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Finland's LHO Files Just Declassified

Max Good

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I don't see any of these stories actually pointing out where to access the original files.  Someone should locate them and have them translated...




Supo declassifies 60-year-old file on JFK killer Lee Harvey Oswald

With the 60-year confidentiality period lifted, the files offer insights into Oswald's mysterious stay in Helsinki before he visited the Soviet Union.

Lee Harvey Oswald.
File photo. Lee Harvey Oswald. Image: THA / AOP
Yle News

The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) has declassified a 60-year-old file shedding light on Lee Harvey Oswald's visit to Finland in 1959.

Lee Harvey Oswald went on to assassinate US President John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1963. The following day, 23 November 1963, Supo wrote a memorandum on Oswald's stay in Finland. Until now, that memo and two others have been kept secret.

Supo's timeline

On the night of October 10, 1959, a young man identified as Lee Harvey Oswald arrived at Hotel Torni in Helsinki.

Hailing from the United States, he checked into room 309, claiming a five-day stay. However, after just two nights, Oswald changed hotels, moving to the Klaus Kurki Hotel, where he stayed for an additional three nights.

Despite Supo's efforts, the authorities were unable to determine Oswald's motives for his trip to Helsinki.

The 19-year-old American's activities during his stay remained elusive, with Supo noting the lack of means to track his movements beyond hotel registers and passport control lists.

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A copy of the Hotel Torni's accommodation list. The occupant of room 309 arrived on 10.10.1959 at 24.00 and left on 12.10.1959.
An accommodation notice from Hotel Torni detailing the length of stay of the occupant of room 309, Lee Harvey Oswald. Image: suojelupoliisi

Quick visa approval

After leaving Helsinki, Supo's files indicate that Oswald applied for a Soviet visa, which was granted surprisingly quickly.

The US Warren Commission, responsible for investigating John F. Kennedy's assassination, noted that Oswald's visa was approved in an usually quick timeframe. On 12 October 1959, he applied for a tourist visa at the Soviet embassy in Helsinki and on 14 October that visa was approved. The waiting period for similar visas usually took over a week to be approved during this time in the Cold War.

Oswald's US passport application stated his intention to study in Switzerland or at the University of Turku.

His application to the University of Turku turned out to be a cover, adding to the enigma surrounding Oswald's actions in Finland.

Extract from a document dated 23.11.1963 containing basic information on Oswald. The date of birth is followed by the handwritten word "deceased".
An extract from a document dated 23.11.1963 containing basic information on Oswald. The date of birth is followed by the handwritten word "deceased". Image: suojelupoliisi

Mystery over Oswald's Helsinki arrival

The declassified documents raise questions about Oswald's arrival in Helsinki.

Conflicting information suggests he may have come from London or Stockholm, with uncertainties about his exact route.

Oswald's name was not found on arrival lists, leaving Supo to speculate on potential routes, including flights or ferries from Stockholm.

Given that the only flight from London to Helsinki on 10 October landed at 11:33pm and he checked into the Hotel Torni less than an hour later, it is unlikely that he came directly from the United Kingdom.

Extract from a document dated 9 July 1964, summarising Oswald's movements in Finland in October of 1959.
Extract from a document dated 9 July 1964, summarising Oswald's movements in Finland in October of 1959. Image: suojelupoliiisi

Rather, Supo considered it more likely that Oswald came to Helsinki via Stockholm, either by plane or ferry.

Flights from Stockholm to Helsinki landed at 12:25pm, 3:00pm, and 4:55pm. A ferry from Stockholm to Turku had arrived at 8:35am and passengers made the rest of the journey by buses to Helsinki which arrived by noon that day.

Incorrect entry

Extract from a document dated 7 July 1964, in which Hannu Orola recorded Oswald's hotel nights in Helsinki.
An extract from a Supo memo which originally said that Oswald had traveled from Helsinki to Stockholm, but was later corrected to say he went to Moscow. Image: suojelupoliisi

The first memo, dated 23 July 1963, contains an incorrect entry.

It stated that Oswald had travelled from Helsinki to Stockholm on the basis of information from the Klaus Kurki Hotel.

In fact, Oswald was not going west but east.

The Supo inspector was correct in his assessment that Oswald had been in Helsinki 'apparently waiting for a visa'.

Later, a correction was made to the hotel register, according to which he left for Moscow via Vainikkala.

After leaving Helsinki, he arrived in Moscow, expressing an immediate desire for Soviet citizenship.


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Was it ever established what flight got Oswald from London to Helsinki ? 

The WC did list an exact price for that (to the cent that is), but failed to provide details about that price (ticket / flight / ...) ? 

CM did list 2 possible flights both in time to check in at Torni's (about 5.30PM I believe it was)


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