- WASHINGTON (AFP) - The assassination
of John F. Kennedy caused great concern in the Soviet Union, which at one
time had been suspected of involvement in the murder, according to documents
released Thursday by the National Archives.
- The documents, including letters from Nikita Khrushchev,
were given to US President Bill Clinton by Russian President Boris Yeltsin
at the G8 summit in Cologne, Germany in late June.
- The 80 pages of documents include: notes and resolutions
from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union labeled
"Top Secret," letters, notes of condolence, reports from the
TASS news agency and other official documents.
- The documents give an inside look into how the Soviet
Union's leadership reacted to the US president's murder.
- One letter from former first lady Jackie Kennedy dated
November 1, 1963 reveals her personal appeal to Khrushchev, the head of
the Soviet Union at the time.
- In the letter, the widow of the president wrote: "You
and he were adversaries, but you were also allies in your determination
not (to) let the world be blown up."
- "You respected each other and could have dealings
with each other," she said, adding that "President (Lyndon) Johnson
will continue the policy my husband believed in so deeply -- the policy
of self-control and restraint -- and he will need your help."
- Several of the items illustrate Soviet officials' concern
with Lee Harvey Oswald's stay in the Soviet Union shortly before his own
- One note from the Central Committee dated November 25,
1963, just three days after the president's murder, expressed concern about
the US press' slant about a possible Russian involvement.
- "One can see even more clearly the absurdity and
malice of the slanderous fabrications in certain organs of the American
press, which are trying to establish Oswald's 'connections' with either
the Soiviet Union or Cuba, using the fact that he spent some time in the
Soviet Union as the basis for their insinuations."
- Another document said US groups, including local authorities
in Dallas, could continue to "fan the hysteria over the 'leftist'
affiliations of Kennedy's assassin."
- A Central Committee letter said the Soviet Union was
drafting a statement to counter allegations in the American media.
- "The thrust of the draft statement is that the murder
of Oswald himself reveals now even more clearly the identity of the groups
who are behind President Kennedy's assassination and who are obviously
trying to cover up their tracks."
- And the TASS news agency was called on to defend this
point of view.
- Several documents retrace Oswald's stay in the Soviet
Union from 1959 to 1962 from his marriage to the birth of his child to
his desperate tries to obtain Soviet citizenship.
- Oswald had attempted to commit suicide by slitting his
wrists before Soviet authorities refused his request because they believed
he didn't have a motive for justifying his demand.
- Another record reveals that the Central Committee tried
to keep under wraps much of Oswald's activities in Minsk for fear that
it would "add new fuel to the controversy surrounding Oswald and his
stay in the USSR" (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
- The committee suggested refusing to allow New York Times
reporter Henry Tanner to come to the city to investigate Oswald's life
in the capital of Belarus.
- "A trip by Tanner to Minsk ... would enable correspondents
to directly question people who had worked with Oswald or come into contract
with him or his wife and to collect materials for biased reports,"
the note warned.