Thousands of JFK files have been released by the US government in the past few years and digitized and put online for anyone to access them. The Mary Ferrell Foundation also has created a wonderful website and database to search them and to go through even more information. However, there are a few previously released JFK files that are not online. You can get access to these files by going to the National Archives or by requesting a copy of them from NARA. I did that with a few files this year and one of them is a fascinating one that consists of an interview of former Dallas Police Captain George Lumpkin.
Lumpkin was involved in meetings about the planning of President Kennedy’s security and his motorcade route. He traveled in the lead car of the motorcade with a friend of his, General George Whetmeyer. After gunfire erupted in Dealey Plaza, the two traveled to Parkland Hospital and then went to the Texas School Book Depository. As the highest ranking police officer on the scene, Lumpkin took control, sealing off the building and remaining at it until a search of it was completed.
Despite being a key figure that day, the Warren Commission never interviewed him.
This file i requested consists of an interview of Lumpkin with Congressional HSCA staff members.
In it Lumpkin answers questions about how the Presidential motorcade was chosen and reveals how he invited Whetmeyer to attend DPD and Secret Service meetings about security planning and the motorcade as his “guest” – even though he seemingly had no reason to be there, because his Army Reserve unit played no role in the President’s safety that day.
I wish they would have asked him why and how people just get invited to meetings like this as a “friend.”
Also Lumpkin makes it sound like Police Chief Curry had a lot do with the motorcate route, but according to Vincent Palamara’s book, Survivor’s Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy, “DPD Chief Jesse Curry testified that he was not even consulted about the motorcade route.”
This is important, because according to DPD Sergeant Samuel Bellah, who was one of the advance motorcycle officers in the motorcade, he “reviewed the planned route with his captain. The route was not the original one that was to go straight through Dealey Plaza, but a revised route. The original plan would have skirted the Texas Book Depository building by a block, but the altered plan turned to pass directly in front of the building.” – this also is from Vince’s book (page 105).
In the first sentence of the staffer’s account of their interview with Lumpkin, they declare that he “was involved in the planning of the JFK motorcade” even though he distances himself from that specific activity in his answers.
Here is the complete file.