In the 1964 Warren Report on Kennedy’s assassination, Hoover was firm in stating that he hadn’t seen “any scintilla of evidence” suggesting a conspiracy — a sentiment he expressed in other public forums, as well, but not in words as blunt as those he used the day Oswald was killed.
Referring to Nicholas Katzenbach, the deputy attorney general at the time, Hoover dictated: “The thing I am concerned about, and so is Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.”
It’s not clear from the memo whether Hoover thought there might have been a conspiracy but didn’t want it to be known or whether he sincerely believed Oswald acted alone and hoped to head off public fear and confusion.
Hoover also indicated that his concern may have been influenced, in part, by diplomacy, dictating that there could be serious international complications if the public thought Oswald might have been part of a larger plot.
Katzenbach is known from previously released documents to have shared Hoover’s concern, writing in a memo the next day, on Nov. 25, 1963, that “the public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial.”[contentcards url=”https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/jfk-assassination-files/jfk-files-j-edgar-hoover-said-public-must-believe-lee-n814881″ target=”_blank”]