Tucked away within the Poage Legislative Library – JFK – Dr. John Nichols Slides Collection, Robert F. Kennedy’s file copy of a letter to Dr. George Burkley, and Burkley’s subsequent letter to Evelyn Lincoln substantiate the most critically pertinent bases of Christopher Fulton’s claims.
A careful reading of the first letter, from Robert Kennedy to JFK’s physician, Dr. George Burkley on April 22, 1965, with a carbon copy to JFK’s secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, affirms that all assassination evidence and related materials in his possession were to be personally delivered to her, and were never to be released to “anyone” else without his written permission. That implicitly meant that – though she was temporarily assisting in the transfer of materials at the National Archives (not as an employee) – his instruction was that she would be given permanent care, custody and control of all related materials (as long as she was alive), and to her alone:
(NOTE: to “open” both documents for easier reading, “right-click” on the document and select “Open Document in New Window” — In the new window will appear a larger image that can be increased by hitting the “CTRL key simultaneously with the “+” key).
The second letter, dated April 26, 1965, from Dr. Burkley to Mrs. Lincoln (notably witnessed by three others, including Secret Service official Robert Bouck) references an “attached list related to the autopsy” – though that list was not included with this file copy (
I am attempting to locate the list UPDATE: I tracked down this 1975 document at the Weisberg Collection at Hood College that explains why it wasn’t included, and basically it was because no one knew what happened to the missing materials; the transfer memorandum had been withheld by Burke Marshall, acting as the family representative for related reasons — See further information below related to the HSCA investigation two years after this).
While the Burkley letter to Evelyn Lincoln states that the material is “herewith transferred to the Archives” that was qualified by the remaining phrase “for your custody, and in accordance with the instructions contained in Senator Kennedy’s letter” (i.e. that no one else would have access to it without his consent). This phraseology is absolutely consistent with what Christoper Fulton has written, in several separate places in his book.
After I discovered these memoranda within the Baylor University Library (interestingly there, not at the National Archives or the Mary Ferrell site), I wondered how they wound up there; then I realized the answer was in the letters themselves: Robert Kennedy wanted desperately to keep them away from all other government-controlled (including ones privately-owned but secretly controlled) libraries, archives, bureaus or departments.
And this was precisely what Mr. Fulton explained in his book: Evelyn Lincoln wrote a lengthy memo on White House stationary and appended it to her will, explaining that, at Robert Kennedy’s instruction, “… in regard to gathered and non-relinquished evidence in his custody, in relation to the assassination of President Kennedy” his intentions were to be kept secret, “to ensure the safety of the remaining Kennedy family.”
RFK wanted, the note continued, to ensure that the property “shall not fall under the control of the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, the Pentagon, the National Archives and Records Administration, the John F. Kennedy Library, the White House, or any other branch of government or agency”. (pp. 9-10)
In the mid-1970s the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) became involved in the mystery of the missing materials that could not be duplicated. It consisted of the following items:
- 1 plastic box, 9 by 6 1/2 by 1 inches, paraffin blocks of tissue sections;.
- 1 plastic box containing paraffin blocks of tissue sections plus 35 slides;
- A third box containing 84 slides;
- 1 stainless steel container, 7 X 8 inches in diameter, “containing gross material” (probably JFK’s brain);
- 3 wooden boxes, each 7″ X 3 1/2″ X 1 1/4″ containing 58 slides of blood smears taken at various times during President Kennedy’s lifetime.
The HSCA’s lengthy report tracking that history can be accessed here, and it even explains how Mrs. Lincoln would have come to know about Dr. Nichols’ interest in the matter (see the 8th page of the 14 page document — labeled page “30” of the larger HSCA report).
In summary, it traced the disappearance to the period between April, 1965 and October, 1966 and connects the disappearance of these materials to a footlocker that Mrs. Lincoln stated had been moved to another section of the Archives at Robert Kennedy’s request for receipt/disposition by his secretary Angela Novello (see para. 124-126). Then, beginning at para. #127, the confusion is shifted to the desks of Senator Edward Kennedy and Burke Marshall, who believed that Robert Kennedy must have disposed of them for fear that they would wind up at the Smithsonian and one day become a ghoulish exhibit for future visitors.
After reading this very thorough document, one can be excused for concluding that the entire script sounds like it was written by someone gifted at screenwriting for Grade B movies — probably exactly what RFK was trying to accomplish, to cover where he was planning to deposit it for future use in correcting the course of the nation’s history.
Unfortunately for him, he did not live long enough to finish that job; LBJ’s curse ensured that his secret (nearly) died with him. Thanks to the Fultons’ book it did not die completely.
Finally, in a memorandum dated June 5, 1992 (implicitly an act of anticipation of her own eventual death, which came at age 85, three years later), according to Mr. Fulton, Evelyn Lincoln also disclosed that secret for posterity when she wrote in a note that much of the property that Robert Kennedy insisted upon keeping out of government control was secretly moved to JFK’s coffin when it was re-interred in 1967 (pp. 82-84):
Robert Kennedy later informed me that he had surrendered the original x-rays and autopsy photos to the government, but had kept copies. He arranged for the remaining items, including the president’s brain, copies of the x-rays and autopsy photos, photographs of the watch, blood report, and the original watch strap, which I had given to Novello, to be placed with the president at Arlington National Cemetery during his reinterment in 1967, in an effort to keep them out of the government’s custody, and safe from suppression. I retained the watch, the affidavit from Bouck, and the Oval Office recordings during this entire period.
In retrospect, it becomes clear – to all curious and open-minded observers who care about the profound importance of what Mr. Fulton has painfully endured and has attempted to inform the “JFK assassination community” (as it were) – that within The Inheritance, Fulton has provided us the path that must be taken toward the resolution of the Shakespearean tragedy that so many have worked for so long to achieve.
Obviously, Robert Kennedy wanted more than anything to become president for many reasons, but chief among them was to conduct a real investigation, not the “shoddy” one that his namesake son acknowledged had been his father’s opinion of the Warren Commission Report. And that investigation would have to start with a forensic report on all the material that RFK had gone to great lengths to protect against destruction or suppression by government edict.
And, it must be said, Robert Kennedy’s resolve was driven in part by what he knew about the forces behind his brother’s assassination: They weren’t merely the amorphous bunch of reactionary fascists acting under the mask of secret societies and the covert intelligence and military services that so many “researchers” would have you believe. That might be an apt description for the covert ops that handled the logistics, but there was a guiding force that brought the mechanics and operatives together and he knew that the then-POTUS was the pilot-figure who had guided all others. RFK knew that he could prove that only by dethroning LBJ and becoming President. By burying the key evidence with JFK’s corpse, he knew it was within his reach – and undoubtedly still is, for anyone else with the powers of the presidency and a willingness to use them, to finally solve “the crime of the (20th) century.”
In the last three decades of her life, Mrs. Lincoln had to deal with a great burden that she had also inherited: In her remaining time on earth, she was obliged to carry out RFK’s secret wishes – a secret he personally documented in the first letter above and essentially validated by the HSCA a decade later – and had to do it in the face of opposition from other Kennedy family members. She knew that it was now up to her to distribute certain items to other individuals whom she determined would be better able to preserve, protect and/or curate them outside of official channels, thus these particular documents were undoubtedly given by her to Dr. John Nichols, an early trusted researcher whom she knew would add them to his own collection and eventually preserve them for posterity, at a private facility of his choosing: Obviously, he picked the Baylor University site for their preservation (See HERE – page 8 of website).
It is important to understand why Christopher Fulton did not include the documents in his book, or whether he even knew about them. I asked him that question and he responded thusly:
“I wrote my book to address my personal experiences … talking and working with individuals in the attempt to make things better for our country and the world. I did not concentrate on documents for the book, instead I tried to the allow the reader to go through a period of time with me. My book covers around 65% of what I needed to say.
The larger point that one can glean from Mr. Fulton’s response is that his “research” was limited to only what he personally experienced and it specifically did not include – as some critics have asserted – the charge that he wrote the book by cobbling together details gathered from other books and documents. Had he done that, he surely would have included these very important documents that I came across randomly in non-targeted searches.
My finding these documents buried among other quite unrelated materials was purely an act of serendipity, and – had I discovered them a few years ago, before his book was written – I probably would have been a bit curious about “why” RFK had done this, but undoubtedly not pursued that question out of fear of it becoming just another “dead end” before forgetting all about them.
The fact of their existence reproves the key essence of the truths that are the foundation of his book. For objective people – those with no axe to grind – they should be taken as final proof that Fulton’s book is his honest attempt to provide answers to the puzzle all researchers have been so anxious to solve for over half a century.
To reject his critically-important revelations because they do not conform to others’ “conventional wisdom” or because of his supposedly “unconventional writing style” is the epitome of conceit and hypocrisy. Who would treat Hunter S. Thompson’s works so perfunctorily, merely because he did not write like standard historians or biographers? (As I’ve documented within this blog, one should not rely on works by Doris Kearns, Robert Caro, Michael Beschloss or Robert Dallek for essential truths even though they “write well”).
Christopher and Michelle Fulton’s book The Inheritance – Poisoned Fruit of JFK’s Assassination is not only validated by the discovery of these documents, but the fact that they essentially “prove” (to the dismay of certain of his critics) that they did not do “Google searches” to find materials that might back up his story, vindicates their honesty and candor. The fact that Dr. Nichols then combined them with other items within his collection — much of which are not unique and can also be found elsewhere — suggests his purpose was at least in part done to fulfill Mrs. Lincoln’s instructions.
Most importantly in terms of the totality of the Fultons’ book, the long-hidden truths it reveals are akin to a newly discovered map that marks the path that must be followed if ever the 1963 coup d’état is to be fully exposed.