Many people have asked me, since the book, Orville Nix: The Missing JFK Assassination Film has been published, why Forrest Sorrels talked to my grandfather about the parade route. I suppose he did because they were friends. I also suppose he did because he was concerned as to whether or not the route was a good one. I also wonder if he wondered about things like I do. This blog post is an example.
One of the facts I left from my book is the visit Sorrels made with Win Lawson to attorney Eugene Locke at the Republic National Bank Building on November 14th. [i] Why was this visit made? Eugene Locke was a Dallas lawyer, oilman and campaign chair for former Texas governor John Connally who Locke met in their younger days as well as Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade. Why would that be important to the JFK presidency, or were there discussions of motorcade routes that day? As many JFK researchers know, the Republic National Bank Building was also where George de Mohrenschildt kept offices and many have hinted the Bank building was a CIA fronted business. Later, another meeting occurred that didn’t include Forrest Sorrels. Eugene Locke was met by Win Lawson of the Secret Service, this time on Monday the 18th of November, 1963. The parade route WAS discussed that day. In a Warren Commission document, Lawson states:
I later went to a meeting in the Dallas Club with Mr. Puterbaugh,
Mr. Eugene Locke, Mr. Sam Bloom, Mrs. Betty Harris
and others . A discussion was held concerning the reception
committee, head table guests, the selected route, guest seating, and possible
new activity which might be added for the visit of the 22nd.
I left this meeting at approximately 6 :45 pm… At dinner with Mr . Puterbaugh
And Mrs. Betty Harris it was brought to my attention that some local persons were worried
that unfavorable publicity might arise if police were over–
zealous in handling peaceful picketing. I called SAIC Sorrels
who contacted Chief Curry who advised that peaceful picketers
would not be bothered . I recall that we discussed news items
appearing in the newspaper that various prominent Dallas
business men had requested people to be on their good behavior
and that Chief Curry had announced that the police would be
especially watchful and asked that citizens be alert for
nossible trouble makers .[ii]
Yes, the Texas contingent of oil men, politicians and lawyers was very cliquish, but contrary to many theories, the above testimony again underscores, in my opinion, that my grandfather’s friend, Forrest Sorrels was not fond of good ole boy politics as he was not invited to this dinner.
The same cannot be said of Locke or Connally, but they were politicians:
Well, I knew John Connally quite well when we were at the University of Texas,
and I had kept up with John to some extent through the years. I saw him in
Washington–we were up there at the same time when I was at the OPA, and
I think he had just joined the Navy. After the war I was at one time president
of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, and John was
the right-hand man of Sid Richardson. We had some business relations together.
We were in Washington together and other places.[iii]
Locke, under the LBJ Administration became Ambassador to Pakistan and later, Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam. He was friends with Trammell Crow as well as many influential people on the Dallas Council of World Affairs. When Locke is asked why LBJ trusted Texans so, this was his reply:
M: Is it important that you’re a Texan, do you think?
L: Well, I think it’s important that he knew me over a period of time. I
think it’s also important that they appraised my job in Pakistan–
pretty fair…but Johnson, having been a Texan and having his whole political history
tied to Texas, I suppose most of the people that he knew and trusted over
a period of time happened to be from Texas. Now, he trusted others–Clark
Clifford, obviously–some that he had known in Washington through his
Washington associations back in the days of the New Deal and the days of
Truman and so forth. There might be somebody in Indiana, say, that would come
with great recommendations and he might pick him, but I would guess that
if he looked at the people that he knew from his own personal association
or felt were people of balance and judgment and that he could trust, he’d
find a lot of them were Texans. I don’t think the fact that they were
Texans is why he’d bring them in. I think having his background that
type of person was a Texan and he might take somebody from some place
else on some of these recommendations. But after all, he didn’t know
them closely, and he would be relying wholly on the opinions of other
people, whereas there were Texans that he had his own opinions of from his
own association. That’s the way I would describe it. For the same reason
that in 1960 when he was running–when people were urging him to take the
nomination– try for the nomination of President, most of the people who
were engaged in helping him in that thing were Texans, even though the
place they may be helping was in North Dakota. He didn’t know anybody in
North Dakota well that he trusted. You know what I mean?
I think we “do” know what he means. Texans are a very loyal breed. Could that same loyalty have had anything to do with the JFK assassination? While John Connally was recovering from his injuries sustained during the assassination, he and his wife Nellie stayed at the Locke home which was on Turtle Creek, the same street General Edwin Walker lived on. Coincidentally, several associated in some way or the other with the assassination later ran for office in 1968, though LBJ didn’t. Locke, Gordon McClendon, and Attorney General Waggoner Carr all ran for Texas governor. Merrill Connally, John Connally’s brother, was the campaign manager for Eugene Locke, the job Locke had done for Merrill’s brother. Yes, Texans are a loyal breed. Locke placed fifth in a field of seven candidates.
As the Texas State Democratic leader, Locke was in the receiving line when JFK landed at Love Field. He was also scheduled to be the Toastmaster for the Austin trip that never happened.
In later years, Mary Ferrell, the renowned JFK researcher, worked for his law firm, Locke, Purnell, Boren, Laney & Neely. I wonder if Mr. Locke ever spoke with Mrs. Ferrell about his political days.[iv]
Eugene Locke, the deputy ambassador to Vietnam under LBJ, once served as the attorney for Marie Tippit, the wife of Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit, whom Oswald allegedly shot soon after the assassination.[v]
Sam Bloom, local host committee member was the one who asked Mary Ferrell’s husband Buck for use of their car for the White House Press in the motorcade.
So many questions still remain. What do you think? Also, could you please send positive energy and prayers to my dear friend and webmaster Lin? She is suffering a trying time in her life right now. My blog posts look wonky because my blog problems are nothing compared to the trials she is dealing with right now. Pray for her, but know that if there’s problems with the way the blog looks, that’s on me, not her!