Dick Billings's personal notes on consultations and interviews with Garrison
December 1966-January 25, 1967
Early December (Dec. '66), trip to New Orleans after report from [David] Chandler that Garrison working on assassination -- had a suspect -- file from Chandler told of raid on Ferrie apartment, mentioned that two boys picked up held visa applications signed by Marcello Washington lawyer Jack Wasserman (this came from source outside Garrison's office who also alleged case was closed by a bribe, a report denied by DA's office) . . .
Met with Garrison, who outlined "the Smith case." . . . He began with history -- Oswald in New Orleans, the raid on Ferrie, Ferrie's arrest, description of Ferrie, and he produced B of I photo . . . Ferrie was arrested as fugitive from justice in Texas . . .
Garrison said further he was getting a file on Ferrie from private investigator agency (Southern Research) hired by Eastern as part of suspension proceeding . . . (Southern Research reportedly a Shreveport outfit . . .) . . .
Garrison said further about Ferrie he was helluva pilot, also a hypnotist, a defrocked priest and a fag . . . that he always seemed to have money, that he had worked as an investigator for Marcello New Orleans attorney G. Wray Gill . . . (Gill, turns out later, has an interesting black mark on his record . . . as a youth he was convicted of manslaughter in the death of a girlfriend . . . Garrison compares incident with Dreiser's "American Tragedy.") . . .
Garrison says that when Oswald in New Orleans in 1963 (April to September) he was seen two or three times with Ferrie -- at office of W. Guy Banister, former FBI agent (SAC, Chicago), right wing extremist, later a private eye in New Orleans until he died in June 1964 . . . Information apparently came from Jack Martin, the man who had tipped DA's office that Ferrie had known Oswald, had taught him to fire a rifle and had flown him to Dallas in September-October, 1963 . . . interesting point about Banister-Martin: police report shows Banister pistol whipped martin on day of assassination, reportedly -- by a secretary in office -- in an argument over JFK . . . Charges dropped by Martin, who turns out to be an undependable drunk and a totally unreliable witness . . .
Garrison, a former FBI agent himself (for months in [year crossed out]), says he turned file in 1963 over to Bureau, but he never heard from them again . . . He says, "you can't work with the Bureau . . . It's not interested in real investigation -- operates with 20/20 hindsight" . . . Garrison says after Bureau cleared Ferrie, "We let it go, but it has bothered me ever since." . . . Says he got interested again by reading critics' books, Esquire and Life . . . "There's no way to look at this in depth and not conclude there was a second assassin. There are too many coincidences . . ." 10 days before this meeting, Garrison had formed a special task force to devote total time to case . . .
Garrison mentions friend of Ferrie, possible second suspect -- Morris Levetin Brownlee, described as pillhead, weed boy, undercover man for narcotics squad . . . Had planned to arrest him on narcotics, a plan since dropped . . . But plan fits with Garrison MO throughout: get control of witnesses, accessories, suspects, etc. and, by eventually turning one or another, work for a break . . .
Information on Ferrie mug shot: 331 Atherton Dr., Metairie (address in 1961-62) -- pilot, Cleveland . . . ruddy, brown hair and eyes, 43, 195, 5'11" -- arrested 2/16/62 . . . Garrison says in 1963 Ferrie owned a Stinson . . . Knows he went to Texas by car or plane . . . Turns out later he went by car . . . Reports of bad weather that need check say he could not fly, so must have been important trip, for why else would a pilot drive seven hours . . .
Garrison suspects Cuban angle . . . Knows about Cuban liberation front (anti-Castro) . . . Cubans, Garrison suspects, felt betrayed in bay of pigs . . . Unless assassination was totally meaningless, the motive fits: vengeance . . . Garrison must assume possibility of a reason . . . Knows Ferrie was right in middle of Cubans, that his plane had been used for clandestine flights . . . Figures Ferrie the link between Oswald and Cubans . . . Oswald described by Garrison as prick peddler (male whore) . . . "He always came to see his lawyer, Dean Andrews, with a Latin type with a short haircut and a couple of faggots . . ."
Oswald and Fair Play for Cuba? Probably a cover . . . too much publicity . . . only evident for short time . . .
Garrison has 24-hour tail on Ferrie . . .
He figures Bureau now interested again . . . phone taps, etc.
Says he has names of people on higher level who were associated with Oswald . . .
More on Ferrie: organizer of CAP vigilantes who shoot up boondocks; speaks Spanish; reads a lot . . . No reason to arrest him at this point . . . Not a suspect beyond reasonable doubt . . . Though served him with a grand jury subpoena so he could be questioned (in DA's office, it turned out) . . . "He may not be the assassin, but he'll do." . . . "If he didn't actually do it, he knew it was going to happen and was involved . . . "
Garrison subscribes to grassy knoll theory . . .
Active investigation of Ferrie began midnight, Nov. 24, 1963 -- he turned himself in the 25th . . . Was questioned . . . Denied knowing Oswald . . . Said he went to Houston and Galveston that weekend to inspect an ice skating [rink] for purpose of possibly building one in NO . . . Also claimed to be duck or goose hunting, a story he maintained later was true, though boys with him said they didn't even take guns . . .
June 1963 in New Orleans . . . Ferrie, Oswald, and Ruby (?) . . .
Clay Bertrand . . . called Andrews and asked him to defend Oswald . . .
Frank Pizzo . . . always with Oswald in NO (?) . . .
Russell Long encouraged Garrison to take up investigation in New York couple of weeks earlier . . .
According to Andrews, Oswald had no ego strength at all . . . Says he advised Oswald on "garbage" problems, was never paid . . .
Garrison says Oswald came to Ass't. DA Ed Gillen to ask about a certain kind of drug . . .
Mrs. Odio mentioned . . . She has relatives in New Orleans . . . One, Dr. Guitart, lives in next block from Ferrie . . .
From May to July 19, Oswald worked for Reily Coffee Company, next block from corner of Lafayette and Camp, location of coffee shop where Cubans hang out . . .
Mentions testimony of Warren Reynolds, witness to Tippit slaying who was shot in January . . .
Garrison knows about Vaganov and article in Greater Philadelphia magazine by Gaeton Fonzi, 1500 Walnut . . . Kingsley 5-3500 . . .
DEC. 29 . . . second visit to New Orleans
Garrison says every day something new develops . . . Considers Banister office significant . . . Says Banister was shipping guns to Cuba with help of Ferrie . . . Ferrie had contacts in Tampa and Miami (Cuban); Banister knew how to get guns which were shipped from Miami . . .
July 15, 1963, a significant week: Ferrie's EAL hearing in Miami; Oswald fired by Reily Coffee . . . Garrison notes Reily Coffee around corner from Banister office . . .
Testimony of Adrian Alba . . . who ran garage near Reily . . . Says Oswald used to come there to read gun mags . . . When fired, Oswald said, "I'm going to Gentilly for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." . . . Gentilly a section of NO near airport . . . Garrison says he has a witness (Martin) who says he saw Oswald and Ferrie in Banister office, "But he's a liar who hates Ferrie." . . .
Delphine (or Delpine) Roberts, Banister secretary who talked to Andrews . . . Said Ferrie came to Banister's office almost every day . . . Also saw short, muscular Cuban at meetings . . . Probably same Cuban seen by Andrews with Oswald . . .
Alberto Fowler -- Cuban helping Garrison; Gen. Uria, former police official in Cuba under Batista . . . "These are legit Cubans who have contempt for wildcat, outlaw Cubans," says Garrison . . .
Banister -- probably insane before he died . . . former assistant chief of police in New Orleans (?) . . . A violent man, heavy drinker . . . Went all the way down before he died (in either June or July 1964) . . .
Sergio Arcacha Smith . . . Cuban leader, connected to Ferrie . . . Living in Texas (Houston or Dallas) at time of assassination . . . Prime suspect in early stage of probe . . .
JAN. 5  . . .
Garrison says he's "long past point of coincidence of motive," but he needs evidence . . .
JAN. 11 . . .
Garrison searching Miami for Manuel Garcia Gonzalez -- proves futile . . . thinks he may be short squat Cuban . . . has friend, Max Gonzales (no kin), who has infiltrated Ferrie . . . Gonzales, a Mexican, old army friend and a pilot has told Ferrie he's interested in buying a plane Ferrie says has been sitting in Tampico for three years . . . Gonzales wants to see it . . . Garrison also has an informer, old friend of Ferrie's named Jimmy Johnson, who is living with Dave and spying on him for Giant [Garrison] . . . Garrison has men in Dallas and Houston, and he's heading for Miami . . .
Giant says Ferrie getting nervous, says he can't wait too long . . . "People could disappear . . ."
JAN. 14 . . .
Giant thinks he has name of short, squat Cuban and thinks he's in Hollywood, Fla. . . . Says he is Manuel Garcia Gonzalez, nickname "Toro" . . . In the boat instrument repair business . . . Giant has asked Gerstein for help . . .
Giant has prints of moving pictures taken while Oswald handing out leaflets in front of Trade Mart, Aug. 9, 1963 . . . Is showing them to possible witnesses . . .
Has report that Ferrie and Arcacha arrested in Covington by FBI in 1963 . . .
Has another report that Ferrie was building a midget sub at his home . . . To be used to raid Havana harbor . . .
Giant has filed down .38 cal. bullets as part of theory that such bullets killed Tippit, so they couldn't be traced . . .
JAN. 16 . . .
Working on Miami angle . . . thinks he has "Bugs Bunny" [Manuel Garcia Gonzales] . . . Never found him . . . Wants to arrest Bugs Bunny so he won't bug out . . . Would arrest on narcotics charge, conspiracy later . . . Ferrie know Giant in Miami which J. G. considers a goof, result of things moving too fast . . . Gerstein has explained how Bureau taps phones using central phone co. office . . .
Giant thinks his presence in Miami may have flushed Bugs Bunny . . .
JAN. 21 . . .
Giant calling in Carlos Quiroga, Cuban linked to Arcacha who was seen by David Lewis with Oswald in Mancuso's Café in summer of '63 . . . Hopes to turn Quiroga . . . If not, will tail him when he leaves . . .
Al Oser checking area north of lake for old training camps . . . Has found likely spot . . . Old plane sitting unused on strip . . . Turns out to belong to W. F. Miller, 1877 Mt. Diablo Ave., Stockton, Calif. . . . Check of Miller determines he and wife recently died in plane crash en route from Reno to Calif. . . . .
Quiroga vehemently denies having known Oswald except when he tried to infiltrate Fair Play for Cuba . . . Says he knew Ferrie and Arcacha . . . Garrison has questioned Miguel Torres, who was brought from State Penitentiary in Angola . . . He turns out essentially negative . . . But he was approached by Manuel Santana and asked to work for Cuban cause . . . Torres an addict . . . habitue of Habana Bar on Decatur Street . . .
JAN. 22 . . .
Lewis has reported he was shot at on Chartres . . . Lie detector later proved this a lie to gain attention . . .
Giant interested in Christian Democratic Party, Cuban revolutionaries who had training camp north of lake in summer '63 -- has names: Diego Paneque, Ricardo Davis, Orlando Piedra -- CDP run by Lauriano Batista . . .
Giant questions Charles Steele -- negative . . .
Giant has from Gill 1962 and 1963 phone bills and thinks he knows l. d. calls made by Ferrie . . . Some interesting calls to Texas, but most interesting is fact that bill for November 1963 is missing.
Max makes trip to find plane in Tampico . . . Ferrie doesn't go . . . Sends plane broker named Price . . . They never leave Louisiana, end up in Hammond . . . mysterious phone calls made on landing . . . Garrison figures Ferrie has made Max . . .
Clay Bertrand -- may not exist . . . but may be Clay Shaw . . . He comes in for questioning, leaves saying, "Merry Christmas," and heads for Hammond, where his mother lives . . .
Garrison checking laundry mark found in jacket at scene of Tippit slaying -- negative . . .
Mrs. Odio located in San Juan . . .
JAN. 23 . . .
Giant going through Vol. 22 of Commission evidence . . . Finds application for Oswald's trip to Mexico in which he lists himself as a photographer at 640 Rampart . . . At 640 South Rampart there's a publication called Louisiana Weekly . . .
Giant interviews Andrews again . . . Certain he knows something about assassination training but won't talk . . . Has name of man training north of lake -- Hernando Cortes -- Giant figures original of 32 was cut -- Hernando was cut . . .
On Sept. 10, report shows, a Manuel Gonzalez was arrested by Officer Ortiz in 1100 block of Decatur . . .
Giant mentions Covington arms cache . . . Figures Andrews knows about, since he defends people in trouble with Customs . . . Andrews an ass't. DA in Jefferson Parish . . .
Giant checks note taken from Ferrie apartment with Oswald handwriting in evidence . . . Check proves negative . . .
Giant notes from evidence how Oswald paid off $435 debt to DOS . . .
Ferrie starts contacting DA's office to see what's going on . . . meets with Pershing Gervais . . . says Ferrie: "I've got some interesting ideas. There may have been a second assassin." . . . Gervais amazed by Ferrie's knowledge of ballistics . . . Ferrie also talked about JFK wounds . . .
Says Garrison, "The only way they can prevent me from busting this is for someone to kill me." . . .
JAN. 25 . . .
Giant has talked to two Cubans who convinced there was a camp set up to plan and train for Castro assassination . . . Camp was north of lake . . . A spy was found in camp in August, driven to Miami and questioned by Laureano Batista . . . CDP tried to turn spy over to FBI, but Bureau had no jurisdiction . . . Giant sends Fowler to see Batista . . . Another name attached to camp: Ledovido Interam . . . Fowler points out there were two camps -- one CDP where the spy, Fernando Fernandez, was caught; another run by ultra conservatives . . . Turns out CDP camp didn't break up when spy was caught (claim they knew he was there all the time and kept him for protection against other infiltrators) . . . Camp broke up because of raid on conservative camp . . . Davis ordered departure . . . CDP camp on land owned by Redemptorist Fathers, later located by Oser with help of Angel Vega, one of Cubans there . . . Ultra conservative camp reportedly on land owned by McLaney (see report on raid) . . .
Mrs. Decker, lady in Banister's office in 1963, connects Banister to Quiroga, who has refused lie detector . . . Mrs. Decker was secretary to Banister . . .
Ivon questions Jack Martin, described as a lush and a bum . . . evasive . . .
Giant now convinced Ferrie went to Houston, not Dallas, on assassination weekend, but he had been in Dallas before and after . . .
Giant points to Vol. XXIV, as it describes short, stocky Cuban with Oswald at Cuban embassy in Mexico City . . . See testimony of Guttierez . . .
Andrews says he saw Oswald with Cuban three times . . . Would say no more . . .
Giant says case now depends on locating the short, stocky Cuban . . .
Alcock and Fowler to Miami; Gurvich and Loisel to Dallas, looking for Arcacha, who dropped out of sight on Nov. 11, 1963 . . . Turns out he was in Dallas in September 1963 -- sent postcard to [Ronnie] Caire . . .
Giant questions Oswald whereabouts on Nov. 17, 1963 -- only weekend he did not show up at Paine apartment in Irving . . .
Ricardo Davis has also disappeared . . . Turns up later in Houston . . .
Independent check with rip on identity of leaflet picture: he says people can be named by NO police, but his friend in intelligence section advises against going any further . . . Says take it easy, for pursuit raises a touchy subject . . . But no involvement on part of Company . . .
Giant pursuing time and propinquity chart . . . Tries to link Oswald to Torres and Santana . . . Says Santana was brought in by underground from Cuba . . . Santana and Torres arrested together for burglary . . . Santana got three-year suspended sentence . . . still searching for him . . . Santana lived right around corner from Alvin Beauboeuf . . . Beauboeuf longtime lover of Ferrie, once took trip with Dave to Latin America . . .
Gurvich finds White Rock Airport in Dallas shows trace of Ferrie . . .
Time and propinquity centers on Parkchester, an apartment complex in north New Orleans . . . Arcacha lived there till he left in '62 (Sept.) . . . So did Davis . . .
Report on Banister files . . . Delphine Roberts, Banister mistress, tried to get them, but burned by Mrs. B . . . Mrs. B in Monroe, La. . . .
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February 11-March 22, 1967
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