« PreviousContinue »
Mr. WORTHY. I had a duodenal ulcer, and I was in 4-F. Senator Ervin. You were put in 4 on account of the ulcer? Mr. WORTHY. Yes, sir. Senator Ervin. In other words, you were rejected for service for physical reasons ?
Mr. WORTHY. That is right, sir.
Senator Ervin. Nobody has ever given you any reason whatever for the rejection of your application for a passport, of any character?
Mr. WORTHY. No, sir.
Senator Ervin. Now, do you know whether any of these other newspapermen that were granted permission to visit China by the Chinese Government in August made the trip?
Mr. WORTHY. I am not sure whether Edmund Stevens and Ed Harrington of Look magazine were included in that original group in August, but they were in China at the same time I was there.
Senator Ervin. Do you know whether there were any others besides those two ?
Mr. WORTHY. No; we were the only three.
Senator Ervin. Do you know whether they have been required to renew their passports and have been denied the right to passports?
Mr. WORTHY. Mr. Harrington took the precaution of stopping at the American Embassy in Stockholm on his way to Peking and
got a 2-year renewal just before he entered China, so his case is not coming up for some time. Mr. Stevens told me in Peking that his passport has quite a long time to run, too. So it will be some time in the future. And my impression is that the Department of State is only too happy that they don't have to rule on these other two cases.
Senator Ervin. Now, you state, as I understand it, that you know of no reason whatever in your record or in any views that you entertain that would justify the State Department in denying you the right to renewal of your passport.
Mr. WORTHY. I have never had any difficulty in the past in getting a passport or in getting it renewed.
Senator ERVIN. That is all.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Mr. Slayman, do you have any questions that you would like to ask?
Mr. SLAYMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I do.
Mr. Worthy, you referred to pressures put on the editor of the Baltimore Afro-American concerning your visit to mainland China. Do you know of any other pressures put on other employers or organizations with whom you had any contractual relations? Specifically, do you know whether any pressures were put on the Columbia Broadcasting System to discontinue using your broadcast? Did they use any of your broadcast?
Mr. WORTHY. Yes. I made 3 broadcasts from China, 2 from Peiping and 1 from Shanghai, just after I interviewed 1 of the American prisoners in Shanghai jail. I must say, Mr. Slayman, that I have been at Harvard most of the time since I have been back, and have not really had an opportunity to sit down with people at CBS and just chat about China, let alone go into matters like this. But while I was in China, and since I got back, to be perfectly honest, I have learned through the grapevine that there were very strong and very persistent pressures on CBS News not to use any of my broadcasts, cables, television film and tapes, which I shipped back from China. Í understand that that pressure was resisted, and the fact is that my broadcasts were used, my film was used, my tapes were used, I have been on radio and TV programs since I got back to the United States. But I got from the grapevine that there was persistent and strong pressure from the State Department on CBS News.
Senator O’MAHONEY. I have heard a lot about the grapevine. Where is it?
Mr. WORTHY. If you want ne to name specific persons, I understand that the pressure came fron. Mr. Murphy, the Assistant Secretary of State.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Do you understand that from a reputable source? Mr. WORTHY. Yes, sir; very definitely, a reputable source.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Was there anything in the broadcasts which were used in a way contrary to the policy of the United States ?
Mr. WORTHY. I would certainly say, no, sir. I reported what I saw, what I observed, what I picked up, and that was all.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Did I understand you to say that you reported only facts and you did not express opinions?
Mr. WORTHY. That is right. Senator O'MAHONEY. Any other questions? Mr. Slayman. Mr. SLAYMAN. There were a couple of other questions. Mr. Worthy, an allegation has been made by at least one editor that if American newsmen are permitted to go to Red China that they will then become “vehicles for Red propaganda.” What is your opinion about that accusation?
Mr. WORTHY. I think Mr. Dulles at one point hinted at that by saying that the newsmen who had been invited or had been granted visas and that includes the original group of 2 dozen roughly-were handpicked by the Communists. And I think the best press commentary on that came from James Reston of the New York Times, who said that, at best, it was a piece of misinformation, and at worst, an impertinence. I certainly think that it is downgrading American correspondents beyond all reason when you think that they can go to the Soviet Union or to Poland or Czechoslovakia or any of the satellites and report objectively, but somehow because you go to Communist China, the emphasis is on China, you are susceptible to being brainwashed. I don't think it is logical and I don't think it stands up in fact.
Mr. SLAYMAN. Did you have the red carpet—and I use the expression advisedly-rolled out for you in Red China ?
Mr. WORTHY. I discussed that in this New Republic article which came out March 25. The only "bonuses" that Stevens, Harrington and I got were an interview with Chou En-lai, and interviews with Reverend Mackensen and Father Gross in Shanghai jail.
Mr. SLAYMAN. With some of the American prisoners?
Mr. SLAYMAN. Would you distinguish some of those American prisoners from prisoners of war left over from the Korean conflict? Who were the 8, or 9, or 10, that you were talking about? To whom is this INS story referring this morning, “U. S. demands that Red China quickly free eight Americans”?
Mr. WORTHY. Father Gross got out yesterday; Paul Mackensen, whom I interviewed in Shanghai jail, got out on the 7th of March. Others include John P. Downey-I spoke to his mother in New Britain, Conn., Monday night-Richard Fecteau, of Lynn, Mass.I spent the whole Tuesday with his parents in Lynn-John Houle, a Jesuit priest; Robert McCann, a businessman; Charles McCarthy, a Jesuit priest; Joseph P. McCormack, a Catholic priest; Hugh Redmond, an exporter-1 also spoke to his mother in Yonkers, N. Y.; and John P. Wagner, a Franciscan priest. There are eight left now. Their terms will be up at different times—some got out in June, some have life terms, some have 20-year terms, 1 is due out in 1966. There seems to be no pattern to their sentences.
On the other hand, there is an uncounted number of soldiers, Air Force men, and other military personnel still missing in Korea who the American Government believes are still alive, either in Korea or in Communist China. I can't swear to this figure, but I understand that the list has been pruned down from something like seven or eight hundred to about 450.
Senator O’MAHONEY. By whom was the pruning done?
Mr. Worthy. I was told- I think the British Embassy in Peiping told me this—that it was done by the State Department in conjunction with the Pentagon. This is supposed to be a rockbottom list which the American Government feels is not adequately accounted for by the Communists after Operation Big Switch.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Did you, yourself, find any information while you were in China with respect to the military personnel still held by Communist China?
Mr. WORTHY. I made some inquiries, Mr. Chairman, in response to 2 cablegrams that I got from 2 parents: The parents of Lt. Jack Ledbetter--the mother of Lt. Jack Ledbetter, of Oklahoma City, cabled me in Peiping; and the father of Capt. Harry T. Moreland, of Tulsa, Okla., cabled me. They said that they had reason to believe that their sons were still alive, and that other prisoners who have since returned to the United States had seen them after they had been captured, or after they had bailed out of a plane, or what not, and they asked me to make inquiries. I did make formal inquiries at the Foreign Ministry in Peiping, and at the North Korean Embassy in Peiping. At the Foreign Ministry I was told that all the prisoners who desired to go home had gone home after the Korean truce was signed, that the repatriation was supervised by the Neutral Nations Commission, that the names of all those who had decided to stay in China or Korea had been announced at the time, and that there was nothing to check into. The response I got was extremely cold and possibly even hostile.
Senator O'MAHONEY. From whom did you get it? Mr. WORTHY. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Peiping. At the North Korean Embassy I talked to an English-speaking first or second secretary. He told me that my letter had been referred to—I had written a letter from Peiping to the North Korean Embassy and I followed it up with a visit—he told me that my letter had been referred to the North Korean Red Cross in Pyongyang, and as soon as he got an answer he would let me know. And he took the occasion to invite me to come to North Korea. I certainly do not expect to hear anything further from him.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Did I understand you in opening this subject to have said that there is an uncounted number of military personnel still held by the Peiping government?
Mr. WORTHY. That is the belief, as I understand it, of the American Government. And this figure of roughly 450, if my memory is correct, is a rockbottom list; there are probably a good many more.
Senator O’MAHONEY. On what did you base your belief or understanding that that is the belief of our Government?
Mr. WORTHY. When I got back to the United States—I told you that the British Embassy in Peiping, which looks after American interests, told me about this rockbottom list-when I got back to the United States the attorney for the parents of Capt. Harry Moreland called me by long-distance telephone and had quite a long talk with me. The Moreland family has spent tremendous sums of money advertising in papers in southeast Asia, in every way trying to track down information about their son, and have had endless conferences with the State Department, CIA, and with other agencies of the American Government, and they have been told in face-to-face conversations that the American Government believes that there are this number still alive in China or in North Korea.
I don't think, Mr. Chairman, that there has been adequate publicity on this whole issue of the prisoners, and from my conversations both with the parents and other relatives of the civilian prisoners, and my conversations and correspondence with the relatives of the missing military personnel, I know that, without exception, these relatives think that not enough has been done either administratively, in terms of administration policy, or in terms of publicity and educating the public at home and abroad, not enough has been done in behalf of these men.
I copied down something Mrs. Downey said to me on the phone a couple of nights ago. She said that the people in the State Department don't seem to realize that lives are being destroyed.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Who said this?
Mr. WORTHY. Mrs. Downey, the mother of one of these prisoners in Peiping jail.
Senator O'MAHONEY. I don't mind saying that my own opinion is that the State Department concentrates too much attention for public purposes on eight or some small number of civilian American citizens who are illegally held and not enough attention on the question of what has been done with military personnel, and I shall suggest to this subcommittee that the State Department be requested to advise what the facts are with respect to the military personnel.
I make the statement thus publicly in the hope that perhaps the State Department will volunteer the information before our inquiry reaches it.
Senator ERVIN. May I ask one question on that. Isn't it your information that this list of military personnel was not based on information given at the time-in other words, that this list is of supposed names of Americans who were missing in action, and who were reported by other Americans who had been captured as having been seen by them alive in Communist prison camps in North Korea?
Mr. WORTHY. That sort of evidence; yes.
Senator ERVIN. And the information is further that the list has been reduced by later information gained from some captured personnel about the deaths of some of these particular individuals?
Mr. WORTHY. That is right, sir.
Senator Ervin. But the whole thing has been a matter that has been very difficult for any individual, any newspaper man, or anybody else to get any definite information about?
Mr. WORTHY. You can't get definite information here. And of course the Peiping Government does not give out information. But I do think that if trained, experienced, American reporters were on the spot in China continually pressing for interviews with these prisoners in the prisons and continually pressing for information about these missing military personnel, that something would turn up.
Senator Ervin. As I understand your testimony, in your effort to find out something on this matter, you were advised in effect by the Chinese authorities—that they gave à denial that they were holding anybody except these persons that have been publicly identified, and you were unable to get any response to your inquiry in the North Korean Embassy.
Senator O’MAHONEY. May I ask you again, Mr. Worthy, if, in your own consciousness, you are aware of any reason which the State Department might cite for its delay and apparent opposition in issuing your requested passport.
Mr. WORTHY. No, sir, not at all.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Has any charge of subversive activity ever been made against you?
Mr. WORTHY. Not at all.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Has any charge of any kind ever been made against you?
Mr. WORTHY. No, sir. If you want to make it more specific, if you want to ask me the $64 question, I will be glad to answer it.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Well, I don't want to go into the movies today.
Mr. WORTHY. Could I also add one thing more on these prisoners, Mr. Chairman? As I mentioned, I talked to a number of the relatives since I got back, and I have had correspondence with them. And without exception either the relatives of the missing military personnel or the relatives of these civilian prisoners were very glad that I went to China, they were glad for the scraps of information that I was able to pick up about the prisoner issue, and some of them are still willing to accept the invitation that came from the Chinese Red Cross to go to China and to visit their relatives in prison. Mrs. Downey told me on the phone just a couple of nights ago that her mind about going had never changed. The reason she didn't go is that she understood the State Department would not give her a passport to make the trip.
Senator O’MAHONEY. Well, she just understood that, she didn't ask.
Mr. WORTHY. Well, one thing that at least for me created quite a bit of anguish, is that these relatives are unsophisticated, ordinary