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Tom Dunkin's Deposition
re: Project Nassau

[Reference: Network News Documentary Practices CBS "Project Nassau."  Serial No. 91-55 pp 417-420]

[NOTE:  Where there are three *** a name has been excised by the committee for some reason or other.  Most of these names now are well known]

Appendix C


I, John Thomas Dunkin, being duly sworn on oath, furnish the following statement to James F. Broder who has identified himself to me as a Special Assistant of the Special Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.  This statement is given freely and voluntarily, without any offer of reward or promises and without duress or threats of any kind being used.  I have been advised that this information may become a permanent part of the files and records of an official hearing conducted by the above identified Special subcommittee.

I was born on January 8, 1925, at Ruston, Louisiana.  I presently reside at 2906--17th Avenue, Columbus, Georgia.  I am employed as a reporter for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer newspaper.  I have been employed in various capacities in the newspaper business for the past seventeen years.

I first became aware that the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) was going to film a documentary of a planned invasion of the Republic of Haiti by Cuban and Haitian exiles some time around April or May, 1966.  Mr. Andrew St. George, a freelance writer with whom I had been acquainted since we were reporting on the activities of Fidel Castro from the hills of Oriente Province, Cuba, in July 1958, first called this operation to my attention.  At this time I was employed as a newspaper reporter for the Atlanta Journal.
During the same period (April-May, 1966), I attended a meeting at the home of one Mitchell Wer Bell in Powder Springs, Georgia, along with Andrew St. George and a Mr. Jay McMullen, who St. George introduced to me as a producer from CBS.  At this meeting the discussion was very general in nature and principally concerned with the feasibility of undertaking a filmed documentary of an attempted invasion of Haiti.  It was also at this time that Jay McMullen approached me with regard to my future availability for employment on this project as a cameraman and writer in the event that the operation took place.  At this stage, there were no concrete plans discussed in my presence.  The project seemed to be in the offing.  Wer Bell was obviously being contacted because of his knowledge of and contacts in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Latin America in general.
My next direct involvement in the project took place on September the 11th, 1966.  About 7:00 a.m. I received a telephone call from St. George.  He asked me to meet him at the Atlanta airport.  On this occasion, St. George was accompanied by Jay McMullen, a cameraman named James Wilson, and a sound technician named Robert Funk.  I gathered from their conversation that they had been filming something to do with the invasion operation up in the New Jersey area.  The entire crew stayed in Atlanta about two or three days.
It was on Sunday, September the 11th, 1966, that Jay McMullen offered me a job on his CBS production crew as general assistant.  My duties were to do camera and sound work and anything else that came up.  I was hired on a freelance basis by McMullen and he told me my salary would be $150.00 per week plus expenses for food, lodging and transportation.  McMullen did not have to do a selling job on me, I was eager to become a part of what then had all the earmarks of being a top news project.

On September 12, 1966, I took a two-months' leave of absence from the Atlanta Journal.  My agreements with Jay McMullen were all oral, there was no written contract of employment made.
On Monday and Tuesday, September 12-13, 1966, accompanied by the above named CBS crew members, we shot a filmed sequence of weapons being loaded in a car and on a boat.  This sequence was filmed at Mitchell Wer Bell's home in Powder Springs, Georgia, and both the car, a Volvo, and the boat belonged to Wer Bell.  The weapons consisted of about a dozen or so Enfield 30 caliber rifles and about a half-dozen 38 Special two barrel over-and-under Roehm
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This film sequence was shot by Wilson.  There was some sound also as I recall, but Wer Bell's face was never photographed.  Mostly the shots consisted of Wer Bell's hands loading rifles into the trunk of the car and into a box on the boat.  We also filmed some scenes of Wer Bell's car towing the boat on a highway in the vicinity of Powder Springs. Georgia.
Immediately upon completing the filming of the loading sequence, Jay McMullen and his crew departed for Miami leaving me with the car, boat and Wer Bell.  I was to accompany a Haitian driver on the trip south to Miami supposedly towing the boat containing the weapons.  My job was to film the travel sequence, tape record an interview with the Haitian driver during the trip and also to record news and weather from the radio in the car during the course of the trip for purposes of time and location identification on sound.  The only problem was that St. George did not provide a Haitian driver for the trip.  The interview of the "Haitian driver" took place a few days later, in Miami and was simulated to make it sound like it took place during the actual transportation of the car and boat from Powder Springs, Georgia to Miami.
Wer Bell and I drove the Volvo to * * *1, Marietta, Georgia where we disconnected the boat and then drove the car and the guns back to Wer Bell's place in Powder Springs, Georgia.  We also took the rifles out of the chest in the boat but left the empty chest in the boat for the trip south.  At Wer Bell's place in Powder Springs we unloaded the Enfield rifles and all but two of the derringers from the car and placed them in Wer Bell's garage.  On September 14th, 1966, around 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon * * *1, age 18, a friend of Wer Bell's family, and I left Marietta, Georgia, driving the Volvo and towing the boat.  We drove to the American Marina Motor Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where we met Andrew St. George paid * * *1 $60.00 for his expenses and the return trip to Georgia.  Then St. George and I drove the car and boat to the Everglades Hotel in Miami where we met Wer Bell and a Cuban named Rolando Masferrer.  Masferrer was introduced to me for the first time on this occasion.  I had learned from St. George earlier that Masferrer was in charge of the group of exiles who were planning to invade Haiti.
On this occasion, Masferrer told St. George that he needed some money for a boat to carry the expedition to Haiti.  Masferrer produced a handful of bills which he said was $2,000.00 but it was for the cause and could not be used to acquire a boat.  It was my impression that Masferrer expected either Wer Bell or St. George to provide the needed capital for the boat but no money changed hands on this occasion.

It was at this meeting with Masferrer when I told St. George I needed a Haitian driver to interview in order to simulate gun running by the exiles from Georgia to Florida.  Masferrer agreed to provide a man who was an experienced gun runner.  He said the man would cooperate and explain why he was involved in transporting arms.  The man was provided as agreed and I did a 5-15 minute taped interview while riding in a car being driven by a Cuban named Antonio Rojas.  I do not know the identity of the man I interviewed.  The interview was staged by me without Jay McMullen's knowledge but the assistant producer, Andrew St. George, was aware of the staging.

Next, I drove the car and boat from Miami to the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, which was headquarters for the CBS group at this time.  I arrived there on September 15th, 1966 and the next afternoon, September 16, 1966, a Deputy U.S. Marshal attached a lien on the "Poor Richard".  a motor sailor which was docked at the Ocean Reef at the time.  I later learned that we were to have used the "Poor Richard" to carry some of the expedition as well as the camera crew on the invasion trip to Haiti.

From September 16, 1966, to October 3, 1966, when I returned to Atlanta, Georgia.  I was involved in filming, or present when filming was being done, on the following sequences:

1.  Filming the simulated arrival of the Volvo and the boat owned by Wer Bell at the Ocean Reef Club.  The car and boat actually arrived at night, but the film sequence was shot the next day.

2.  The filming on a farm in Homestead, Florida, a so-called "safe house" where the exiles had an arms cache of 50 and 30 caliber machineguns, a 20 MM antiaircraft gun.  bazookas and rocket shells and other assorted weapons and ammunition.  Present at this
location were 2 Cuban women and perhaps a dozen men.
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3.  Filming of the training sequence where ex-Marine Sergeant Don Miller was directing a firearms training session when one of the weapons exploded injuring the eye of one of the exiles.

I also spent two days (September 22-23, 1966) in the library of the Miami Herald Newspaper researching the background of Rolando Masferrer for Jay McMullen.  When I finished I had compiled seven pages of biographical data which I gave to McMullen tracing the entire career of Masferrer.  From this point on, Jay McMullen should have had no doubt in his mind as to what kind of person he was dealing with.  It was after completing this research project that I offered to bet Jay McMullen 10-1 odds that the invasion would never take place.

I was away from the project from October the 3rd, 1966, until November 16, 1966.  During this time, I returned to Atlanta, Georgia.  On November 16 McMullen called me long distance from Miami and asked me to return and rejoin the crew to finish the job.  I remained on the payroll until December 1, 1966.  At this time, McMullen formally advised me that he was in charge of this project and that I was to take orders from no one else but him.

On November 20, 1966 I filmed a sequence of aviation activities at the Tamiami Airport which included shots of a B-25 sitting in a field which had nothing to do with the invasion but looked good, as well as shots of a Piper Colt airplane which was being used to check out potential exile pilots for the expedition.  I was also present when Wilson shot some scenes of boats docked at the Miami River Harbor, none of which had anything to do with the invasion insofar as I was able to determine.  All of these activities were directed by Jay McMullen.

On Thanksgiving Day, 1966, the Miami Herald published a front page story quoting Napoleon Villaboa, the military chief of the invasion group, in which Villaboa told why he quit the group.  McMullen who was in New York was notified and he immediately returned to Miami.  Upon his arrival, it was obvious that he was very upset.  He told me that he had spent a lot of time and money on this project and had nothing to show for it.  It was shortly after this that McMullen told me he had fired St. George Mitchell Wer Bell left Miami around Thanksgiving Day, 1966 and never returned to the project.

It was also about this time when I had a conversation with McMullen about staging.  McMullen told me that he felt that the training sequence when the boy was injured by the exploding rifle was faked.  When I told him that I had the same information he said, "I wonder how much more of this production has been faked?"  I then told him about the staging of the sequence in Powder Springs at Wer Bell's home when the 30 caliber Enfield rifles were loaded, then unloaded prior to the trip south and the fake interview of the "Haitian driver." McMullen was very upset upon learning this because he said that he had intended to use that sequence as part of his documentary.

In his parting conversation on 11/28/66, Jay McMullen at the Chateau Bleu Inn located in Coral Gables, Florida, told St George in my presence that he (McMullen) had spent half his life trying to put together good reliable true productions and documentaries.  McMullen said that he was aware that the whole operations was a fraud and accordingly he was closing down the production.  I drove McMullen to the Miami airport and remained until December the 1st, 1966, taking care of some loose ends for McMullen such as returning rented equipment, etc, and then I left and went back to Atlanta.

The only money that was paid to me by CBS was for my salary and expenses.  I have furnished copies of two (2) signed documents of my expenses for the periods 22 September through 3 October 1966 and 16 November through 1 December 1966, which are attached hereto as Exhibit "A".  I was never used as a conduit for funds paid to any member of the exile group nor were any such funds ever paid to anyone in my presence.  The only cash transaction I ever witnessed was St. George paying $60.00 to the young boy, * * *2 who drove the Volvo from Georgia to Florida in September, 1966.  I was never present nor did I ever observe or hear of any financial transactions that may have occurred between McMullen, Wer Bell, St. George or any one else connected with CBS and Rolando Masferrer or any other member of the exile group with the one exception of the conversation reported above between Masferrer, St. George and Wer Bell regarding acquiring a boat.
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I have read this statement consisting of this and 10 other pages.  I have been given an opportunity to make any additions or corrections.  This statement is true and correct to the best of my recollection.

John T. Dunkin.

Witnessed by:  James F. Broder,
Special Assistant,
Subcommittee on Investigations.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 29th day of August, 1969.
Mrs. Joan E. Langston,
My commission expires March 5, 1973.

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