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John Connally, Not JFK, May Have Been Prime Target Of Oswald

November 21, 1988 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated President Kennedy, instead may have intended to kill John Connally, then governor of Texas, according to a book excerpted in Time magazine this week.

Connally, who was riding in a car with Kennedy, was seriously wounded in the rifle attack that killed Kennedy Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas.

Oswald was angry because Connally had done nothing to help restore his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, according to the book, ″The Great Expectations of John Connally,″ by James Reston Jr., the free-lance author and son of The New York Times’ columnist.

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Oswald lived in the Soviet Union for a time and attempted to renounce his U.S. citizenship and sell the Soviets military secrets he had acquired as a U.S. Marine Corps radar operator. As a result, Reston wrote, the Marine Corps downgraded Oswald’s discharge from honorable to undesirable, one step less drastic than a dishonorable discharge.

Oswald was crushed at the news, and wrote from the Soviet Union seeking help from Connally, apparently unaware his fellow Texan had resigned as secretary of the Navy to re-enter politics, according to Reston.

Alexandra De Mohrenschildt, a member of the small Russian emigre community in Fort Worth, told the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of JFK, that Oswald had never mentioned Kennedy.

″It was the governor of Texas (Connally) who was mentioned mostly,″ Reston quoted De Mohrenschildt as saying. ″For some reason Lee just didn’t like him. ... Maybe it was the dishonorable discharge.″

Reston’s book will be published this year by Edward Burlingame Books-Harper & Row. The excerpts appear in the Nov. 28 issue of Time.