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OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20220
October 19, 1966
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Reference is made to your letter of September 26. and to my reply of September 29, regarding the endorsement on various Treasury checks issued to Y. Marjorie Flores.
Attached, for your confidential information, is a copy of the investigation report of Charles L. Gittens, Special Agent in Charge, U. S. Secret Service, San Juan, giving the results of his inquiries with the payee and her attorney in Puerto Rico during the period October 3 to 13, 1966.
If we can further assist you, we shall be glad to
Chairman, Committee on House Administration
House of Representatives
Washington, D. C. 20515
Reference is made to office memorandum of Assistant Director Thomas J. Kelley dated Soptember 30, 1966, received in this office Cctober 3, 1966, forwarding 19 checks issued to Y. Marjorie Flores, wife of Representative Adam Clayton Powell. It was requested that Mrs. Powell be interviewed immediately to determine whether the checks bear her genuine endorsement and to obtain any other information pertinent to this inquiry.
On October 3, 1966 SAIC Gittens and SA Gonzalez proceeded to Barrio Cerro Gordo in Voga Alta, Puerto Rico where Mrs. Powell's home is located. Although she was at home at the time of this visit, she declined to be interviewed and relayed information through a third party (believed to be a maid or a visitor) that she was ill; that she would call this office the next morning to arrange for an interview.
On October 4, Mrs. Powell failed to call this office. It was learned that her telephone was out of order. On the afternoon of October 4, a second trip was made to Cerro Gordo, but this time, Mrs. Powell was not at home.
File No. CO-1-15,136
On the morning of October 5, 1966 a third trip was made to Cerro Gordo, where Mrs. Powell was interviewed in her home by SAIC Cittens and SA Gonzalez. When advised of the nature of our business and shown the photostatic copies of the checks in question, Mrs. Powell said that the checks did not bear her genuine endorsement; that she had not authorized the endorsements; that to the best of her knowledge, she at no time had given her husband, Representative Adam Clayton Powell, expressed or implied authority to negotiate the checks.
Concerning the question of whether she had received funds and/or benefits from those checks, Mrs. Powell said that she really did not know. She said that she has neither seen nor heard from her husband in more than a year; that the question of support is now being handled by her attorney, Kr. Gonzalo Diago Betancourt, First National City Bank Building, Suite 702, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. She further explained that Kr. Diago is her cousin.
Mrs. Powell declined to make a decision one way or the other with regard to signing any papers (claim or release) in connection with these checks. She requested that she be given time to consider the matter and to discuss the situation with Mr. Diago. She also requested that all further discussion in this matter be held with her attorney.
On the same afternoon, Attorney Diago Betancourt was interviewed in his office. The situation was explained to him and he requested that copies of the checks be left with him. He said that he felt that the question of these checks had a direct bearing on a conference he was scheduled to have that afternoon with Mr. Powell's attorney, Virgilio Mendez Cuesta of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. He further explained that his appointment with Mr. Mendez Cuesta concerned the question of financial support for Mrs. Powell. Accordingly, the photostats. were left with Mr. Diago, who promised to call this office as soon as they had reached a decision. He said that he felt quite certain that he would not know before Monday, October 10, 1966 whether Mrs. Powell would make any kind of statement about the checks.
On October 11, 1966 SAIC Gittens again interviewed Mr. Diago in his office, at which time Kr. Diago advised that it was lirs. Powell's decision not to make any kind of statement in this matter, either oral or written; that she would not sign either a claim or a release. He said that he did not have the photostats of the checks immediately available but that he would return them to this office on October 12, 1966.
On October 12, Mr. Diago still did not have the photostats available. He said “ that he and Mrs. Powell needed more time to study this matter, and that perhaps sometime in the future, they would decide on their course of action. He was told that any further inquiries concerning these checks should be made to the Check Claims Division of the U. S. Treasury Department.
On October 13, 1966 Mr. Diago returned the 19 photostats to this office.
Filo lo. C0-1-15,136
In view of the foregoing, this inquiry will be considered closed in San Juan with the submission of this report.
1. Check photostats (19)
2. Copy of letter from Committee on House Administration.
(The above-referred-to document was marked "Langston Exhibit 19" and received in evidence.)
Mr. TAYLER. At this time, Mr. Chairman-
Are you entering that whole thing into the record or just those two paragraphs?
Mr. TAYLER. The report plus the transmittal letter is being offered. Mr. HAYS. Without objection. I just wanted to clear up what we were putting in here.
Mr. TAYLER. The whole exhibit is marked "No. 19," but it includes the report as well as the transmittal letter.
I would also offer at this time for admission in the record at the appropriate places Langston exhibits 7 through 18. Mr. HAYS. Without objection.
Mr. TAYLER. That is all I have, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DICKINSON. I would like to ask one clarifying question of the witness, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Langston, you related the conversation that you had with the Federal marshal in Puerto Rico as to his efforts in trying to locate and deliver a message to Mrs. Powell. Did he give a reason as to why he was unable to find her, whether or not she was at home or whether he felt she was dodging him or anything of that nature?
The WITNESS. He stated that he had been to her home on a number of occasions at odd hours, day and night, in an effort to locate her and the house appeared to be deserted and closed up.
He further stated that she appeared to be, and I quote, "hiding
Mr. DICKINSON. Did he say whether or not he had attempted to learn her whereabouts through her attorneys?
The WITNESS. No, sir; he did not state that.
As a result of my second conversation with the marshal, he gave me the information that he had made these repeated efforts to locate Mrs. Powell and he had been unable to do so. During that conversation I asked him to contact the attorneys for Mrs. Powell and ask them to respond to our message to them. We had not had a response
at that time. We were unable to reach them by telephone at that time. They also appeared to be hesitant about making contact because I talked to the receptionist or secretary in his office, in the attorney's office, and I asked for one and then the other.
After some pause she would come back and say he is not in, he will be back in an hour or so. I left word that they call this committee collect. We never got a telephone call direct from them, to my knowledge.
Mr. DICKINSON. Was this conversation relative to the lawyers and then your efforts to talk to the lawyers yourself by telephone in response to the first telegram that you received from them?
The WITNESS. Yes, the first telegram from them.
Mr. DICKINSON. Did you in fact attempt throughout that day to contact them at the address they gave as to where they would be? The WITNESS. I attempted on several occasions, and I believe Mr. Tayler made an effort also to contact them by telephone.
Mr. DICKINSON. Is it true you got through to their office and talked to some young lady in the office?
The WITNESS. Yes; I talked to someone in the office. It was a rather bad connection. The accents of the people in Puerto Rico, Spanish, were hard to understand and the operator was particularly hard to understand so I wound up talking through the operator direct to the person in the attorney's office.
Mr. DICKINSON. And learned they were not available and left word for them to return your call and they never attempted to return your call as far as you know?
The WITNESS. That is correct.
Mr. DICKINSON. Thank you. That is all I have to ask.
Mr. TAYLER. Mr. Chairman; for the record, Mr. Langston, would you identify by name the U.S. marshal in Puerto Rico to whom you spoke on the occasions you mentioned?
The WITNESS. I spoke one time to the chief deputy marshal.
By Mr. TAYLER:
Q. Do you remember which occasion that was?
A. On the first occasion.
Q. That was back on December 20?
A. On December 20. I placed a call for the marshal. He was not in. So I talked to the chief deputy marshal.
Q. His name?
A. Diago Martin.
A. M-a-r-t-i-n. On the second occasion I also placed a call for the marshal and he was not available, so I talked to the chief deputy on the second occasion, the same one, Diago Martin.
Q. So Mr. Martin was the only one you talked to in the marshal's office?
A. That is correct.
Mr. TAYLER. That is all I have, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HAYS. Are there any other questions?
That is all.
Mr. O'CONNOR. We were going to have Mr. Tayler testify conɔerning his contacts with the U.S. attorney in Puerto Rico.