Warren Commission

Sixty years ago, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Gerald R. Ford was asked by President Lyndon Johnson to serve on the Warren Commission.  Known officially as the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, the Warren Commission was led by Chief Justice Earl Warren and included six additional members from both the Republican and Democratic parties: Richard Russell, Jr., John Sherman Cooper, Hale Boggs, Allen Dulles, John J. McCoy, and Gerald R. Ford.

In June 1964, Ford traveled to Dallas, Texas, with other members of the Commission to tour the Texas School Book Depository and interview Jack Ruby.  (Ruby had murdered Lee Harvey Oswald two days following the assassination of Kennedy.)  Here is a page from Ford’s notes taken during that visit.

Gerald R. Ford Congressional Papers, Papers Concerning the Work of the Warren Commission: “Working Papers – 6/1-8/64.”
NAID: 16638097
Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

The final report of the Commission was presented to President Johnson on September 24, 1964, wherein the group concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone.

Print of the Warren Commission presenting its final report to President Lyndon B. Johnson.  The print is inscribed “To Gerry (sic) Ford – with thanks for dedicated service, Lyndon B. Johnson.”
AV82-31-4854 / NAID: 7462161
Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Gerald Ford would go on to publish “Portrait of the Assassin” based on his work on the Warren Commission. He would defend the work and conclusions of the Warren Commission for the rest of his life, outliving all other members of the Commission. The issuance of this press release in 1966 is just one example.

Ford Congressional Papers, Press Secretary and Speech File, Box D9.
Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library 

Author: Brooke Clement