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"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 the 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 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 trarel 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."
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 correspondents' travel. The prisoners are unjustly held and they ought to be released. American 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 different views on the wisdom of generally increasing the cultural exchange with Red China. 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 corner 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 was himself the head of that institution : "The people have a right to knowledge and the full use thereof."
The present policies of the State Department obstruct that right.
Senator O'MAHONEY. The next witness will be Mr. William Worthy, foreign correspondent for the Baltimore Afro-American.
The next witness will be Mr. William Worthy.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM WORTHY, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT,
Senator O’MAHONEY. Mr. Worthy, will you please identify yourself!
Mr. WORTHY. My name is William Worthy, Jr. I am foreign correspondent for the Baltimore Afro-American, and in that capacity have been three times around the world. I have covered such events as the Korean truce talks, the Asian-African Conference, and the Asian Socialist Conference. In 1955 I spent 5 months in the Soviet Union. I have also been in Communist Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary.
During the current academic year I am 1 of 11 Nieman fellows at Harvard University. It was during our Christmas holidays that I left Cambridge and
went to Communist China. Behind my arrival on the China mainland lay long and discouraging efforts to obtain a visa from the Communist Government. Simultaneously with these endeavors was an equally arduous but unsuccessful attempt to secure the permission of the American Government for the trip.
I first raised the question of a Chinesa visa with several of the Communist correspondents whom I met in the neutral zone of Panmunjom, Korea. I followed up with letters and cables to Peiping, During the Asian-African Conference at Bandung, Indonesia, I put the matter up to the Chinese Premier Chou En-lai in a brief conversation. While in Moscow in 1955 I visited the Chinese Embassy 2 or 3 times.
On none of these occasions did I ever receive a definite, responsive answer. Then, without warning, on August 5, 1956, a cable arrived in New York for me from Peking, authorizing a 1-month visa. Approximately 2 dozen American newsmen received identical cables at that time.
Senator O’MAHONEY. By whom was the cable signed ? Mr. WORTHY. Shall I read it, Mr. Chairman? Senator O'MAHONEY. Please do. Mr. WORTHY (reading): Application for visa granted. Collect 1 month visa either at Shumchonwhich is across the border from Hong Kongor at our Moscow Embassy between the 20th and 30th of August. Please notify passport number immediately if picking up visa at Shumchon and contact Intourist Canton for travel and accommodations here.
It was signed by Chu Lieh, Secretary of Information, Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and it is dated at Peking the 5th of August 1956. It came via RCA.
I was traveling in Africa last summer. Communications there are slow and unreliable. News of the cable did not reach me until August 20. I had to be at Harvard by September 22. A trip to China in that short interval was therefore not feasible.
I so notified the Chinese government. I reaffirmed my strong desire to visit China and asked for a visa which I could use at Christmas.
I heard nothing further until Sunday morning, December 16, 1956, when this cable which I have with me today reached me at Harvard. On Friday morning, December 21, I was on board a plane bound for Hong Kong. On Monday afternoon, December 24, I crossed the borler into China.
Perhaps I also ought to read this cable into the record. It is addressed to me at Adams House, Cambridge, Mass., also from Peking via RCA and Western Union:
Your application to visit China granted. One month visa to be collected at Shumchon before December 31. Travel at own expenses they have the pluralContact Canton branch Chinese Intourist for travel and accommodations.
Signed by the same man, Chu Lieh.
While in Peking, officials of the Foreign Ministry made it plain to me that just about any American correspondent will be admitted. Last August the original list of 2 dozen included respected veteran correspondents from the Associated Press, United Press, New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, and practically every important news agency in the United States. Not one Communist or Communist sympathizer was on the list.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Do you have the names of the persons who were on the list ?
Mr. WORTHY. It would be in the New York Times for, I guess, August 6, Mr. Chairman.
C. L. Sulzberger of the New York Times was one. Jim Robinson of NBC was another. I can't remember the other names offhand, but they were veteran correspondents from these different agencies.
For a long time prior to my arrival in China, the American Civil Liberties Union and I had been in touch with the United States Department of State in an effort to have the restriction on travel to China removed from my passport. That restriction dates back 5 years.
And here, Mr. Chairman, I will skip my testimony on this State Department press release No. 341, because Mr. Wiggins has gone into it.
Many newsmen have repeatedly asked the Department to cite the statute on which this policy is based. The Department has consistently declined to do so. It is the belief of attorneys whom I have consulted that there is in fact no basis for the policy in law, in Executive order, or in the regulations of the Department itself.
On February 21, 1956, here in Washington, I called upon Mr. Herman Phleger, legal adviser to the Department of State. Again I was told that the Department did not contemplate lifting the ban on travel to China. I then informed Mr. Phleger that I was prepared to challenge this policy and that if ever the Chinese Government granted me a visa I would make the trip into China.
On December 24, 1956—the day I entered China—a State Department spokesman "deplored” my action. On December 26 my editor, Mr. C. W. Mackay, was asked to call at the State Department. Mr. Walter Robertson, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, and Mr. Lincoln White, the Department's press officer, tried to prevail upon him to recall me from China. During and after the conference Mr. Mackay made it plain that he regarded the pressure upon him as intolerable governmental interference in the affairs of the press. The answer to Mr. Robertson's request was "No."
On December 28, 1956, at a press conference, the Department of State announced that the passports of the three newsmen who earlier that week had entered China were being revoked.
On February 5, 1957, in Moscow, en route home, I called at the American Embassy, at the request of Ambassador Charles E. Bohlen, who had received instructions from the Department of State. I was asked to produce my passport so that the Embassy could ascertain if the Chinese Government had placed any visa stamps in it. I allowed the Embassy counselor to inspect it, but only after a firm and unambiguous pledge that he would not retain or invalidate it.
I took that precaution, Mr. Chairman, because I have heard of cases where people have been asked to produce passports at various American embassies abroad and when in their innocence they complied with the requests the passports have been seized and the persons have found themselves without a passport without warning.
Senator OʻMAHONEY. In what form was this pledge given, if it was given?
Mr. WORTHY. Mr. Davis, I believe his name is, the Embassy counselor in Moscow, had already assured Dan Schorr, of CBS News, in Moscow before I reached Moscow that if I complied with the request that nothing would happen to the passport. When I went to the Embassy I insisted that that pledge be repeated to me. Mr. Davis stated that his instructions were only to inspect the passport and not to retain or invalidate it. I asked him specifically, “Does this mean if I show you the passport and let you have it in your hands that I will get it back immediately?"
And he said, “Yes," and at that point I turned it over.
By the time I reached Budapest, Hungary, 2 days later, fresh instructions had gone out from the Department to the American Legation. The instructions were to stamp my passport with the following restriction: “Valid only for return to the United States.”
I refused to surrender the passport. At that point the consular officer, Richard R. Selby, informed me that the American Government could notify the authorities in neighboring Austria, Yugoslavia, and West Germany that I was traveling without a valid passport and that my passport would then be picked up as soon as I left Hungary. I still refused to surrender it, and nothing happened at the border of Hungary and Austria. The Department was well aware that in 3 days I would be back in the United States, and I received no explanation as to why Hungary was chosen as the place to invalidate the passport.
At the American Legation in Budapest, when I asked for my mail at the visitors' mail desk, I was handed a registered letter which I have with me today. It had been sent to me by Mr. James Wechsler, editor of the New York Post. Written on the envelope are the following seven words: “opened in error by E. T. Wailes."
Mr. Wailes was until several weeks ago American Minister to Hungary. At one time he was Assistant Secretary of State. I had previously been under the impression that clerks were hired to work in the mail room and that high Foreign Service officers and diplomatic staff devoted their time to matters of policy.
On February 10, 1957, at Logan Airport, Boston, where my plane from Vienna and London touched down, the immigration Officer looked through my passport, waved me through, but did not put in the passport the customary stamp which says "Admitted.”
On February 25, 1957, in New York, I applied for renewal of my passport. It was due to expire on March 4 after the usual 2-year period of validity. I received several days later an acknowledgment of my application from Miss Frances Knight, Chief of the Passport Office, but aside from that there has been no official indication to me about the disposition of my case.
For over 20 years the Afro-American has been sending correspondents abroad, particularly to areas of the world where the news concerns peoples of the darker races. In going to China I had the full and undeviating support of the editor and the publisher. Reporting from abroad is my job and my livelihood. Delays in issuing or renewing a passport can be tantamount to a denial.
I have seen the ways and means used by totalitarian governments to control and restrict their newsmen and to rule their people. We all know about the barbed wire and land mines on the border of Hungary where freedom of movement is hardly an established principle. We are familiar with the dreary, turgid, and dishonest newspapers in the Communist countries where reporters are told by the Government what to write, which stories to cover and where to travel.
Neither as a newsman nor as a citizen do I want to see even the seeds of such controls planted in this country.
In that light, and in reaffirmation of our healthy antiauthoritarian traditions, I want my passport-and I want it now.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Have you received from anybody any information direct or indirect as to why the passport has not been issued ?
Mr. WORTHY. Only newspaper reports, Mr. Chairman, such as this Washington Evening Star story of February 27, which starts off by saying "The State Department is playing the William Worthy passport case pianissimo."* It goes on to add in the third paragraph
The odds are he will not get it for a long time, if ever. But Government offcials are determined not to oblige him by announcing any formal action. They hope to avoid making his case a cause célèbre. They have said they are taking his application under advisement. It is likely to remain in that status indefinitely.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Do you yourself know personally of any reason why the passport might be withheld?
Mr. Worthy. Well, the quite obvious one, Mr. Chairman, that I went to China against the wishes of the Department.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Was there any other reason that you can imagine?
Mr. WORTHY. None at all.
Senator O'MAHONEY. You know of no reason, then, why your passport should be withheld, save your speculations that you went to Communist China without first having cleared the passport with the Department of State?
Mr. WORTHY. That is right, no other reason whatsoever.