The fundamental mystery in the Souetre / Dallas story lies in why, as of March, 1964, French security would have made the inquiry about the possibility of Souetre aka Michael Roux being in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Their motive would be clear given the existing charge against Souetre, related to his reported involvement in planning an attack on President Charles de Gaulle’s and de Gaulle’s planned 1964 trip to Mexico.
The question would be how Michael Roux’s name would enter the picture and how French security could have connected that name to Dallas and to Souetre. Based on a lead from my friend Steve Thomas, and a link to a summary document prepared by Bernard Fensterwald in 1982 we actually have that answer – in considerable detail and with affidavits.
As it on many occasions, the answer lies in a chronology of events:
In March, 1964 an article appeared in a somewhat “obscure” French newspaper, written by one Louis Assemat-Tessandier. The author wrote of meeting Michael Roux in Montreal, Canada in January, 1964. He quoted Roux as having said he had been in Texas the previous year (Fort Worth and Dallas) and that he was in Canada as part of a plan to attack President de Gaulle on upcoming visit to Mexico. Assemat-Tessandier then stated that Roux had tried to recruit him into the plot to attack de Gaulle. Fensterwald goes on to say that the article had drawn the attention of French security and had received a thorough investigation.
The newspaper article did contain considerable detail, but all second (or third) hand, as it consisted of Assemat-Tessandier supposedly quoting Roux. It should also be noted that as early as November 26, 1963 the article’s author had published an assassination story in another small French newspaper, stating that Oswald had not alone and there was a conspiracy involved. In his follow-on article he related that his information had come from being called (for no stated reason) to a girl’s apartment in Montreal. A young, rather drunk French officer was with the girl and in the following conversation openly stated that he had just come from Mexico City, having been in Dallas at the time of Kennedy’s murder and expelled by American police some 18 hours later. He told the author the American president was killed in right wing plot. After hearing Kennedy speak in Forth Worth the young officer knew he was doomed, jumped in a plane for Dallas and there the president was killed in a cross fire “with several men shooting”.
In his inquiry Fenstewald was given an French security evaluation of Assemat-Tessandier which described him as “intelligent but shaky, a romantic, one who might elaborate but not make up a story out of whole cloth”. That assessment is followed by a number of other documents from the French security investigation of the story, which ended in locating Roux, clearing him of any involvement and confirming that he was indeed not Jean Souetre. Of particular interest is the security interview with Roux himself – which is fully consistent with the details of the FBI investigation that was actually conducted in response to the French inquiry:
“I have learned of the article of Mr. Louis Assemat-Tessandier, published Feb. 19, 1964. “I contest all of the facts reported there. I will tell you the conditions under which I undertook my trip to North America where I went to try to find work.
“I left Paris on November 19, 1963, destined for Houston. I was to present myself to the Gaschman Company in Ft. Worth for a job that I
never received. Then, two or three days later, I returned to Houston where I found no work. About a week later, I went to Mexico City, also to find work, notably at the Hamer Hotel. I left the U.S. because my passport was stamped “visitor” and not “immigrant.” I was unable to find work in Mexico.
As my financial resources were diminishing, I left that city on January 8, 1964, and I crossed the U.S. border by bus, at Laredo, on January 10, 1964. I crossed the Canadian border on January 13, 1964, at Windsor. From the 12th to the 30th. of January I resided at Montreal, 12-39 Dorchester-West. Toward the end of January, I became sick and took a flight to Paris.
“One day, date unknown, I went to the Texaco Building in Montreal, to look for some road maps. I made the acquaintance of two young ladies,
“Jean” and “Eva,” whose last names I do not know. As they were simpatico, I asked them to have a drink. It was then that they told me of a Frenchman named Louis who was in Montreal and whom I should meet. I told them I would be happy to meet him. They invited me to come have a drink in their apartment at an address which I do not remember, but I believe it was on Pill Street. There “Jean” called Louis on the telephone and said to him: ‘I have with me a Frenchman who has arrived from Paris. I am going to put him on the phone.’
I took the phone and told him that I had just arrived from Mexico after a stay in Fort Worth, where I was the day of President Kennedy’s murder.
Louis asked me what I thought of that affair. I responded that, in my view, Oswald could not have acted alone. I had read the local papers which had given contradictory details. We then spoke of the trip that General de Gaulle was to take to Mexico in March, and I said something to the effect: ‘They should reinforce security, because in Mexico people kill at the drop of a hat. They even pay Indians to kill people.’
“I wish to make clear that my only contact with Louis was limited to this one phone conversation. I never saw the man, and I never knew his name until you gave me his article to read. Therefore, I deny the interpretation that Louis gave to my statements. I request to be confronted by him. And I reserve the right to initiate against him any and all legal actions which I judge useful. “I have nothing to add. I remain at your disposal in case you have further need of me.
This interview, along with the rest of the information mentioned above can be found in the Weisberg Collection at Hood College:
Given this material, in addition to the FBI investigative work discussed in my previous post, it certainly appears that we can close the loop into what triggered the French inquiry to the FBI – and put the Question of Souetre in Dallas to rest. And again, my thanks to Steve for his research and for bringing this Fensterwald material to my attention.