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FBI Tracked Oswald in Switzerland in Early 60s, Records Show

December 28, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The FBI was so interested in Lee Harvey Oswald that it enlisted the help of Switzerland’s federal police to track his whereabouts after he left the United States in 1959, federal records show.

`` ... pertinent information was furnished to the Swiss Federal Police on 6/16/60 and they were requested to conduct (an) investigation in Switzerland in accordance with the bureau’s request,″ read a memorandum on Oswald, sent from the U.S. embassy in Paris to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on July 27, 1960.

The memorandum was among five documents released Thursday by the Assassination Records Review Board, which is compiling records related to President Kennedy’s assassination.

The documents were previously available, but with large sections blocked out. The FBI initially tried to block their release but relented after the board obtained the consent of the Swiss government.

Previously released documents indicate the FBI’s interest in Oswald. But the latest batch reveals the steps taken to track Oswald’s activities after his 1959 defection to the former Soviet Union.

Oswald’s mother, Marguerite C. Oswald of Fort Worth, Tex., had told the FBI that three letters she had written her son since Jan. 22, 1960, had been returned undelivered. She had also received a letter addressed to Oswald from Albert Schweitzer College in Switzerland, indicating that he was expected there on April 20, 1960.

The FBI turned to the Swiss federal police, who at first could not even locate the college, which had no official records on file in Bern, documents showed. Eventually, the college was located in Churwalden, Switzerland.

After discussing the case with FBI in July, August and September 1960, and visiting the school, Swiss police on Oct. 1 reported that Oswald had announced plans to begin classes in the fall of 1959 but never showed up, according to memoranda sent to Hoover from the embassy.

It is unlikely that Oswald would have attended the school under a different name, police said.

Also, Swiss police found ``no record of a person possibly identical with the subject″ registered for courses in the fall of 1960, one memo stated. In earlier correspondence with the State Department, Hoover had suggested the possibility of an impostor using Oswald’s birth certificate.

Later, Swiss police reported that Oswald’s last letter to the college, in June 1959, included a $25 deposit and an expression of ``satisfaction at being accepted at the college and anticipated joy for the coming sojourn at Churwalden,″ according to a Nov. 3, 1960, embassy memo to Hoover.

``Any further information received from the Swiss Federal Police will be furnished to the Bureau,″ the memo said.

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