University Archives


G. Ford Signed Warren Commission Draft, Ex-Forbes

“The Commission’s most difficult assignments have been to uncover all the facts concerning the assassination of President Kennedy and to determine if that event was in any way directed or encouraged by unknown persons at home or abroad.”

GERALD R. FORD, Signed Photocopy of Typed Draft “Foreword” with Chief Justice Warren’s suggested changes, for President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (Warren Commission), August 11, 1964. 13 pp., 8.5? x 11?. Excellent.

“Theories and speculations mounted regarding the assassination. In many instances, the intense public demand for facts was met by partial and frequently conflicting reports from Dallas and elsewhere. After Oswald’s arrest, public attention focused both on the extent of the evidence against him and the possibility of a conspiracy, domestic or foreign. Oswald denied all guilt and his subsequent murder heightened suspicions already widespread and stimulated additional theories and rumors.” (p2)

“By his order of November 29th establishing the Commission, President Johnson sought to avoid conflicting investigations and to concentrate fact-finding in an agency having the broadest national mandate.” (p3)

“The members of the legal staff, divided into teams, proceeded to organize the facts revealed by these investigations, highlight the issues and unresolved problems, and recommend additional investigations by the Commission. Simultaneously, to ensure that no relevant information would be overlooked, the Commission directed requests to the 10 major departments of the Federal Government, 14 of its independent agencies or commissions, and 4 Congressional committees for all information relating to the assassination or the background and activities of Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack L. Ruby.” (p6)

“Because of the diligence, cooperation, and facilities of Federal investigative agencies, it was unnecessary and undesirable for the Commission to employ private investigators other than the fourteen assistant counsel who spent part of their time in investigations in conjunction with their other activities. The Commission also used independent experts from state and city governments to supplement or verify information.” (p7)

“The Commission’s most difficult assignments have been to uncover all the facts concerning the assassination of President Kennedy and to determine if that event was in any way directed or encouraged by unknown persons at home or abroad. In this process, its objective has been to identify the person or persons responsible for both the assassination and murder after thoroughly and impartially examining the evidence. The task has demanded unceasing appraisal of the evidence by the individual members of the Commission to discover the truth.” (p9)

“The Commission has functioned neither as a court presiding over an adversary proceeding nor as a prosecutor determined to prove a case, but as a fact-finding agency committed to the ascertainment of the whole truth.” (p10)

“In this report the Commission submits the results of its investigation. Each member of the Commission has given careful consideration to the entire report and concurs in its findings and conclusions.” (p11)

Historical Background
Just days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, his successor Lyndon B. Johnson appointed House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford to a seven-member “President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy.” The commission was chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren and included two Senators, two Congressmen, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the former director of the World Bank. As a member of the Warren Commission, Congressman Ford had responsibility for preparing a biography of Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963), the accused assassin. Oswald was killed two days after the Kennedy assassination, leaving many questions unanswered.

The Warren Commission interviewed more than five hundred witnesses and submitted its report to President Johnson on September 24, 1964. It concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, assassinated President Kennedy. The Commission published an 889-page report in November 1964, along with twenty-six volumes of supporting documents.

The evidence and conclusions of the Warren Commission have been the subject of intensive review and examination, and conspiracy theories abound. Some believe that Ford intentionally altered a part of the final report to support the “Single Bullet Theory,” the Commission’s conclusion that a single bullet fired by Oswald penetrated both President John F. Kennedy’s neck and Texas Governor John Connally’s torso and wrist before lodging in Connally’s thigh. Those who support a conspiracy insist that two separate bullets wounded the two men.

In describing President Kennedy’s first wound, the staff of the commission originally wrote: “'A bullet had entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine.”' Ford suggested changing that statement to read: “A bullet had entered the back of his neck at a point slightly to the right of the spine.” The final report said: “A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine.” Members of the conspiracy community seized upon this change as evidence that the Commission covered up the evidence of two bullets and two assassins in their commitment to the Single Bullet Theory.

Three subsequent U.S. government investigations in the 1960s and 1970s agreed with the Warren Commission’s conclusion that two shots struck President Kennedy from the rear and were fired by Oswald. The last such investigation suggested that another unknown assassin fired at the President but missed, but this conclusion has also been disputed.

Gerald R. Ford Jr. (1913-2006) was born Leslie Lynch King Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska, but his parents divorced months after his birth, and he grew up in Michigan. His mother married Gerald Rudolff Ford in 1916, and she renamed her son after her new husband. Ford did not legally change his name until 1935. He became an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1935 and from Yale Law School in 1941. Ford served in the U.S. Naval Reserve and U.S. Navy during World War II. Returning to Michigan, he became active in Republican politics and won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1948. He served in Congress from 1949 to 1973, the last nine years as House Minority Leader. In 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Ford as one of nine members of the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of John F. Kennedy. When Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in October 1973, Ford became Vice President to President Richard M. Nixon. Ten months later, Nixon resigned, and Ford became President. He narrowly lost reelection to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Ex. The Forbes Collection. Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990), American owner-publisher of Forbes magazine, and consummate collector, amassed one of the most substantial and broad collections of such breadth and depth that it filled a half-dozen residences, and sat on three continents. Many of his manuscripts were sold in multi-million dollar sales by Christie's in the early 2000s. The Forbes name is considered to be the apex of provenance when attached to an item like the one above. We are honored to have been chosen by the family to sell at auction the substantial balance of the collection.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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