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Testimony of Nelson Delgado


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Who was this strange visitor to Oswald just before he left the Marine Corp?

Mr. LIEBELER. He couldn't speak Spanish well enough to do something like that?

Mr. DELGADO. No. But as far as meeting the people out in public and asking for things and telling them something.

And, let's see, what else? Oh, yes, then he kept on asking me about how about--how he could go about helping the Castro government. I didn't know what to tell him, so I told him the best thing that I know was to get in touch with a Cuban Embassy, you know. But at that time that I told him this we were on friendly terms with Cuba, you know, so this wasn't no subversive or malintent, you know. I didn't know what to answer him. I told him go see them.

After a while he told me he was in contact with them.

Mr. LIEBELER. With the Cuban Embassy?

Mr. DELGADO. Right. And I took it to be just a---one of his, you know, lies, you know, saying he was in contact with them, until one time I had the opportunity to go into his room, I was looking for--I was going out for the weekend, I needed a tie, he lent me the tie, and I seen this envelope in his footlocker, wall-locker, and it was addressed to him, and they had an official seal on it, and as far as I could recollect that was mail from Los Angeles, and he was telling me there was a Cuban Consul. And just after he started receiving these letters--you see, he would never go out, he'd stay near the post all the time. He always had money. That's why.

Mr. LIEBELER. What did you just say?

Mr. DELGADO. He always had money, you know, he never spent it. He was pretty tight.

So then one particular instance, I was in the train station in Santa Aria, Calif., and Oswald comes in, on a Friday night. I usually make it every Friday night to Los Angeles and spend the weekend. And he is on the same platform, so we talked, and he told me he had to see some people in Los Angeles. I didn't bother questioning him.

We rode into Los Angeles, nothing eventful happened, just small chatter, and once we got to Los Angeles I went my way and he went his.

I came to find out later on he had come back Saturday. He didn't stay like we did, you know, come back Sunday night, the last train.

Very seldom did he go out. At one time he went with us down to Tijuana, Mexico.

Mr. LIEBELER. Before we get into that, tell me all that you can remember about Oswald's contact with the Cuban Consulate.

Mr. DELGADO. Well, like I stated to these FBI men, he had one visitor; after he started receiving letters be had one visitor. It was a man, because I got the call from the MP guard shack, and they gave me a call that Oswald had a visitor at the front gate. This man had to be a civilian, otherwise they would have let him in. So I had to find somebody to relieve Oswald, who was on guard, to go down there to visit with this fellow, and they spent about an hour and a half, 2 hours talking, I guess, and he came back. I don't know who the man was or what they talked about, but he looked nonchalant about the whole thing when he came back. He never mentioned who he was, nothing.

Mr. LIEBELER. How long did he talk to him, do you remember?

Mr. DELGADO. About an hour and a half, 2 hours.

Mr. LIEBELER. Was he supposed to be on duty that time?……..

Mr. LIEBELER. You never asked Oswald who this fellow was that he talked to?

Mr. DELGADO. No, no.

Mr. LIEBELER. What time did the shifts of duty run? This was a guard duty that he was on; is that right?

Mr. DELGADO. Right.

Mr. LIEBELER. How did those shifts run?

Mr. DELGADO. They ran, let's see, from 12 to 4, 4 to 8, 8 to 12, 12 to 4, 4 to 8, like that; and he was roughly on 8-to-10 shift, you know. Must have been about 9 o'clock when the guy called.

Mr. LIEBELER. The 8-to-12 shift?

Mr. DELGADO. Yes; and I had to relieve another guard and put him on.

Mr. LIEBELER. Did you connect this visit that Oswald had at that time with the Cuban Consulate?

Mr. DELGADO. Personally; I did; because I thought it funny for him to be receiving a caller at such a late date time. Also, up to this time he hardly ever received mail; in fact he very seldom received mail from home, because I made it a policy, I used to pick up the mail for our hut and distribute it to the guys in there, and very seldom did I see one for him. But every so often, after he started to get in contact with these Cuban people, he started getting little pamphlets and newspapers, and he always got a Russian paper, and I asked him if it was, you know, a Commie paper--they let you get away with this in the Marine Corps in a site like this--and he said, "No, it's not Communist; it's a White Russian. To me that was Greek, you know, White Russian, so I guess he is not a Communist; but he was steady getting that periodical. It was a newspaper.

Mr. LIEBELER. In the Russian language?

Mr. DELGADO. Right.

Mr. LIEBELER. And he received that prior to the time he contacted the Cuban consulate; did he not?

Mr. DELGADO. Right. And he also started receiving letters, you know, and no books, maybe pamphlets, you know, little like church, things we get from church, you know, but it wasn't a church.

Mr. LIEBELER. Were they written in Spanish, any of them, do you know?

Mr. DELGADO. Not that I can recall; no.

Mr. LIEBELER. Did you have any reason to believe that these things came to Oswald from the Cuban consulate?

Mr. DELGADO. Well, I took it for granted that they did after I seen the envelope, you know.

Mr. LIEBELER. What was on this envelope that made you think that?

Mr. DELGADO. Something like a Mexican eagle, with a big, impressive seal, you know. They had different colors on it, red and white; almost looked like our colors, you know. But I can't recall the seal. I just knew it was in Latin, United, something like that. I couldn't understand. It was Latin.

Mr. LIEBELER. You don't know for sure whether it was from the Cuban consulate?

Mr. DELGADO. No. But he had told me prior, just before I found that envelope in his wall locker, that he was receiving mail from them, and one time he offered to show it to me, but I wasn't much interested because at the time we had work to do, and I never did ask to see that paper again, you know.

Mr. LIEBELER. Did he tell you what his correspondence with the Cuban consulate was about?

Mr. DELGADO. No; he didn't.

Mr. LIEBELER. Did he ever indicate to you that it had to do with the conversation that you had about going over to Cuba?

Mr. DELGADO. No. The only thing he told me was that right after he had this conversation with the Cuban people was that he was going to---once he got out of the service he was going to Switzerland, he was going to a school, and this school in Switzerland was supposed to teach him in 2 years--in 6 months what it had taken him to learn in psychology over here in 2 years, something like that……

Mr. LIEBELER. So that Oswald only went into Los Angeles with you on one occasion?

Mr. DELGADO. That I know; yes. Right after he corresponded with these people.

Mr. LIEBELER. With the Cuban Consulate?

Mr. DELGADO. I assumed he was going there to see somebody. I never asked him. It wasn't my business, you know.

Mr. LIEBELER. Did he later tell you that he had been to the Cuban Consulate?

Mr. DELGADO. Yes; but I thought it was just his, you know, bragging of some sort…….

Mr. LIEBELER. You don't know of your own knowledge of any other times that he went into Los Angeles?

Mr. DELGADO. No. The only outstanding thing I can remember was that Oswald was a casual dresser. By that I mean he would go with a sport shirt, something like that, and this particular instance he was suited up; white shirt, dark suit, dark tie.

Jim Root

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I received the following information in a personal email. Perhaps someone can provide further information:

"I am not positive so I did not want to post this on the forum but I believe that somewhere in Jonn Newmans Oswald and the CIA it says that Gerry Patrick Hemming is claiming that he is the one who met with Oswald. I checked the book out from my library so I cannot tell where it is at in the book or what is said exactly. Maybe someone on the forum with more experience than I have can answer more decisively. Hopes this helps."

I will toss my own personal choice into the ring: Jame Patrick Cannon (1890-1974).

In 1959 he was living in Los Angeles, CA and was involved in the pro-Castro movement. An interesting sidelight, by late 1963 or early 1964 (just after the assassination of Kennedy) his active particpation in the Socialist Workers Party became very limited.

Jame Patrick Cannon: (1890-1974)

Chief American Trotskyist leader and theoretician. Cannon was born in Rosedale, Kansas, to working-class Irish-Catholic radicals. He became a Wobbly organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and was personally trained by IWW leader Bill Haywood. He joined the Socialist Party when he was 18.

He was one of the leaders of the pro-Bolshevik split of the Socialist Party in 1919, becoming the first national chairman of the "Workers' Party" (Communist Party USA). He was politically allied with William Z. Foster in the Communist Party; both hoped to translate Bolshevism to the American labor movement. He organized the CP's International Labor Defense (ILD) to defend such workers as anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti.

In 1928, while attending the Sixth Congress of the Communist International (Comintern), Cannon received a critique of the Stalinist corruption of the Soviet Union, written by Leon Trotsky. He became an open sympathizer of Trotsky's Left Opposition, and was consequently expelled from the Communist Party. Canon then formed the Communist League of America and began publishing The Militant with Max Shachtman. After a brief entry into the Socialist Party, Cannon's CLA emerged as the Socialist Workers Party in 1938. The SWP then became the largest section of the new Fourth International.

He served as national secretary of the SWP during its early life. In 1941, along with 17 other party leaders, he was arrested under the anti-communist Smith Act. (The Communist Party's Stalinist leadership applauded this act.) After being convicted in 1943, he served a sixteen-month prison term at Sandstone Prison. He was released when World War II ended in 1945 and continued as SWP national secretary until 1953. He was replaced in that position by National Labor Secretary Farrell Dobbs. He remained active in the SWP as national chairman emirtus until his death in 1974.

Cannon wrote a number of books, including Struggle for a Proletarian Party (1943), History of American Trotskyism (1944), America's Road to Socialism (1953), and Speeches for Socialism (1971).

Socialist Workers Party, Trotskyite, Smith Act, The Militant, Fair Play for Cuba, Los Angeles, California.

Coincidence, perhaps.

Jim Root

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Jim, you and anyone else interested in this thread, should really read Newman's Chapter 7 on Oswald's "Early Cuban Connections". Newman correlates Delgados statements with a great deal of Hemming interview material and CIA documents on Hemming.

Hemming definitely states that he met Oswald at the Cuban Embassy in L.A., that he regarded him as penetrator for Naval Intelligence, trying to insert himself with the new Castro personnel. He also began to suspect that Oswald might have been specifically targeted on him as well.

Newman also quotes his interview with Hemming in which Hemming very specifically describes going out to meet Oswald at El Torro - that is on page 105 of Newman's book. Hemming was confronting Oswald over their encounter at the embassy.

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Ryan, there is a bit of description in Newman's book...I get the impression

Hemming wanted to find out a whole lot more about Oswald, and why

it seemed like Oswald knew something about Hemming when they first met.

I can imagine that might not be a quick discussion, especially given

Oswald's skills at not answering questions. You can also speculate there

might have been more talk about Cuba and Castro since Hemming was

just back from there.

Gerry may post something more about it if he sees this thread but there's

not much more detail about the actual discussion at the gate....Hemming does

say he had other things to do at El Toro including catching a military flight

out.

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Larry

I really appreciate the information and have been reading alot about Hemming in the last couple of days. I found no reference to your comment:

"Gerry may post something more about it if he sees this thread but there's not much more detail about the actual discussion at the gate....Hemming does say he had other things to do at El Toro including catching a military flight

out."

My problem is that this does not go along with the Delgado story:

"Mr. DELGADO. Well, like I stated to these FBI men, he had one visitor; after he started receiving letters be had one visitor. It was a man, because I got the call from the MP guard shack, and they gave me a call that Oswald had a visitor at the front gate. This man had to be a civilian, otherwise they would have let him in. So I had to find somebody to relieve Oswald, who was on guard, to go down there to visit with this fellow, and they spent about an hour and a half, 2 hours talking, I guess, and he came back. I don't know who the man was or what they talked about, but he looked nonchalant about the whole thing when he came back. He never mentioned who he was, nothing."

Thoughts?

Jim Root

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Jim, at the time in question Hemming was a civilian. He had separated from

the Marines before going to Cuba. Over the years he did have other

reserve and other military connections but that was later and I've never

laid it all out on a timeline myself.

If memory serves, during theat general time frame of the L.A. Oswald contact Hemming was also considered as an informant by the CIA and had a provisional security clearance with them - reasonably so as he certainly did key inside information about Castro's new Cuba and personnel in Castro's infrastructure.

There is extensive documentation on his informant activity with both the CIA and FBI in the CIA segregated files. As usual I'd say he was normally one or two steps ahead of either agency though.

Now Hemming does describe a special relationship with James Angleton and

refers to being given military transport to DC via El Toro. However that

would have been a completely separate issue and I'd have to leave it to

Gerry to explain that. I imagine you can get Newman's book through

interlibrary loan and I think it would definitely be worth your while. Beyond that Noel Twyman's book probably has the most in depth interviews with Hemming and I'd recommend that as background as well.

As to any Angleton - Hemming connection, as I say, that's totally beyond my

grasp and I'd be the first to being clueless on that.

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