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JUNE 2015


Service has never been adequately rec-


Thomas, then a political officer at

Embassy Mexico City, believed that Lee

Harvey Oswald’s six-day visit to Mexico

City, and his contacts with the Cuban and

Soviet embassies there, only six weeks

before the assassination, had potential

significance that the supposedly defini-

tive Warren Commission report had

failed to probe in sufficient depth.

Out of my affection and deep respect

for Charles Thomas, I’mmoved to bring

this new recognition of him to your read-

ers’ attention. I served with him in Haiti

during my first FS assignment from 1962

to 1963 and was fortunate to have had

him as my mentor.

Thomas was 37 years old when he

arrived in Haiti in 1961. Port-au-Prince

was his third post after Ghana-Liberia

and Tangier-Morocco in Africa. As the

embassy’s political officer, he had the

lead in reporting on the situation in Haiti,

a country dominated by its radical presi-

dent, Francois Duvalier. With Fidel Castro

a looming threat to the Caribbean area,

the United States and Haiti were thrown

together in an uncomfortable and unpre-

dictable relationship. Thomas’ reporting

was widely circulated and regarded as


Indeed, Thomas was a bright, ener-

getic officer, who was much admired

and from whommuch was expected. He

was an expert linguist. He had served as

a naval officer and fighter pilot. He had

completed law school and passed the

bar. To us, his colleagues, Thomas was

the epitome of an American FSO: loyal,

devoted and hardworking.

The news of his onward assignment to

Embassy Mexico City struck us as well-

deserved recognition of his talents. The

subsequent news of his selection out of

the Foreign Service was a shock for those