As a member of the Warren Commission that investigated the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Gerald R. Ford, then a Michigan congressman, suggested that the panel change its initial description of the bullet wound in Kennedy's back to place it higher up in his body. On another page he also added "hurriedly" to the description of how the assassin walked away from the scene. (click on images to inlarge)

Read Gerald Ford's correction to the Warren Commission Report Draft:

page 1 page 2

The change, critics said, may have been intended to support the controversial theory that a single bullet struck Kennedy from behind, exited his neck and then wounded Texas Gov. John Connally. The Warren Commission relied on it heavily in concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald was Kennedy's lone assassin, firing from the Texas School Book Depository, above and behind the president.

Ford's handwritten editing, revealed in newly disclosed papers kept by the commission's general counsel, was accepted with a slight change.

The final report said: "A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of his spine." A small change," said Ford on Wednesday, one intended to clarify meaning, not alter history.

"My changes had nothing to do with a conspiracy theory," he said.
"My changes were only an attempt to be more precise."

The initial draft of the report stated: "A bullet had entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder to the right of the spine."

Ford wanted it to read:"A bullet had entered the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine."

body diagram

Autopsy Face Sheet

back diagram

Drawing showing area of back wound


The back wound--not neck

JFK assassination eye-witnesses, including the observations of at least one Secret Service man in Dealey Plaza and FBI agents present at the Bethesda autopsy, placed the president's back wound exactly where the mute testimony of the president's jacket and shirt showed where the wound was: six inches below the collar line.

shirt with bullet hole matches back wound


Jacket with bullet hole matches shirt and back wound

skeleton drawing showing back wound placementThe signed autopsy sheet, including the placement and description of the back wound, was verified by Admiral George Gregory Burkley, personal physician to the president who directed the autopsy at Bathesda. Burkley filled out and signed John F. Kennedy's official death certificate on November 23rd, 1963. He verified the location of the back wound and signed the Kennedy autopsy sheet at Bethesda on November 24th. That death certificate revealed the back wound to be, in the Admiral's own words, at the president's "third thoracic vertebra." The neck has seven CERVICAL vertebrae, and this observed and verified wound was described as three THORACIC vertebrae lower than the neck itself. A wound in the back, exactly where the official autopsy sheet and the coat and shirt placed it. Warren Commissioner Gerald Ford was one of the key people responsible for misleading the U.S. public about the facts of the JFK assassination. The single bullet theory and the lone assassin fiction are only possible if we believe Gerald Ford's terrible fiction.
 fbireenact_sFBI 's own re-enactment photo showing wound in the back, not the neck.
Harold Weisberg, a longtime critic of the Warren Commission's work, said: "What Ford is doing is trying to make the single bullet theory more tenable." The papers showing Ford's editing were made public Wednesday 1997 by the Assassination Records Review Board, an agency set up by Congress to compile all available evidence in the Nov. 22, 1963, murder. The documents are part of the personal files of the late J. Lee Rankin, the Warren Commission's general counsel.Ford, then House Republican leader, was one of seven members of the commission, which was headed by then-Chief Justice Earl Warren. An active editor, Ford also suggested a number of other changes in the 1964 report, including harsher criticism of the Dallas Police Department for failing to protect Oswald. He was killed in the basement of police headquarters by nightclub operator Jack Ruby on Nov. 24, 1963.

Text by George Michael Evica--Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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