Cambridge newspaper ‘received mystery call just before JFK assassination’
An anonymous call was made to the senior reporter at the Cambridge News at 6.05pm on the day Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas.
A British local newspaper received an anonymous call about “some big news” in America 25 minutes before President John F Kennedy was assassinated, documents have suggested.
The revelation was made in documents relating to the killing, which happened on November 22 1963.
A memo to the director of the FBI said the anonymous phone call was made to the senior reporter at the Cambridge News on the day Mr Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas. The journalist reported receiving the call at 6.05pm, and MI5 calculated it was 25 minutes before the fatal shooting.
Current staff at the newspaper said they had not been able to establish whether the call was actually made and did not know who took the call, but are speaking to people who worked there in the 1960s to find out more.
The document, from deputy director James Angleton, said: “The British Security Service (MI5) has reported that at 1805 GMT on 22 November an 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.”
President Kennedy was shot as he rode in a presidential motorcade in Dealey Plaza at 12.30pm Central Standard Time, which is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
The memo added: “After the word of the President’s death was received, the reporter informed the Cambridge police of the anonymous call and the police informed MI5.
“The important point is that the call was made, according to MI5 calculations, about 25 minutes before the President was shot.
“The Cambridge reporter had never received a call of this kind before and MI5 state that he is known to them as a sound and loyal person with no security record.”
The memo added that similar anonymous phone calls “of a strangely coincidental nature” had been received by people in the UK over the past year “particularly in connection with the case of Dr Ward” – potentially a reference to Dr Stephen Ward, one of the central figures in the Profumo affair.
A copy of the memo, dated November 26 1963, was released by the National Archives in July this year, but had gone unreported until the latest batch of documents pertaining to the Kennedy assassination were released on Thursday evening.
Anna Savva, a reporter who currently works at the Cambridge News, said hearing about the call was “completely jaw-dropping”.
In a video posted on the Cambridge News website, chief reporter Chris Elliott said the possibility of a call came to light in the 1980s when a London solicitor called Michael Eddowes “started to investigate a document he’d found, allegedly from the CIA”.
“At the moment, we don’t know whether that call was ever made, we don’t know which reporter took the call, and we don’t know what the reason possibly could have been for anyone ringing a newspaper in Cambridge about it,” said Mr Elliott.
He said Mr Eddowes, who died in 1992, “was convinced that there was some kind of conspiracy” and that the call might have been one of a number of calls made to newspapers and other media organisations at the time to try and foster the idea that there was a conspiracy to kill the President of the United States”.