: "Hands Off Cuba! Join the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, New Orleans Charter Member Branch, Free Literature, Lectures, Everyone Welcome!" Oswald also rented an office for the FPCC at 544 Camp Street. No one joined the FPCC in New Orleans but Oswald did send out two honourary membership cards to Gus Hall and Benjamin Davis, two senior members of the American Communist Party.

Gus Hall was general secretary of the party. Ben Davis was the leading black member of the party. This seems to have been an important part of the original conspiracy as Oswald also tried to link himself with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Another organization Hoover especially disliked.

According to the latest edition of Anthony Summers’ The Kennedy Conspiracy (2002), recently released documents show that both the CIA and FBI penetrated the organization. Summers points out that the CIA side of the operation was directed by David Attlee Phillips and quotes CIA officer, Joseph Smith as saying: "We did everything we could to make sure it was not successful - to smear it... to penetrate it. I think Oswald may have been part of a penetration attempt."

Does anyone have any further information on the FPCC? Did these released files reveal membership numbers? What was Vincent Lee’s background? What happened to him after he closed the organization down in December, 1963?

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I always felt this was interesting regaurding Oswald and 544 Camp St.

THE HSCA QUESTIONS SAM NEWMAN

Cornwall: I know that initially you were asked questions about whether or not LEE HARVEY OSWALD had ever been in your building or even temporarily had space there.

Newman: He did not have any space. He could have been connected with the Cubans. But if he did, I didn't know anything about it.

Cornwall: Let me explain to you just so there is no misunderstanding. Whatever you stated on that subject previously wasn't under oath and this is, we are not conducting a criminal investigation. We are just trying to find out what the facts are. You are not suspected by our committee of engaging in any illegal activity. All we want to do is unscramble the events as best we can.

Newman: I wouldn't have known LEE HARVEY OSWALD if I had seen him at that time. I might have seen him. I don't know. I had a lot of people in and out and I wasn't around there that much.

Cornwall: A number of people who were directly or indirectly associated with the building or its occupants have indicated that he was there for at least a short period of time.

Newman: Who do you mean, people that occupied -- some people that rented the place, you mean?

Cornwall: Yes.

Newman: That he was there?

Cornwall: That he was in the building and had space for a short period of time.

Newman: From me? He didn't rent no space from me...

Cornwall: Do you recall the event when OSWALD was arrested in New Orleans in the summer of 1963?

Newman: I remember that.

Cornwall: You remember he was passing out ---

Newman: Pamphlets with the 544 Camp Street on it; that was news to me. So he had to be connected with the Cubans. He didn't have no space, no rented space from me.

Cornwall: What did you do to investigate that, just for your own curiosity, when you found out he was down passing out pro-Castro literature.

Newman: I didn't do anything. If it happened, he had to be with the Cubans, that's the only place he could have been.

Cornwall: What kind of Cubans were those?

Newman: Some Cubans and some Americans. American people connected with it.

Cornwall: Guy Banister was a conservative, it that correct?

Newman: I think so.

Cornwall: And he is the one that asked you to allow this Cuban group to have space.

Newman: He said they was good friends of his.

Cornwall: They were also conservative, correct?

Newman: Yes.

Cornwall: And conservative in the sense that, in particular, they were anti-Castro; weren't they?

Newman: That is right.

Cornwall: The literature however, was pro-Castro, wasn't it.

Newman: I don't remember.

Cornwall: It was liberal, it was left-wing literature, right?

Newman: Left-wing.

Cornwall: Why would you have assumed then that the left-wing literature and OSWALD was associated with this Cuban group in your building which was clearly anti-Castro?

Newman: I couldn't say he was with the Cubans. I'm not sure. If he wasn't with the Cubans, he was with Banister. Banister had a lot of characters in and out of there.

Cornwall: That would not have made sense either, would it?

Newman: Why?

Cornwall: Because Banister was not left-wing, he was conservative, right?

Newman: You are right. But you couldn't tell much about Banister.

Cornwall: Well, tell us what conversations you had with Banister after that event, relating to it though.

Newman: After what?

Cornwall: After it was discovered OSWALD was on Canal Street passing out pro-Castro literature.

Newman: I never discussed it with him. He was a peculiar person. He didn't want you to discuss anything with him. That's the kind of guy he was.

Cornwall: Other persons who were in the building and were associated with Banister have told us that Banister was very upset when he found out about the pro-Castro literature with the Camp Street address stamped on it.

Newman: Could have been. I don't know much about it. Edward Suggs can tell you about that. He was in Banister office 90% of the time; every day almost. [NARA HSCA 180-10101-10379]

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John, some history on "Fair Play" committees:

The Ant-Imperialist Movement began in 1898. Since 1898 the following territories have come under the Stars and Stripes:

Philippine Islands

Hawaii

Guam

American Samoa

Wake and Midway Is.

Puerto Rico

Virgin Islands

TOTAL AREA = 125,357 AND POPULATION = 15,443,633

This movement had more comebacks than Nellie Melba... with some of its offshoots, reincarnations and outgrowths including: the Haiti-Santo Domingo Independence Committee; The American Fund for Public Service Committee on American Imperialism; The Non-Intervention Citizens Committee; The National Citizens Committee on Relations with Latin America; The All-America Anti-Imperialist League; and the American Committee for Fair Play to China.

But the one possibly of most interest was chaired by the brilliantly named Oswald Garrison Villard (which I'm sure contains anagrams about radar grids and Dr's in Irving and Dallas...) was the Committee for Fair Play for Puerto Rico. This committee was started up by the ACLU in 1937 after police in that country killed 50 demonstrators belonging to the independence movement.

Lee was not a founder of the FPCC. He was brought in because of govt committees and the FBI trying to paint them as a Communist Front org.

"On May 16, 1963, a source advised that during the first to years of the FPCC's existence there was a struggle between Communist Party (CP) and Socialist Workers Party (SWP) elements to exert there power within the FPCC and thereby influence FPCC policy. However, during the past year this source observed that there has been a successful effort by FPCC leadership to minimise the role of these and other organisations so today there influence is negligible.

On May 20, 1963, a second source advised that the National Headquarters of the FPCC is located in room 329 at 799 Broadway, New York City. According to this source, the position of National Office Director was created in the fall of 1962 and was filled by Vincent 'Ted' Lee, who now formulated FPCC policy. This source observed Lee had followed a course of entertaining and accepting the cooperation of many other organisations including the CP and the SWP when he has felt it would be to his personal benefit as well as the FPCC's. However, Lee has indicated to this source he has no intention of permitting FPCC policy to be determined by any other organisation..."

http://history-atters.com/archive/jfk/wc/w...Vol26_0363a.htm

This makes it clear that the FBI established on 20may63 that Lee had basically wrested control of the FPCC back from the Communists and the Trotskyists - and that he and he alone would make all policy decisions. If true - it could no longer legitimately be called a "front" organisation... in turn making it a more difficult thorn to remove.

Six days after this intelligence was received, LHO wrote to the FPCC requesting a charter. Another three days after that, he ordered his hand-bills.

Those who formed and/or lent their name to the FPCC were: Richard Gibson, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Jean Paul Sartre and Richard Taber, among others.

One of those "others" was a publisher named Lyle Stuart. He is of special interest to me for reasons too complex to go into here, but dating back to certain subcommittee hearings in New York during 1954.

greg

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I personally think that the admittedly Marxist Oswald was enlisted by the conspirators to be part of the FPCC so that they could pull off the cover up.

Johnson feared that if Cubans had been involved in the JFK assassination, it would get us into a nuclear war. Earl Warren admitted to that in 1972, and he stated that it was the reason he agreed to lead the investigation into KFK's death.

The lack of information on the FPCC may very well indicate that it had been set up solely for the purpose of having Oswald pass out the leaflets, which could have simply been a means of employment for Oswald.

Edited by Anthony Frank
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Thank you for providing me with this fascinating information. I have had an interest in Oswald Garrison Villard for a long tme and have created a web page on him. In my view, he is one of America’s greatest citizens. His mother, Helen Frances Garrison, was the daughter of the anti-slavery campaigner, William Lloyd Garrison.

Villard was an early supporter of women's suffrage, trade union law reform and equal rights for African Americans. Villard and his mother, were both founder members of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP).

As the owner and editor of The Nation he played an important role in persuading FDR to introduce the New Deal.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAvillard.htm

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Thank you for providing me with this fascinating information. I have had an interest in Oswald Garrison Villard for a long tme and have created a web page on him. In my view, he is one of America’s greatest citizens. His mother, Helen Frances Garrison, was the daughter of the anti-slavery campaigner, William Lloyd Garrison.

Villard was an early supporter of women's suffrage, trade union law reform and equal rights for African Americans. Villard and his mother, were both founder members of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP).

As the owner and editor of The Nation he played an important role in persuading FDR to introduce the New Deal.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAvillard.htm

John, the photo of Villard at the top looks uncannily like Allen Dulles. Scary.

The history of the progressive movement provides a lot of fascination - and is not entirely a subject at odds with study of the assassination - in many surprising ways.

One quick example: did you know Villard's son, OGV, Jr was making huge leaps in radar technology with great military significance at the time a young Marine was preparing to "defect"?

greg

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  • 11 months later...
I have been attempting to find out more about the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. All the books I have on the JFK assassination have very little to say about the organization except the Vincent T. Lee was its founder and that he established offices in New York.

The web is not very useful either although it does have an interview between Lee and J. Lee Rankin on 17th April, 1964. 

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

In the interview Lee claims that he kept no membership records. He only had a mailing list but this is of no help as it mainly contains the names of politicians and other national figures. Surprisingly, Rankin dies not ask Lee to estimate how many people were members of the organization. Nor does he ask how many chapters the FPCC had.

Yet in his letter to Oswald, Lee says: "I have just gone through our files and find that Louisiana seems somewhat restricted for Fair Play activities."

On 26th May, 1963, Oswald wrote to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and proposed "renting a small office at my own expense for the purpose of forming a FPCC branch here in New Orleans".

Three days later, without waiting for a reply, Oswald ordered 1,000 copies of a handbill from a local printers. It read: "Hands Off Cuba! Join the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, New Orleans Charter Member Branch, Free Literature, Lectures, Everyone Welcome!" Oswald also rented an office for the FPCC at 544 Camp Street. No one joined the FPCC in New Orleans but Oswald did send out two honourary membership cards to Gus Hall and Benjamin Davis, two senior members of the American Communist Party.

Gus Hall was general secretary of the party. Ben Davis was the leading black member of the party. This seems to have been an important part of the original conspiracy as Oswald also tried to link himself with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Another organization Hoover especially disliked.

According to the latest edition of Anthony Summers’ The Kennedy Conspiracy (2002), recently released documents show that both the CIA and FBI penetrated the organization. Summers points out that the CIA side of the operation was directed by David Attlee Phillips and quotes CIA officer, Joseph Smith as saying: "We did everything we could to make sure it was not successful - to smear it... to penetrate it. I think Oswald may have been part of a penetration attempt."

Does anyone have any further information on the FPCC? Did these released files reveal membership numbers? What was Vincent Lee’s background?  What happened to him after he closed the organization down in December, 1963?

Hi, John

Available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, there is a 1963 report on hearings held July 13 & 14 1961 re; Fair Play For Cuba Committee. It's title is CASTRO'S NETWORK IN THE UNITED STATES. Held by Committee of the Judiciary United States Senate, Eighty-Eighth Congress, First Session.

I do not recall the content but I and others of the FPCC Chicago Chapter appear in it as officers, and is shown in my 1990 Manuscript/book. I was not called to testify, as it was arranged by the Bureau for my protection while spying on FPCC.

In any case thought this may be helpful.

Harry

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I do not recall the content but I and others of the FPCC Chicago Chapter appear in it as officers, and is shown in my 1990 Manuscript/book. I was not called to testify, as it was arranged by the Bureau for my protection while spying on FPCC.

What is the background to you joining the FPCC? William Sullivan once told J. Edgar Hoover that there were more spies in the American Communist Party than actual members. I suspect that was also true of the FPCC.

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John wrote:

As the owner and editor of The Nation he played an important role in persuading FDR to introduce the New Deal.

This being, of course, the same publication that Vincent Salandria accused of being part of a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice in the JFK assassination, merely because Salandria differed with Noam Chosky's view of the assassination.

On another thread, I had asked John to admit that Salandria's slander of "The Nation" was outrageous. Instead, if I recall correctly, he implied that perhaps "The Nation" was part of operation Mockingbird!

Edited by Tim Gratz
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I do not recall the content but I and others of the FPCC Chicago Chapter appear in it as officers, and is shown in my 1990 Manuscript/book. I was not called to testify, as it was arranged by the Bureau for my protection while spying on FPCC.

What is the background to you joining the FPCC? William Sullivan once told J. Edgar Hoover that there were more spies in the American Communist Party than actual members. I suspect that was also true of the FPCC.

John

First, involvement in all political spying continues to be my regret. Re; FPCC, as a member of Castro's 26th Of July Movement we were instructed to join this new organization "as it was going to be of help to the {Cuban} revolution" Hoover said " The informant program is the heart of our operations"

Harry

Edited by Harry J.Dean
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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.

Edited by Pat Speer
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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

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?

Harry

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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.

I have started a new thread on Vincent Lee where I have put my information on him:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=4385

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There has been some excellant background research on the FPCC. Jay B. Mogan did an in depty article "The Real Origin of the FPCC in New York City" which appeared in Penn Jones "Continuing Inquiry" newsletter many years ago. The following is an exerpt from some material I collected and made available in the 2004 supplement to my book - John heard me mention a bit of this in Canterbury last month. The level to which the FPCC was being targeted by FBI and CIA makes it totally laughable that anyone associated with them would be ignored as an intelligence target...especially since the FBI had Oswald's letters to them in their possession well before the assassination (based on a request from CIA as part of a new program being started up against the FPCC outside the U.S):

Fair Play for Cuba Committee

The national FPCC organization originated in New York City and was founded by Robert Taber, a CBS journalist who had been the first newsmen to be invited by Castro to go to Cuba. Taber wrote a book with the title “M-16, Biography of a Revolution.” The co-founder was Richard Gibson, another CBS journalist with a great interest in social revolutions and interests ranging from the Algerian revolt against the French to Castro and Cuba. Later, V.T. Lee of Tampa Florida, showed up in New York City and started hanging around with Gibson; eventually inheriting leadership of the organization when both Taber and Gibson had moved on to other interests. Reportedly Lee was an ex Merchant Marine and very

familiar with illegal travel to and from Cuba. The FPCC quickly

came to the attention of both the FBI and the CIA, especially after

an April, 1960 full page ad in the New York Times which was

found to have been paid for by Castro and further evidence of Castro

funding for the organization. In October, 1960 the CIA launched an

illegal domestic intelligence operation involving informants, wire taps

and surveillance against Richard Gibson and in February 1961 David

Phillips was involved in another operation against a student member

who was planning on traveling to Cuba. In December 1962, the CIA jointed with the FBI in the AMSANTA project, using FBI penetration assets into Communist Party and front organization to develop information on Cuba and the Castro regime. By the fall of 1963 the CIA was requesting the assistance of the FBI in a new project targeting the FPCC outside the United States; the FBI responded by obtaining mailing lists, documents and letters from the FPCC NYC office, including copies of letters from and to Lee Oswald.

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.................................................................;  the FBI responded by obtaining mailing lists,  documents and letters from the FPCC NYC office,  including copies of letters from and to Lee Oswald.

Larry, is it possible to elaborate on how these intercepts of letters occurred? Was mail or copies or contents directed to the FBI in some way by informants, or was it a result of the illegal mail opening operations at the time which I understand involved the use of copiers in the post office? JohnD

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