Lane Bertram and the Day Before Dallas
(Compiled) By Vince Palamara
“Where Were You?” (Houston)
“On November 22, 1963, my family lived in Houston, and I still am living
here. When I heard
the news about President Kennedy, my 3-year-old son and I were at a
laundromat on Long
Point in Spring Branch. The laundromat had a TV set, so we heard the
That evening, my husband and I went over to visit our neighbors who
lived in the house
behind us, Lane and Edna Bertram. Lane Bertram at that time was head of
Service here in Houston
and had just been in charge of President Kennedy’s visit to
Houston the day before. We had all talked about the successful visit
that evening and the
upcoming visit to Dallas the next day.
I will never forget Lane’s comment about the assassination in Dallas.
Lane said, “It should
never have happened, there is no excuse for it; and it could never have
happened here in
[MAYBE BECAUSE THE SECRET SERVICE WAS ACTUALLY PROTECTING JFK PROPERLY
Such a tragedy!
Published Nov. 22, 1963
Edition: 3rd EXTRA
Note: This EXTRA was the third of four printed by the Chronicle as the
story of President
Kennedy’s assassination unfolded. Its lead headline read: “Assassin’s
Kennedy; Connally Shot, in Grave Condition”
No Hint of Trouble Noticed in
BY BOB TUTT
Lane Bertram, agent in charge here of
the secret service, the agency charged with protecting the
President’s life, said: “There was no information that an
Assassination attempt would be made against Mr. Kennedy
during the Texas tour.” Bertram, whose agents helped protect
the President during his visit here,said:
“We always anticipate trouble but there was nothing to indicate what
would happen in Dallas.
“We knew there was always the possibility that some mentally deranged
person would make an attempt on the President’s life. We were worried about the
irrational [rather] than hired assassins.”
[NO WONDER THE ASSASSINATION WAS A SUCCESS THE NEXT DAY!]
Bertram said he was amazed at the assassination in light of the warm
reception Kennedy received from “remarkably well-behaved and respectful crowds in
This is the first time a President has been killed since the Secret
Service was organized
after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, Bertram
Secret Service agents here have checked out or are investigating a half
against the President, but there is nothing to indicate that any of the
threats was serious,
The White House switchboard set up at the Rice Hotel during Kennedy’s
received a number of crank calls but no threats, he said.
Every precaution possible is taken to protect the President when he
appears in public, but
it is impossible to guarantee perfect protection, he added.
When a Secret Service man takes his oath he swears to do anything
necessary to protect
the President, even to stepping in front of an assassin’s bullet,
Lane Bertram, SAIC of the Houston office, tried to link Oswald with the
rival agency – the FBI – after the shooting, and planted the story that
Oswald heard about a Kennedy-inspired plot to kill Castro, which made
Oswald kill JFK!(CD No. 705, page 1 & 767; see also Look, 7/12/66, page
69) In addition, Bertram was the agent who reported of Jack Ruby’s
presence in Houston on 11/21/63 (when JFK was present), as Ruby was
stalking the President.(25 H 378 – 381) Finally, when New Orleans
lawyer Dean Andrews (a man known to the Secret Service for his
assistance in legal matters) testified to the Warren Commission that a
“Clay Bertrand” called him on 11/23/63 and asked him to defend Oswald
(Andrews had previously seen Oswald in the summer of 1963 on various
legal matters), no one realized that “Clay Bertrand” was phonetically
close to Lane Bertram.(Andrews interview with Fred Newcomb)(CD No. 75,
page 305; 11 H 327; 26 H 704; 11 H 332 – 333; 26 H 357) In fact, the
SAIC of the New Orleans office, J. Calvin Rice, stated that Andrews was
“well known to this office”!(CD No. 87) However, when the FBI attempted
to find out who the man really was, they stated: “…locate any record
identifiable with Clay Bertrand or Bertram”!(26 H 356) Finally, Ruth
Paine stated that Oswald went to Houston to see an unidentified friend
on September 26, 1963 (the same day that the White House officially
announced JFK’s trip to Dallas for the fall).(23 H 409; 3 H 10; WR 651;
Time, 12/6/63, page 33A)
Michael Dorman’s “Secret Service Story”(1967)- on page 4, Dorman, later
of “Newsday” and a harsh critic of Jim Garrison, dedicated his book
“…to all the present and former members of the U.S. Secret Service,
with particular appreciation to retired Agent Lane Bertram, who took the
trouble to show a young reporter the ropes in days gone by”:
This Oswald-did-it book stands out for its sickeningly sweet approach
to the Secret Service’s ultimate failure evidenced on many pages,
perhaps summed up here best-
p.8- ” In the confusion, one group of men acted with a dispatch and
precision born of hour upon hour of drill, discipline and professional
training. these men were the agents of the Unites States Secret Service.
“Within an instant of the time the shots were fired, agents leaped into
action. Pistols and automatic rifles appeared in their hands. An agent
in the President’s limousine immediately grabbed a radio-telephone.
‘Let’s go straight to the nearest hospital’, he shouted to nearby
New York Times 12/20/63 Pg 19
Kennedy Threat is Laid to Texan
Dallas Machinist Held — Remarks Made Nov. 21
By Donald Janson
Special to the New York Times
Dallas Dec 19 — A 21-year-old Dallas Machinist was arrested by the
Service today on charges of threating to kill Presidnet Kennedy.
The machinist, Russell W. McLarry, said the threat had been made in jest
Nov. 21, the day before Mr. Kennedy was assassinated here.
Two women to whom Mr. McLarry allegedly made the statement eported it
the police in Arlington, about 15 miles west of here, soon after they
of the assassination.
At a preliminary hearing in Fort Worth today, the Secret Service agent
apprehended Mr. McLarry testified that the machinist had said he was
— no glad” that the President had been killed.
Mr. McLarry attends night classes at the Arlington State College in
Arlington as a freshman. The alleged threat was made on the campus to
Mr. McLarry was alleged to have told the women that he would be working
the Trade Mart the next day and would be waiting with a gun to “get” the
Works Near Trade Mart
Charles E. Kunkel, of the Dallas office of the Secret Service testified
he had confronted Mr. McLarry with this report and that, in substance,
student had admitted it.
Mr. McLarry works at the Dahlgren Manufacturing Company, which makes
lithographic printing equipment in a plant three blocks north of the
Mart. President Kennedy was driving to the mart to make a luncheon
when he was killed, apparently by rifle shots from a ixth-floor window
downtown Dallas building in the other direction from the mart.
United States Attorney Barefoot Sanders said here today that he had no
evidence of any connection between Mr. McLarry and Lee H. Oswald, the
In Fort Worth, United States Commissioner Bill Atkins set bond at
Mr. McLarry could not raise it and was remanded to the Tarrant County
Jury Meets in January
He was arraigned earlier today in Fort Worth rather than Dallas because
alleged threat was made in Tarrant County, of which Fort Worth is the
Mr. Sanders said the case would be presented to the next Federal grand
to be convened in the Northern District of Texas. This jury will convene
Amarillo the week of Jan. 6.
Mr. McLarry, who is single lives in an apartment house in the Oak Cliff
section of Dallas, a sprawling area where Oswald lived. former fellow
employees at another plant here described Mr.
McLarry as unusually argumentative.
If Mr. McLarry had a gun it has not been found.
At Arlington, it was said that Mr. McLarry was taking courses in
History and algebra.
The authorities said they had found no connection between Mr. McLarry
anti-Kennedy leaflets that appeared on the Arlington campus the day
the assassination. The leaflets bore the heading: “Wanted for Treason.”
Mr. McLarry was interviewed by the Secret Service Tuesday night and was
arrested this morning. The agency indicated that the case had not been
pursued immediately after the assassination because there had been more
pressing things to do.
Could Get Five Years
Mr. McLarry was charged under a Federal statue that prohibits threats of
bodily harm or death to a President, Vice President or President-elect.
Conviction could carry a fine of up to $8,000 or five years in prison.
>From “The (Washington) Evening Star”, 12/19/63
[this newspaper article photocopy was found in DNC advance man Jerry
JFK Library Texas trip files]
“TEXAS STUDENT CHARGED IN THREAT ON KENNEDY”
FORT WORTH, Tex., Dec. 19 (AP)—Russell Wence McLarry, 21, a night
at Arlington State College, was arrested today and charged with
the life of the late President Kennedy.
Mr. McLarry worked in the daytime in a building across from the
Mart in Dallas where Mr. Kennedy was scheduled to speak November 22. Mr.
Kennedy was assaassinated in a motorcade in Dallas en route to the Trade
Mr. McLarry was arraigned before United States Commissioner Bill
today. He was to be given a preliminary hearing later.
Secret Service agents and Assistant United States Attorney William
Hughes interrogated Mr. McLarry before he was charged. When the
was issue Deputy United States Marshal Joe Parker took McLarry into
The Complaint was signed by Charles E. Kunkel, special agent for the
The complaint alleged that “on November 21 he (Mr. McLarry) made
threats to take the life of and to inflict bodliy harm upon John F.
then the President of the United States, by stating in substance that he
would be working near the Trade Mart in Dallas, Tex., where the
was suppposed to
speak, and that he would be waiting with a gun to get the president.”
These remarks, the complaint alleged, were made in the presence of
Mr. McLarry gave his occupation as a machinist. He was sullen during
arraignment and said little.
When asked if he wanted a preliminary hearing, he nodded his head
affirmatively. Mr. Atkins advised him that he could have witnesses and
attorney at the hearing.
“I want to call my sister and get my business straightened up,” Mr.
Mr. Atkins asked him if anyone knew he was being charged.
“There is a probability of it,” Mr. McLarry replied.