As a member of the Warren Commission that investigated
the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Gerald
R. Ford, then a Michigan congressman, suggested that the panel
change its initial description of the bullet wound in Kennedy's
back to place it higher up in his body.
On another page he also added "hurriedly" to the description
of how the assassin walked away from the scene. (click on images
Read Gerald Ford's correction to the Warren Commission
The change, critics said, may have been intended
to support the controversial theory that a single bullet struck
Kennedy from behind, exited his neck and then wounded Texas Gov.
John Connally. The Warren Commission relied on it heavily in concluding
that Lee Harvey Oswald was Kennedy's lone assassin, firing from
the Texas School Book Depository, above and behind the president.
Ford's handwritten editing, revealed in newly disclosed
papers kept by the commission's general counsel, was accepted with
a slight change.
The final report said: "A bullet
had entered the base of the back of his
to the right of his spine." A small change," said Ford on
Wednesday, one intended to clarify meaning, not alter history.
had nothing to do with a conspiracy theory," he said.
"My changes were only an attempt to be more precise."
draft of the report stated: "A
bullet had entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder
to the right of the spine."
Ford wanted it to read:"A
bullet had entered the back of his neck slightly to the right
of the spine."
showing area of back wound
back wound--not neck
eye-witnesses, including the observations of at least one Secret
Service man in Dealey Plaza and FBI agents present at the Bethesda
autopsy, placed the president's back wound exactly where the mute
testimony of the president's jacket and shirt showed where the wound
was: six inches below the collar line.
shirt with bullet
hole matches back wound
with bullet hole matches shirt and back wound
signed autopsy sheet, including the placement and description of
the back wound, was verified by Admiral George Gregory Burkley, personal
physician to the president who directed the autopsy at Bathesda.
Burkley filled out and signed John F. Kennedy's official death
certificate on November 23rd, 1963. He verified the location
of the back wound and signed the Kennedy autopsy sheet at Bethesda
on November 24th. That death certificate revealed the back wound
to be, in the Admiral's own words, at the president's "third
The neck has seven CERVICAL vertebrae,
and this observed and verified wound was described as three THORACIC
vertebrae lower than the neck itself. A wound in the back, exactly
where the official autopsy sheet and the coat and shirt placed
it. Warren Commissioner Gerald Ford was one of the key people
responsible for misleading the U.S. public about the facts of
the JFK assassination. The single bullet theory and the lone
assassin fiction are only possible if we believe Gerald Ford's
a longtime critic of the Warren Commission's work, said: "What
Ford is doing is trying to make the single bullet theory more tenable." The
papers showing Ford's editing were made public Wednesday 1997 by
the Assassination Records Review Board, an agency set up by Congress
to compile all available evidence in the Nov. 22, 1963, murder. The
documents are part of the personal files of the late J. Lee Rankin,
the Warren Commission's general counsel.Ford, then House Republican
leader, was one of seven members of the commission, which was headed
by then-Chief Justice Earl Warren. An active editor, Ford also suggested
a number of other changes in the 1964 report, including harsher criticism
of the Dallas Police Department for failing to protect Oswald. He
was killed in the basement of police headquarters by nightclub operator
Jack Ruby on Nov. 24, 1963.
Text by George Michael Evica--Information from the Associated
Press was used in this report.