by Anthony Summers
CBS News and other media yesterday reported as a supposed revelation, that Warren Commission counsel William Coleman travelled to meet with Cuba’s Fidel Castro to discuss the assassination. This is not a revelation.
I first learned about this from Coleman in 1994, at a time when he said he could not describe the assignment because “It was top secret”. I published the exchange in my book Not in Your Lifetime. I wrote in greater detail on the subject in The Times of London on January 7, 2006, following a new meeting with Coleman. I reported that he “told me before Christmas of a mission that he carried out on the orders of the U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren. He had flown to a secret location for a meeting with Señor Castro….What Mr. Coleman learned, he said, satisfied him – and the Chief Justice when he reported back – that ‘Castro’s regime had nothing to do with the President’s murder.’”
I wrote this following a conversation with Mr. Coleman on the evening of November 18, 2005, at a social gathering. My handwritten note recorded that he said: “Earl Warren asked me to fly down to an island and meet with Castro. And I did fly down to the island, spent about six hours with him. And he gave me various papers. And I brought them back to Washington….I concluded and reported to Warren that the Castro regime had nothing to do with the assassination. I asked Coleman, “Where are the documents you brought back?” The former Commission attorney replied, “I hope they’re at the National Archives with everything else. They damn well should be.”
I pressed him further, but Coleman said, “I’ve already said too much”. I had an exchange of letters with him the following month, asking Coleman to tell the story of his mission as fully as possible – in the interests of getting relevant documents released in the spirit of the Clinton presidential order that established the Assassinations Records Review Board .
Mr. Coleman responded on December 30, 2005 with a letter stating that – contrary to what he had told me – “I have never met, talked to, or been in Mr. Castro’s presence, and I had no such direction to do so by Mr. Chief Justice Earl Warren.”