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Bullet No. 399

In response to:

The Second Oswald: The Case for a Conspiracy Theory from the July 28, 1966 issue

To the Editors:

Some confusion may be caused by the sentence in my recent article [NYR, July 28] which stated that, “The Commission made no effort to track down what happened to both Kennedy’s and Connally’s stretchers.” This sentence was intended to indicate that the Commission made no effort to track down the antecedents of the stretchers dealt with by Mr. Tomlinson during the period when he found bullet No. 399, so it has no evidence as to which stretchers may be at issue. The Commission did establish part of the subsequent history of Kennedy’s and Connally’s stretchers, tracing the former up to the second floor operating room and back to the elevator on the second floor. They traced Kennedy’s stretcher as far as Trauma Room No. 2. But whether either of the stretchers was one of the two seen by Mr. Tomlinson simply is not known. He was unable to tell if the bloody stretcher came from the elevator or was parked in the corridor; and his description of the stretcher does not enable us to ascertain if it had on it the equipment that was on Connally’s stretcher. Bullet No. 399 was found near the obstetrics and gynecology section of the hospital, and this could have been the source of the stretcher; there are many other places upstairs from which the stretcher could have come. The Commission’s researches did not eliminate Kennedy’s stretcher as a possibility, nor did they show that the stretcher on the elevator had to be Connally’s to the exclusion of all other possibilities. The stretchers dealt with by Mr. Tomlinson were not identified, and the stretcher holding No. 399 remains unknown. The Commission’s conclusion that it was Connally’s seems to be based on the conviction that No. 399 went through Connally’s body, which is the point at issue.

Richard H. Popkin

San Diego, California

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