Interview with Russell Oswald
QUESTION 38
SHEILA C. BERNARD:

So, can you tell me about the decision you made and how did you set the chain of events into place?

RUSSELL OSWALD:

We decided, late Sunday night, that unless we could get some movement from the group, ah, the prisoners on Monday morning, that...

SHEILA C. BERNARD:

Sorry. Cut.


SHEILA C. BERNARD:

If you could tell me again, you were telling me about putting the chain of events into place beginning with Sunday night. Sunday night it was decided that if things hadn't--

RUSSELL OSWALD:

Well, we had heard that there were, ah, some atrocities taking place in the institution. And that there, there was, ah, a restlessness that had been growing. Ah--in addition to that, we knew that we had to prepare if, by any chance, we couldn't deal with them any longer. So that, ah, we decided to, to--decided which we wanted to do, ah, were we going to, ah, take over the institution the next day or not? We decided we, couldn't make up our mind at that time. But we had to prepare for it. And so, we got together, after finishing with the observers and, ah, decided that we would wait until morning. And it was a long, long night--waiting. Do you want me to go on from there?

SHEILA C. BERNARD:

Yes.

RUSSELL OSWALD:

It was a, a sleepless night. Meanwhile I tried to etch out, ah, a memorandum that I wanted to send to, to, ah, ah, Clarke. The thing that, ah, we remembered so well was that the night before, ah, they asked me to come into the institution one last time. And I was tempted to do it. On Sunday night they said they needed me to come in. So I went down to the gate and I was considering going in when, all of my staff was there, and said by no means can you go in. So I told Clarke that I would meet him and his lieutenants in the tunnel. And he said, "Well, that sounds alright. Just a minute." And he went back to talk with the, the other people he had with him. And he said, "Alright, we'll do that." So meanwhile, my people told me that, under no circumstances, would they let me go into that tunnel because this was obviously going to be the time they would grab me. They said, you can't go in there. I said, "I'm going to go in there." They said, "We'll let you go in there if you know in advance that our sharpshooters are going to have their guns at ready and stand right in this hall and you go into that tunnel. You have to remember that if they grab you, you have to throw yourself to the floor because we're firing." So, I said, "Alright." So, I started to go to the gate and the men had their rifles leveled. Clarke and the others said, "No, we don't want you." And they walked out. So that that's another thing gave us the feeling that they really didn't want to deal with me.