JFK files: British paper got anonymous call just before assassination

Memo from CIA to FBI says senior reporter at Cambridge Evening News was told to call the American embassy for ‘some big news’

A reporter on the UK’s Cambridge Evening News received an anonymous call telling him to ring the US embassy for some big news, 25 minutes before the murder of John F Kennedy in Dallas, newly released documents say.

A memo written to the director of the FBI from the deputy director (Plans) of the CIA tells of the strange phone call made to the unnamed senior reporter on the paper.

Dated four days after the president’s death, it reveals how far the investigation into the events in Dallas reached.

The memo reads: “The British security service (MI-5) has reported that at 18:05 GMT on 22nd November and anonymous telephone call was made in Cambridge, England, to the senior reporter of the Cambridge News.

“The caller said only that the Cambridge News reporter should call the American embassy in London for some big news and then hung up.

“After the word of the president’s death was received the reporter informed the Cambridge police of the anonymous call and the police informed MI-5.

“The important point is that the call was made according to MI-5 calculations, about 25 minutes before the president was shot. The Cambridge reporter had never received a call of this kind before and MI-5 state that he is known to them as a sound and loyal person with no security record.”

The memo somewhat cryptically also states that “similar anonymous phone calls of a strangely coincidental nature have been received by persons in the UK over the past year” particularly in the case of a Dr Ward.

It ends: “The British Security Service stated its desire to assist in every way possible on any follow-up investigations required within the United Kingdom.”

The memo is signed by the deputy director James Angleton.

Kennedy was assassinated as his motorcade passed through Dallas on 22 November 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald, a former US marine, was charged with his murder. Oswald himself was shot dead two days later by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

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