« PreviousContinue »
Senator O’MAHONEY. Was it signed by anyone?
Mr. WIGGINS. I do not have the text of it and the signature on it before me but I think it was issued as a public statement, as a press statement, Mr. Chairman.
Senator O'MAHONEY. So it was issued by the State Department without any personal responsibility?
Mr. WIGGINS. I cannot say certainly as to that. Senator O'MAHONEY. Can you find out for us? Mr. WIGGINS. I can; I will. Senator O'MAHONEY. I leave that also as a request to the staff. (Subsequently the subcommittee received the following transcript with an accompanying letter from the State Department:)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, April 5, 1957. Mr. J. N. CALDWELL,
Assistant Counsel of the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights,
Care of Senate Post Office, Washington, D.O. DEAR MR. CALDWELL: As you requested in our telephone conversation Wednesday, I am enclosing a copy of the transcript of remarks made by Lincoln White, the Department of State spokesman, on October 7, 1949 in his daily news conference with press and radio representatives. I believe this must be the source of the October 8, 1949, story in the New York Times that you referred to.
This was not issued as a regular Department of State press release and of course it should not be ascribed to Mr. White personally, but considered as a statement of the agreed position at that time. I hope it meets your need. Sincerely yours,
DAVID L. OSBORN,
Acting Deputy Director for Chinese Affairs. PRESS AND RADIO News CONFERENCE, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1949—3:35 P. M.
The Department has been informed that the Aliens Affairs Bureau has handed foreign press correspondents in Shanghai the following order of the Shanghai Military Control Commission, dated October 6:
"EiTective from the date of issue of this order, all correspondents in Shanghai, irrespective of whether they are Chinese or foreign, for foreign newspapers and periodicals, news agencies and broadcasting agencies, whose country has not established diplomatic relations with the Chinese Peoples Republic are to cease acting in their capacity as pressmen, including the filing of press telegrams and radiograms."
The effect of this order is to blot out completely objective reporting of developments in the Communist-occupied territory of China. The order is not based on Diilitary security or censorship but solely on the ground of nonrecognition of the recently announced Communist regime. It is evident that this order constitutes a crude effort on the part of the Chinese Communists to force recognition of their newly established regime by those countries which continue to have, on the basis of the record of the Chinese Communists to date, wholly justifiable doubts regarding the responsible nature of the regime according to generally accepted international standards. Further examples of the flagrant disregard of these standards have been the confinement of members of the staff of the United States consulate general at Mukden to their compounds for almost a year, denial of facilities for the withdrawal of personnel of the consulate in contravention of assurances given as long ago as June 21 that they would be made available, and assent in, if not instigation by Communist authorities at Shanghai of mob action against American businessmen in that city. Far from constituting pressure toward recognition, such acts contravening recognized standards of conduct, merely reflect discreditably upon the character of the Chinese Communist regime.
Mr. WIGGINS (reading):
It is evident that this order constitutes a crude effort on the part of the Chinese Communists to force recognition of their newly established regime by those countries which continue to have, on the basis of the record of the Chinese Commu
nists to date, wholly justifiable doubts regarding the responsible nature of the regime according to generally accepted international standards.
Further examples of the flagrant disregard of these standards have been the continement of members of the staff of the United States consulate general at Mukden to their compounds for almost a year; denial of facilities for the withdrawal of the personel of the consulate in contravention of assurances given as long ago as June 21 that they would be made available and assent in, if not instigation, by Communist authorities at Shanghai of mob action against American businessmen in that city.
Far from constituting the pressure toward recognition, such acts contravening recognized standards of conduct merely reflect discreditably upon the character of the Chinese Communist regime.
This declaration states the general view of the objections to restricting reporters' movements in a country which I think still is sound. Moreover, it is my belief that whatever policies prevail as to travel and cultural exchanges generally, the State Department has in time past, and can and should in the future, permit exceptions to general practices that will allow the American people to continue to have information and knowledge about areas in which general travel is not permitted. These exceptions, we think, can be made under the travel policy that was imposed on May 1, 1952, which at the time seemed to contemplate precisely this kind of exception. At that time the Department said that:
This does not forbid travel in these areas but it contemplates that American citizens will consult the Department or consulates abroad in ascertaining the dangers of travel in countries where acknowledged standards of protection do not prevail, and that if no objection is perceived the travel may be authorized.
In other words, the ban that was imposed in May 1952, and which is still in effect, at the time that it was initially imposed was stated to be no general ban on all travel, and it was asserted that some travel would be permitted under it.
The Department said further:
In making this announcement the Department emphasizes that this procedure in no way forbids travel in these areas.
I think the Secretary was eminently correct on February 5 when he said that he found no necessary connection whatever between the issues raised by Red Chinese detention of American prisoners and those involved in travel by the correspondents.
This has been a frequent source of difficulty over the travel by newspapermen and that these two issues have been related; but, in our view, the prisoners are unjustly held and they ought to be released. Amer ican reporters are unjustly denied access to information to which the American people are entitled and they ought to be permitted to travel. Neither right action ought to be contingent upon the other.
Members of the newspaper profession probably are of differing views on the wisdom of generally increasing the cultural exchange with Red China. There are a great many editorial opinions on this subject generally. They are, I think, as nearly of one mind as it is possible for the members of a contentious profession to get on the dangers of closing any quarter of the globe to reporters and on the general unwisdom of forcing the American people to rely upon Government sources, rumors and conjecture, or the press of other countries for knowledge about any country or continent. Whatever citizens or newspapers may think about Red China, developments in that country certainly are of the utmost importance to the future of the world and to the policies of the United States.
American public opinion about Red China should be based on facts acquired through channels of information upon which American citizens generally rely.
In language so effectively used in connection with the celebration of the bicentennial of Columbia University at the time when President Eisenhower himself was the head of that institution, to use their quote: The people have a right to knowledge and the full use thereof.
In our opinion, Mr. Chairman, the present policies of the State Department obstruct that right.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Let me ask whether you see any difference in the case of a newspaper representative and an ordinary citizen.
Mr. WIGGINS. In the exercise of all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution there is no distinction, and a citizen of any profession has a right to knowledge the same as that possessed by a newspaperman. But in the practical exigencies of wartime, and in many other circumstances under which the Government has thought it wise in the interest of safety, perhaps, to restrict general travel, it has nevertheless permitted individuals engaged in the business of gathering news for the whole people to take the risks and the hazards of travel in all parts of the world.
Senator O’MAHONEY. You refer, I think, to the State Department release of May 1, 1952. I will read it in the record.
This is dated May 1, 1952, No. 341: The Department of State announced today that it was taking additional steps to warn American citizens of the risks of travel in Iron Curtain countries by
stamping all passports not valid for travel in those countries unless specifically | endorsed by the Department of State for such travel.
In making this announcement, the Department emphasized that this procedure in no way forbids American travel to those areas. It contemplates that American citizens will consult the Department or the consulates abroad to ascertain the dangers of traveling in countries where acceptable standards of protection do not prevail and that, if no objection is perceived, the travel may be authorized.
All new passports will be stamped as follows: This passport is not valid for travel to Albania, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Rumania, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics unless specifically endorsed under authority of the Department of State as being valid for such travel.
Then : All outstanding passports, which are equally subject to the restriction, will be so endorsed as occasion permits.
This release, printed or typewritten, mimeographed on a page bearing the title, Department of State for the Press. And then it bears the signature below, “State-FD, Washington, D. C.”
There is no person's name attached. It is attributed to the Department of State as an entity and not as a responsible official of any kind
in the Department. 된 Do you criticize that policy as stated in this release?
Mr. Wiggins. I think the enunciation of that policy and the language used in that order of 1952 makes it perfectly clear that the - issuing authorities intended to make exceptions to the general rule
where it thought prudent and notwithstanding the plain intent of that order, although it remains in effect, apparently, that universal and general ban has been imposed under it to which no exceptions are being made.
Senator O’MAHONEY. In other words, in the second paragraph the Department made a statement that American citizens would be entitled to travel but the procedure of the State Department was not intended to forbid travel to any of these Iron Curtain country areas.
But then the statement or the language stamped upon new passports was a specific prohibition against the validity of the passport insofar as the Iron Curtain countries named are concerned.
Mr. WIGGINS. Yes, sir.
Senator O'MAHONEY. You feel that this stamp upon the passport should be revised so as to make it possible for newspapermen to travel?
Mr. WIGGINS. To begin with the narrower question first, I think it is perfectly apparent that within the language, to any reasonable man, the language used in that statement, it would be possible for the Secretary to authorize exceptions to the general and sweeping ban issued in the stamp placed upon passports and to allow individuals to travel under it.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Under that statement, of course, it would be but it is discretionary.
Mr. WIGGINS. Yes, sir.
Senator O’MAHONEY. You would feel that it was not in support of legislation to take the discretion away from the Department of State and specify in the law the conditions under which the passport must be issued ?
Mr. WIGGINS. Speaking strictly on my own—this is a subject that has not been gone into by the American Society of Newspaper Editors for whom I primarily speak, but as to my own beliefs I am certain of the belief that a more orderly, legal position ought to be created under which the discretion vested in the executive official ought to be narrowed and the due process of which a citizen denied a passport could avail himself ought to be prescribed.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Then, referring only to newspapermen, is it your belief that the safety of newspapur reporters traveling in Communist countries should be of no concern to the Department of State?
Mr. Wiggins. I think, Mr. Chairman, I think in perfect frankness that it is not possible for an American citizen by an unilateral statement he may make on his own to separate himself from his Government and to remove all the consequences of his own misfortunes from an area of interest to his Government.
Were I to say to the Secretary of State that I wished to go to Red China, and that I would go on my own risk, that I think that nevertheless in spite of that statement were I to be subjected to cruel punishment and hanged by the heels in the square at Peiping and subjected to humiliation and insult, the foreign policy interests of the United States to some degree would suffer injury and that I cannot separate myself either from my responsibilities to my Government or I cannot separate my Government from some responsibilities to me.
I think that in the process of gathering knowledge for the American penple, there are risks involved and I think
Senator O'MAHONEY. On both sides.
Mr. WIGGINS. On both sides. I think the great gains that are represented by a more enlightened people warrant some risks and that the mere existence of some risks do not justify the withholding of knowledge about a great area of the world.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Now, the Secretary of State made the assertion, according to your testimony here, released in the press conference, that the American soldiers, or military personnel now imprisoned in Red China, are held illegally and that they are to be distinguished from the case of private citizens who might want to go there under & passport. Did I understand that correctly!
Mr. WIGGINS. I believe the Secretary's view on the February 5 statement was that there had been an identification of the interests of the correspondents in travel and of the prisoners who are being illegally withheld, and that his statement seemed to suggest that at the time he thought that the prisoners were being withheld until this Government would consent to a larger cultural exchange, and he regarded this as an improper relation of the issues and would not yield and allow the obstructions to travel to be removed in the presence of that sort of blackmail.
I believe that was the sense of the Secretary's statement.
I have my own understanding of the situation; it was not exactly that, either from prior statements of the State Department or subsequent ones, where I had felt that the thing was rather the other way around, that the issuance of passports and the permission for general cultural travel was being withheld in the hope that the Chinese Red government was anxious to have resumption of normal travel, that by withholding travel until they released the prisoners we might use this as a lever to get some of the prisoners released.
I think that proper and a sound and a right and appropriate attitude is that these are unrelated questions and that the prisoners most certainly ought not to be held islegally and unjustly and the travel ought not to be obstructed.
I think neither act ought to wait upon the other. .
Senator O’MAHONEY. Of course, it would be quite possible that ander completely free travel, newspapermen and others might find themselves in the same position as the military personnel who are now illegally held. The responsibility would fall upon the State Department to do nothing or something about it?
Mr. WIGGINS. Mr. Chairman, this is a hazard of the profession which we have been accustomed to over a great many years, and occasionally it cannot be denied that it involves the Department. It did in the Otis case in Czechoslovakia.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Your conclusion is that the risks should be assumed both by the newspaperman and by the State Department.
Mr. WIGGINS. Yes, sir.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Do you believe there should be any distinction between the way a newspaperman is handled and a citizen who is not a member of the press?
Mr. Wiggins. The distinction, I think, is one that is to be made very carefully, and I would not limit it.
Senator OʻMAHONEY. Can you suggest the manner in which it should be done?
Mr. WIGGINS. I would not limit it in terms of a newspaperman. I would say persons who are in business of gathering information for the American people whose professional role it is to try to inform them, must on occasion be allowed to go into areas.