Remarkable and historically significant ALS signed “Lee H. Oswald,” one page, 8 x 11.25, no date but December 1961. Letter to Senator John Tower of Texas. In full (spelling and grammar retained): “My name is Lee Harvey Oswald, 22, of Fort Worth up till October 1959, when I came to the Soviet Union for a residenual stay. I took a residenual document for a non-Soviet person living for a time in the USSR. The American Embassy in Moscow is familier with my case. Since July 20th 1960, I have unsucessfully applied for a Soviet Exit Visa to leave this country, the Soviets refuse to permit me and my Soviet wife, (who applied at the U.S. Embassy Moscow, July 8, 1960 for immigration status to the U.S.A.) to leave the Soviet Union. I am a citizen of the United States of America (passport no. 1733242, 1959), and I beseech you, Senator Tower, to rise the question of holding by the Soviet Union of a citizen of the U.S., against his will and expressed desires.” Oswald also writes his return address in the upper right, “Lee H. Oswald, Ul. Kalinina 4-24, Minsk, U.S.S.R.”
Also includes five original copies of letters and memos regarding Oswald’s request: two are retained copies of letters sent to Oswald in Minsk, and three are internal memos discussing the matter. One such memo, in part: “On November 2, 1959, Mr. Oswald swore to the following affidavit: ‘I affirm that my allegiance is to the Soviet Socialist Republic.’ He requested that his American citizenship be revoked. He now wishes to return…Senator should not become involved in such a case—therefore State will report to us the course which they will follow.” In very good condition, with scattered creases, a tear and heavier creasing to the bottom edge, paperclip impressions and numerous tack holes to the upper left, and a subtle diagonal streak of staining passing below the signature; technical flaws are mentioned for the strictest of accuracy, and the overall letter is boldly penned and quite visually appealing. Accompanied by a glossy press photo of the letter, stamp-dated on the reverse November 1963.
After the arduous process of getting his US Passport returned, Oswald faced the tougher challenge of obtaining exit visas for himself and his now-pregnant wife from the Soviet government. After months of embassy visits and extreme pressure from Marina’s friends, coworkers, and family members to remain, Oswald grew impatient and penned this letter to Senator John G. Tower of Texas, requesting US intervention in the process. With explicit information contradicting Oswald’s claims of unwavering loyalty to the US, the Senator decided not to get involved, referring the letter instead to the State Department, where no further action was taken. Despite Tower’s lack of assistance in the matter, he faced harsh criticism following the assassination as pieces of this letter were widely published—in the news and again in the Warren Commission report—and found himself defending against accusations that he facilitated Oswald’s return. Believed to be lost, this extraordinary letter was discovered in Senator Tower’s home following his death in 1991; a remarkable find, and certainly one of the most important Oswald letters known. RR Auction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.