Papers Show Soviets Deeply
Concerned Over JFK Murder


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 death.
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.