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12

JUNE 2015

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

who knew him and had worked with him.

As it turned out, that ruling was a mistake

attributable to the department’s mis-

handling of his personnel file. Sadly, it

was probably a contributing factor in his

decision to take his own life.

Shortly before his last day in the State

Department in 1969, Thomas composed

a memo to Secretary of State William

Rogers, spelling out the allegations that

had been made to him about Lee Harvey

Oswald’s Cuban contacts in Mexico City

and noting that if these became public

without further investigation, they could

add fuel to continuing conspiracy theo-

ries and undercut the Warren Commis-

sion report.

State asked the CIA to comment on

that memo and his reports. The CIA

replied curtly that there was “no need for

further action.” The department did not

follow up.

From interviews Philip Shenon con-

ducted for a new 2014 edition of his book,

he wrote in The Washington Post on Sept. 24, 2014, that the Kennedy assassination

conspiracy theories are still alive half a

century later and that evenmembers of

the Warren Commission staff have come

around to believing that Oswaldmay have

beenmanipulated, even if he acted alone.

Thomas’ warning to Sec. Rogers was

prophetic, and it is surely time for the

Foreign Service to recognize his heroic

persistence and loyalty. We who served

with Charles Thomas remember him as a

loyal and brilliant colleague, an FSO who

deserves to be remembered by the newer

generations of the Foreign Service as a

devoted American public servant.

n

Ralph C. (Robin) Porter III

FSO, retired

Wickford, Rhode Island

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