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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Garrison's Weird Investigative Technique - The Theory of Propinquity!

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

Jim Garrison had a very important investigative technique to get at the truth - his unique theory of propinquity. What a great word! But, not so great a concept. Here's how staffer Tom Bethell described it:

"If two people lived near one another, say within two or three blocks, it's suspicious. If any closer - they are 'linked.' If, on the other hand, they live at opposite ends of the city, get a list of friends of each (from their address books). Two such friends are very likely to live in the same block, or even know each other. Presto - the link."

Garrison wrote two memos titled, "Time and Propinquity; Factors in Phase 1." And his concept of propinquity went beyond geography - any sort of relationship - numerical, even sexual - was enough to set off alarm bells. Garrison told Bethell that "sooner or later, because people are lazy, you catch them out on propinquity."

I don't think anybody has ever published these memos. They are not among Garrison's files, Only one archive I went to had the first memo (although a JFK researcher also sent me a copy).. Today, I am publishing the first memo; tomorrow, I will publish the second.

And so you can see that Lee Harvey Oswald was linked to Layton Martens (number three in the memo) because two of Martens' uncles lived one block away from Oswald.

Garrison used to have various phone directories in which he would check out where people lived, where organizations were located, etc...looking for some sort of linkage. He said he could solve the assassination "with an Esso roadmap and two or three city directories." The roadmap was important - Garrison would check the routes between various cities to see how close suspects came to Dallas or New Orleans.

Another example of propinquity is from the Richard Billings diary, "More propinquity...Garrison interested in Nick J. Matrana, who lived next door to Oswald on Magazine St. (still lives there) and ran a restaurant near the Reily Coffee Co. and the Newman Bldg...he is sending Ivon and Gurvich to talk to Matrana."

Bethell wrote in his diary that "nobody in the office takes 'the propinquity factor' seriously except for Garrison himself."

Tomorrow - the second propinquity memo. And, the rest of the week, I'll be posting other memos where propinquity played a big role


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